By Adelaide Ponte Usdin and Wendy Ponte

February 18, 2014

So Long Sochi!

This morning we had to get up early-ish and get ready to head to the airport. This didn’t go over well with Adelaide, who had to be practically pushed out of bed. She finally got up, bleary-eyed and droopy.

We went downstairs to partake of the lavish Radisson breakfast buffet–and we do mean lavish. There is everything from sautéed tomatoes to smoothies, crepes to cheese and cappuccino!

As we stepped into the dining room, Meryl Davis passed in front of us with her plate. Wait–what?

To our left was a long table, with Charlie White, Meryl Davis, both their parents, and Tanith Belbin all seated and enjoying breakfast.  

“Try not to faint,” Wendy told Adelaide, who seemed to have woken up considerably in the last few seconds.

We figured out that they had just finished doing a segment with NBC, who are the major inhabitants of our hotel, and were taking a breakfast break before going on to do more. We sat down and ate our breakfast and watched the parade of skating celebrities go by–Sandra Bezic, Tara Lipinski, and Kristie Yamaguchi are all staying here, and probably others that we just haven’t seen yet.

Does this matter, and will it change our lives in any way? No, not in the slightest. But it was just great to see these amazing athletes, hours after they won a Gold medal in Ice Dancing–the first the USA has ever received. We loved watching people stop to congratulate them for their victory and to see the happy expressions on their faces. It just made the magnitude of the experience so very real and so joyful.

We were sorry that we would not get to see their medal ceremony tonight.

We left Sochi with mixed emotions–but more about this later. We took the 2-hour flight to Moscow, where we must spend a night before taking the longer flight back to New York City tomorrow morning.

We decided to stay in a hotel close to Red Square. In the States, almost all airports have  a range of hotels right nearby to accommodate people in our situation. But neither of Moscow’s airports have any nearby hotels, so we figured we might as well see a little something of the city in the very brief time that we have.

It is true, what they say about Red Square. It is spectacular, and especially so at night. We enjoyed the walk from our hotel to the area. The buildings are breathtakingly beautiful. The square itself is massive, although much of it is taken up with a temporary skating rink, of all things, right now. This is no tiny public rink, either! It’s about the size of a standard NFL rink!

We walked past Lenin’s boxy mausoleum and shivered to think of how weird it is that his body is in there, preserved and viewable. It wasn’t open at that hour and we debated. as to whether we would go in if we had the opportunity.

This city, we’ve decided, needs to be seen again, and we hope to do so at some future point. We had some dinner and went back to our hotel to get ready for the trip tomorrow.

We arrive at JFK airport around noon and will still have a long drive to get home to Connecticut. Before leaving NYC, though, we need to make a pitstop midtown so that Adelaide can have a fitting for her dresses for this season. It’s time to get back into our own lives, back into Adelaide’s ice dance training, and see our dogs!