backpacking, backpacking europe, black sea, Church of St. Nicholas, deribasivska, Дерібасiвська, Потьомкінські східці, hotel odessa, marshrutka, odessa, Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, odessa opera, opera, potiomkin, potiomkin staircase, puzata hata, summer, swimming, travel, ukraine, Vorontsov lighthouse, zuppa toscana
Diana, Alex, Juliana, and I started our day with a morning swim in the Black Sea. The water was cold at first but once you’re in it, it’s perfect. There were a few small, clear jellyfish swimming around us but according to the locals, those are the stingless jellyfish so we will be fine (hopefully).
After we got back from the beach, Diana, Juliana, and I started preparing for lunch. We decided to make Zuppa Toscana, one of my favorite Italian soups. After lunch, we started getting ready for our next adventure.
Our journey was a day trip to central Odessa. To get there, the four of us rode the Marshrutka, similar to that of a public bus. Once we arrived, our first sighting was the twelfth chair located in the central city park. It is based upon a popular child’s tale of the saga of twelve chairs where a couple go to great lengths to find THE one of twelve chairs that contains treasure…. after spending their lifetime finding the first eleven chairs, they finally find the twelfth, however, the treasure had been found and been put to charitable use. From there we strolled along Deribasivska (Дерібасiвська) Street.
Walking further down the street we passed by the Odessa National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet. The Odessa opera house is supposedly the second most beautiful in Europe after Vienna. I wouldn’t doubt it is, because I was just in admiration looking at its remarkable architecture.
Next stop was the famous Potiomkin Staircase (Потьомкінські східці) that became one of the insignias of the city. It is also a must for the visitors of Odessa, as many people say.
The staircase consists of ten flights of stairs and 192 stairs all in all (it was definitely a workout going back up). The stairs were so precisely constructed as to create an optical illusion. A person looking down the stairs sees only the landings, and the steps are invisible, but a person looking up sees only steps, and the landings are invisible (I felt as though the steps were never ending).
The staircase was built in 1841 and has long become one of the architectural gems and symbols of Odessa.
Looking down the Potiomkin Staircase (Потьомкінські східці)
After the workout from the stairs, we got a little hungry so we went to Puzata Hata in the “Athens” shopping mall. Puzata Hata is a chain of inexpensive self-service restaurants offering mostly, but not only, traditional Ukrainian food. It is the best solution for people who do not want to spend much money on food, and still fill his stomach up having good meals.
Following our meal, we walked down to the seaport. There are a couple of little tourist shops that you will pass along the way if you need some little souvenirs (nesting dolls, T shirts, etc.). Worth the visit if you want to see a seaport. Also, the Sea Port has one beautiful monument to “Sailor’s Wife,” who is staring afar, waiting for her husband – a sailor. The Hotel “Odessa” was built at the edge of the water. At the end of the promenade there is Seaside Art Gallery, Yacht Club and the Church of St. Nicholas. A stroll along the waterfront of the Sea Port will bring you the true aesthetic pleasure.
Then, our evening ended with another bus ride back to Oleg’s house. It was a busy day, followed by a late night, but fun nevertheless.