Trip to Sochi

Russia World Cup 2018: Sochi

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked, large-scale military invasion of Ukraine, its neighbour to the southwest, marking an escalation to a conflict that began in 2014 with the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Donbass. Stop The War!

A 4.30 am rise was needed to make my way to St Petersburg airport. I made an effort to give myself time to talk to Stas my 7 foot tall receptionist.

Sure enough he was waiting for me, he is a member of the opposition party and was present at Alex Navalny's gathering six years ago which called for reforms. He also explained the role of Boris Berezovsky in Yeltsin's government. Unlike Yeltsin, Berezovsky did not get immunity.

His parting words to me were that I would enjoy Sochi as it had been specifically built to cater for tourists. He clearly doesn't know me! But I understand him. He is caught in a system, and only has limited experience of the outside world. Russia hosting the World Cup is the best thing that has ever happened to this country.

Sochi Stadium

Propaganda, a word that was used earlier, is a word that we would have associated with Russia in the past but nowadays it is realised that 'fake news' (modern propaganda) is all around us and we have seen the damage it is doing.

We are fighting against fake news, and now with the World Cup I am able to see through Russian propaganda.

There are plenty of examples of the communist philosophy still in play. For example the registration of foreigners. Taking that further. Whilst Stas was registering me he looked up my details on the computer, and then apologised as he started to write down details of my payment on a piece of paper. I just said "Stop," and looked at him.

He said, "I know, but I have to do it this way."

He could see how absurd it was that all the details were on a computer and then the most important part was scribbled on a piece of paper.

I spoke to another Russian about this situation. They explained that yes they could see the problem, and the answer would be to make a duplicate of the paperwork to reduce the chance of it being lost....a fascinating insight into their way of thinking. These were people in their twenties!

Leaving St Petersburg in a taxi I saw several grand monuments that I wished to stop and photograph to show you. St Petersburg in the summer is a magical place to be.


So to Sochi, a tourist resort. The airport is in Adler as is the stadium. I had several friends in the plane, they were all staying in Adler.

Me, being me, had decided that no matter I would go and see Sochi as the game was advertised as being in Sochi. After all why would you go all the way to a football match and not go in the stadium (except for Ekaterinburg).

Bar in Sochi

So I took a bus 30km along the Black Sea coast. The weather was overcast, and the threat of rain was there all day.

I met two Australians and quickly agreed to go to lunch with them where they met another four friends. We then went to a pub with a view overlooking the Black Sea.

Bar in Sochi

I immediately recognised the menu.

I had seen this chain Stargorod in the Ukraine, and knew what to expect!

On the wall...

Drinking ratings.

Bar in Sochi

Points were awarded for how much you drink. If you look closely at the ratings, you will not find my name there.

We were able to watch the Belgium v Tunisia game there.

Before I headed to Adler to see Germany v Sweden.

Strangely Sochi was the place where visitors encountered most problems with the language.

Bar in Sochi

Bar in Sochi

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