A City by the Sea: Odessa

This park lights up at night.

My trip to Odessa was a rambling adventure. We took a night bus which was nearly impossible to sleep on due to the heat and crowds. Arriving in Odessa around 4am, we took a cab to the shoreline and spread out our towels on the beach and tried to grab an hour or so of sleep.

In the daylight hours, we found a place to eat some breakfast. At the next table was a Frenchman who worked at the world famous Ritz Carlton in Paris. Since the hotel was closed for renovations (I can thank Vogue for knowing this) he was in Odessa to learn Russian for a few months to increase his tips among Russian customers. After breakfast, we walked around looking at some of the statues, the one pictured at left shows that the gold parts of the engraving are rubbed clean. The superstition is that if you touch it, you will have money in your life. The image that comes to mind for me is the similarity to the Alice in Wonderland statue in New York City’s Central Park, with her finger rubbed clean.

Odessa is a gorgeous city on the Black Sea. With that, comes the “let your hair down and kick your feet up” attitude of a seaside town. Odessa locals are known for being happy and having an unusual sense of humor. In the photo below, two teenagers were practicing swing dancing as we walked by. Sometimes, being surrounded by joyous people can be contagious. The city has about one million residents, but there is no subway! The public transit options are these tiny, crowded buses. To get down to the beach, we took this contraption that looks kind of like a ski lift, it provided a great view of the city and the shoreline. The city itself is absolutely beautiful. It has a festive nature with an array of restaurants tucked into courtyards. Mostly, I feel that Odessa has something for both beach goers and city folks. Most of the restaurants had ample outdoors seating. Being able to walk through the streets and preview live versions of the food choices made picking only one place to eat difficult. Though part of me wonders if Odessa was so great to me because the busier streets looked more American,  I hope it’s not the familiarity that is so appealing.

4 thoughts on “A City by the Sea: Odessa”

  1. Night buses are rough, I had a 7 hour one to and from Puno when I visited Lake Titicaca. Sometimes they make you appreciate the rest of your travels all the more. Those ski lift things look really cool. I am sure that its not the familiarity that is appealing, its probably the beach and the beauty.

    1. One nice thing about the buses in Ukraine is that they serve alcohol. Or you can BYOB. It makes the uncomfortable a little less that way. Taking a night bus in South America must’ve been something I can’t even imagine!

      1. Wow BYOB on a bus? that would be awesome. I figure a night bus is pretty much the same everywhere, but alcohol would definitely improve the experience. I wish i would have thought of that before. I don’t think they would check. If I ever take a night bus again I will definitely bring some. I love that rainbow by the way, great picture!!

      2. Thanks! It makes the night go by a little bit faster. I actually ended up sleeping on the floor of the bus on the way home, along with maybe five other people because there weren’t actually enough seats and the bus driver will kick people out of their seats so he can sleep while the alternate takes over. It was quite an expereince and I am glad I’m not clausterphobic.

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