"Or so I was told" in Sochi on day 27
Sochi Travel Blog› entry 32 of 57 › view all entries
Sochi is Russian beyond any doubt. Even with palm trees and beautiful gardens and lush seaside parks, it is Russian. I was required to carry my passport, a port visa pass and my ship card. I was not allowed to roam off from my tour nor was I ever offered the opportunity to visit a shop and buy a book. Now, walking around and buying books are the two things I like to do most in port. so I was not too happy Buying a postcard (for 1 US $ each) from the guide while on the bus is not my idea of shopping. Heaven knows how the Russians are going to control the crowds that will arrive for the 2014 Olympics but I’m sure they will try.
The tour itself was also curious – I kept getting the feeling I’d fallen down a rabbit hole, just like Alice.
There is a lot of building in preparation for the Olympics but little of it seems to be anything but hotels At least in Sochi itself; there’s lots going on elsewhere, or so I’m told.. Road construction in Sochi might be a good idea too but maybe it will be easier to control the tourists if tourists can’t travel except by public transport.
Then again, I could be paranoid. However, the three things we did see during our morning in Sochi were definitely worth seeing. The Rivera Park, founded in 1898 by Khludov, has miles of palms and other trees along its paved walks. Second, we went to a stone tower on Akhum Mountain where we could see the snow-covered Caucasian Mountains in the distance. I also took photos of some amazing wood carvings near the tower.
Stalin’s home is the third site we visited and it was why we signed up for the tour in the first place. Who could resist seeing a wax Stalin, his study, billiard table, and bed and having a glass of Stalin’s favorite wine. Or so we were told. If you notice, much of this entry should be labeled “or so we were told”. Stalin was short, about 5 feet one inch tall and had all the furniture made tiny so he would look larger. Also the entire outside of the complex is painted forest green. Everything. Nothing is ornate or fancy and the effect is like being in a minty Frank Lloyd Wright museum. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.