I've made it to Sochi, and I'm starting to feel settled in now! It was a long process. First we drove from Italy to Munich, Germany, where we went through U.S. Olympic Team "processing" in the Munich Olympic Hall. This was wear we got all of our stuff--important things like our visa/ID for getting into Russia and getting anywhere while we're over here. We also got two duffel bags worth of clothes from Nike and Ralph Lauren, the U.S. team sponsors, and we got fitted for out Opening and Closing Ceremonies outfits. I couldn't help but feel a but overwhelmed by the shear amount of stuff that we got. In some ways it seems wasteful, but its really nice stuff, and I know that I am very lucky to be getting it all.
Then after a short sleep in a hotel, we were on an airplane headed for Sochi! Here is the view from the plane as we approached.
The airplane was a special charter flight for only U.S. athletes, and we were joined on the flight by some luge and figure skating athletes. When we arrived, we could see that the runways was lined with armed soldiers, and we were videoed as we exited the plane. But as soon as we got into the terminal, we were greeted by dozens of really friendly volunteers, all dressed in the rainbow-colored patchwork clothing given to all of the volunteers. This is a theme everywhere I've been here so far--there are volunteers everywhere, mostly young Russians, and they speak good English, are really happy to be here, and incredibly friendly and helpful.
We had to load an unload all of our luggage (and there's a lot of it!) several times as we went through security checkpoints and got it all on the right buses to get up to the Endurance Village.
The endurance village is located on top of a mountain, and the last part of our journey was a trip up a gondola. There were beautiful views of the sunset on the way up. The city of Sochi was snow-less and only a little bit chilly, but as we got higher and higher up it got colder and soon we hit snow. By the time we got to the village, there was at least 4 feet of snow!!
The Endurance Village is on top of a smaller mountain, surrounded by huge, snowy, beautiful mountains. Its pretty much a 360 degree view.
Here I am, happy to be here in the sun in this beautiful place!
I thought this was a cool piece of Russian snow-removal technology.
The dining hall is only half-open because not all of the athletes are here so far, but the food has already been great. There are lots of good fruits and vegetables, and food from all over the world.