The Great Southern Journey

Intrepid adventurers Almeda “Tiny Bites” Moree-Sanders, Taya “Quick Dry” Zinina, and Gretchen “Big Nest” Fernholz have returned to Moscow safe and sound from our two weeks in Krasnodar Region in the south of Russia, and are finally rested enough to tell you about it!

sochi map
Sochi compared to Moscow
no lines map
Krasnodar Region

We started our trip in Sochi, which may be familiar to readers as the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

A somewhat strange choice for a winter Olympics, at first glance.

We arrived on Saturday evening and spent three action-packed days navigating the hectic public transportation scheme of Sochi, the neighboring town of Adler, and the mountain resort town of Krasnaya Polyana (where the mountain part of the Olympics happened). During that time, we managed to visit Olympic sites, Stalin’s dacha, and a fun traffic-mangling unofficial Victory Day parade.

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On the night of Victory Day (Monday, May 9th) we got on a train for Anapa.

anapa map.png
Krasnodar was really out of the way, but there are no train tracks along the coast past Tuapse, where the line turns abruptly north.

We arrived in Anapa the following morning after about 12 hours of train travel plus a two-hour layover in Krasnodar. There were only about 24 hours before our scheduled departure for Moldovanskoe Village, so we jumped straight to sightseeing—and more importantly, into the frigid Black Sea.

Aside from the beach, we got to see an awesome archeological dig/museum with artefacts from the Greek peoples who lived here two thousand years ago, and stroll for a few hours along the beach and the high cliffs overlooking the sea.


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On Wednesday we left the Black Sea for an inland village called Moldavanskoe, where Diane’s colleague Galina Nikolaevna Govorova (the architect of our amazing travel program) had an acquaintance.

moldavanskoe map.png

The village was beautiful (once we found it) and being in the countryside with nothing much to do was a pleasant change of pace.

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On Friday, when we had seen everything, met everyone, and eaten a few hundred fresh strawberries, we said sorrowful goodbyes to our host grandmother and rode with her son-in-law to Taman, the setting of the eponymous Lermontov short story.

taman map

Luckily, unlike Lermontov’s hero we didn’t run into any blind smugglers or mermaid-like murderers, but we did visit the town’s Lermontov museum and swim in the (also cold) Sea of Azov.

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The following afternoon we took the bus back inland to the regional capital, Krasnodar, where we stayed for the rest of the trip.

krasnodar map

Krasnodar was beautiful, and we were able to tour the city with Galina Nikolaevna’s son Nikita, visit Kuban State University, and appreciate our hotel’s awesome sauna.

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After all that travel, it’s great to be back in Moscow, but we certainly made some fantastic memories!

Map sources:

NzeeminOpenStreetMap contributors [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


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