Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi: Potatoes and bean soup on menu as pics of accommodation circulate on Twitter

A bee in a portion of honey and water poured from the taps in one journalist's room have been circulated on Twitter
A bee in a portion of honey and water poured from the taps in one journalist's room have been circulated on Twitter

With the Winter Olympics getting underway, the world's media has descended on Sochi, but not all have been impressed by the welcome

Pictures have circulated on Twitter of dirty water, toilets side-by-side and heaters which are too high to reach. Some of the signage has also caused some bafflement.

With £31bn spent on the Games, higher standards might have been expected.

But however bad a hotel room is - a good breakfast has the capacity to make it all seem better - after all it is the most important meal of the day. So how were things this morning?

The Independent's correspondent in Sochi sat down for his first breakfast this morning and among the delights at the buffet were some staples - eggs and bacon. However, there were some more eclectic options, including boiled potatoes and bean soup.

Another option was broccoli - although the journalists would have known about that before they got to the small breakfast room as the bedrooms had been stunk out by the smell of the green stuff being overcooked.

We hear there was also stale bread, cereal and pancakes on offer. However, spreading any condiments may have been a problem. Forks and spoons were in plentiful supply - but there were no knives this morning. Perhaps organisers were concerned what a bunch of angry hacks might do with them.

The press accommodation which has caused such a stir is split into 18 apartment blocks with the world's media all crammed in. British journalists have reportedly quickly taken to referring to them as the Gulags. With the rooms not appearing quite ready, a Norwegian journalist observed at breakfast this morning: "We think they perhaps needed two more weeks to get ready". With Russia winning the bid to host the Games back in 2007, that statement should perhaps come as a surprise.

There have been stories of mass culling of stray dogs in Sochi leading up to the Games, but our correspondent reports it hasn't been wholly successful with a mutt trotting past him en route to breakfast.

While many journalists have been quick to complain, for those who fancy a tipple, there may be something to cheer them up. Tented bars have been set up between the apartment blocks and while the beer is rather expensive, a large glass of wine can be picked up for 30 roubles, which is about 80p. The only concern might be how the room conditions feel on a hangover, especially with yellow water to quench one's thirst.

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