now, mother russia is a bit of a precarious one. she'll lure you in with pure curiousity alone, but booking this trip less than a month before departure day made getting into the country itself a little more complicated than just walking off our ship. mum has a particularly fun story to share with you about trying to get a russian visa without four months notice that maybe she'll share with you one day, on her blog. ;) so we thought, well, it probably isn't the best idea to throw them our passports which we may not get back in time for our flight to athens, so we'll just book a tour from the ship instead and at least we can see some of sochi. and even from within the confines of guided walks and a tour bus, mother russia, you had me hooked. i'll be back. and i'll give you a years notice for that visa. but rewind, rewind, rewind. we aren't even there yet, we left from athens and spent a day at sea enroute to istanbul. somewhere kim spears was many, many, many months earlier but only just blogged a few days before me ;) turkish culture is sensational, it's really sensory overload in a city so bustling like istanbul.

good morning, sochi!

before you ask, the donkey DOES speak russian. and i’d also like to point out the risk of being at his nose with a 21mm lens.