I’m sitting here by my kitchen table and despite it being daytime I need to have all the lights on. Rain is pouring down and the world outside simply looks like depression. Cue our holiday in Odessa, Ukraine!
Thank goodness I can go back to my memories of our holiday in Odessa just 2 weeks back: the sunshine, good food, smiley people and absolute chill.
So, let’s dive into the adventure that our beach holiday in a perhaps unlikely beach destination turned out to be! It’s a long one, so get yourself a cup of tea, buckle up and let’s go ⇒
Our Holiday Itinerary For Odessa, Ukraine
SATURDAY: The Arrival
I woke up in the morning early enough so that I could go for a run before the holiday. At the airport me and Karin joined the check-in queue and attracted a couple
disapproving envious looks from parents with small children while we enjoyed our small bottles of black, Finnish booze (google Salmiakki!)
Through the security, through passport checks and we waited for the rest of our travel crew. When we were all assembled, we had to have a ‘CHEERS’ with some bubbly. I needed it, in particular, because at the check-in they had seated us all over the plane, all of us alone.
Thankfully the flight itself was easy enough. Landing on the other hand… I wanted MURDER when the guys next to me started clapping BEFORE WE HAD EVEN LANDED! Twats!
We made it, though. Joining another passport queue, this one taking approx. half a day, and then it was time to find a taxi. We didn’t have internet, we didn’t have local currency, we had nothing.
Taxi drivers started circling around us like vultures while we attempted to connect with the airport Wifi. No-go. Eventually we managed to agree on a small discount on the incredibly high price (30€) for a ride to our AirBnB, and the driver began the process of stuffing our 4 suitcases into the boot. And we were off!
It was rather complicated to contact our landlord without internet, but thankfully our taxi driver turned out to be an angel. After leaving us on the corner of our skyscraper of an AirBnB, he asked if we needed any more assistance. He then volunteered to call our landlord, who was late and didn’t speak any English.
When that was taken care of he asked if we needed local SIM cards. YES PLEASE! How convenient, he had a stack of brand new cards in his car. Now, normally I wouldn’t just trust people offering me things for money like that, but I’ve been around, so I deemed the situation safe enough.
We each paid him 10€ for a month’s unlimited internet and he changed the SIM cards to each of our phones and made sure the cards were correctly activated. So sweet, a true life-saver ♥
Up to the flat we went! The building was brand new, high, and the apartment very clean and modern. There were beds for 4 people, an equipped kitchen and a view worth a million dollars (if it had been anywhere else).
Quick shower and we were out examining our surroundings. Pretty much right behind out apartment there was a shopping mall and a busy boulevard, after which we arrived to the beach clubs.
The plan for Sunday was formed right there and then. Couple drinks, quick visit to the apartment and we headed for some dinner in the Old Town in Gastrobar. Then bed. First day of out holiday in Odessa, nailed!
SUNDAY: I’m on the beach, bitch!
As we had agreed the previous evening, our first full day was all about the beach. We woke up early, packed our bags and headed down the hill to the famous Ibiza beach club. Maija and Martta took beach chairs by the pool, me and Karin headed for the beach.
Unfortunately the sea was green with alga, so swimming there didn’t seem appealing at all. So, when cooling down was required we ventured up to the pool and chatted with the girls. But it turned out the beach was a much more interesting place despite not having swimming in the equation.
We were spying our asses off! There was
interesting peculiar human behavior happening all around us: an American family was lamenting a daughter/sister who had dared to have children and thus missed their holiday in Odessa.
Then there was a mother with a young boy. I assume the man was a newcomer to the family because the mother couldn’t keep her hands off him, while the man himself kept eyeing me and Karin, and while her son was sitting on the edge of their one(!) beach chair, which was bulking threateningly under the weight of 3 people, looking completely bored and embarrassed.
Next to us we had a woman wearing a very bright green swimming suite with big pink flamingos on it. But more importantly, we concluded that she had the most perfect pair of lips on the planet. Not plastic!
Perhaps the most adventurous moment of our holiday in Odessa was the moment when we needed to locate a toilet. We asked the girls by the pool where the toilet was, to which Maija informed us that it’s just a hole in the ground. We didn’t believe her, because we had played a prank on her at the airport, so she was probably just paying back.
Unfortunately no. We wondered why they had insisted on us wearing shoes to the toilet, but it made complete sense when we got in there: it wasn’t just a hole, except it was just a hole. We christened it ‘the posh hole’ because instead of being just a hole, it had a ceramic frame on which you could place your feet.
So, there we were, squatting away. I was fine, after all I wore a bikini. Karin, wearing a one-piece, not so good. It was an experience, though!
In the evening we had another amazing dinner in Food Hub, after which we headed straight to bed.
MONDAY: Spa & Shopping
Me and Karin wanted to have some beauty treatments. After all, we were on a holiday. So, when the girls headed back to the beach the next morning, we waded our way to a spa hotel, Ark Spa.
There I got a facial (the beautician couldn’t believe I’m 30, aaw), while Karin enjoyed the best gin&tonic in the bar, because she only got a booking for the next day.
With my face renewed and toned, we headed for the malls. The Arcadia area has multiple malls, with different price ranges. We ended up spending most of our time in the Gagarinn Plaza. First up we found a brand outlet, where I found a pair of Steve Madden shoes for a fraction of the price.
Service in every store was beyond anything I’ve ever seen. While trying on a dress they’d bring me another one I might like. And they were right! I loved their suggestions, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the perfect size.
Our favourite store was definitely the bikini store, Black Lace. The shop assistant was the sweetest little lady bringing us option after option based on our comments on each piece. I’m very particular with my style, so she ran back and forth while I turned down an option after another.
Poor thing even offered me a bikini in Swedish colours. I don’t think she understood why my reaction of “NO!” was so strong. But she listened and eventually found a perfect pair of bikinis for me!
A French luxury brand, which she sold to me with a phrase “You will be unique, nobody else will have these on the beach.” She’s gooood!
In the evening it was another late dinner and straight to bed.
TUESDAY: The Bitch With The Active Middle Finger
On Tuesday morning I woke up with my stomach aching. The late dinners and bed straight after is not a way to live and my body was reminding me of that.
While Karin returned to the Ark Spa to get her nails done, I joined girls to another day at the beach. This time a different beach club, though: Mantra. Season was now over and the place was nice and calm.
I don’t think it would’ve been quite as enjoyable there if it had been packed full of people, noise levels rising and drunk-off-their-ass people spraying water on everyone while jumping into the pool.
But when Karin joined us, some drama did occur. Basically, Karin is a good-looking woman with no added plastic. Which means that she looks particularly good in a country where 70% of women seem to consist of nothing but plastic. Men stared. A lot. All of them.
Many of them doing so despite their wives and girlfriends sitting right next to them. This resulted in one of the girls showing Karin her middle finger, which obviously didn’t go down too well with Karin. I mean, biaaatch, check your priorities! It’s your “man” that deserves a kick in his apparent mini-balls, not Karin!
Since Karin was also struggling with her stomach due to late dinners and early bed time, we decided to go and have our dinner earlier, while the girls still stayed on the beach.
This didn’t mean, though, that we wouldn’t join them for their dinner in the most fabulous premises in Arcadia Plaza hotel later in the evening. Thank goodness we did! The dessert there was to die for!
WEDNESDAY: Day In The Old Town
We woke to cloudy skies that were threatening us with rain. No beach today! Instead we opted for exploring the Old Town, which turned out to have a lot more to see than I had expected.
We didn’t see even half of all the castles and monuments, but at least we got some exercise when I misread the map (surpriiise!). So, we climbed up the 192 steps of the Potemkin Stairs twice. Some of the things we saw were the impressive Opera house and the fountain behind it.
Next to the garden there was a smaller fountain depicting 3 children and a frog. All the locals stopped by to wash their hands in this fountain, so we followed suit.
After a quick lunch and pink gin & tonics, we embarked on the Derybasivska Street. You need to add this on your to-do list for a holiday in Odessa! This long street has anything and everything from shopping to restaurants and bars, to parks and horses to ride, all encased in an incredible display of most amazing architecture.
