A little light goes a long way.
When I first rode the bus into the Olympic village outside of Sochi, Russia, I found myself thoroughly unimpressed. The buildings seemed spread out; the area seemed empty; and the energy seemed missing.
But one important element was also missing: sunlight.
I awakened this morning to a gorgeous sunrise: a pink-orange glow emanating above the horizon, reflecting upon the miniature ponds in front of the Black Sea. When I stood on my hotel balcony and looked right, I saw sunrise and the sea.
When I looked left, I saw the mountains.
And suddenly, I very much understood the majesty of the Sochi coast.
To be sure, the buildings in town are definitely spread out. Unlike most previous recent Olympic sites, the event venues are far removed from the city in which they are being held.
And to be sure, the area still seems very empty, even in the daylight. That will change when the fans file in for this weekend’s Opening Ceremonies.
But even without all that, this Olympic location is as picturesque as one might hope.
Check out this selection of photos from my first full day in Sochi:
Sunrise makes everything — and everyone — shine just a little brighter.
We arrived upon clear skies, which makes the water of the Black Sea (and its respective inland ponds) shimmer beautifully.
This is the plaza and the surrounding Olympic event venues. It’s quiet now, but just wait till the Games begin.
Just above the venues is the set of the Today Show. Matt Lauer is already in town.
The International Broadcast Center, where we TV journalists do most of our work, is a beautiful building.
One day in the books, and still smiling!
FOR MORE ON MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Arriving in Sochi, searching for sleep
FOR MORE ON THE ATHLETES: Some final thoughts before Sochi
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Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at email@example.com.