Blogs for the next 10days will be quite different from those so far. My trip to the Olympic Games couldn’t be more different to what I am used to. It started, as many do, at Heathrow Airport, but was immediately different as my Business Class ticket gained me access to the Star Alliance Lounge. There I enjoyed a cooked breakfast and a comfy chair whilst I waited for my plane.
A similar experience continued in Frankfurt after a roomy, comfortable flight, and continued on to Sochi. To begin with I felt very much like I shouldn’t be there and at any moment someone would come and chuck me out. Or, they might turn around and charge me for all of the perks!? Neither happened.
On arrival in Sochi I was met at the airport and my bags were carried through customs.
Passport control was not straight forward. It appears that my passport photo exaggerates a dimple in my cheek when I smile, so they were not convinced I was the same person. It took a further six people to come a look at me, ask me to smile, and ask where my ‘pigment’ had gone, before they let me in. I am encouraged that security is high!!
My bags were then carried to the car and I was driven to the hotel by very enthusiastic ‘volunteers’.
I was calling them volunteers as that is what I have seen at previous Olympics. However, there is apparently not a ‘volunteering culture’ in Russia, so most of them are paid, albeit not much.
Then the luxury continued, with views of mountains and the Olympic Village, a 24hr pool and WiFi!!!!
I am fortunate enough to have this opportunity because my friend is a member of the IOC and his wife is unable to come. Effectively I get to enjoy the privileges of being an ‘Accompanying Guest’ without any of the responsibility.
I have tried to plan a schedule that takes in most events, so I will hopefully get a good overview of the games, starting with the opening ceremony.
12 o’Clock Photos