Ukr11 – The Crimea & Odessa trip #4: Odessa mama!

Odessa – a huge, busy city with amazing architecture and slightly more international climax than elsewhere in Ukraine. Also the city where we stayed at a flat full of couchsurfers, which was a totally cool experience <3! : )

Our host Leo took us for a trip around the city centre, it was so cool as during the previous days we had to go around and look for everything on our own. This, however charming, is also slightly tiring and time-consuming, which has to be taken into account if one plans to do only a quick overview of the city as we did. Finally, of course, it so comfortable to be shown around by somebody who can tell a curiosity or two ; ).

What stroke me most and generally speaking gave me another perception of this country was fact that the city is full of beautiful architecture, old-styled, with a heart. It can be said about the whole central part of the city, where it is still possible to admire old, but colorful tenement houses. Compared to the other cities in Ukraine, roads and street traffic are in a much better condition, there is also much more international people around. From my first impressions, Odessa is (together with Lviv, and a little Kiev) the only city that I can troughtfully say that people dress in the “western”, modern way; what I mean  is that espesially young people follow world’s fashion more than local way of dressing up (which is a total mix, with a special emphasis on agressively bright colours, fake brand clothes like t-shirts with D&G overprint or some other weird combinations like net shirts). This way their girls look stunningly pretty and boys also quite nice, although I cannot understand their fancy for pink colour ; ).

Odessa and Lviv were important to me from the other factor as well. It was here that for the first time I fully understood that couchsurfing is not only about short visits and stays; I have always perceived being someone’s guest for more than 2-3 days as over-using one’s hospitality. However, it is not always like that. Some people simply accept and enjoy having couchsurfers for longer, being able to make friends, spend time together, talk freely, not be forced to keep talking about the same stuff all the time, like buses’ timetable etc. I mean, for them this is simply F U N. It is also from there one of my best memories from Ukraine generally connected with couchsurfing – so many people in one place, one time, so different people, but in the same time so cool, easy-going, friendly, open-minded and colorful. I remember our pancake night, going to the beach together, a walk around the city, time purely spend in the companion of each other. Sleeping on the mattress on the floor, que to the bathroom, no place to sit in the kitchen, wow, all of that suddenly seemed so insignificant. That’s the beauty of couchsurfing – making important things important, and as I keep saying, what I remember most from each trip is not views or monuments, those are fading away very quickly, but emotions and the feeling of human acceptation and support : ). It often happens that people who I met during couchsurfing are original and their lives are more interesting than people who I meet in every day contact. It makes me feel that not only I have my own way of life, which for some is crazy or too complicated to bare, and gives me the power and stubornness to live by my rules and expectations.

What else is amazing about Odessa? It made me feel like home : ). As a port town it had a lot of similiarities with Gdansk (and just few days ago I read on wikipedia that they are actually partner cities). I really loved the beaches, we went to a private one called Ibiza, Leo (our couch-host) took us there. He also said that it is one of the best-known and busiest place during the summer months – it is easy to believe, as it was so beautifully designed, the whole place looked like a paradise in the middle of the city (even though the sea was not so nice and clean there). We had a great time there, I incredibly burnt my butt and back there, which later made my 18-hour bus trip to Luhansk a living nightmare haha ; P. The cost of a big white bed we shared was 300UAH (I think), but I think the minimum price to enter Ibiza is lower. It is also possible to go to the public beach. However, after what we had heard from Leo’s flatmate about people stealing towels, clothes and flip-flops, we resigned from thas idea.

Another thing that drew my attention was a street named after Lech Kaczynski, the former president of Poland (yes, the one who died in the plane crash in 2010). I was unaware that he might be that well-known abroad… We also visited famous Potempkin Stairs, from which it is possible to see the sea, the monument called “The tree of love” , the Opera and Balley House, majestic Hotel Odessa and a main square, full of people playing chess or draughts. As for the last one, it is a quite common view to see elderly people sitting in the parks and squares, spending time on playing board games with each other.

Even though the city is definitely of a substancial size, it is possible to find a big fresh market in nearly every district. The city itself, apart from 2 or 3 main streets in the city centre, treats its visitors in a friendly way; transportation is as bad as everywhere though… All in all, Odessa is full of tiny, charming places such as parks, cafes, restaurants and pubs. On the other hand, those who fancy a party will find everything in Arcadia, a part of the city in which 90% of night clubs exist.


~ by jumikao on October 24, 2011.

2 Responses to “Ukr11 – The Crimea & Odessa trip #4: Odessa mama!”

  1. 5!+

  2. thanks for your support! : )

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