Люблю тебя мая Одеса
Three days in Odessa. My fourth visit in 1.5 years. And I never get tired of it. I just love the city and (hence the headline of the posting: “I love you my Odessa”, which was the slogan of a tourist campaign posted around the city when we were there). Valeriu and Doina came with us down to the seaside to spend the weekend at the beach. They had however brought a tent and stayed on the beach when we headed into Odessa Saturday evening, and then we joined them again the day after. (Needless to say, I was a bit tempted to stay with them and spend the night at the beach, but we had already booked our hotel.) So we had two relaxing days at the beach, not taking into account all the time it took to drive back and forth to the beach, which was quite far away but a lot better than the beaches closer to Odessa.
Monday, we stayed in the city, walked around a lot and saw the main sites. We also wanted to have lunch on the top floor of hotel Odessa, which is out on the pier by the Potemkin stairs. We were quite far away when I started getting hungry and we walked and walked, determined to have lunch out there. When we finally got there, it turned out that the restaurant was closed for renovation. By then it was already 3:30 in the afternoon and we were terribly hungry so we just sat down at the first restaurant that we saw when we got to the top of the stairs again. It turned out to be a “Mexican” place. But since I had not had a burrito in two years, it was fine with me. The waitresses were however not the least interested in their customers and looked mostly annoyed about our presence. And when we finally got our meal, we were almost scared of them and hurried to get out of there.
In the evening, we met up with Anna E, an acquaintance of mine who is moving to Minsk for work and who was in Odessa for two weeks to study Russian. I got super excited about the idea to study Russian in Odessa, so if I do not have any other plans for next summer, I will seriously consider doing that.
It is interesting to see how Odessa has changed since the first time I was there in May 2007. Many of the buildings that were then being renovated have been uncovered from the plastic that used to cover them and are now shining in all their splendour. The City Park has also been reopened. At the same time, some buildings have been torn down, others are being renovated, and entire streets are dug up to be repaired. To me, some of the charm with Odessa is the fact that it is a bit rough while traces of its former glory can be seen through the dust and the faded painting. But I am sure that Odessa will be even more beautiful and grandiose in a few years, when the entire city centre had undergone renovations. And I am of course happy for the Odessians. To me it is really the jewel of the region!
The Black Sea