Well, let’s leave the burnt meat alone, I’d better tell you about the ice rinks. There were two of them, situated rather far from each other. So, if you wanted to go to the training rink, you were to take one bus, and if you wanted to go to the main arena you were to take another. It usually took us about 15 minutes to get to either of the rinks. The training one was very warm. There weren’t any stands, so nobody was watching us there, except for journalists, of course. The ice wasn’t very good, it was much better at the main rink. And it was about 3 degrees warmer there. The only inconvenience was the overly bright light, it took me quite a while to get accustomed to it. The stands looked huge! People were sitting right below the ceiling. Speaking of people, there were so many spectators in the stands that it felt like competitions, though in fact it was an ordinary practice at 10 in the morning. Well, so much for the rinks. Later I will tell you about the competitions in a separate blog entry)
Now I’d like to describe a wonderful recovery house, which we visited twice. It was a real paradise! ) I got there by chance. I had a half-day-off, and Alla Yakovlevna suggested that I should join the ice dancers. Of course, I agreed. The house was about 15 minutes’ drive from the village. Seemingly, those 15 minutes couldn’t change anything. But it turned out that at Olympics everything is possible! It felt like we’ve came to another planet. The mountains, the ocean beach, the view over the downtown… Fairy-tale surroundings! The house looked rather plain. On entering I felt homey at once ) On the first floor there was a lounge, on the second - rooms with physiotherapy devices. And there was a wonderful chef ) The very scent of his cookeries made one’s mouth water. We ate borsch as the first course and calf as the second. Everything was utterly delicious and obviously cooked by a person who cared for athletes. After the ambrosial dinner we decided to go for a walk to the bay. We came there right at sunset and took beautiful pictures.
I didn’t want to leave, but it was already quite late, and we had to return to the village. Near the Russian house I ran into Ksenia. She suggested going with her to meet her parents’ friends, who had been living in Vancouver for many years. They were waiting near the Sochi house, which, by the way, we never visited. At first we were afraid to go there prior to the competitions, thinking it would be too tiring, and afterwards we had other plans. But I digress. So, we approached the house and saw two smiling people. We came up to them and they embraced us as if we were near and dear to them. They presented themselves (Olga and Alexei) and the first thing they asked us was if we were hungry. They’d already heard that we weren’t properly fed. So, we decided to take a walk and then to have a bite. Of course, I wasn’t going to eat, I’d been already dined – but poor hungry Ksenia said she could do with a piece of beef ) The thing was, she had had two practices that day and hadn’t visited the wonderful recovery house ) We walked and talked until it got dark. While we were sitting and talking at a restaurant, I learned that this nice couple has a son, and that they had read my blog. I was glad they liked it. I’d already known that Ksenia’s parents would come to Vancouver in a day or two and stay at their place. By the way, we went to meet Ksenia’s parents together, too. We had a day-off that day, or more precisely, Ksenia had, and I’d had a practice in the morning. After the practice I quickly changed my clothes and we went to our meeting place in front of the Sochi house again. This time Olga and Alexei took their son Petya with them. They told us that Ksenia’s parents would arrive at about three o’clock. So, until then we had enough time to take a walk, the more so that the weather that day was sunny and just wonderful. First, we inspected the surroundings of the Sochi house and found some strange, but beautiful globes. Of course, we took pictures of everything we saw.
By the way, it was the day of the Canada-USA hockey match. Streets were full of people in picturesque clothes carrying American and Canadian flags. Surely, everybody was screaming and shouting. Petya was going to attend this match, too. We soon decided to get away from these screaming people in order not to get lost. It didn’t take us long to choose where to go to; Ksenia and I asked to be shown to the Olympic fire. I don’t quite remember how long it took us to get there, as we were stopping again and again to photograph things.
At last we reached our destination. To tell the truth, I had expected to see something unbelievably huge and beautiful. But on the one hand, it was impossible to come near the fıre, as it was fenced in; on the other hand, a decent photo of it could be taken only if there was nobody against it, otherwise there was only a vague shape of it to be seen in the picture.
Well, having done with the fire, we realized it was time to go to Olga and Alexei’s place to meet Ksenia’s parents. When we came there, they had already arrived, together with Ksenia’s younger brother. Everybody was very glad to see each other.
There wasn’t much time for talking, because we had to return to the village. So, we had a delicious supper and left. And that’s the end of the first part of my story. Next time I will tell you about the competitions and maybe something else, if it comes to my mind)