Together with the experts at Road.Travel and with the support of Mastercard®, I have devised an itinerary for a long weekend trip to Sochi. Expect: a drive along the coast, tea tasting in a mountain plantation, a walk through an abandoned sanatorium, meeting the beautiful in a palace built by Academician Ivan Zholtovsky and in a garden laid out by Renaissance man Sergei Khudekov, gastronomic adventures, as well as the smell of mimosa, the sound of the surf and sunsets on the beach. Take advantage of the itinerary and repeat my journey on the next weekend or any convenient time. **Special offers for Mastercard® premium cardholders - inside the itinerary.
Choose the flights that suit you - you can fly in the evening or in the morning. Whichever suits you best. For the first evening there are no special plans, you can rest from the road in the hotel. Things that came in handy for me on the trip - comfortable boots (which are not afraid of dirt forest trails) and clothes for every day, a light jacket, jacket and a little more elegant than trekking boots, and a little less sporty than sneakers, shoes (yes, jacket and formal shoes are necessary for visiting some Sochi restaurants - bar "London" and "Mamai-Kale", for example), a sweater, a few titties, a tea carrier that I always carry, a light aluminum water bottle - fit perfectly into the new 79-liter Samsonite Spinner 69/25. **Buy suitcases and travel accessories at Samsonite stores with Mastercard for 10% off. To get the discount, tell the cashier your card type before you pay. [Full promotion rules](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=samsonite)
Book a car for complete freedom of movement. Choose the option you like and the time of your flights. I got an excellent 4x4 Nissan X-Trail whose off-road capability and unpretentiousness have come in handy on several occasions! **When you pay for your Avis booking with an Avis Reward Card, you can receive up to a 35% discount on a Russian rental. **[Book a car](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=avis)**
This excellent hotel (it belongs to the premium Radisson Hotels collection) is open all year round. It stands right on the seashore, on Imereti Beach, surrounded by restaurants, rentals and shops, a fifteen-minute walk from the Olympic Park. It is ideal in summer, but also perfect for those who choose to take in the sea air in spring. For those travelling by car it is convenient in two ways: parking for guests is free, you only need to exchange your parking ticket for a "key" from the barrier (it is also a key to your room) at the registration. From Adler airport to the hotel is a 15-minute drive away. There is a SPA zone with a 20-metre covered pool and a complex of five steam rooms. For those who do not like to swim indoors, there is a heated outdoor pool. In general, bathing and laundry services for all tastes. By the way, the SPA zone is open until 23:00, and there you can recuperate after a late flight. **Book Radisson Hotels accommodation with 15% discount when paying with one of the rewards cards Mastersard. [Book a room](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=radisson-hotels)
A walk on the territory of the abandoned sanatorium named after S. Ordzhonikidze. S. Ordzhonikidze, continuation of acquaintance with the Soviet spa past in the palace built by academician Zholtovsky, lunch with rapans and purchase of proper souvenirs.
After breakfast we drive to Sochi. The first attraction is the S. Ordzhonikidze sanatorium in Khost, a real "Soviet period park", a phenomenal example of Stalin's Palladianism of the 30s. Sergo Ordzhonikidze, People's Commissar of Heavy Industry, himself chose the site for a sanatorium named after himself. In 1934 the place was determined, in 1935 the architect Ivan Kuznetsov signed an agreement with Narkomtyazhprom and by December 1937 the first guests were improving their health undermined by the pace of industrialisation. Decorate resort was the People's Artist Sergey Gerasimov. Palekh masters under his direction painted murals, his own pictures (such as "Peony", which hang in the Sochi Art Museum) and paintings of other state farms decorated the halls of the club-dining room and dormitories. Later the sanatorium (it is on the mountain) was connected to the seashore by funicular railway, which most of the way followed in a tunnel running under the highway and the territory of other resorts. At the end of the noughties the sanatorium closed. And stands here as such a time-worn beauty - proudly and silently, a monument to a bygone era. To get to the territory of the sanatorium (on foot) is possible through the central gate. You can park your car just before the Sanatorium entrance (you will need to walk to the main entrance). You can also park at the side entrance (when passing the fence of the sanatorium turn right to the bypass road and go up by it to the entry gate, where you leave your car.) By the way, if you didn't manage (or didn't want) to have breakfast at the hotel, you can take some dry food with you and organize a picnic with a view to the fountain and Greek porticoes of the sanatorium buildings. One more thing! The sanatorium and its territory were used for filming the Soviet blockbuster "Starik Hottabych".
