Odessa Journals

In the Old Chief's Country: Odessa

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A travel journal to Odessa by michaelhudson

Chisinau Photo, Chisinau, Moldova More Photos
Quote: Half a year in the Pearl of the Black Sea - Odessa (Ukraine, not Texas).

Why Come To Slaka?

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Story/Tip

Chisinau Photo, Chisinau, Moldova
Quote:
I woke up at four on the morning I went to Moldova. Snow had started falling overnight and the streets were already slippery with slush by the time we reached the bus station on the edge of Pryvoz Market.The sticker on the window read Quality and Comfort, but there was precious little of either once we got onboard. The seats were low-slung, saggy and permanently half-reclined, and the air so cold that no-one took their hats off. The driver had a black leather cap pulled down low over sunglasses. "When I was travelling in India," began an American voice from the front seats. The roads were straight, flat, pot-holed and snow-covered. It took twice as long as normal to get ...Read More

Seeing The Sights

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Story/Tip

Odessa Photo, Odessa, Ukraine
Quote:
Despite its fame, Odessa is a surprisingly young city. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1794, two years after the end of the Russo-Turkish War, it was built on the remains of a small Muslim settlement. Before that there were the Scythians, a nomadic tribe of Ancient Iranians who once ruled most of what is now Ukraine, but would have probably passed out of history entirely if it hadn't been for Herodotus. All that's left of them in Odessa is an ersatz, glass-covered burial chamber near the top of the Potemkin Steps - the only thing in the entire city that's always spotlessly clean.When Mark Twain visited in the 1860s he described Odessa as "having no sights to see". Nonetheless, he spent a...Read More

At the Match

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Odessa Photo, Odessa, Ukraine
Quote:
Chornomorets Odessa should be one of the giants of Ukrainian football. A one club city of a million people, Odessa was the place where Ukrainians first saw the game being played. In 1878, the Odessa British Athletic Club was the first football club anywhere in the Russian Empire. The first international game to feature a Ukrainian team took place here in 1914 and Dynamo Odessa were founded a quarter of a century later. Renamed Chornomorets (Black Sea Men), they qualified for the UEFA Cup in 1975, finishing third (thereby ending my run of firsts) in the USSR Top League behind only Dinamo Kiev and Spartak Moscow. Independence brought two Ukrainian Cups and a pair of runner-up finishes (aga...Read More

In The Catacombs

Story/Tip

Odessa Catacombs Photo, Odessa, Ukraine
Quote:
If you're about to descend into two-and-a-half-thousand kilometres of largely unmapped subterranean tunnels, it's best not to do so in the company of a drunk. "Follow me," he'd said, through a mouthful of half-chewed Twix and the smell of rank vodka. "How much?" we asked, but he he'd already stumbled ahead and was pointing out some marks in the rock. It didn't take long before we really started to worry. "This was where the women slept," he leered, miming putting on lipstick while he thrust his pelvis backwards and forwards in the gloom. "And this over here was carved by the Partisans. Where's your camera? Take a picture," he ordered as he staggered around in front of the words Blood for Blood! Dea...Read More

Odessa Catacombs

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Attraction | "Down Below"

Odessa Catacombs Photo, Odessa, Ukraine
Quote:
Much of what you see above ground in Odessa comes from what you don't see under it. From the 19th century onwards, the limestone used to build the city was extracted from mines below the streets, creating a network of subterranean tunnels that now stretches to more than two and a half thousand kilometres in length. It wasn't until the Bolshevik Revolution that mining under the actual city centre was banned: one reason why Odessa doesn't have an underground railway. Locals play their own game of "extreme tourism", entering the unmapped tunnels in groups with a week's supply of food and vodka. You run for ten minutes, have a swig of vodka and then attempt to find your way back out. The ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2010

About the Writer

michaelhudson

michaelhudson
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom

More Odessa Journals

Going Home! - Odessa, Ukraine