Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been unable to travel. So in April, I decided to take an imaginary journey around the world, and I have been sporadically sharing stories about the adventure. The last place that I “visited” was Kazakhstan. Today’s journey takes me to Sochi, Russia. (the pictures were taken much closer to home, however.)
My imaginary journey has now taken me to Russia. Sochi is a resort town on the Black Sea. It was the place where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held. And speaking of Olympics, this year’s summer Olympics, which were to be held in Tokyo, Japan, were postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I had arrived in Russia by train from Kazakhstan alone. But, in Sochi, I was surprised by friends who greeted me at the train station. They were Jeanine, Yvona the author, Martha, and her granddaughter. After taking our luggage to a hostel in Sochi, we went off in search of adventure. We started off on the beach on the shores of the Black Sea, where we collected seashells. Then we traveled to the Sochi National Park, where we explored the Loo Temple, an old Byzantine temple that had been destroyed and rebuilt over and over again.
The next day, we went to the Akhshtyrskaya cave to explore. We had heard that Neanderthals had once lived there back in about 40,000 B.C. It was an interesting tour although, for sure, we did not meet up with any Neanderthals.
Later on, we were at a tea house in Sochi. We were sipping tea served out of samovars. The type of tea that we were served was called Russian caravan, a traditional Russian tea. The tea came with jam, honey, cookies, and chocolates. Everything was delicious and, as an added bonus, we were told a Russian folk tale.
Once upon a time, there was a grandfather, who liked to grow vegetables in his little garden plot. His favorite vegetable was the turnip. He got for himself a seed and he decided to plant it in his garden plot.
A few weeks later, the grandfather went to water the plants in the garden. He saw the the turnip had grown very rapidly and had become very enormous. In fact, it was the biggest turnip that he had ever seen. It was time to dig out the turnip and make a large pot of soup.
The grandfather got his shovel and began to dig. He dug and dug and he dug. He reached for the plant and pulled. But the plant would not come out of the ground. Whatever was the grandfather going to do? He went to the house and he asked his wife to help. The grandmother came out of the house. The grandparents pulled and they tugged and they could not make the turnip budge. They decided that the dog was stronger than they were, so they called the dog to help. The dog dug and barked at the turnip but he couldn’t dig out the turnip.
The dog barked so much that he attracted the attention of the granddaughter, who came running. She saw her grandparents and the dog trying to dig up the enormous turnip. She picked up the shovel and dug around the turnip. Then she, with her grandparents and the dog, tried to pull the turnip out of the ground. But the turnip would not budge. The dog kept barking and, before long, the cat came over and meowed at the noisy dog. The cat, too, tried to dig the turnip out of the ground. Despite some very sharp claws, the cat, also, failed to remove the turnip from the ground.
The next creature to show up was a mouse. It had heard the people groaning, the dog barking, and the cat meowing. The mouse didn’t try to dig the turnip out of the ground. It crawled underneath the turnip and it started chewing on the deepest roots. And, before long, the turnip came loose and was ready to be removed. Everyone celebrated and, later, enjoyed a bowlful of turnip soup.
It was a fun story to enjoy with a cup of tea and a whole bunch of sweets. We decided that the moral of the story was “teamwork is dreamwork.”
We decided to take a nighttime walk along the Black Sea. The moon was full and it shone, like magic. We enjoyed it together because teamwork is dreamwork.