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Odessa - A travel report by Adam
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Odessa,  Ukraine - flag Ukraine -  Odes'ka Oblast'
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adampl's travel reports

Odessa - a stopover en route for Crimea

  15 votes
Going to Ukraine we decided to make Odessa only a stopover for Crimea. This Black Sea harbour is less than two-hour flight from Warsaw. Odessa used to be the fourth city of the Tsar Russia.

The Opera House at dawn
The Opera House at dawn
Actually we visited the city twice: first, after our outbound flight and before getting on the train to Simferopol and then when going back. Odessa is one of bigger cities in the Ukraine and the largest sea port of the country. The harbour is unique with a hotel dominating over it. The city is unkempt and many old buildings turn into ruins without necessary overhauls. Nonetheless, the edifice of Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre has been renovated. It's one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and is considered to be the second best in Europe after Vienna. Actually, both were designed by the same architect.
All the sights are within a walking distance, meaning the central part of the city. Nevertheless, if you have to move around the city (e.g. because of the place you stay at) use marshrutka. It's the fastest means of transport. But at least once try the trolley bus. There are snail-slow but have their unique atmosphere. Inside you can feel like 30 years back in the Soviet Union. Enjoy!

Favourite spots:
'Praise the labour' says the inscription on the building
'Praise the labour' says the inscription on the building
Odessa is a city of splendid architecture. Spending there only several hours we focused mainly on architecture. In this respect the most beautiful is the Primorsky Boulevard. As the name suggests it's located near the sea shore. Another interesting boulevard is Deribasovskaya Street. Apart from historic architecture it's a good place to go for shopping in luxury boutiques or have a dinner in one of many posh restaurants located there. As budget travellers we didn't take advantage of either. Odessa is a good place for people who love to stroll along forgotten-by-all lanes and feel the unique atmosphere.

What's really great:
Potemkin Stairs
Potemkin Stairs
The most beautiful building of Odessa is the Passage built in late 1890's. It used to be a merchant complex and now you can also see there many shops. It's a great example of Russian imperial style, popular in the 19th century in the main cities of the country. Odessa is renown from it's Potemkin Stairs named after Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, Russian statesman and a favourite of Catherine II the Great. Jules Verne wrote about the stairs in one of his novels, although he had never seen them.

Railway Station
Railway Station
Depending on how you get to Odessa you may be forced to visit the railway station. If not, go there anyway. It's another building in the city representing the imperial style. From almost the very railway station there starts Pushkinskaya Street; take a stroll along this one and get first to Deribasovskaya and then to the Primorsky Boulevard.
The best time for walking around the city is dawn when all the buildings are beautifully lit.

Odessa Hotel
Odessa Hotel
Depending on your wallet, you can stay at one of the posh hotels in Odessa (for example four-star Odessa Hotel located at the seashore) or choose a hostel. But in my opinion the best option, as all over the Ukraine, is staying at a private flat. There are many babushkas at the railway station (like at all railway stations in the former Soviet Union) who offer places to stay. It's better to speak a bit Russian to learn what the conditions are. Do haggle as the prices may be even twice the fair rate.

Other recommendations:
Dniester Liman
Dniester Liman
If you fly to Odessa you get to the 'international' airport located several kilometres from the city centre (about 20 minutes by a taxi or half an hour on a marshrutka - a mini bus). When you go out from the terminal you'll be instantaneously nagged by taxi drivers offering you a ride to the city centre. Again, do haggle. They quote double prices at first. If they don't want to lower the fare, take a marshrutka. It's for peanuts. Taxi should cost ca. 25 grivnas, whereas a marshrutka 2,5 when you go with a big backpack. One US dollar is 5 grivnas.

Published on Thursday July 26th, 2007

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Sun, Aug 05 2007 - 06:59 AM rating by keysmama

good information, and variety of pictures too, thanks

Sat, Aug 04 2007 - 12:05 AM rating by downundergal

Good report on a place that is "off the beaten track" for most of Globos making it even more interesting. Well done.

Sat, Jul 28 2007 - 02:26 PM rating by rangutan

Well done, another excellent report, hope you will be writing some more. We have so few reports from and of eastern Europe so this is very well appreciated. [4.6]

Sat, Jul 28 2007 - 04:38 AM rating by davidx

Most interesting. It would be a good report, even if the city was reported as much as London, Paris or Prague. As it is unknown to most of us, the report is particularly valuable.

Fri, Jul 27 2007 - 10:48 AM rating by marianne

Very good info and well written. I especially like the photo of the railway station. Odessa is one ofthe places I would ike to visit (after Poland)

Fri, Jul 27 2007 - 06:22 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

very very nice report ,well narrated and nice pictures too ,keep it up .

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