Browsing Category: "Other stories"

Surfing in Sochi

Multimedia, Other stories June 30th, 2014

Russia doesn’t have many places for surfing. Still, this sport is gaining popularity. Here are some recent photos of surfing in Sochi.


Read the rest of this entry »

Greeks in Sochi

Other stories January 20th, 2014

Don’t be surprised to see many Greek business names, Greek cousine restaurants, or even meet locals who can speak Greek when you visit Sochi. Especially in Krasnaya Polyana (mountain cluster venues), which was founded by Greek settelers. Sochi, and whole coast of the Black Sea, has very close historical ties to Greece.

A house in Krasnaya Polyana with roof painted as flag of Greece.

Souvlaki is a national Greek food. Its very popular in Sochi, but you won’t normally find it in other Russian cities.

Even McDonalds added Greek sandwitch to their menu in Krasnaya Polyana – Pita Greek.

Ready for the Olympics!

Multimedia, Olympics 2014, Other stories, Russia October 13th, 2013

As my hometown is preparing to host the Olympics in a few months, we are trying to open up to the World by installing bi-lingual signs around the city. I collect some special translation jobs on this website:

WP Plugin: Nofollow from Home

Other stories January 21st, 2013

[текст на русском ниже]

In English

Nofollow from Home is a WordPress plugin which adds rel=’nofollow’ to all external links in your posts or static page, only on your home page. It means these same links will not have the attribute when your post slips onto the 2nd page, or when displayed in Categories or Archives pages roll, or when a post is displayed as a single post.

Update Jan 20, 2017: Plugin re-written to work on modern versions of WP. Tested with WP 4.7.1

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Sochi Virus

Multimedia, Other stories June 27th, 2010

Web surfing takes me places…

Yesterday I found out there’s a computer virus Virus.DOS.Sochi.703, which apparently was dedicated to Sochi’s 2002 Olympics bid — the virus contains the text *Ks&I* Sochi Olympic Games 2002.

While trying to get more information on this I stumpled on a real biologic virus called Dobrava-Sochi virus (DOBV-Ap) – separate lineage of Dobrava virus found in and around Sochi.

And then on the same search I stumbled on a fun club mix by DJ Virus — Sochi 2014. I liked it, so I’m embedding it here :)

Ski resorts in Krasnaya Polyana: Laura (Gazprom)

Other stories February 7th, 2010

“Laura” (Gazprom) ski resort

Горно-туристический комплекс “Лаура” (Газпром)


“Laura” (name came from the name of the local river) ski resort was built by Gazprom company, and is second most popular ski park in Krasnaya Polyana. Today they have 16 trails, and more (higher up the mountain) are under construction.

Pros: new resort – modern lifts and infrastructure.
Cons: during warmer days there is no snow, while on «Alpika» there could be snow on the highest trails. It’s also popular among VIP persons, so parts of the resort can be closed during their visits.

How to get there:

Public transport doesn’t go directly to «Laura» resort, as far as I know. But it is located very close to the “Alpika Service” resort, which is is final stop for all public transportation going to Krasnaya Polyana. So, there could be some shuttles going to the Laura.

When driving, make left turn 400m before Alpika, Laura only 500 meters down the road.

Public transportation to Alpika

From Adler’s Center:

  • Bus № 135 — 50 rubles ($1.7)
  • Minibus № 135 — 60 rubles ($2)

From Sochi (Central district) and from Airport:
Bus № 105 goes from central district’s bus terminal every hour, and makes a stop in the airport in Adler.

  • from Sochi bus terminal – 64 rubles ($2.2)
  • from airport – 50 rubles ($1.7)

There’s also minibus from from central district’s bus terminal – 65 rubles ($2.2)

Taxi prices:

  • from Sochi: taxi firms – 1300-1400 rubles (~$45), private – 2000 rubles ($68)
  • from Adler: taxi firms – 1200 rubles ($40), private – 1000-1200 rubles ($35-$40)

Taxi rides to get around Krasnaya Polyana are 200-350 rubles ($8-$12). There are no taxi service firms in Krasnaya Polyana, you’ll have to catch a ride with private taxi cab.

Prices (2009-2010):

Ski lifts/passes (weekdays/weekends/holidays, 9:00 – 17:00):

  • adults: 1000 / 1200 / 1500 rubles ($34/$41/$51)
  • children: under 7 yo — free; 7-12 yo — 50% off

There’s also Evening rates (17:00 — 23:00 : ~ -$10) and Day + Evening (~ + $10).

Read on to see trail map and photos Read the rest of this entry »

Ski resorts in Krasnaya Polyana: Alpika Service

Other stories January 20th, 2010

“Alpika Service” ski resort

ККД «Альпика-Сервис»


“Alpika” ski lifts were first in Krasnaya Polyana. Today they have four queues of ski lifts servicing 1698 meters drop (from 540  до 2238 meters above sea level). First lift queue was built in 1992, and fourth in 2004.

Pros: great slopes, an location for skiing.
Cons: old and slow lifts. Also, many people complain about service and food.

