SOCHI, Russia -- The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and 11Alive's Matt Pearl has a few observations from his time in Sochi.

1) Sochi remains stunning. From sunrise to sunset, clear skies to clean air, the area has met expectations as a picturesque landscape on which to plant an Olympic park.

2) When the sun goes down, the venues shine brightest. Remove the light and scenery and you're left with five stunning buildings that shimmer in the Sochi night. All those billions spent start to make a little more sense.

3) Security is present, but not too present. Fans say organizers have done a great job maintaining an atmosphere of safety. Police and security are always around, but typically stay in the background.

4) Fans who are there are loving the Olympics. At times crowds seems small and the park seems subdued, but each day it gets busier.

5) The fans of the host country have done their part.A common quote from American fans: "The Russian fans are lovely." They cheer and dress the loudest. Several Russian fans have described the Olympics have a point of national pride. They have provided a hospitality that may stay in mind long after the Olympic flame has been extinguished.

GALLERY |Sochi, Russia through the eyes our the 11Alive team

SHOW OFF YOUR TEAM USA SPIRIT |Upload a photo of you watching the Olympics and supporting team USA here

11ALIVE IN SOCHI |See stories, video and fun from the 11Alive Team in Russia

NBC FULL COVERAGE |Full coverage of the events, schedules and standings

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