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Panorama of Potemkin Steps (click to enlarge)

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The Potemkin Steps just got served.

And then there were 5…

…reunited with 10 more at none other than the famous Potemkin Steps.

 

At a first impression, Odessa combines a snapshot of former Soviet glory with the modernizing influences of the Western world: It’s a city of endless blockbusters of dreary Soviet-style apartments interspersing with countless gaudy boutique shops of brand name retailers.

On the day we arrived, we were hit with a fog that made the atmosphere particularly gloomy — especially it being on the day after Christmas. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop us from having a joyful reunion when we met up with the rest of the group.

 

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Backtracking a little before the reunion; upon leaving the Odessa airport the 5 of us (Jan, Ryan, Cynthia, Kai and myself) caught Bus 117 (2.5 UAH fare, these are the yellow buses parked at a stand, on your right after you exit the airport) which took us on a 45 min bumpy ride towards the city center. We got off a little early to park our bags at the central train station’s Left Luggage facility (20 UAH, open 24/7).

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Bus 117

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The Odessa Train Station

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Afterwards we headed up about a mile northwards(15-20min walk) to meet the rest of the group at Potemkin. Along the way we appreciated how easy it was to walk around central Odessa, as it’s a pretty small city.

 

City Hall

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Pushkin Statue on the top of the Potemkin Steps

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The Old Stock Exchange

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The Odessa Opera House

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vul Derybasivska

 

And now we’re all here, cozyin’ up to a nice dinner at an underground beer garden & restaurant the bigger group found earlier this morning. As for our missing single casualty, Carolyn Hou, she ran into some trouble when her flight unfortunately got diverted to Kiev due to some made-up “weather problems” by the airline. So we’ll be meeting her tomorrow at our hostel before the ICBM tours…can’t win ’em all.

Besides that, getting together 15 people from all around the world at Odessa? Doable (c’mon Carolyn, step your game up).

 

– At time of posting in Odessa, it was 39.2 °F
Humidity: 30% | Wind Speed: 2km/hr | Cloud Cover: foggy