Postcards: Odessa, Ukraine

Submitted by jono on 22 May 2019.

Some extra days in Odessa whilst we find a resolution to the next border issue. The Ukraine-Romania border meets the Black Sea at the Danube delta and on the Ukrainian side there are (in theory) no "ports of entry/exit" anywhere near, so we are applying to Customs for a workaround.

Contacts Max ( and Alexandr are making the delay a real pleasure, and it is fascinating to be in this city: visiting the centre either by bike or public transport whilst residing in a more typical residential area.

Also thank you to my hosts for arranging for this nice (and mostly accurate) article in local press.

Guide to pictures

[1] Customs building at Chornomursk port (a few miles south of Odessa). Thank you to Max and Aleksandr for waiting here to pic me up, and lots of ongoing help.

[2] A bike rally to celebrate Europe day :)) It was really interesting to observe how some very minor disobedience of traffic rules by just a few thousand people so effectively took over the road network. It really highlighted the latent potential of mass movements such as the Extinction Rebellion. Together we are not so powerless...

[3-5] Some pictures of Odessa city. I owe an enormous thank you to Victoria (Max's mother) for a really fascinating few hours. From my base knowledge of being ignorant about most stuff historical I at least now have a foundation for understanding more.

[6-7] Meeting Sergiy Naidych, who in 1989 became the first (and it still the only) windsurfer to have circumnavigated the Black Sea. Sergiy is also Guinness World Record holder for longest windsurf, having sailed for 71.5 hours continuously. I doff my hat twice, sir! Details here.

[8] The trams, trains, trolley buses and buses that move people around the city. With training from Aleks my confidence is slowly building, but it is still quite stressful compared to windsurfing from A to B...

[9-10] The catacombs under the city. Underneath Odessa is one of the worlds largest underground tunnel networks, formed when the limestone that built the city was cut, and put to various uses during the cold war. Undoubtedly very interesting and underlining of the good fortune that most of us enjoy in our lives.

[11] Not allowed to finish with a picture underground, and the weather is beautiful!

  • with Max and Aleksandr outside Customs at Chormomursk
  • biking on Europe day
  • Odessa is very pleasant and fascinating! This pic of Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral rebuilt in 1999 after being demolished by the Soviet state
  • and the city has so much green! Here the spring blossom of Acacia trees
  • in the whiskey tasting room with wonderful guide Victoria
  • with record breaking windsurfer Sergiy Naidych
  • Sergiy's route round the Black Sea
  • trams, trolley buses, normal buses... With coaching from Aleksandr I feel moderately confident on bus number 140 now (progress!)!)
  • catacombs under the city. 2,500km of tunnels
  • enormous thanks to Aleks for finding the bar and getting us out alive
  • Black Sea in sunshine looking very nice for some sailing