Tip 1. You can never have too much info. We had a couple of maps, one issued by the Tourist Info People and one from the ship, but we took a third from some woman in the port terminal. It was covered in adverts, but it was the most useful of all.
First we left the port terminal and made our way across the road and up the Potemkin Steps, considered the formal entrance to the city from the sea.
Tip 2. Always check the price, even when there isn’t one. At the top of these steps were 8-10 men with golden eagles on their arms. Quite beautiful creatures and I was captivated. The birds were incredibly tame, and could be petted. I knew there would be money involved in this, and I was looking for begging bowls or something but could see nothing. I was invited to hold out my arm and take one of the birds, which I did. Then another, and in the end I had one on each arm. I was surprised how their claws didn’t dig in, or how they seemed so docile. And I absolutely loved the birds, looking into their very wild and unmerciful eyes, seeing those vicious beaks so close. At no point had anyone mentioned money, and to be honest me n Peter didn’t have any of the local currency or any change on us. We were quite happy to give, but the question was going to be how much.
Sadly my experience was tainted by a row about how much we should give them. They wanted 10 Euros off us. We thought that was too much. It would have been so much easier for all concerned if had told us how much they expected in the first place and not force the birds on us as they did. Peter got angry and we started to leave. They accepted the 5 Euros on offer in the end.
We walked on into town and took a look at the Opera and Ballet Theatre
This lovely little fountain, one of two at Dumskaya Square
The City Garden with its bronze lions
This stunning hotel, under renovation, the Bolshaya Moskovskaya, originally built in 1904
A shopping centre from 1898
Odessa Cathedral and Cathedral Square
Tip 3. Ukrainian women cover their hair before entering the cathedral. I felt inappropriate and therefore we didn’t explore the cathedral fully, and the info sheet tells us the crypts, two floors down, are worth a visit. We were also expected to make a donation, as demanded by the staff from us on our way out. You can’t take photographs or film in the Cathedral, but it is absolutely beautiful inside. Cool white marble and ornate gold and blue decor. A style leftover from the Tsars I’m told. Really worth popping in and having a look.
The Mother-in-Law Bridge. Built by a husband to make it easier for his mother-in-law to visit, or perhaps to make sure she didn’t need to stay overnight. The bridge itself is very boring, but apparently, this is a place where newly-weds get their photographs taken. What we really liked were the padlocks. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands of them fixed to the bridge, each one marked with the names of a couple. We assume they are some sort of love bond or promise, maybe something to do with the weddings. Quite romantic
So, at the end of our day, we feel quite satisfied. Tomorrow we visit another Ukrainian city, Sevastopol. Cool!