|The wonderful Bristol Hotel at night|
I say this not really knowing whether the Gellers lived in Odessa, or some nearby shtetl before moving to Bristol UK around the turn of the last century. As you will read in a later post, the Jewish population of Odessa once numbered hundreds of thousands, including quite a few Gellers.
This was my second visit to this busy port city, having stopped off for a day 20 years ago with my father as part of a Black Sea cruise.
|One of the few new buildings...the hotel was to be part of the Kempinsky chain but they pulled out...now it's closed and I could not find anything on the web to explain why.|
|Another of the few new developments in the city centre; in this case a mixed use redevelopment of an older building|
|One of the few new buildings that I saw in the city centre...pity!|
|Although this passage seemed quite magnificent, I was told that the hotel had closed down since the rooms were so bad|
(One benefit of a relatively poor economy is that little redevelopment has taken place in the older city core.)
|The Mother-in-law Bridge was supposedly built by a communist official who wanted a short cut to his mother-in-laws house; although there are many other myths surrounding it.|
This building that appears to be little more than a facade. In fact, it's a triangular building and I was surprised to be told that when residents realized another building was being built next door they appealed to the authorities and managed to stop it. I have to find out if this is really true!
The Opera House was built between 1884 and 1887. It is quite lavishly decorated and considered one of the finest theatres in Europe.
I went twice; once to see a retrospective of Nureyev's life and work; and once to see La Traviata. Sadly, on both occasions the theatre was only partially full, despite the fact that the best seats in a private box were only $15. (business is so bad they had to close down the refreshment area.)
I also enjoyed a concert at the Philharmonic Hall, another grand structure just across the street from the Bristol Hotel.
and a coffee in this cafe patio created with old bicycles.
Odessa is a city of art and culture with lots of fascinating public art, and many museums~Western and Oriental Art; a Literature Museum; Ukraine's best Archeological Museum; a Maritime Museum; and a Museum of Partisan Glory. However, everything feels very poor and in a couple of instances they had to turn on the lights for me.
There are a number of beaches including the Arkadia which is about a 15 minute drive out of town. Unfortunately, it was too early in the year and most of the facilities were closed, but I could imagine what it might be like in the summer.
|The Bristol Hotel|
The Bristol recently became part of the Starwood Luxury Collection and I was fortunate to meet the new manager overseeing the transition. I was surprised to learn he was from Holland and doesn't speak either Russian or Ukrainian; I assumed he must be a very good hotelier!
Protesters and military activity
|This poster really doesn't need any words!|
|This was the only place where I saw troublesome evidence of the conflict taking place elsewhere in Ukraine.|
On my second visit to the Opera House there were soldiers outside. At first I thought this had something to do with the conflict with the Russians or internal political strife; but in fact they were rehearsing for the 70th anniversary of the liberation from the Nazis on April 10th. Sadly I heard on the CBC news today that there was fighting in Odessa yesterday....the last thing the city really needs.
|At night the city comes alive with a variety of night life|