From the sea to the summit

We wanted to stay in Sochi for a bit of leisure and relaxing with a beach day or two. Also we were hoping for a nice match in the Fisht-Stadium. But for some reason not much is relaxed though. We had to stay in the hostel more or less for half a day because heavy rain forced us to before going to explore the city and watch Brazil being sent home by the brilliantly performing team from Belgium later that day. Melting hot temperatures replaced the refreshing rain in the afternoon and not the Brazilians filled the streets with sadness and disappointment but the little number of Argentinians celebrated the elimination of the Selecao more than a victory of their own squad. What a rivalry!

Daniel visited Sochi 10 years ago, before the Olympics and the World Cup and nothing but the train station and the old port remind of the city from 2008. Condominiums, hotels, parks, malls, cafes everywhere and a modern infrastructure (Some busses from 1970 are still on duty, but these were already old 10 years ago).

The Olympic Park with most of the Olympic facilities, the stadium and the Formula 1 racetrack are not even in Sochi and a 45 minutes train ride out of the city to the premises of Adler town, but are really breathtaking without a doubt.

The match Russia vs. Croatia really brought us close to a heart attack but was worth every penny and for us the final match we think we deserved to watch! 😉

The relaxing part shouldn’t be missed out and we decided to leave Sochi for another place along the black sea coast before we go around the Caucasus Mountains into Georgia. Dederkoy was the village of our choice and two days at the beach really gave us what we craved for.

The Shashlik (always tasty, always keep it in mind when you only get a Russian menu somewhere and don’t have any clue what is on there) with the homemade wine and bread was simple, but Arun, Sergey and Levan showed their amazing hospitality, thanks for that slight headache the next day guys.

The next three days are pretty easy summarized. Stand up, sweat, drive, sweat, refuel, sweat, drink, drink, drink, sweat, drive, eat, sweat, sleep, sweat. Three times and we arrived in Vladikavkas the last town before entering Georgia.

Two encounters are relevant to be mentioned. Natalia, a 55 year old woman, born in Münster, who works in the gas station near Armavir who still travels to Germany twice a year to visit her son Daniel and her granddaughter Anna-Maria. She was filled with joy and super happy to speak a few words in German with us. And Nikolai from the Krim, we passed him on his Yamaha WR450 from ancient times and met him at a break short after. He’s on his way to Batumi in Georgia in his two weeks holiday. Approximately 3000 kilometers round trip. Even we felt overequipped in that moment…

We almost forgot, that we entered the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. This region has a pretty turbulent history in the recent 30 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Republic and before, but still belongs to Russia. Passport control, armed soldiers around, but no bad feeling at all. The way to Vladikavkas was an easy one and left us about 30 kilometers to the border. Shouldn’t take longer than an hour unless cars line up for more than 3 kilometers – Shit, we might have gotten up earlier. It didn’t take long until the driver of the car with Georgian licence plate and „Fliesenleger Harder“ printed on his rear window insinuated that we can pass the line on the right. We weren’t sure and started to go until we reached an police officer who also gave us a sign to go on. It still took us more than an hour to go through customs and passport control, but it would have taken us literally a day if we hadn’t passed all cars. The whole process ran surprisingly smooth. No questions about registration, no speed violations no bag check, this was it – this was Russia.

What can we expect from the Georgian immigration? Another hour or two, vehicle checkpoint, customs? 10 minutes later we had our stamp and were ready to go. Finally we were able to enjoy the stunning environment of the Caucasian Mountains around us and couldn’t wait to relish the ride and the view in Georgia. What a beautiful windy road it is!

This is our route to the capital city of Georgia, Tiflis or Tbilisi.

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