A long day to be carefully managed.
Today is going to be one of the “longest” day of my trip. The reason is that tonight my bed will be in the night train to Kiev. This means that starting from around 12:00 I will not have a stable shelter such as hotel or guest house. At least the gracious girl at the hotel informed me that I will be able to use the common areas including the kitchen, the office and the wifi for the entire day and this is really helping. In addition I decide to get out on the streets quite late. I can leave my luggage in the hotel so I plan to get back there in late afternoon before or after dinner. Talking about eating, I really need to have breakfast and a café called “wake up” seems to be more than appropriate. I camp there for almost an hour, having several coffee until the fog decides to leave my head.
A lazy walk in town.
From here I head to the centre to see how is Saturday morning in Odessa. It is full of life. Many people in the streets, in the cafes and in the parks. In City park there is also a “Paprika fest”, a day celebrating Hungary and the smell of Goulash is spreading everywhere. If the centre is already crowded even more people can be found on the Primorsky Boulevard and on the nearby Potëmkin stairs finally open to the public. I was upset the first day when it was closed but in the end now I realise how lucky I was in having the chance of taking pictures of it without people. Today is even difficult to step down. When I see a couple bringing a pram holding it, my mind goes to the Eisenstein movie and the central scene with the pram falling down the stairs. By the way, I need to explain to non Italians and to the the youngest about this obsession about Potemkin stairs. It is not only related to the Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin movie but as well to the parody done in Italy by Paolo Villaggio, a director, actor and writer in his movie Fantozzi. I won’t tell you all the story but I give you the link to the scene of the Italian movie where Potëmkin is mentioned. I keep going on and I reach the Maritime Station (Morskoy Voksal) and I remember that on first day I was offered a one hour cruise on black sea for 100 Hryvnia. Even if the weather is not so good, it could be a good way to spend some time.
Cruise on the black sea.
I’m always scared when I take some excursion on the sea, not because of the sea but because if it is not very exciting, usually I shortly fall asleep. In Oslo I fell asleep right after the boat left the harbour and I woke up when they were doing final docking operations. This one in Odessa would deserve similar behaviour but I drank too much coffee. First of all, from the time I board until the boat starts it takes 45 minutes. After it, there are 5 minutes of the excursion presentation done my a recorded message and then… nothing. For other 55 minutes, I see only harbour infrastructure, other boats, black sea and dark parks, due to the cloudy sky. Nothing more. If I had a blanket and a pillow I would have slept with great pleasure.
After the “fantastic” experience on the boat I need to make sense of this day and I try to do it by visiting the Archaeologic Museum. As soon as I enter I hear one guide telling to her customers that they are going to open the golden room for the only time in one hour so I follow this little group without thinking. The golden room is really interesting with a lot of gold findings from several cultures. Some object dates back to more than 3.000 years ago. Looking at jewels I think that this is probably the form of art that was most stable during the ages. Same shapes used thousand years ago are basically still around necks and hanged on ears nowadays. I don’t think this happens in many other cases. Golden room objects are mostly from Scythians and Sarmatians cultures and many more objects from these culture can be found in the upper floor dedicated to Black Sea cultures. There is also a small section dedicated to ancient Egypt. Pretty small but with some interesting and very good descriptive panels. In the end it was a good idea coming here. Now I feel a bit hungry and even if it is an unusual time for me, I decide to dine, once again in a Georgian restaurant on Derybasivska street. Some drop of rains is falling but even if sitting outside I’m under a big umbrella. Back to hotel I spend a couple of hours on Internet then I leave and I go to the railway station.
Train to Kiev.
I arrive at railway station almost one hour in advance then I think is a good idea to finish what I was doing in the hotel while drinking a beer. A bit secluded if you are in front of the station’s main entrance, there is a nice ‘Food area’. Even the zebras for crossing the street are shaped accordingly in form of cutlery. I stop in one of the stand that has free wifi and I drink a quite good local lager. Well, it’s time to go. Train is not hard to find since directions are clear. I’m on the tenth car in the ‘Luxury’ compartment that basically means that there are only two beds. I took similar accommodation in previous night train rides in former USSR: from Tbilisi to Batumi, Yerevan and Baku and from Astana to Alma Aty. They’re ok. There is another guy that doesn’t say a word. Train leaves on time at 22:25. I spend still sometime working and then I try to sleep until Kiev, even if the train “shakes” often. Arrival in Kiev will be tomorrow morning at 7:10 AM so, while I try to sleep, you can see pictures of these three great days in the beautiful Odessa.