Morning at the market.
After the beautiful and intense day spent yesterday in Odessa, today I feel a bit tired. I’m realising that probably I can’t keep same pace of the first 30-35 days for the entire trip. During the day I have to find some time to just relax without being obsessed by seeing things. If I don’t do it, it happens like this morning that I move with the speed of a sloth. I’m thinking about those things while I’m sitting in a cafe eating a chocolate cake and drinking a ginger tea. Now big questions is, after relax, what I’m going to do today? Weather is not bad but not even so spectacular as it was yesterday. I have my laptop with me and there is wifi available so I start to surf in search of websites talking about Odessa. After reviewing pros and cons of several options, in the end I decide to go to the Privoz Bazaar. It is one of the biggest in former USSR. Total extension of all its alleys is around 11 kilometres. Before the market, I just check at the railway station if everything is clear to me about tomorrow’s night train to Kiev. I think I shouldn’t have any problem but I will have to rely only on me because at the information office no one speaks english. It is really time to refresh my poor Russian. And now the market, where I don’t go only to see a picturesque place but also because I need to buy something: one additional t-shirt and a pair of socks. I like the market and it is really huge. In the outer part there are clothes and flowers stalls, central part instead is for food and I think is the nicer one. An incredibly wide area is for different kinds of dry fish. One stall seems also to have a dry snake but I guess is fake. Vendors are mostly fine with pictures and no one complains. Market is busy but not too much so it is quite pleasant to walk around. In the dry fruit area there are people selling Churchkhela, the Georgian sweet I go crazy for. Here they have it in different colours, probably an hybrid of the local tradition of preparing bars with dried juice and the Georgian one. I can’t resist and I take one: the original one made of grapes and walnuts. A lady, few stalls away, is working with needle and thread preparing the walnut chain to be dipped in the fruit juice. Once I’m satisfied with the touristic part of my visit I switch to my personal needs. Not so easy as I thought. To find what I need would be probably an easy job elsewhere. Here instead is a bit more difficult. I want the simplest t-shirt possible without any (fake) brand on it nor any other kind of text and it seems hard to find. It also need to have good cotton quality. After half an hour I take one that more or less fulfil my requirements. Socks are even more complicate. Long sport cotton socks are not sold here and only after checking 6 or 7 stalls I found something I consider passable. And this marks the end of my visit to market.
Afternoon at the Park.
Laziness is still there. So after the market I take a nice and long break. Meanwhile the cloudy morning left place to a blue-sky afternoon. It would be crazy not to get out. I then decide to head to the big park named after Tarasa Shevchenko, separating town centre by the coast. There are a lot of people. In a secluded area called Zeleznyi Teatr (Green Theatre) a rock band is rehearsing for an evening concert. They are quite good in my opinion. On the common area of the park, on one of the alleyway I see a hedgehog for the first time in my life. He’s placidly crossing the street. At the end of this tree-lined avenue after the hedgehog is gone, I can see an obelisk and behind I can see the sea. In the beginning it looks a great scenery. Looking closer is maybe not that great because down there there is the commercial harbour with cranes and other infrastructure. Moving further there is a small medieval festival with dance and fake duels. I don’t miss my chance to drink a glass of Kvas. Walking back home but while I’m still in the park I pass by the football stadium. Tonight there is a match and a lot of people are flowing with Chernomorets, the local football team, scarfs and t-shirts. I notice that on scarfs the name of the town is spelled Odessa with two “s”, as in Russian and not Odesa as in Ukrainian. Like it or not, I think this here Russian is the main language. In the evening I’m not ready yet for Ukrainian dish such as Borsch or Kievsky cutlet so I opt for pizza. The restaurant where I go, “Olio Pizza” has some weird pizza in the menu, but the “Devil” one seems to have a reasonable mix of ingredients. It is actually tasty and well cooked. I’m aware that since I’m more than 1.500 kilometres far from Italy, I can’t ask any better. Also music isn’t bad at all. It is Italian but not the usual Toto Cutugno, Pupo, Celentano and Ricchi e Poveri that you can hear in Eastern Countries. They play music of artists like Neffa, Paolo Conte, Arisa, Cammariere and most of all Simona Molinari. Somewhere there are fireworks and I don’t know why. While my second day in Odessa is going to end take a look at my Odessa’s photo gallery here below and, if you like, the one on Facebook about both Odessa and Kiev.