Posted by rayona weber on May 26, 1999 at 02:23:13:
In Reply to: Odessa - Crime and sightseeing posted by REL on May 23, 1999 at 13:39:55:
: Has anyone been to Odessa. Is it safe to walk around alone? Is there crime that I should watch out for? Also, can anyone recommend some sights to see or places to visit in Odessa?
Odessa is wonderful. it is definately safe to walk alone during the day. at night however, as in any foreign place, it is best to either have a "local" by your side, or at least to travel in a group. i have been to Odessa twice (each time for about 3-4 days) and never experienced any crime problems. i did hear recently that in kiev (which, of course, is not odessa) there is a new crime plot targeting foreigners. a group of locals approaches a foreigner, asking him if a "lost wallet" (which they hold up) belongs to him. if he takes it in hand, another individual immediately appears, claiming the wallet as his own, and accusing the foreigner of stealing it. in short, not a very pleasant situation. to be safe, accept no wallets! there are many many lovely places in odessa and it's possible to spend quite a while touring them all. i highly reccomend the lonely planet guide for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. I lived/studied/travled in crimea and ukraine for a year and this book was a huge help to me. one thing is a definate must: the catacombs. tour buses during the summer (last summer anyway) leave from the train station. my friend and i were the only foreigners on board and speaking russian, required no translation. though i'm willing to bet you could find a translator if necessary. the theater (see a ballet!) is also wonderful. there are many places to swim in the black sea, though i did experience some difficulty finding them while in odessa. if you ask around though, it is possible to find one. the only problem is getting there cheaply, as odessa's public transportation system is not the best (ie, irregular and slow as compared to that of simferopol, kiev, etc). you must also, of course, walk the famous potemkin steps, as well as pay a tribute to the puskin statue near the city hall. there are several peace corps volunteers located in odessa and if you'd like, i could put you in touch with someone who may be able to help you out once you're there. i hope this helps.
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