Two Days in Sochi
Sochi is a Russian city full of surprises. With 300 days of sunshine a year, a subtropical climate and palm trees lining the streets, I couldn’t quite believe that this was the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
One thing I didn’t know until I went there was that the Olympic village is actually in the neighbouring town of Adler rather than Sochi. This makes for quite possibly the easiest 2 days trip I have done. Adler is a 10 minute, £1.50 taxi ride from the airport.
Door to door it took five hours and £80 to travel the 1500+km from Moscow to Sochi. Arriving at the wonderful Sunkiss Hostel at 10 30 I was able to check in early and have an hours nap before starting the day.
A 20 minute walk from the hostel is the Olympic Village. Entering the village via Olympic Avenue is quite a surreal experience (at least in low season!). The wide road is lined with trees, a couple of hotels are dotted around and a plane sits behind a tall metal fence. A car check point/toll is in the middle of road, I assume for the Olympics and other events, this added to the surrealness of the place as it felt like a brand new, unused ghost town.
Eventually I arrived at the Olympic village. Footbridges link one area to another and go over the racing track. In the centre is the circular square where there is the fountain, wall of fame and of course the Olympic rings!
Next stop - The Akhshtyr gorge, this is home to the worlds longest suspended bridge. It is just 30 minutes from Adler, is owned by AJ Hackett, and costs £15 for a day pass. They also do bungee jumps, ziplines and a few other adrenaline pumping activities for those who find walking along the skybridge too tame. The views from the bridge were incredible and I could have spent hours up there.
Keen to watch the sunset, I ordered a Yandex taxi and headed for the beach. It is a pretty pebble beach with a foot path running the length. Pictures have been drawn along the footpath of football and racing in preparation for FIFA and the racing in 2018.
After an early night I woke up bright and early and headed to Rosa Khutor (the K is silent), a mountain resort popular with Russians during the winter for the amazing snow. It was my first time using a public bus in Russia, so naturally I was pretty terrified. How do you buy a ticket? How do you know if it is the right bus? How do you know where to get off? This is all part of solo travel and I found the bus stop, saw a man with skis, so knew I was at the right place. The 135 bus arrived right on time and I followed the skier on to the bus, gave the driver the exact change whilst stating ‘rosa khutor’, found a seat and was on my way to the mountains! Very easy!
The scenery progressively became more and more spectacular throughout the hour long ride. Check out this time lapse Fun Sochi have done.
After a quick bite to eat I bought my ticket for the gondola. I bought a ticket that allowed me to stop mid way and then continue to the top. The views at the top were just breathtaking. Words cannot do it justice, have a look through my photos below!
After several hours on the mountain I headed back down for a final stroll through the valley town and having dinner in Follow Me Cafe before catching the bus back to Adler. I have never been on a bus busier than this one. Everyone seemed to have the same idea..
Before I knew it, it was time to check out of the hostel, head to the airport and back to Moscow. It was amazing to escape the capital for a short weekend break to Sochi, I absolutely loved being back in the mountains and just wish I had more time to ski and paraglide as it all looked amazing!