While social media was showing images of a distraught and run-down Sochi, our Modis Colleague paints a different picture from the trip of a lifetime! Here’s more from this exciting adventure:
It is hard to believe just a couple of weeks ago my fiancé, Bill, and I were in Sochi, Russia, at the Olympic Winter Games. We were invited just 6 weeks prior and, with all the media hype, really debated whether we should make the journey. We are so thankful we made the right decision as our time in Russia turned out to be the trip of a lifetime!
On Sunday, February 9th, we flew out of St. Louis to JFK. Bill and I had a few hour layover and then an overnight flight to Moscow. We purposely went a day early so we could spend some time in Moscow. It was late afternoon when we got to our hotel and we were completely wiped out. However, knowing we only had a couple hours of daylight left, we made the 4-5 block walk to see the Kremlin, Red Square and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The architecture was amazing, but Moscow is freezing! We made the trek back to our hotel for a quick shower and then off to dinner at Nobu. Yes, we had amazing sushi in Russia!
On Tuesday, we had a seamless flight and even saw the Olympic Torch just before touching down in Sochi. Once on the ground we headed to our hotel in Rosa Khutor. This village is about a 45-minute drive from the airport and the location for all of the alpine events. On the drive, it was amazing to see the military personnel standing guard along the highway. Once at our hotel we received our welcome packet and agenda for the week. I am happy to say that our hotel was very nice, our room was beautiful and the food was great.
That evening, we bundled up and took a gondola ride to see the Men’s Halfpipe. I’m very afraid of heights, but the views from the top were amazing! Once at the halfpipe venue I was amazed to see how different it is in person. On television, you just cannot grasp how enormous and steep the halfpipe is. We had amazing seats and really enjoyed our first event of the Olympic Winter Games.
On Wednesday, we spent the morning walking around the Rosa Khutor village. It is an adorable little ski village with cute shops, restaurants and hotels. Again, there were police and military personnel stationed everywhere. Bill even convinced me to get my picture with a couple of the friendlier looking police officers. Later that day we were bused down to the Olympic Park (called the Coastal Cluster). Like the airport, security is extremely tight getting in and throughout the park. On television, you cannot get an idea of how enormous the park actually is. From the security checkpoint, it is a 30-minute walk to most venues. All of the arenas were beautiful, clean and top notch!
That afternoon, we were first row at the starting line for the Men’s Long Track speed skating. I was surprised to see the arenas in Sochi held so few people. It made it a much more intimate venue and you really felt like part of the event. Even though the U.S. did not do as well as expected, we were able to get some great pictures of this very exciting sport.
That evening, we went to the Pairs Figure Skating final. This was my second favorite event of the entire trip. The pairs who won silver and gold were unbelievable. When the duo that won gold finished their skating they were in tears and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It was fantastic!
Check back later this week for more from this trip of a lifetime!