Noureen DeWulf's Olympics Blog: Cheering on the U.S. Hockey Teams – and Finding a Secret Sochi Beach
02/14/2014 AT 05:15 PM EST
What an amazing experience Sochi is turning out to be. The hockey tournament is underway, and the park is filling up with people.
Ryan, myself, his teammates and their wives went to and watched the U.S. women's hockey game versus Canada. It was pretty incredible to see women compete in ice hockey at the level – very inspiring. The crowd was electric with flags and chants. People in the stands seemed really excited that Ryan and his teammates showed up to watch the women compete.
The next night, the U.S. men played and won. Ryan's father, Dean (my travel companion on this journey), and I were seated next to Kristi Yamaguchi. She's just as petite and perfect as she was when she was competing.
When we were leaving the arena, there was the most gorgeous pink sunset behind the Olympic rings. It was a beautiful night to march the big win. I gave Ryan a Valentine's Day card I had bought before I came to Sochi. We spent the rest of the evening in front of my semi-functional hotel TV, flipping back and forth between international news and Russian music videos. Pretty hilarious and memorable way to celebrate the first win!
Earlier yesterday on the way to the Olympic park, the bus had to make a U-turn out of the gated security zone my hotel is behind, and for the first time we realized we were only a few blocks from the beach. We knew we were in close proximity, but we hadn't realized just how close we really were.
It seemed safe enough, so my friends Haley, Ashley and I ventured out for a walk along the Black Sea. It was magical to walk down the coast, and the sound of the water on the rocks was sublime.