We had always wanted to see the Krim, the Black Sea, and Odessa. In 2001, we made a brief trip to visit Odessa. Natascha, who travelled from Berlin, took one of those spectacular train connections that were typical of the Soviet Empire. Rather unexpectedly, to some extent they still existed at that time.
Her through carriage travelled with several different trains to various transport hubs in Eastern Europe. The journey took more than a full day, but there were benefits: Her fellow passengers, elderly women from the Ukraine, taught her some essential Russian phrases! They did come in handy when we explored the city later on!
Meanwhile, Isa had arrived at the tiny airport, taken the bus to the train station, and looked around adventurously. Indeed, there were some people holding up more or less discreet signs, advertising rooms for rent. “How much? Where?” Communication was not easy, but the old woman lead the way to the tramway: “Come”.
The flat was somewhat ramshackle but perfectly adequate and within walking distance to the city centre. The tenants had left us their whole flat for a few days. What we paid – only several dollars a day – was probably more than their entire rent was.
When we needed hot water, we had to knock on the wall to the neighbouring flat and shout “Raya, voda, pozhaluysta!” Raya would then turn on her water boiler which also served our flat!
A highlight of our visit to Odessa: the Potemkin Steps
We spent a few days exploring the city. Especially, we wanted to see the so-called Potemkin Steps leading down from the city to the harbour. The huge stairway was made famous by a film sequence in Sergei Eisenstein’s movie Battleship Potemkin.
Also, we strolled around the beautiful city, went to a concert, had a look into the old opera house, and finally did some minor excursions to a local recreation area by the sea.
NB: Our visit to Odessa was not sponsored in any way. We paid all expenses ourselves.
We still haven’t made it to the Krim. Instead, read more about travelling individually on the other side of the Black Sea in our blog post about travelling in Anatolia during Ramadan!