Sochi is like mosaic, in both geographic and conceptual senses. The territory of the resort consists of three parts – Sochi, Adler and Krasnaya polyana, and as for the cultural heritage, it is now a mix of empire heritage of Soviet Union left in the form of pompous sanatoriums, sprawling railway stations and ports, interspersing of Khrushev’s times, Russia of 90’s and the new wave of Olympic construction, from which modern resort industry is now trying to shape.
The star, the gem and the mecca of Krasnaya Polyana is the peak “Rosa Peak”: to take a ride to the clouds by cable car is a must check for every tourist who turn to be in Sochi. This is the place with the best view on Caucasian ridge and be sure it will take your breath away. There are a lot of entertainments on the territory of Rosa Khutor resort for those who like activities, but this cableway is also for those who are not really fans of winter sports – mountains can not be not admired, they don’t leave anybody indifferent. Hiking-lovers can check their strength here during the summer time, and in winter “Rosa Peak” is really heaven for sportsmen and all who consider to be them.
The trendiest and youth place is the first hotel for riders in Russia – Riders Lodge. You can find here Game Zone Riders, where you can enjoy all the new things from play station, coffee shop Surf Coffee, a small cinema on the first floor of the hotel, and a vegetarian restaurant. But all these is just an addition to local sport company: trust me, even having come here alone and without any astonishing sport skills, just in few days of socialization you will have the contacts of all local stars and your technique will also be upgraded.
There is a theory that the imperial luxury of public places – metro stations, railway stations, sanatoriums – of the Soviet period was meant to reward the work class with the beauty in return for the grey usual life, and at least for some time let them feel like kings of the world and lords of the future. The ideal example of such pomposity is the sanatorium named after Ordzhonikidze, which in its best times was the dream of almost all Soviet people. Now the sanatorium is practically abandoned, but this neglect provides it with special charm. The palace complex that consists of several buildings with green arboretum and some architectural surprises like huge fountain (16 hectares – this is not a joke) is now at an easy pace being conquered by nature, showing what is meant by the phrase “decline of the empire”. The reason to visit this place is not to spend the night here, but to experience some esthetics: wander among the grim back alleys of the park, have a glance on the see, touch the coldness of the white marble and feel the fragility of any, even a grand, idea in front of the course of time.
The first peculiarity of “Grusha” – is the location high in the mountains, what allows to come for a cup of coffee in winter practically on snowboard. The second one is connected to its name (in Russian “grusha” means “pear”), it was chosen not occasionally but for a reason: Circassian pear, along with chestnut and fern, has long time been considered one of the local highlights. The bar owners seem to have decided to bring it to the up point and created a place where the following things are made – Italian pasta with caramelized pear, pear cider, pear puerh, chestnut mousse, and special burgers, boiled crayfish, blackcurrant tea with briar and special tinctures (bread one, tomato one, spicy cranberry one). What is also great in “Grusha” is to eat at the open terrace of the restaurant, squint from the sunlight and breath the clean mountain air.
Many citizens of Sochi love coffee house “My coffee” for the cozy interior in Provence style, loads of teddy bears on the armchairs and the cuisine, of course. The owners of the place came to dish serving with all their souls: milkshake with berries is served in a Soviet bottle from kefir, ice-cream is served in a tin camp cup, cutlery is provided in red knitted mitten. If desserts are not your guilty pleasure, then order black dumplings –real delicacy in that region. By the way, the Soviet chic is presented here not only in new style, but in old one as well – on the tables you can find boxes with dominos, to kill the time before dinner.
The Sochi arboretum was founded in the end of XIX century during the tsar reign times, and since then the plants collection continues to grow. Any arboretum is a possibility to make a trip around the world in several hours. Now you wander along the forests of the Amazon, then you listen to the song of bamboo bushes in the mountains of Japan, and in just half an hour you find yourself lying under the palm trees somewhere in Eastern Asia. Silence and tranquility are all around you, only peacocks clack lazily and porcupines rustle. Those who like excursions are offered to rent an electric car (1050 Russian rubles) for a faster look at the beauties of nature or to visit a sightseeing square (pay attention to the lifts, they themselves are the monuments to constructivism), which is a convenient position to observe all the 48 hectares of the park. The entrance fee is 250 Russian rubles, what means you can spend the whole day on the territory of the park: poetize in rose garden, hide from friends behind sequoias, declare of love in the shadow of chestnuts, have a snack of cold Sochi okroshka (traditional cold summer soup) at the height of 130 meters. One more free entertainment for the sentimental ones: try to find in the family photo albums the photographs, where your young mother and father with enlightened faces hug the first in their lives palm tree; and set yourself a task if not to find this exact tree, but to make the same kind of photo with enlightened face and exotic flora.
Sochi Olympic village can be called an open-air museum “What will Sochi be like if the Olympic games lasted forever”. For the main sport event the modern hotels were built, Nizhneimeretinskaya embankment was created, lots of coffee houses with European approach were open. Now it all reminds the ghost city, where an occasional tourist appears and then vanishes faraway from the very high prices. In case you are not up to thinking about the future of the Motherland, you can just take a bicycle and have a ride along the coast line, watching the moored yachts – having connected in your head the prices, status hotels, smoothness of the road surface and shine of boats’ sides, you can imagine yourself on Italian or any other European coast.
Pioneers of Sochi gastro movement and founders of “Old boys” wanted to create a non-typical cuisine, which would follow the world trends for locality and special vision, and step by step they are coming to it. But the way to the interesting dishes is thorny and not for the cowards. The wooden house with gastropub is situated on the territory of Caucasian national park and stands on the top of the mountain, that is why the guests are driven “up” by preliminary request only by off-road vehicle – a car with sweet name “bukhanka” (“loaf”); a passenger car, regardless the skills of the driver, will not be able to reach the place. Around the guesthouse you will see horses pasturing, mountain river flowing, apple tree garden flourishing and the connection with the exterior world being quite limited. So, in case you want to escape for a while from vanity, work and city, head here, try home made tinctures, watch the southern stars ripe as grapes.
Sochi sea port is the largest passengers port on the Black sea, and it can be considered to be one of the most beautiful ones – the old soviet times construction was modernized and now it shines with recency under the rays of southern sun. And during the night, along with colorful illumination, surrounded by palm trees, the building of the port reminds of Nice, Monaco and other European ports. Affinity is complimented by loads of white luxurious yachts moored here and the fact that now port has become a favorite spot for young surfers trying to catch their waves there. The place that used to be attended only by the sailors and those who saw them off, nowadays, due to the Olympic games, turned into mecca of longhaired sun-tanned young men and their fans.
Those who miss the luxury scope of 2000s and want to know what high class means in local interpretation, welcome to the club and restaurant “DOM”. It seems to have been created to remind tourists that Sochi is Russian Monte Carlo: it is enough to mention that it was here where the first Martini party devoted to Formula 1 opening was held. Almost all Russian celebrities were invited to this event. Now the huge panoramic restaurant with amazing view and nice service regularly holds big parties, treats the guests with sea creatures dishes and can welcome more than 200 people at a time. It is a perfect place to meet the sunset, sip sparkling wine and catch the light sea breeze in your hair.