Post Number: 489
|Posted on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 02:37 pm: |
ODESSA - PEARL OF THE BLACK SEA
As we docked in this busy commercial seaport, we first saw the 192 steps of the Potemkin Stairs rising from the harbour to the city above. These stairs were the setting for perhaps the most dramatic scene in Sergei Eisenstein's epic 1926 film, "Battleship Potemkin".
A morning tour of the city (and our own afternoon exploration) showed us the many facets of this cosmopolitan place, founded by Catherine the Great in the late 18th Century - statues of poets and writers, classical style palaces and museums, Viennese and French designed baroque style buildings, the still unfinished (due to corruption) magnificent Opera House, boutique-lined boulevards and its fashionably dressed citizens.
It was Friday and we witnessed the extaordinary "production-line" weddings taking place as one couple after another came and went from the city's Registry Office. All brides were elaborately and expensively dressed as they posed with their new husbands before being whisked away in (plastic) flower-bedecked stretch limousines to lavish receptions at Odessa's most exclusive hotels. One such reception was at the old-world Londonskaya Hotel, once host to the likes of Isadora Duncan, Anton Chekhov and Marcello Mastroianni - and where we popped in to use the internet.