Comfortable parking in the center of the city. Covered, with hourly (100 rubles/hour in cash or by transfer to a card by phone number) payment. To avoid looking for a place along the road, you can leave your car here and go for a walk. Keep in mind: the exit from the parking lot is only suitable for high clearance cars; if you're traveling in a racing supercar, exit where you entered). To reinforce the theme "Great Style of the Soviet resort", go to Sochi Art Museum, it looks like Stalin's sanatorium and is filled with it as well.
From the car park go straight to the museum, it is located on the Arts Square, it is a five minute walk down Ordzhonikidze Street. It is impossible not to recognize the museum: the building with a four-column portico for the offices of the Commissioner of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the USSR for the construction of the Sochi-Matsesta resort city (the temple of resort construction became a museum much later) in the mid thirties built Academician Ivan Zholtovsky, one of the most famous Stalinist architects, a classic of neo-Renaissance. Other completed projects of Academician Zholtovsky in Sochi, where he worked in the mid-thirties, are the Riviera Bridge over the Sochi River, a pumping station in New Matsesta and the sailors' hospital. The central importance of the house with columns for the whole of Greater Sochi is confirmed by the monument to Ilyich on the other side of Arts Square (by sculptor Zinovy Vilensky, famous for his dozens of monumental statues of S. Kirov, and architect Lev Rudnev, author of the Moscow State University building). The museum collection has works by Aivazovsky and Shishkin, but after you have visited the picturesque almost ruins of the Ordzhonikidze sanatorium, I would not recommend seeing them, but rather a selection of paintings, sculptures and decorative porcelain, decorating the interiors of Sochi sanatoriums (Hall 3), first of all the paintings by Pyotr Williams (the ceremonial portrait of ballet dancers), Isaak Brodsky (the author's repetition of pre-revolutionary "Italy") and Alexander Gerasimov ("Peonies") and other classics of academic socialist realism. In the same room are paintings by Dmitry Zhilinsky (the museum is named after him), Natalia Nesterova and Boris Talberg, which are closer to us (in time and outlook). Ticket price is 200 rubles, with another 50 rubles for the opportunity to photograph the exhibits.
For lunch (5 minutes walk from the museum) go to a restaurant whose name has become a household name - "Baran Rapan". The cuisine of "Baran-Rapan" is of very high quality, very local, quite authorial; a complete gentleman's set, which turned the restaurant into a real gastronomic institution. Despite all persuasions I haven't tasted mutton in "Barana" (I got it somewhere else, I'll speak about it later), but I had enough of crab meat: with porcini and purple potatoes (the joke on the subject of potatoes with mushrooms), in ragout with tomatoes in leek soup and in legendary cabbage rolls. And all three of these dishes really suited me, I love the texture of this antebellum gastropod, it complements any other - whether it's a foamy sauce, a soup puree or a savoy cabbage shell. The restaurant has two floors with different menus - the first has a simpler and livelier menu (and atmosphere), the second is more formal. I tried a great bruschetta with halibut, quail eggs, truffle sauce and cod liver (a real brain bomb, highly recommended!), ceviche from black sea trout with cucumbers and wasabi (wasabi is a winner here), the same rapana with porcini mushrooms - all this from the second floor, stuffed cabbage rolls (they are from the first floor menu) and dessert (ryazhenka parfait with salted caramel). I'd like to mention the wine list in particular, but I can't recommend it - you're driving! Open daily from 12:00 till 00:00 Phone for reservations: +7 (862) 225 50 25
Go down that same Ordzhonikidze Street, past the parking lot where your car is parked, to Moskvina Street, there right at the junction of the two streets is a gallery "Fort". The Fort is housed in the restored 1911 'Politidi house', an 18-roomed house of the Greek building merchant John Politidi, which used to be a polyclinic during the Soviet times. Politidi was one of those who actually created the resort of Sochi, turning a swampy and generally cursed place into a point of attraction for everyone. One of the first projects he was involved in was the construction of a railway tunnel that connected Sochi with the outside world. Ioann Politidi built his house on the ruins of the Navaga fortification of the Sochi fort (hence the name of the gallery), opposite the Archangel Michael Cathedral. During the restoration of the building, by the way, parts of the fortification walls were uncovered and so were left, the old brick can be seen in the exhibition halls. Opposite his house Politidi built a house for his cousin Chionidi, and that is why the stairs leading to the entrance to the territory of the gallery (and further - to the Seaport) were called "Greek" by the locals in the old days. On the ground floor of the gallery - the paintings of local artists, sometimes not terrible, sometimes even good, on the second floor - the ateliers and shops, where you can buy souvenirs: "Grey Wolf" with monochrome brooches and interior items and "Ease of Being" with excellent linen (why I did not buy that plaid?), Japanese bonsai shears, porcelain, laurel-scented Aleppo soap, hats and other absolutely essential household items.
