After spending a week in two inland cities of the Russian south, we finally reached the Black Sea. For Russians, the Black Sea is more than just a sea. It's the only warm coast the country has and is the main holiday region for millions of people.
Sochi is the most famous city on the coastline, but we decided to go deeper and begin the second part of the trip from Tuapse. We struck a good balance between industrial Tuapse and easygoing Sochi at the end.
The crew gelled quickly with each other, and everyone was hyped on our days by the sea. We had Davis Torgerson and Robbie Brockel from the USA, Mathias Torres from Chile, Moscow resident Gosha Konyshev and Maxim Kruglov from Saint Petersburg all throwing down with everything they had on whatever we found to skate.
Tuapse is a big industrial port that has one of the biggest oil terminals in the country. The downtown of Tuapse felt busy; long trains were going back and forth, and the harbour was full of ships and tankers. I think what made us most happy were the palm trees. It is always unusual to see Soviet architecture with a tropical backdrop. Lenin monuments and palm trees will always be an interesting combo.
Sochi is pretty small. A lot of people are surprised by that when they go to Sochi for the first time; they expect something metropolitan-looking. These days Sochi is a chaotic mix of old Stalin-era Soviet architecture, late Soviet architecture with brutal-looking panel hotels and modern tower buildings made of metal and glass.
There are some new spots that appeared because of construction for the Olympics, but I like skating at the original Sochi spots. The old playground with colourful blocks and mosaic is my favourite spot in the city. It has some history behind it.
Since Sochi is a big tourist location, it has plenty of attractions to offer. We chose to go the most northerly tea plantation in the world and Joseph Stalin's house, which was a real history lesson. The view from his balcony is still epic.
Our southern Russia trip showcases a lesser-known side of Russia, which has good potential for local and international skateboarding. We visited four cities, but actually there are more destinations worth a look in this part of the world. These lands are a melting pot of Russian, Armenian, Georgian, Turkish and even Greek cultures. Sometimes it’s a little bit 'Wild South' but if you can lock into the local vibe and feel of the place, you will appreciate your stay!
Enjoy the concluding part of our skateboarding adventure above, and watch the first leg here.