Tour Update: Ukraine Heritage Tour 2019, Last Day in Odessa

Last night in Odessa and what a busy day we had. This morning we had a city tour and then lunch by the shore of the Black Sea.
The buildings in Odessa are so varied, from Greek style, pre-soviet splendour, soviet/Russian, and ultra modern. The city looks to be much more prosperous than Zaporozhye and just as cosmopolitan as Kiev. I noticed far more English signs than either of the other two cities as well. There are lovely wide, tree lined walkways and park areas.

We visited the famous Potemkin Steps, a wide staircase that leads down to the sea, or up from the sea depending on your perspective. Originally it was a series of 20 steps and 10 landings but the bottoms 8 steps are buried under the new road. From the bottom you can only see the steps and from the top, only the landings. Apparently looking up is like your life, all the struggles along the way and from the top you only see your milestones as you look back on your life.

Then it was on to the ‘Mother-in-Law Bridge’ it sways when you jump or run or even if you walk in unison, a little like the Capalano Suspension Bridge only this one is made of steel and concrete. Apparently the physics students come to the bridge every year to prove the theory they learned. It is also a place where newlyweds come to put padlocks on the rails and throw the key away. The city removes them when they get too heavy and there is a large metal heart at one end of the bridge with a lot of padlocks that were removed. There is also a small park with a fountain, gazebo, lion statue, footbridge, and a marble well. I didn’t get the story of it other than the bridge is where a lot of brides come and have pictures taken. I’ll have to see if I can find more info on it. There are a number of buildings being restored which is great to see. Time for lunch…

We took a stairway and path down to the seashore and then had to climb a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant, these people don’t seem to like elevators. Even for the wait staff, good thing they are all young and healthy because they have to climb the stairs carrying plates of food and trays of drinks. If you go for lunch don’t plan to leave for at least an hour and a half or even two hours. Again, way too much food. Greek style, sort of, salad followed by noodle soup, followed by small tortellini style Ukrainian dumplings with red pepper sauce, followed by sorbet for dessert. I will be lucky if any of my clothes fit at the end of this trip! I checked out the beach from our deck and the Ukrainian idea of a ‘beach’ is concrete slabs. There is no sand that I could see, just concrete and canopies to give some respite from the sun.

Back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the ballet. The Opera House is beautiful and ornate just like you would find in an old city. We had fantastic seats just off centre and right at the front of the boxes. The ballet was Mystery in the Vienna Woods with a mix of old and new music. There were two main entrances when it was first built, and English and a French, I didn’t get the explanation, another thing to look up.

On the walk back to the hotel we went through a pedestrian area that is very popular in the evening. The street is lined with cafes on either side and lit by beautiful old trees trimmed and outlined with rope lights. There were young families, lots of singles, and older people even some bikers standing around chatting with their friends.

Time to say goodnight and good bye to the city, off to Moscow tomorrow.

–Sandi, a tour participant

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