Saturday, 15 February 2014

Россиа, nous voilà!

Let's take it where we left! Moscow layover went well, if not for our flight to Sochi being delayed - but eh on time flights are not in my vocabulary anymore.
The flight itself was fairly easy with decent food and a first view of the torch a couple of minutes before landing!

Our cab driver was waiting for us and very keen on practising his English so he chatted all the way to the hotel! His music tastes were questionable at the most!
The first 'glitch' happened when we went to check-in at the hotel and the receptionist declared that she only had a booking for me and not for Luke (I had booked for the two of us!)! Bit of a heart stopping moment but she solved it in 2 min checking with her manager!
We had a room! With curtains, twin beds, doorknobs and crystal clear water! We even have a balcony with a (partial) view on the Black Sea and HD tv to follow the event we can't see live!!

No rest for the wicked! We headed to Central Sochi to activate our Spectator passes - 5 min tops! Pick up our tickets - 5 min tops! All under blue skies, sun and 18 degrees Celsius!
While we were at it, we tried to enter the line to get skating training tickets and a ticket to Canada-Norway (hockey) on the evening...
Well, let me just tell you that queuing in Russia could learn a lesson or two from British queue.
This was nothing like it! And it was taking place in stairs with no visibility of how long that would go on!! And since it was obvious I wouldn't make it in time for the game, I gave up 😞
(Canada won - so all was not lost!)

We headed back to the hotel and watched the Men LP from the hotel restaurant, to learn that - OH SURPRISE - Evgeny Plushenko had withdrawn and Russia would not have a Men representative in the competition!

The event itself was very good, Hanyu and Chan the clear leaders and 10 skaters aiming for a bronze medal within 10 points of each other!!

It was overdue bed time after sleeping less then needed in the overnight flights and a 7km walk to Central Sochi and back!!

Friday brought a even better weather and after a filling breakfast we headed for a walk on the promenade (in flip flops!! Welcome to February in Russia!!)

The temptation was too strong, I had to put my feet in the water!!!
It was... uh ... freezing!!!

We then decided to head out the the Olympic Park early to have a look around, try to score tickets and visit the Olympic shop.
The train ride to Adler is easy, but fairly slow 😞 50 min later we were at the entrance of the Olympic Park! Finally!

We were a bit baffled at not having to go through security or having our back scanned - but didn't say anything, we just wanted to get in!!

But as some of you naught remember from London 2012, he entrance of the park is nowhere near the venues! Another 30 min walk later, we were able to spot the ticket offices. More lining up in the horizons - and all the events we wanted were sold out! No luck!


With an hour to kill, the Olympic Store was our next stop. But not before a nice queue of 1 hour... Which was a waste as the store was not very good and the items were quite expensive. Fruitless trip for both is us!

It was then time to head to the Iceberg Arena, host of short-track and figure skating events for this fortnight!
The category B seats were up on the upper balcony which was a bit disappointing. The upside was that they were on the judges corner so e for to see all programs from the judges sides.
I enjoyed the competition very much and thought that apart from the Top 2 pretty much everyone skated fairly well for their big moment.
The crowd was good even though there was no Russian Man competing and totally adopted Kazakhstan's Denis Ten!
As for every Olympics my French blood comes back running and I, yes I, even took out my French flag to cheer for Brian Joubert (my skating friends will know the important meaning of this, ahah)!! His long program was ok, and maybe the best he's skated at an Olympics. No matter how much I dislike the guy, he has stayed in the game for 12 seasons, and has medaled countless time. He can retire in peace!
10 points ahead after the short, Hanyu and Chan were battling for the Gold. After a poor outing from Hanyu, the gold was Chan to lose. And he did... Kudos to him though as he could have gone the safe route and still went for two quads.
Highlight of the season Jason Brown was skating last. With no quads in his repertoire, the Bronze was out of reach, but nevertheless his Riverdance program is such a feel good moment, I enjoyed it very much!
The cheer joy of making an Olympic top ten on his face was just so nice after all the pouts we had gotten!
With the stupid Medal plaza rule, we were deprived of a medal ceremony and had to settle for a Flower ceremony...
After the train ride back to Sochi, we had an encounter with our first mad Russian taxi driver. He agreed to our rate to the hotel, but man, I thought we were going back in a badly driven F1!! I had my doubts we would ever get there alive!
That's it for the first 2 days in Russia! I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but eh! Oh, yes, Chinese Pang and Tong are at the same hotel as we are, and I almost walked into Evgeny Platov next to the torch after the Men Short program.
L'ami Nelson!

Canadian TV!

No comments:

Post a Comment