Well, I'm back in Moscow, but earlier this week Marc and I finished out our trip in Sochi. Sorry to be so behind, but the hotel we were at did not have internet access.
On Sunday, the 10th (a week ago) we boarded a train in the evening for a 14 hour train ride to Moscow, had just enough time to get breakfast with Beth in the morning, and then rushed to the airport to fly to Sochi. In a period of 24 hours we went from -10 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees in Sochi.
A couple photos from the train:
Once we were in Sochi we looked completely out of place, and the weather was fantastic. The first afternoon/evening we barely made it to the hotel before dark, so we didn't really have a chance to do anything. But things really turned out well for the next day and a half.
As many of you know, Sochi is the location of the 2014 Winter Olympics--the reason why we were working on a video project there. Upon first arrival to the city, you might wonder why it would be selected as a site for the *Winter* Olympics--the temperatures in mid-Januray were between 50-60 degrees and there was almost a tropical sort of feel to it.
You can see that Sochi is right on the shore of the Black Sea, but to the right of Sochi are the Caucus Mountains--where the Olympic games will be held I'm assuming (I don't really think snow's going to be anywhere else).
The second day we were able to go to Sochi, and were a little nervous. All night it had been pouring, and it didn't look like it was stopping anytime soon. We took a bus to get to downtown Sochi, and the rain was still falling. Both of us had managed to forget our umbrellas (being in Petrozavodsk where the precipitation was snow and therefore a delight really helped us forget that we even needed an umbrella), but fortunately the rain stopped after about an hour. The sun came out, and provided for some very beautiful scenery.
We spent the rest of that day wandering around downtown and taking in the beautiful sights of the city. Seeing palm and banana trees, it did not feel like the Russia I had come to know and love. But it was a gorgeous change of scenery.
The second day we were able to meet with a pastor, Sasha (someone we got in touch with the day before), and were able to speak with him about Sochi and his thoughts on the Olympic games taking place there. Although Sochi has been called the most underdeveloped city (as far as preparedness goes) to be selected, there was obviously a great deal of construction taking place, and it looks like they are on their way to being ready.
All in all we had a blast (albeit stressful and tiring blast at times), and I'm so appreciative that I was able to join Marc on his project, and hope to join him possibly in future trips!