Come back to the hotel to take advantage of the SPA "SIBO" (why did that name never occur to me?), just book in advance [on the website](https://www.radissonhotels.com/ru-ru/hotels/radisson-collection-resort-sochi-spa/fitness-wellness) or through the concierge. Phone: +7 862 243 33 44 Email: [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com) Opening Hours: daily from 07:00-23:00
Go to a fishy place, the restaurant Klyovo (it's Arkady Novikov's project). The restaurant is within walking distance from the hotel. By the way, the gates leading from the hotel to Imeretinskaya Embankment are opened with the same key that gets you to the parking lot and to your room. As you enter the embankment be extremely careful as the gate leads directly to a bicycle lane with scooters also racing along it, so look around and quickly cross the road to the pedestrian area. There's an extensive fish menu at Klyvo, from which I sampled fried mullets, the same mullets, only smoked, and also kalkan, a local substitute for turbot, and oven-cooked vegetables. The roasted mullets and roasted vegetables were flawless! Open daily from 12:00 to 00:00 Phone for booking: +7 (928) 44 54 112 **Pay your bill at Novikov Group restaurants with an exclusive 10% discount. Tell the waiter you are a World Elite MasterCard® cardholder before receiving your bill and pay with your World Elite MasterCard®. [Full promotion rules](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=novikov-group)**
After a busy day, you can rest and sleep well (leave the balcony door open for the night) - real adventures are planned for the next day.
A beautiful serpentine ride - to a tea plantation and waterfalls, a London gastronomic adventure, shopping under the spire and a promenade.
One summer, an acquaintance told me about Adam and Antonina Khusht, the Krasnodar tea growers, and gave me a taste of their Adam's Tea. I liked the tea, especially the delicate white tea, and going on a road trip around Big Sochi, I decided to make my way to Adam's plantations to see, taste, and get to know them. At the plantation (it is in Lazarevsky district, and it takes about two hours to get there from the hotel, but along a beautiful road that goes from the seashore to mountain serpentines), near a tiny tea factory, I was met by Antonina Khusht, a tea designer in the recent past, and now a tea grower, a gardener (the family also has a persimmon garden) and a young mother. Adam and Antonina leased 18 hectares of abandoned plantations from a collapsed state farm six years ago. The tea bushes behind the weeds were not even visible. However, old, 50-60s plants (Camellia Sinensis) were definitely present in the feral plantations, and they were alive. The abundance of moisture and the subtropical climate prevented the bushes from dying. Some of the plantation has already been rehabilitated, some is still waiting to be cleared. A small factory - with German and Chinese equipment - has been built. Old pickers who still have skills and can pass them on to younger pickers have been found. Now Adam and Antonina annually make two tons of tea - white, green, red (black in our words). They control the whole fermentation process themselves. You can get to the plantation by contacting Antonina in advance by phone +7 (988) 411 91 71 Antonina will meet you and give you a taste of tea, and with tea - a jam from dogwood, from a young walnut, from a mulberry, and you, in your turn, can buy an excellent tea!
From Akhintam, where the tea factory is situated, it took a quarter of an hour (firstly by asphalt, then by broken country road, so the driving qualities of Nissan X-Trail rented by Avis were in great demand) to get to Dzhegosh tract with 33 cascade waterfalls (they are the part of Sochi National Park), of which thirteen are open for visiting (the ticket price is 200 rubles, payment by cash only). There is a wooden sidewalk going from the waterfall to the waterfall, though some of it is destroyed by the trees piled up in the winter storm. The whole route takes from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on whether you are going to take pictures with each mountain stream or approach the process selectively. There are plenty of stalls at the entrance to the gap. If you want to buy Adygeya salt, honey, more tea or magnets for your fridge - everything happens right here. And if not here, then on your way back from Dzhegosh to the highway, where you will be met by a couple of amateur ethnographical museums, several cheese factories, ostrich and trout farms, and, at last, an institution with the speaking name "Caucasian Table". Be vigilant!
Go back to the center of Sochi, park your car at the already known parking on Ordzhonikidze and change your clothes - no one will disturb you in the deserted covered parking lot. Why change your clothes? There is a "non-sporty" dress code (jacket and shoes) in the place where the lunch is planned.