How to get there:

From Adler’s Center:

  • Bus № 135 — 50 rubles ($1.7)
  • Minibus № 135 — 60 rubles ($2)

From Sochi (Central district) and from Airport:
Bus № 105 goes from central district’s bus terminal every hour, and makes a stop in the airport in Adler.

  • from Sochi bus terminal – 64 rubles ($2.2)
  • from airport – 50 rubles ($1.7)

There’s also minibus from from central district’s bus terminal – 65 rubles ($2.2)

“Alpika Service” is final stop for all buses and mini buses going to Krasnaya Polyana.

Taxi prices:

  • from Sochi: taxi firms – 1300-1400 rubles (~$45), private – 2000 rubles ($68)
  • from Adler: taxi firms – 1200 rubles ($40), private – 1000-1200 rubles ($35-$40)

Taxi rides to get around Krasnaya Polyana are 200-350 rubles ($8-$12). There are no taxi service firms in Krasnaya Polyana, you’ll have to catch a ride with private taxi cab.

Prices (2009-2010):

Ski lifts/passes (weekdays/weekends/holidays):

  • adults: 1000 / 1200 / 1500 rubles ($34/$41/$51)
  • children: 500 / 600 / 750 rubles ($17/$20/$25)

Rentals: 300 – 1500 rubles; open 8am – 5pm.

Read on to see trail map and photos Read the rest of this entry »

Ski resorts in Krasnaya Polyana

Other stories January 20th, 2010

Since there’s still some time left in current skiing this season, I’ll post details on all ski resorts of Krasnaya Polyana the next few articles.

Whitelines Snowboarding Magazine: From Russia with Love

Other stories January 18th, 2010

I recently stumbled on a Whitelines Snowboarding Magazine article about a snowboarding trip to Sochi’s Krasnaya Polyana published back in 2006. The authors’ feedback in this article about Russia, Russians, and Sochi is very negative. Nonetheless, it’s a view of a person who actually went to Sochi, and it has a right to exist. So, I’d recommend reading it to anyone thinking about going to Sochi, especially for a winter trip.

In spite of author’s disappointment with Russia, he does recognize and praise unique nature’s gift of Krasnaya Polyana. The article is rather long, so I’ll quote only some paragraphs about KP here.

on Krasnaya Polyana
…we hiked and rode all day. For large parts of it, I was out of my comfort zone – particularly as it was only my second day riding of the season. But it turned into one of the most memorable days riding I’ve ever had. Krasnaya’s incredible terrain helps to explain why so many people make the trip to this tiny, out of the way Russian resort. It is a serious mountain with serious dangers, but the rewards and scope for exploration for those with enough experience to handle it are limitless.

on living in Sochi (from Englishman living there)
How is it living here?
It’s great. In the winter I ski and ski, and in the summer it’s walking and mountain biking. It’s great here. There are actually more people here in the summer than in the winter. And there’s a yacht club 40 minutes away. So in the summer it’s fantastic, sometimes you can ski in the spring, and then in the afternoon you can take a yacht. It’s a great time.

on doing business (from the same Englishman)
So difficult is that to get off the ground? Is there a lot of red tape?
As soon as you speak the language, everything here becomes very transparent and open. You understand what’s going on. Without the language it’s pretty difficult. But I think our pub will be ready by the end of 2007.

… and conclusion
One thing is for sure: the secret is out about Krasnaya. How it develops from here is impossible to say, but it’s going to be interesting.

You can read the complete article here: From Russia with Love

Our trip to Khosta

Other stories December 13th, 2009

This is a guest post about a trip to Khosta – district in Sochi and my home town – from Robert MacDonald, an American living in Russia since 2000. You can read another article about this trip on his blog: An October Summer in Sochi… 10 days away from St Petersburg rain and snow!

The other day I put on my many zippered vest as I was going on errands for my wife and needed many pockets for instructions, cell phone, roubles and kopeks change, and well as paper money and metro tokens!  It was then I found my lucky stone from the beaches of Khosta…around 5 cm across, black with green highlights, with white algae and cracks.  It is an ideal worry stone, that you can massage with your thumb when thinking.

Well, since then I have carried it with me, as I love collecting, cleaning, and examining stones, pebbles, and rocks.  Also, having a momento in my pocket takes me back to one of the very special trips of my life.  I’ve seen the New Jersey shore,Florida palms, the ideal climate of southern California, Mexico’s Acapulco, the Riviera, and Italy’s Amalfi Coast… but in my mind nothing can compare with Sochi!

So, what is so special about Sochi?  Read the rest of this entry »

Sochi quick fact: Telephone codes

Other stories October 4th, 2009

Landline telephone code of Sochi is 8622, and all numbers are six digits. Telephone code of Russia is 7, so to call a number in Sochi you dial +7-8622-##-##-##.

