Alluring wonders of Sochi
Sochi, one of the biggest cities in the Krasnodar Krai region of Russia is located along the Black Sea Coast. Boasting a population of about 350, 000 people, it is the country’s largest resort city and a popular tourist attraction, due mainly to it’s beaches. Besides, this is one of the few places in Russia with fantastic weather all year round- warm summers and mild winters.
Most people would remember Sochi for hosting the 2014 Olympic Winter games and Paralympic Winter games, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix. It is also one of the host cities for the ongoing FIFA World Cup games.
Getting to Sochi is not difficult. However, from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, it is advisable to take a flight to Sochi, which is an over two-hour journey. A bus or train trip is significantly longer and if you want to get there fresh, it is better to go by air, which was exactly what we did on this trip.
From the Sochi International airport, we moved to the Hotel Imerentinsky, which was built for the Olympic games, but now serves as a hotel. It is located right beside the coast and as thus, is very popular among tourists. The hotel rooms are self-sufficient, boasting a living area and a small, well equipped kitchen and this might be very helpful if you don’t want to eat out everyday.
There are so many things to do in Sochi, but one of the most popular attractions has to be its national park. Located in the picturesque Ahshtyrskaya valley by the road to Krasnaya Polyana, you can rent a bus or take a taxi there; it is quite popular and known amongst the locals. However, to enjoy the full experience, it would be nice to get a guide that speaks English to take you around as most people speak Russian and it might be difficult to interact.
Founded in 2014, the park boasts of a rock-climbing wall, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge, the Skybridge, which is about 439 metres and about 210 feet deep, bungee jumping and zip lining. There are also culinary and wine tasting classes if you are so inclined. During our visit, we learned how to cook Pilaf, a very popular dish in the region, which looks and tastes somewhat like jollof rice.
The suspension bridge also features two observation decks, each boasting magnificent views of the mountains and the black sea coast. However, the bridge is not for the faint hearted. Swinging a little, a first time climber can almost be reduced to tears especially if you look below and see how far you are from the ground. Getting to the end of the bridge is very tasking and you would be asked if you want to zipline back or walk back. While some chose to take go on the zip, some, especially first timers, opted to walk back.
For the very brave and thrill seekers, bungy jumping is a must activity and they were thrown below, suspended by a single rope. It is advisable you go early in the morning to enjoy the activities as the sun can get really hot in the afternoon.
After the rigorous activities, the park has a beautiful restaurant where you can dine in and taste the local wine of the city. There is also a local band offering local hits and you can just sit back and unwind from the day’s activities.
It is advisable to leave early as the temperature drops dramatically in the evening, as the place is located in the mountains, close to the region’s famous ski resorts. Sochi is definitely a lovely place to visit and should be high on your list of likely places to visit.
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