Firstly, it's an excellent, hallowed bar. Secondly, it's a place where you can smoke cigars (part of the hall is equipped with a brutal hood and serves as a cigar room). Thirdly, it's a bar with great food: the ambitious and very technical chef Alexey Shilin offers sets of six changes, and that's the kind of set we recommend you order. The set includes sweet Greenland shrimp tartare (under a blanket of Murmansk scallop, with smoked sour cream and pike roe), salmon in almond petals with root vegetable cream, lamb shank soup with bulgur, veal, foie gras with parsnip and fennel, dessert. Portions are small, so no heaviness or remorse will haunt you! If you want something a little less formal, go to Barceloneta restaurant, it's in the same building and belongs to the same gastronomic group (London Restaurant Group) as the bar. Ask for the round table with a view of the Seaport and order the tuna (bluefin carcasses arrive here twice a week). And come back to London later and... without a car.
Cross the road to the Seaport, another of Sochi's architectural landmarks. The house with the spire (from sea level to the star on the spire - 71 meters) was built in the mid-fifties, designed by Karo Alabyan and Leonid Karlik, who designed not only the building, but also the entire territory of the seaport. Karo Alabyan (the street in Moscow is named after him) was an outstanding personality: he was an honorary citizen of New York, Executive Secretary of the USSR Union of Architects, author of the Stalingrad Restoration Plan and Khreshchatyk Street in Kiev, participated in the General Plan of Moscow, was married to the actress Ludmila Tselikovskaya and was connected by blood brotherhood with Anastas Mikoyan. Today the Marine Passenger Terminal, which used to host the big cruise liners (it was the point of departure for the "Mikhail Svetlov" in "Brilliantovaya ruka"), has lost its meaning connected with the sea: the first floor of the main building, renovated for the Olympics, is occupied by Bosco di Ciliegi shops (Bosco Sport, Articoli perfume and cosmetics, Gucci, Etro and other boutiques) and Louis Vuitton, on the second floor - seasonal restaurant "Chaika" (also managed by Bosco and not open in winter); and on the gallery - a relatively new and beloved by Sochi residents and visitors of the city restaurant "Dolphin and Mermaid". Meet us on the waterfront, offering transport by boat, photographers and sellers of other goods and entertainment. Don't deny yourself anything!
If you are not completely addicted to Bosco shops, go out to the water, walk along Seaport gallery and immediately after it turn to the Seaside promenade in the central part of Sochi. If the shops are too busy, make your choice, put things aside at the checkout (you will come back for them later - you will have time to think, and there will be no need to carry bags), and then go to the sea, to the embankment, and walk until the sun sets in the Black Sea (for the weekend before March 8 sunset is scheduled for 18:20) and the street lamps are not turned on.
Tonight's dinner (on the way home to the hotel) is at an establishment which is a joint project between the Garden Group and Arkady Novikov. The entire staff was trained at the Novikov School. The chef is Vladimir Zemlyanoy, who has ten years' experience as a chef in Moscow and three years as a brand-chef in Russia. Open daily from 12:00 to 00:00 Phone for booking: +7 (862) 236 01 10 **Pay your bill at Novikov Group restaurants with an exclusive 10% discount. Tell the waiter that you are a World Elite MasterCard® cardholder before receiving your bill and pay with your World Elite MasterCard® card. [Full promotion rules](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=novikov-group)**
Back to the hotel. We have big plans for the next day.
Today there will be a lot of subtropical flora, the story of the author of "La Bayadera" libretto, a trip by cable car, a grandiose dinner, farewell to the sun and to Sochi.
After having breakfast at the hotel and making sure your room is extended for the evening, head to the Sochi Arboretum, where you'll find convenient free parking near the Festival Square.
