Day 27: Arrived at Sochi (Winter Olympics) & Unplanned Moscow Visit
The ferry from Trabzon was indeed comfortable, atleast i had a sound sleep. When we woke up, the sun had already started to turn the morning sky orange. We had our breakfast i.e. the Bananas we were carrying and were really excited as we were not at all sure if we would be able to get this ferry to begin with! Boarding this ferry essentially meant that atleast now we can complete our journey till India, offcourse subject to everything else working out for us as well 🙂
We left our cabin and walked towards the ferry deck area, Aarti met her UK friend on the way (another British on board). From the deck Sochi skyline was clearly visible and that also meant we were dot on time. We enjoyed the morning breeze and the sunrise, clicked few photographs and went back to the cabin to wrap up all our stuff from the cabin and set it up in the car. I also had to reconnect the battery which i had disconnected last night because of the alarm.
In no time we were at the dock, ship captain finished the formalities and asked us to deboard along with Dhanno. Russian customs were rather welcoming and friendly, they were not too pushy about the insurance as well and instructed us to get one once we are on the road. Here we met Can Gonen, who is a Russian businessman and was returning from the bike trip from Turkey. As per the latest, he and 3 other friends of his are planning a cross country and will be crossing through India as well. He offered me to join them and i would have loved to as i want to do Leh/Ladakh on bike, but that is not going to be a part of their Itinerary as they will be outside the window when the roads are open so i might not. BTW Aarti will be doing their Indian Itinerary and for the connected countries as well. Their trip is being documented by the Turkish TV Channel.
We said good bye to the custom officers and Can, entered the address for Sea Galaxy Hotel Congress & Spa into the GPS and we were back on the road. On the way we were also looking out for the directions that custom officer gave us for the insurance office, however with everything in Russian and majority population not speaking/understanding English it was turning out to be quite an ordeal. Android “World Lens” app came to the rescue and we were able to find a bank which had insurance mentioned in the banner outside their office. I walked into the bank but none of us could get to the point, we decided to continue without insurance and take help from the hotel staff once we check in.
Reaching hotel was not difficult, however since we were checking in quite early Aarti had to request them if they would give us the keys! Staff was indeed very helpful and after a wait for 30 odd minutes we were handed over the keys.
Once we had the room, hunger started taking control of our bodies. Aarti found some hotel online and we started walking as per the GPS directions, once we arrived at the location all we could see was a deserted place with no clear entrance. Since it was a new place and language was a big issue, we decided to give this location a miss and continued walking in one direction. After walking quite a while, we found a nice looking french restaurant and our hungry bodies walked right in. The waitress was a nice young lady and she spoke English as well which was quite a help in understanding their menu. We ordered our meals and gobbled it quite quickly. We thanked the waitress and came back to the hotel.
We were really glad that the ferry happened, and after we had soaked in this feeling an our tummies were full; Aarti was back on her favorite task i.e. planning out the day, what else to eat, what to visit and so on. She checked the prices for return flight to Moscow and was surprised to find out that they were really cheap, we actually looked at each other in disbelief trying to understand why we never had Moscow in our itinerary! She booked the ticket for next day morning and we set out on foot again to find the same place for dinner.
This time on exploring a bit we found another entrance which was going to the basement. We followed the stairs and there it was. It had nice ambiance, food was decent too. We sat there for a while, planning how our day in Moscow was going to be and what all we need to cover once we were there.
After enjoying the meal we came back to the hotel, asked the receptionist to book a taxi for our ride to the airport, packed our bags and called it a day.