Monday, March 27, 2006

The Undiscovered Pearl of the Blacksea

I need a break and as I like visiting new places I decided to go to Odessa in Ukraine. I am glad I did. This post is to give you the reader the merest taste of Odessa. Odessa is not a particularly stunning city in the way that Paris or Sydney are. But Odessa has its own charm. As a friend put it: "Odessa is just a large village." Some of the buildings are crumbling others are new. The buildings in the centre of the city are a wonderful meadly of everything great in Italian architecture. Another way to think of it is that the buildings are Italian Architect's ideal of Italian architecture.


Another distinct feature of the city is the huge number of sculptures and statues dotted around the city. Many are beautiful and well worth a look.


While I was there during the winter, it struck me wandering around Odessa that it would be a lovely city to visit during the summer. Particularly with the beaches a 5 minutes walk from the centre of the city (where the decent hotels are :) ). A traveller can spend the day lazing around on the beaches and then hit the many good pubs or clubs at night. After dinner at one of the resturants that serve great food. Of course there are a number of museums to satisfy intellectual guilt before heading back to the beach and niteclubs.

But and there is always a but, travel to Odessa is not for the package holiday maker. Odessa (at tis time) lacks the developed tourism infrastructure that Malaga or Ibiza have. Odessa is really for the independent traveller at this time or those looking for a holiday that is slightly different but still has niteclubs and beaches.

If you do make it to Odessa, drop in to Mick O'Neils Irish Pub. A good pub, a great atmosphere, good food and drink. O'Neils also doubles as the local for the expatriate community of Odessa (all six of them :). Speaking of which I would like to thank Steven, Debbie, Mark and Alan for their selfless inclusion of a traveller into their circle if only for a short period. Special thanks to Mark for taking the time to show me some of Odessa.

I enjoyed my trip to Odessa. I hope I can find the time to return in summer. I do recommend a visit with the proviso that is still rough and not for your average package tourist. But if you want a holiday that is different, not overly touristic then a trip to Odessa could be what you are looking for.