Tuesday, November 27, 2012

sunless, steps and sofa beds

The Russian influence in Odessa is far more pronounced than in Lviv. Here Russian is the most widely spoken language and I've noticed a marked increase in the number of bottle-bleached blondes (probably Domestos), Ladas with rear spoilers, and here for some reason they seem to really like Telamons (male caryatids - those figures you see in Classical architecture holding up various bits of buildings.) They're everywhere.  

I caught another night train here - four bunks per compartment. Naturally I am in the one with a snuffle-grunting snorer. He sounded like a lawnmover being driven over gravel.

kupe klass kabin

At one point I had to leave the compartment as it was driving me crazy. Walking up and down the carriage it was quite apparent my compartment had the ONLY snorer on the entire bloody train.

This is why I no longer stay in dorms in hostels.  

Arriving in Odessa at dawn I am quite impressed by the grandeur of the railway station. I know my hostel is only 20-30 minutes walk so halfway I stop at a cafe for breakfast. Just after leaving I manage to fall base over apex on the footpath - not a gainly sight when you are carrying a rucksack, day pack and half full grocery bag. It was to be a lesson well earned. Odessa footpaths are dangerous things and not to be trusted.  

odessa central station

orthodox church near the station

Besides the grazed palm and bloodied knee I felt I quite liked Odessa. My very cheap hostel is in one of the very best neighbourhoods and about 90 seconds walk from the renowned Odessa Opera House. And with tickets priced between $2.50 - $19 and a performance on that evening how could I resist.  

Despite the cyrillic confabulation, even I could ascertain it was a performance of Don Quixote. So I coughed up $6 and turned up for a bit of a sing song. Shows how cultured I really am - it turned out to be a bally ballet.

odessa opera house


nothing in my backpack to wear for opera houses

Like Lviv, it is very cold here - days maximums have been around 2 or 3, and no sun to be seen at all.  

potemkin steps made famous in eisenstein's 'battleship potemkin'

scene from film featuring the steps

grand old hotel being renovated

old covered street called 'passage'

detail in passage

odessa city park

local colour

footpath numbers - not a clue

I overestimated the qualities of Odessa and realised 6 days was a tad too much. So I decided to spend a couple of days in Chisinau (the capital of Moldova) to see what it had to offer.  

Unfortunately not a lot.  

Inexplicably, accomodation generally was quite expensive but I fortunately found a single room for €15. It turned out to be a sofa bed in someones loungeroom.

my chisinau accomodation block

The owner is one of those bottle bleached blondes with a sullen teenage daughter and a yappy dog. It's like paying for bad couch surfing.  

One full day wandering the city seemed sufficient taking in the National Gallery, the main church and the two central parks. Not surprising when number 7 on the top things to see in Chisinau is the large shopping mall called...wait for it...Malldova.  

disused stadium

local hero - steven the magnificent...or steven the fabulous...or something or other

chisinau building

sovietesque sculpture ('nipples to the wind'!)

dry fountain

On the way back to Odessa I had the opportunity to pass through my first non-country Transnistria. (It is formally an unrecognised state.)

transnistria from train

No comments: