March 1st, 2008 Odessa

We are in Odessa. I really am enjoying Odessa. It is a very lively town - the people seem more relaxed - it has definitely got that resort town feel. Odessa is very conscience of appearance. The buildings are marvelous and it has lots of parks.

Our driver is Vladimir. He has quite a sense of humour. He is kind of a tour guide as well - he knows everything about Odessa. He only speaks Russian which is probably fortunate because traffic here is crazy and he is very animated in his opinion of some other motorists driving habits. Some things just do not need to be translated to be understood.
We visited the Potemkin Stairs. Dad walked up them - Lera and I took the funicular. Its kind of a tram that runs up and down the stairs. She thought it was pretty cool.

We then stopped at the Mother-in-law Bridge. The story behind its name is that a soviet official staying at the Voronstov Palace on one side of the bridge built the bridge so that his mother in law had easier access to the palace or more specifically had no excuse not to return home, depending on what story you chose to believe. It has an interesting tradition attached to it. Newlyweds have their photo taken on this bridge and leave a padlock with their names attached to the bridge.

We have also visited the Opera house which is quite spectacular. I love looking at these buildings - each one is so ornate and different. I have taken a number of photos of miscellaneous cool looking buildings. The Opera House is something that they are very proud of, so I wanted to put that one on here. I am fascinated by the trees in front of it, I am told that they are covered with flowers in the spring but I just love the way the trunks grow. I wish I knew what kind they were.

Lera loves her food - particularly bananas! Keep your fingers clear if you are trying to feed her a banana. She stuffs it in her mouth so fast that I have to worry about her choking. When we go to eat she is pretty good. Surprisingly patient. When the food comes, however, the race is on. I have to keep a close watch on her so that she doesn't choke. She ate a whole lemon slice (peel and all) before I could stop her. Oh-and don't even think about putting your fingers in her mouth to pull something out - it just makes her swallow faster. When she starts to get full, she sits in her chair with a very happy, satisfied look on her face. For all the world, she looks like a queen surveying her kingdom. We get alot of great smiles if we take pictures after she eats.

The food is out of this world. I love a place called Top Sandwich and a place that I can't remember the name of but their website is The staff was wonderful and they even had a children's menu (which is the first that I have seen) Dinner there was 200 grivnas - about $40) but it included chicken breast medallions and mashed potatoes for Lera in the shape of a clown face, pork ribs with veggies and baked potato, filet mignon with veggies and potato as well as juice and bread. Yes, I have hit the part of the trip where I am now dreaming of my favorite foods back home. We went here because it seemed to be less exotic. However, I have never eaten at a restaurant where a very well-fed cat sauntered past us and disappeared under the table.

There is an amazing toy store here, just a couple of blocks from the Hotel. It's 4 levels and has animated charactors throughout the store. A costumed Shrek was also there for the kids to meet. Lera was a little hesitant about this but when she saw other kids go up, she was game. I only have one picture of the toystore. I wish I had more. After I took the first photo, a guard came upto me and said NYET! NO Photos! Here is the one I got:


Anonymous said...

Looks like lots of fun!!! can't wait for our turn. how far is it from keiv to Odeesa,and Odeesa to Izmail.long journey . have lots of fun. be safe, THE CAMPBELL'S GARY & JODY

Amy W said...

I am so glad to hear you all are having a good time and getting to enjoy things now that you have Lera. She has a beautiful smile, what a cutie!

Wendy said...

We loved Odessa too it was such a wonderful place. I wanted to stay in Hotel Odessa on the water but we never got the chance not to mention I am pretty sure we didn't have the funds for that!

It is great to see Lera so happy and smiling. I bet she is enjoying all the things she has never had the opportunity to explore or see. And just think mama you are getting to see all her new firsts!!!! Take lots of pictures of EVERYTHING!! I wishe I would have taken more of Macey while we were there especially when she was seeing things for the first time.. even if it was a grocery store!!

I wonder why the toy store wouldnt let you take a picture? I know that when me, Donna and Shelley would go shopping they would follow us and watch us......not sure if it was because they were curious or if they thought we were going to steal somehting......

Maybe the toy store is the best in the Country and they wanted to make sure you were not going to duplicate it somewhere else!! Who knows.

I bet your family is waiting anxiously for you guys to bring Lera home....

Have you ever told us what her full name is??


Randy and Sheila said...

Her name is Valeria Elizabeth Green. The passport office wasn't happy about it - they said it was too long. WHAT!!!?? Her name used to be Valeriya (something) Pasichenko!

Cammie Heflin said...

Sheila, I cannot believe how much your girls look alike! I can't wait to see pix of them together!

nikolayn said...

Thank for comment about restaurant Steakhouse, we hope that you will visit us once again :-)