"Or so I was told" in Sochi on day 27

Sochi Travel Blog

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Sochi Russia waterfront

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.

the 90 mile long traffic jam
  The parks along the seaside are beautiful and beautifully maintained.  The city of Sochi (population slightly under 400,000) stretches for 90 MILES along the coast  and is about 3 streets deep into the interior.  It’s all surface.  The seafront parks must stretch for most of that 90 miles.  Unfortunately, it seemed there was only one road to serve all the residents and visitors and everybody was in their car, on that road.  Unlike massive traffic jams in other cities, the Sochi traffic just sat and patiently waited for the cars in front to move – no horn honking, no switching lanes, no obvious impatience – just acceptance that traffic jams are how life is.
More carvings. I really liked this one.

 
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 office
  By the way, we were told that the tower was built in 180 days during Stalin’s era but no explanation was given for the purpose of the tower or the reason for the speed.  My private opinion is that it had something to do with the Stalin’s dacha (favorite summer home) which is nearby.
 
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.

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Sochi Russia waterfront
Sochi Russia waterfront
the 90 mile long traffic jam
the 90 mile long traffic jam
More carvings.  I really liked thi…
More carvings. I really liked th…
Stalins office
Stalin's office
Sochi is semi-tropical and that me…
Sochi is semi-tropical and that m…
My husband found a cannon to pose …
My husband found a cannon to pose…
Our guide was young and very nervo…
Our guide was young and very nerv…
Even the statues are taciturn.
Even the statues are taciturn.
Lovely park and the citizens are o…
Lovely park and the citizens are …
On phones at the ice cream stand t…
On phones at the ice cream stand …
Wood carvings along the road to th…
Wood carvings along the road to t…
The tower at the top of the mounta…
The tower at the top of the mount…
Cathy and friend
Cathy and friend
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
View from the top of the tower tow…
View from the top of the tower to…
View from the tower
View from the tower
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings
More carvings and none attributed …
More carvings and none attributed…
Stalins balcony.
Stalin's balcony.
Stalins personal dacha in the com…
Stalin's personal dacha in the co…
The compound is in a U shape.
The compound is in a U shape.
My husband couldnt resist Stalin…
My husband couldn't resist Stalin…
Stalins chess set.  It was consid…
Stalin's chess set. It was consi…
The reception room
The reception room
The reception room
The reception room
Interesting lighting - wonder what…
Interesting lighting - wonder wha…
As I said - minty green
As I said - minty green
Russian art
Russian art
and we are still in the 90 mile lo…
and we are still in the 90 mile l…
What did that sign say?
What did that sign say?
A reminder of the 2014 Olympics
A reminder of the 2014 Olympics
Looking back towards Sochi
Looking back towards Sochi
Sochi
photo by: pretty_girl