City Wandering

The past few days, I’ve spent a few hours doing work (at a cafe or a library) before spending the rest of the afternoon wandering around Odessa and getting a bit lost. I have a handy dandy street map, but it does not show where the bus station is or the flow of minibus traffic… so mostly it was helpful to direct me back to the seashore. I walked this huge loop in Park Shevchenko, which sits on a hill and looks down at the sea – I started at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier (remembering those who protected Odessa in WWII), through the woods and back around to the Monument.
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Near the park, there was a little fair set up. Obviously, I had to go for a ride in the Ferris Wheel to get a nice view of the city. I was one of four people on the entire thing – it was a bit weird, because they started the wheel spinning, and when we were at the top they stopped it for a few minutes. It was very windy up there, but also very beautiful.
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I love that the cafes here are set up partially outside, with many tables taking up the entire sidewalk. It makes for a lovely break, to sit outside and eat and drink cold tea. There’s also a cafe in the City Garden that I had some coffee and sat for two hours, people-watching and reading. The view is fantastic – the garden is lovely, with its fountain, statues, flowers, and little kids playing on the square. There’s also often music playing.. the first night I was in Odessa, there was an orchestra; I’ve seen a guitar player; and also an accordion player.
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I also love the “business lunch” deal – salad, soup, main course, and a drink all come together for a very nice cost. This cost me 35 griven, or less than five dollars.
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After eating and working, I usually just go in the direction that involves the fewest street crossings and walk until I feel really lost. There are lovely buildings everywhere, and the streets are all well-marked so it’s fairly easy to figure out where I am.
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At the end of the day, I have an hour-long busride back home – a perfect time for napping before playing with kitties and reading.
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I’m leaving for Crimea tonight – I will go to Simferopol, Kerch, Yalta, and Sevastopol in the next two weeks before heading off to Georgia. Here’s to hoping for smooth train rides and cheap food!

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