We also found ourselves in a small passageway off the main street. And it was the most beautiful detour ever! The Odessa Passage is a glass-domed square with incredibly intricate sculptures climbing up every wall, wherever you look. Beautiful place.
Even more beautiful architecture ensued when we walked on; a green building with the most decorative pillars, balconies and window frames I’ve ever encountered anywhere. And a little bit onwards, a chocolate shop selling handmade chocolates. Their variety of flavours was vast, but prices very low indeed.
THURSDAY: Turtles and Drinks
On Thursday morning my stomach was aching again, thanks to another late dinner and sleep right after. So, when the girls decided to head for the beach again, me and Karin decided to do something that I think needed to be done on our holiday in Odessa: we bought some fruit, Martini Bianco and sparkling wine, and headed for the Peremohy park.
We found a nice bench with a lake spreading in front of us and set our humble picnic there. Just one problem; neither of us was capable of opening the sparkling wine bottle. But it had to be done!
So, since Karin’s afraid of popping noises, I took charge and popped the cork clean off while a young mother passed us with her small son. Instead of looking at us disapprovingly, she gave us a smile and an approving nod when passing by. Gotta love Ukrainians ♥
We were chatting away, chilling to the max, when all of a sudden Karin asked me what I thought the weird stick-like thing in the water was. I debated between a snake and a stick, but it turned out to be something completely else.
Turtles! The little lake was teeming with turtles, and before long we noticed that there were multiple turtles sunbathing on a rock in the lake just a dozen meters from us. It was so random, so surprising that I got really excited. Turtles! In a park in Ukraine! Didn’t expect that, and I do love the unexpected.
In the evening we went to sit in different bars enjoying cocktails and talking this and that until 2AM. A holiday night done right.
FRIDAY: Plastic Fantastic
On Friday I slept laaate. The girls had already left to the beach and Karin was waiting for me. A quick change from night shirt to bikinis and we were also off to the beach. Let the last day of our holiday in Odessa commence.
The day started with a bottle of sparkling wine, since it was our last day in Odessa. Swimming, sunbathing and chilling to the max.
While sitting by the pool, chatting with the girls, a man swam over and basically straight off invited us to join him and his brother to a party in the famous Park Residence. They had a table booked, and since I had been hearing about Park Residence since arriving to Odessa, I thought we should go check it out.
So, in the evening we dolled up and took a taxi to the fabulous club. We found the correct table despite having already forgotten the name, but our company turned out to be a bit boring. So, we decided to walk around and see what went on around the pool.
In the process we came up with a new drinking game, inspired by the amount of plastic that the women attending the party seemed to be sporting. We got drinks and started walking around the pool, taking a sip every time we saw someone with clear signs of added plastic elements.
We didn’t manage to get further than 1/4 around the pool before our drinks were gone. Instead of getting a second round we decided to get back to the hotel. The party wasn’t quite as exciting as we had expected.
What I took away from that party, though, was a whole new appreciation for my very thin lips. Despite not being exactly lipstick-worthy, they do look a lot better than those weirdly shaped nozzles. Although, if you prefer having such work done, by all means, do! All I’m saying is, I don’t see the point for myself.
SATURDAY: Goodbye Odessa
Suitcases packed, apartment cleaned, everybody’s on the verge of depression. Thankfully we had time to eat breakfast in our favourite restaurant, Roasterie, and then it was time to head off to the airport.
It was a moody bunch that returned to Tallinn that Saturday. I spent all Sunday calculating how I could make my finances stretch enough to pay rent in Estonia while spending a month in an AirBnB in Slovakia. There they have sunshine throughout Autumn, unlike here.
I haven’t quite figured yet how I could afford that plan, but it’s still only September so I’m working on it. Odessa reminded me of my friends in Slovakia, and the lifestyle I had there. And I miss it all enormously.
It was an awesome holiday in Odessa in the bestest company. A holiday I will look back to for years and years to come with a smile on my face. ♥