Black Sea/Mediterranean 2007:
Day 5 - Odessa, Ukraine [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Black Sea/Mediterranean 2007: [Day 1 - Athens] [Day 2 - At Sea] [Day 3 - Istanbul] [Day 4 - Varna] [Day 5 - Odessa] [Day 6 - Sevastopol] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Kuşadası] [Day 9 - Rhodes] [Day 10 - Limassol] [Day 11 - Cairo] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Athens]

Sunday, May 6: We awoke within sight of the famous Potemkin Stairs in Odessa, Ukraine. To prepare for our visit, we watched Sergei Eisenstein's classic silent film, "Battleship Potemkin," possibly best known for the baby carriage rolling down the staircase. We couldn't wait to get on the stairs ourselves.
What's this? We were greeted by a band who played a full set of songs for us. It was a wonderful welcome to the Ukraine. This is reason #47 why a cabin on the starboard (right) side of the ship is the way to go. It's almost always more interesting to be facing the port. The gentleman on the balcony next to us nearly tap-danced himself into a frenzy along with the music.
During breakfast, Maersk Antwerp followed us into the bay.
We watched as a pair of tugboats turned her around to position her for docking. We don't know why this stuff fascinates us, but it does.
After the bus tours left, we headed toward town to do our own walking tour. With so much to see within walking distance of the dock, we had decided that this was the one port where we wouldn't take a shore excursion through the cruise line. Our first sight to see was this terrifying sculpture of a huge, freakishly muscular baby.
At the end of the dock and down one level was the big attraction: the Potemkin Stairs. There are 192 steps in all, separated by platforms.
The platforms provide a nice rest between sets of stairs, but they seem to disappear when viewing the steps from the base.
If you can't or don't want to take the steps, there's an alternate way to go up or down. We did not avail ourselves of this option.
There's an extensive park on both sides of the stairs.
Near the top of the stairs is this ancient structure. In re-watching the film, we spotted this in its glory days, before its arches were bricked over.
This is the statue of Duc de Richelieu who stands at the top of the steps.
We turned left at Duc's statue and wandered down this tree-covered lane.
We stopped to admire this Ukrainian version of Tom's bank (see Istanbul if you missed that story.)
At the end of the boulevard was the Odessa City Hall and a statue of someone famous -- we don't know who this is. We're not a museum, people -- we just take pictures and post them.
This amazing sign showed the distance to dozens of places in both English and Ukrainian.
Spring flowers are the best!
This is the Odessa Theater of Opera and Ballet. Opera and ballet don't thrill us, but this building is gorgeous.
Here's a poster for "Shrek the Third" in Cyrillic letters. Cool!
At this point, we had discovered that we hadn't brought cash, credit cards, or bank cards, so we made our way back to the ship. This statue is one block away from Duc and the Stairs.
Speaking of the stairs, here's the view from the top. From this angle, all you see are the platforms and not the steps. Seriously, these would be the most pleasant steps you'll ever climb or descend if it weren't for the peddlers pushing postcards and such.
It's Sunday.
After stocking ourselves with all possible forms of payment, we paid a visit ("paid" -- get it? hahahahaha) to this pretty little statue. We had seen it online so we knew to look for it at the passenger terminal. It's tucked away toward the back and is worth a few steps out of your way to see it.
Back up the steps and into town, we found a money exchange kiosk, so we were just as happy as can be. We bought some Coca Cola Light and Ukrainian Tic Tacs at a grocery store, and Ukrainian toothpaste at a pharmacy (but not Vicks VapoRub -- sorry, Brent!), so we felt ready to tackle this modern glass mall.
It featured four floors and an elevator, and on the very top floor, we found a pretty egg souvenir to buy. Most of the stores sold clothes or baby goods, so we didn't stay long. We had been told that most stores were closed on Sunday, but that turned out to be a big, fat lie and we considered ourselves quite fortunate.
Back out on the street, people were out enjoying the overcast but warm day. This street appeared to be closed to automobile traffic, because people were walking in the middle of the street.
We passed a Ukrainian McDonald's, but we resisted. If you read this entire travelogue, keep track of the number of temptations we encountered and you'll be impressed with our resolve.
This is the main street we spent much of our time on.
Before returning to the ship, Debbie scored a pressed coin from a machine along the passenger terminal promenade. She was fortunate enough to have saved enough spare Ukrainian coins to fill the machine. A fan of pressed pennies, this will take a place of honor in her collection. We were back on the ship just before the rain came, but the sprinkles were gone by the time we pulled away from the dock.
As usual, people gathered to watch us pull away.
Here's the view toward the end of the passenger terminal, with Hotel Odessa reaching toward the sky.
We waved goodbye to our faithful friend, Maersk Antwerp, for the final time.
At dinner, we were treated to the Signature Master Chef's Dinner, a multiple course meal with entertainment before the appetizer, soup/salad, and dessert courses. We all got flattering white chef's hats to wear ...
... and special menus for the evening.
The first act started with a little ballet as the staff placed our napkins on our laps.
We were all presented with the same delicious amuse surprise (also known as an amuse-bouche), which is a very tiny appetizer.
Dancing and salad tossing marked the second act.
Our salads were tiny masterpieces featuring freshly grown mushroom sprouts.
We all had our choice of appetizers and entrees, then the entertainment started back up just prior to the third act, as the dining staff sang and marched their way through the dining room.
The desserts were spectacular -- white chocolate chef's hats containing a chocolate mousse and chocolate cake on top of raspberries. It was all very fun and delicious, and another reason why Holland America is our favorite cruise line where food is concerned. We enjoyed another Master Chef's Dinner the next year on a Holland America cruise of Asia.

Our excellent cabin steward, Zul, had this towel scorpion waiting for us when we returned from dinner.

Day 6 >

Black Sea/Mediterranean 2007: [Day 1 - Athens] [Day 2 - At Sea] [Day 3 - Istanbul] [Day 4 - Varna] [Day 5 - Odessa] [Day 6 - Sevastopol] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Kuşadası] [Day 9 - Rhodes] [Day 10 - Limassol] [Day 11 - Cairo] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Athens] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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