The first thing I noticed as we drove through the outskirts of Odessa was what was missing: snow.
After weeks of snow in Kiev, freezing temperatures in western Ukraine and a horrible mix of melting snow, ice, slush and mud in Moldova, I felt like spring had finally sprung for me. The sun was shining and I had a smile on my face as I walked through the streets of Odessa, enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to watch my every step to avoid patches of ice or puddles of slush.
I think I saw most of the major city highlights on the afternoon I arrived: the Opera House, Deribasivs’ka and Primorskaya streets, Soborna square, Teschin Mist (Mother-in-Law Bridge) and the Potemkin Stairs.
And of course, I headed down to the beach to stare out at the Black Sea, where I discovered that not all of the snow and ice in Odessa had melted by late February.
The rest of my stay, I admit I was rather lazy.
I spent a day in a bit of a daze after I learned that my cat Leo was put to sleep. I spent another day shopping, replacing my hiking shoes and picking up a few short-sleeved shirts for the warmer weather to come. And another day I just wandered a lot, enjoying the architecture and the sunshine and not really paying attention to exactly what I was seeing.
I kept thinking about how the few days I spent in this city on the Black Sea was just a preview and that I will return someday in the warmer months to experience all that Odessa has to offer.