(this is a personal posting with no relation whatsoever to my programming courses)
I was recently invited to visit friends in the beautiful city of Odessa (Ukraine) at the black sea. This is my travel report
It was my first visit in Ukraine, and my first visit in Odessa. I did not know what to expect, but i was overall very pleasantly surprised. I had local friends showing me around, so my complete lack of Russian and Ukrainian language was no problem. Young people and people working in tourist places speak English. On the Salsa dancing places that i visited, not everyone could communicate in English with me, but everyone could dance, so i had no problems there.
The only thing i did not liked about Odessa was the fact that the taxi drivers at the airport asked horrendous expensive “tourist” prices of 50€ and more for a normal 10$ trip. I took revenge and walked by foot to the airport on my way back, it's not that far (and there exist an official bus line).
What i did liked was the mix of architecture - the inner city looks very European / Vienna like, but with more trees, flowers and more vibrant nightlife. The outskirts are a mix of soviet-style apartment blocks and modern buildings, with typical east-european very large streets.
Odessa is a very green city, local fruits from the markets taste excellent.
Public transport consist of tramway and minibus (see previous posting), a huge network of caves (catacombes) has so far made it too expensive to build an underground metro line network.
The city has top quality beaches with clean water, despite having a giant container harbour.
The night life at the pubs, dancing places and beach clubs is excellent and attracts a lot of tourist.
The Odessa people i have spoken with were all very proud of their city and it's unique mix of nationalities, history of tolerance (many churches and synagogues), languages (Russian is spoken as well as Ukrainian) and local food.
Arrival: By Plane (my Personal contribution to global warming). ÖBB does Not sell completel Train Tickets, only parts of the way. Flixbus does Not travel to Odessa, and i found No blablacar. No Visa is necessary for Austrians. There was a Bit more Military at the Airport and a Bit longer Lines at the Passport Control than you See inside the European Union, but otherwise arrival was very uncomplicated.
Look & feel:
This City Looks like the wilder, prettier, more southern, and definitly more east European little sister of Vienna. Odessa is located at the beach of the black sea (Ukraine) and features a busy Port, but the old Town Looks very “k&k”-like, some Buildings have even the same Architekt as historic Buildings in Vienna.The City is more Green, wild cats are everywhere, some Streets and utility Buildings Look (partly) very soviet-union Like: Not exactly dysfunctional, but in need of repair and fresh Paint.
Great so far . The Tap Walter is Not meant for drinking. Public places with free drinking Water exist
People and Party:
In my First night Here, I Went to Tango & Salsa Dancing. Everyone told me Odessa Girls are incredible pretty. From What i have Seen, this is an Understatement. In the Salsa place, the Girls did know how to dance, and , yes indeed, know how to party! The concept of “Lebensfreude” Seems to be very Well understood.
I speak Zero Ukrainian and roughly estimated one single word Russian, but so far i was very able to communicate with several friendly no-English-at-all- speaking natives.
Taxi Driver s are Not exactly licensed criminals, but they try to Charge you West European prices. Tram exist, and Public Mini-busses, that you can Flag down on demand. Inside, you pay some Money before you leave the Car. As the Minibus is crammwd full with Passengers, the Money and the Return Change is Handed from passenger to passenger to passenger to Driver and all the way Back. There is No free Rental Bike concept Like viennas Citybike in Odessa. But it is possible to Wave at any civilian Car in the Middlle of night and negotiate a price that Seem to be by far cheaper than the Taxi Fees.