In 1889 Sergey Nikolaevich Khudekov, a retired major, justice of the peace, fiction writer, ballet critic (writing under the pseudonym of "Zholo"), author of the libretto of "La Bayadera", publisher of the "Petersburg Gazette", innovator in agriculture, loving husband and caring father, chevalier of St. Anna, holder of medals of the World Exhibition, a major collector of Russian paintings and collected theatrical rarities, patron of the arts, etc. Anna and the owner of medals of the World exhibition, the largest collector of Russian paintings, collectible theatrical rarities, the patron of the arts, etc. - he buys fifty dessiatinas (a little over fifty hectares) of the southern slope of Vereshchagin Mountain in Khost, with a view of the Black Sea, and creates an amazing garden-collection of subtropical flora, nowadays - the Sochi Arboretum. Large and small plants are brought to the garden, arbours and a villa "Nadezhda" (named after Sergey Nikolayevich's wife) are built on the terraces, ponds are dug, paths are laid. Somehow the park survived revolutions, wars, soviet rule (which Khudekov, who was born in the year of Pushkin's death, managed to survive - he died on 91st year of life, in Leningrad, and was buried in Alexander Nevsky Lavra), became a part of Sochi Reserve and one of the main local attractions. We have included arboretum in our auto-route around Big Sochi for two evident reasons: firstly, it is beautiful, moreover, in any season of the year, secondly, the arboretum and a walk along it are an ideal route in themselves: you should go up to the top point in a cable car (both stations of the cable car are interesting examples of Soviet architectural modernism), and then go down, stopping on the way to koi carp, Japanese courtyard, Villa Hope (it was restored seven years ago - in my opinion, not very well), Moorish pavilion, etc., to the main entrance, and then on to the lower part of the garden. The trip up the cableway will cost you 500 rubles per person (payment in cash), entrance to the arboretum - 320 rubles (in cash or by card). (cash or card), to the Villa "Nadejda" - in 200 rubles. (cash or card).
Today's lunch is in the forest restaurant-club "Mamai-Kale" on the territory of the Sochi National Park. Once there was a fortress nearby, at the mouth of the Psakho River. It could have been Roman, Justinian's, Byzantine, Genoese or even Turkish. Researchers confuse in indications, local enthusiasts name Mokhora (which seems to be the name of Justinian times) or Mamai-Kale (which is exactly Turkish) "the oldest fortress in the world. Only ruins of the oldest fortress remained overgrown with blackberries, although French and English spies some two hundred years ago wrote in their reports about the fortress as a very important and well-preserved strategic facility. Then the railway went through the object, and what was not under the rails was dismantled by locals to sheds; the name remained in the names - the Mamayka district and the new "forest" restaurant "Mamai-Kale". The restaurant is indeed a forest one: it stands in the thicket, on the stream, surrounded by trees protecting the gastronomic tract like the walls of an ancient fortress from the outside world. The surrounding reality looks quite natural, and only after a closer look (and listening to the stories of Elena Mikshis who invented and built "Mamai-Kale") one understands that this reality is recreated: the stream bed and banks are paved with stones, the slopes of the ravine are covered with forest flowers, a lot of new trees which never grew here were brought from Italian nurseries. The restaurant menu is an example of such recreation of reality. Chef Andrey Koshkodan took something from the same Italian nurseries (a pizza, for example, on which he ate a ton of mozzarella; Andrew - recognized master, he even entered the top 100 pizzaiolo in the world), something - from Central Asia (manti with mutton and pumpkin, the recipe for which the hostess in Kazakhstan was handed Uygur lady cook), something - from the Balkans (Shopi salad, transformed by chef beyond recognition), and something - from France, where he now studies in Cordon Bleu Helena son (onion soup, for example). And, of course, the menu includes a lot of local stuff like splendid lamb, cheeses and grilled lulas (what would be without lulas and grilled meat?). In general, this "Mamai-Kale" is a new landmark of Sochi, both natural and gastronomic: the restaurant itself with excellent food, night screenings (there are some!) and even a swimming pool (some!), and a wine cellar with 3000 bottles, and the tract - all this deserves a close and, therefore, unhurried study. Opening hours: daily from 12:00 to 00:00, there is a dress code in the restaurant (no sportswear, please!). Phones for booking: +7 862 555-03-00 or +7 938 464-63-00
Prior to the Olympics, Adler's Central Market was a city-forming enterprise. Being here, there is a feeling that you are in the heart of city life. The Adler Market has retained its flavour to this day. Here you can buy dried persimmons, which are the main gastronomic souvenir of the Krasnodar Region.
Go back to the hotel, pack your things and run to the beach: there's music playing, it smells of spring, there are mattresses for rent, where you can lie down to watch the sun.
If you don't feel like lying around, have a walk along the embankment to the Olympic Park, and on your return head for another Novikov restaurant - "5642 Vysota" - for tea (they have an excellent tea list with trendy oolongs) or for a light dinner before leaving for the airport. Open daily from 12:00 to 00:00 Phone for booking: +7-988-288-56-42, +7-938-888-56-42 **Pay your bill at Novikov Group restaurants with an exclusive 10% discount. Advise the waiter that you are a World Elite MasterCard® cardholder before you receive your bill. [Full promotion rules](https://www.mastercard.ru/ru-ru/consumer/offers-promotions.html?offer=novikov-group)**
Return your car at the airport. Enjoy your flight!