Mobile operator’s codes are all different, and the numbers consist of three digit code and seven digits number. Here are telephone codes of major mobile operators in Sochi:

MTS (МТС): 918, 988
Megafon (Мегафон): 920, 930, 928, 938
Beeline (Билайн): 903, 905, 906, 909, 960, 961, 962, 963, 964.
TELE2: 902, 908, 952

Calls between operators in Russia are always more expensive than inside operator’s network, and there are no such thing as free long distance calls. So, if you’re planning to get local number, consider this: absolute majority of people living in Sochi have MTS numbers. This is due to the fact that several years ago MTS acquired major local operator «Kuban GSM».

Other Sochi quick facts »

What happened to the High-Speed train to Sochi plans

Other stories September 23rd, 2009

After a recent comment to a year old post about plans of a high-speed train from Moscow to Sochi, I decided to collect bits and pieces of what I know on a subject into a post.


  • Russian Railways already sign a contract to buy 8 highspeed trains (“Sapsan” / Velaro RUS platform) from Siemens. They are to be used to connect Moscow with Sant-Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, and possibly Sochi.
  • First commercial use of this train is schedilered for December 18th this year, between St.-Pete and Moscow.
  • The trains will use existing tracks, but the infrastructure will have to be modernized, and schedulers re-worked. This work for Msk-SPb trains is completed.
  • 10 carts, carrying around 600 passengers
  • Technical possibility of 250-330 km/hr, but for now will operate ~200 km/h, and even slower close to the cities.
  • Planned 3 hrs 30 min – 3 hrs 45 min one way ride to SPb, 4 hrs to N. Novgorod, 17 hrs to Sochi
  • Ticket price is still unknown at this point, even for Msk-SPb rides. But they’ll have to compete with 1500-2000 rub regular train tickets, and ~2000+ rub airplane tickets.

What are Sochi’s chances

According to an article on, it sound like a solid plans.

  • September 22, 2009 – just yesterday – Russian Railways presented “Sapsan” in Rostov. Why in Rostov? Probably because it’s largest city on Russia’s south, and maybe train will make a stop there(?)
  • The test rides in Russia’s south will begin on September 24 – thats tomorrow – on RZDs’ testing track Belorechenskaya – Maykop. And Moscow – Sochi high speed train should start running after the tests are completed.

“Sapsan” train. Photo source ru_railway

You can find more photos of this train, exterior and interior, here:

Design best Sochi 2014 credit card and go see Vancouver Olympics!

Olympics 2014, Other stories September 14th, 2009

Russia’s Sberbank, which was earlier selected as an official partner of Olympics in Sochi, is holding public competition for the best Sochi 2014 credit card design. The main prize: a trip to Vancouver in February 2010

The official website for the competition is

Unfortunately for most of the visitors of this blog the competition is open to Russian citizens only. If you are eligible you can read rules of participation (in Russian) here. But, luckily for those who have any skills, you’ve got a pretty good chance, ’cause most of the designs submeted by now look more like kindergarten drawings.

Here are a few of the ones I personally liked. You can see them all in the official gallery.

Do you like any of those designs?

Over 4 000 exotic fish die at Sochi’s customs

Other stories, Sochi News September 2nd, 2009

Over 4,000 exotic tropical fish died at an airport in Sochi after being kept in customs for hours in the summer heat. “The 18-ton cargo, containing over 4,000 exotic fish from China, was standing at customs at Sochi Airport for more than 14 hours in quite hot weather”… customs deny it was their fault, and claim owners did not submit proper paperwork.

The fish was intended for the brand new Sоchi Discovery World – world class, 6 700 sq. meters, $25 mln oceanarium which was scheduled to open during the 8th International Investment Forum Sochi-2009 (starts on September 17). Hm, around $480,000 in investments into Sochi lost while trying to “decorate” investment forum in Sochi… quite symbolic, I think.

Well, according to the head of the oceanarium they are going to try to open as scheduled…

You can read the full story at Russia Today: Thousands of exotic fish boiled alive in Sochi airport domain mysteriously transferred to Sochi 2014 officials

Olympics 2014, Other stories, Sochi News August 24th, 2009

About a week ago domain name – which hosted popular city portal with forums, classifieds, events calendar, news, etc. – was transferred to Organizing Committee “Sochi 2014”.

Why and how this happened is a bit of a mystery. Originally, on August 19, an announcement was posted on the website that the popular portal will move to a new domain –, and included statement that “by the order of the Government of the Russian Federation administration of domain name goes over to the Organizing Committee “Sochi 2014″”… but later that sentence was removed from the announcement.

Neither Organizing Committee nor previous owner commented this to the media. Most news agencies quoted head of PR of the Ru-Center, .RU’s official domain names registration center, mentioning the “Olympic Law”, which basically makes anything with Sochi Olympics logo and other Olympics-related symbols (and that includes domain names) property of the Organizing Committee. However, not only that makes no sense, since is not much different from in this respect, but also only combinations of “Sochi” and “2014” fall under that law — this was discussed and explained at the time when this law came into effect.

But this is a done deal – WHOIS info already shows “Organizing Committee “Sochi 2014″” as’s registrant, and the copy of the original portal already spinning at the According to the original announcement, anyone who has email address and all third level domains will exist until the end of this year.

I wonder what project will spin at this address next.