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Perhaps you remember this photo from my Moscow post last year? I came across this Sochi countdown structure during a stroll in the city, yet never imagined that a year later I'd be attending the Games. On Sunday, I'll leave America for a very short yet interesting journey in Russia. I've never been to an Olympic event, but am intrigued that Russia is the host country so I'll go and witness everything for myself. During the trip, I'll also take the opportunity to ride the Russian rails. I wrote here that I've always been curious about long train journeys, so I'll take a ride from Moscow to Adler on the new double-decker trains. This journey is over 24 hours! I'm sure to get a good taste of what it's like to travel on Russian Railways, maybe see some interesting scenery along the way and hopefully sleep a bit. Here's the full itinerary, although it's subject to change:

(1) Arrive in St. Petersburg the evening of 10 February. I'll have a free day on 11 February. If there are any readers who can walk with me or show some interesting places in the city during the day, please send me a message on LiveJournal or to my personal email account at shanrocks75@gmail.com. Of course, it's necessary that you speak basic English as my Russian is very bad. I visited St. Petersburg last winter and like this city very much. I've seen all the standard tourist sites, so I'm looking for a unique place or person in the city that I can photograph and write about. Any suggestions from locals?

(2) On 12 February, I'll take the high-speed Sapsan train from St. Petersburg to Moscow. From there, the real adventure begins. I'll board the new double-decker train and ride all the way from Moscow to Adler. I'll stay in Sochi for two days, then fly back to Moscow. One day there and then back to America. The entire trip is only one week, and I'll have no time to meet with readers in Moscow. I'm sorry, as I know many of you have requested such a meeting. Hopefully next time I'll be in Russia much longer and have time to arrange a gathering.

I truly hope Russia shines on the world stage during the Games. I know many readers are opposed to the financial resources dedicated to the Olympics, or have no interest in competitive sports, but for me it's an opportunity to see Russia in a new and unusual light. To assess Russia's ability to accommodate a huge influx of foreign tourists and engage in hospitality on a grand scale. I'll be sure to share my observations about the good, bad and ugly encountered at the Games and on the rails. This is Russia - always something interesting and strange waiting for me. :) You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Please share this post and my journal with others who may be interested in my Russian journey. And a special welcome to my new readers who found me through the community ru_learnenglish!


( 113 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 4th, 2014 01:08 am (UTC)
Have a nice travel! Does Alexander accompany you on this trip?
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, Alexander will travel with me on part of the journey.
Feb. 4th, 2014 01:31 am (UTC)
Have a good trip!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Vlad. I think it will be fun!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
oh wow, so exiting!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)
I'll share some of my stories in your community once they are written. :)
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:38 am (UTC)
Have a nice trip.

In USA they already talk a lot about Olympics. One of nice interview:

Russian village woman Olya Povlatsky visits SNL’s Weekend Update to talk about the Sochi Olympics. - See more at: http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2014/01/26/snl-weekend-update-olya-povlatsky-talks-sochi-olympics-video/#sthash.lwpfErKT.dpuf

Feb. 4th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, constant news coverage about the Olympics for the past few weeks in America. People here really like the Games, no matter in what country they are being held. And thanks for this SNL video! I didn't see it on the show and I laughed the entire time. Good way to start the morning.
(no subject) - 323mersy - Feb. 6th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 6th, 2014 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 03:28 am (UTC)
Have good trip and have fun!!!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the well wishes!
Feb. 4th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC)
May God be merciful to you!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
It will be a unique adventure, like always in this crazy country. :)
Russian Terrorists - onkel_hans - Feb. 4th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian Terrorists - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 4th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian Terrorists - onkel_hans - Feb. 5th, 2014 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Russian Terrorists - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 5th, 2014 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC)
I foresee alot of fat trolls in this post :))
Good afternoon, Shannon. Glad to visit your blog again :)
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
There will be no trolls until I defame the motherland! That's when they crawl out of their holes. :) Yes, I've had no time for my blog recently. A real pity because writing here and communicating with readers is much more interesting than my day job.
Feb. 4th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC)
Good luck!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Denis! Hope all is well.
Feb. 4th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
Enjoy your trip! And keep us posted :)
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And we will be sure to meet in DC when I return from my journey. You can hear my stories first hand. :)
(no subject) - addeson - Feb. 5th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:57 am (UTC)
Жизнь прекрасна
Good trolling is key to the success of blog. I suggest a name for your post from Sochi: "You pay, I enjoy" ;) But, of course, you're too kind man for such a hard header. I wish you luck.
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Жизнь прекрасна
I'm not a troll master, but of course I know the best way to stir up controversy is to: (1) say America is great; or (2) defame Russia. :) My Austrian friends are already in Sochi and they tell me everything is exceptional and in order. They've been to many winter Olympic Games and have a frame for comparison. So, yes, it appears all the massive rubles invested here have created a nice little sheltered village for the Games. Foreigners will likely be pleased.
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - andrey_kaminsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 4th, 2014 03:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - andrey_kaminsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - andrey_kaminsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - andrey_kaminsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Жизнь прекрасна - andrey_kaminsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Wow! I'm looking forward to you posts about this journey. Have a nice trip! :)
Sleeping in a train at night is a very good thing, it rocks to sleep very good. :)

ps. And do you have an account in vk. com? Many russians prefer it to facebook and others. Me too.
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:54 pm (UTC)
I can't sleep anywhere, not even in my own bed most of the time. Insomnia is a real problem for me. :( Yes, I'm on VK but I don't check that page as often. http://vk.com/id153673589
(no subject) - vitsky - Feb. 4th, 2014 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2014 06:55 am (UTC)
Hi! I live in Petersburg, I work at the Anichkov palace till 8 p.m., you're welcome to visit the Palace between 4.30 and 6 pm, and may be meet my students if you want
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the kind offer. I am still finalizing my schedule and will write you if I have time for a visit.
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:13 am (UTC)
So excited for you, woman! Great opportunity. Have fun! Be safe! Xoxoxo
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:55 pm (UTC)
I never thought I'd attend an Olympic event, so it's exciting for me also to see how it operates.
Feb. 4th, 2014 10:38 am (UTC)
Good luck in Sochi! My gut feeling is that you'll need a lot. Have you already got a T-shirt with Zoich (http://www.snob.ru/i/indoc/user_10595/ef1e6f0b9a4fd9b7c03b0c8765e6473d.jpg)?
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:57 pm (UTC)
No t-shirt yet, but I'll buy some souvenirs there. :) I like the polar bear mascot.
Feb. 4th, 2014 10:41 am (UTC)
What a pity that you will not have free time in Moscow!
Feb. 4th, 2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know! The last two times I've visited Russia Moscow has only been the departure city for me. In fact, I don't like the city at all but it would be great to meet and speak with some readers in person. Next time!
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