Friday, July 18, 2008


What is a day at sea without a few games on the self-leveling pool table? Doug absolutely destroyed me - which was only fair after I massacred him at table tennis last night. We have also been having fun playing tennis on the ship's Wii game console. Via a video game is the only way I can be even remotely competitive with Doug at tennis.

We have an entirely different view while at dock here. Previously we looked out to sea or in toward a distant town; this time we face the port building and there is a walkway which passes right by our windows. It is entertaining watching all the people strolling by, and we can always close our curtains for privacy.

Odessa is by far the most cosmopolitan port we've visited. It has a feel somewhere between Paris and Vienna. Downtown is a short left off the gangplank and up the stairs. Many of the buildings in this part of town are built around common courtyards which give the residents privacy and a quiet respite from street noise.

The streets are stone. Some are cobblestone. We watched these guys repaving one street with beautiful granite bricks, lots of sand, and rubber mallets. Two crews were quickly working both ways down the street from the center and they were creating patterns in the stone as they went.

One of our favorite things in the Black Sea has been the public's evening promenade, and Odessa did not disappoint. Thousands of people, families, friends, couples, singles and dogs were parading up and down the streets and parks. The U.S. is really missing out on something special. Of everything we will miss when we return, the evening outing will be number one.

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