Tom and Linda's 2011 Europe Trip

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Scientific American Cruise: Varna & Odessa

Friday 7 October: Varna, Bulgaria

Varna and its docks from the promenade of the Rotterdam.


I took a break at this stop and stayed onboard. Tom decided he wanted to take this opportunity to see some of Bulgaria. He walked in and took some photos, but I can't caption them.


My new knitting friend Eilene says there were wonderful handcrafts. She picked up a couple of lace shawls she expects to make into sweaters.








Bit of a bath for our transport.


Saturday 8 October: Odessa, Ukraine

Morning in Odessa, and we walked off the ship and through the cruise terminal to find this strange and disturbing baby statue. I think he's supposed to represent independence or something, but I think he's pretty wierd.

Well, take my picture with it, anyway.

From the baby, turn around 180° and there, across the street, are the famous Potemkin Steps. Again, we're docked at the perfect place.

The steps lead from the dock up into the city.

They're twice as wide at the bottom as they are at the top to exaggerate the perspective. When viewed from the top the steps themselves disappear and only the landings can be seen, making it look like a giant's stairway.


As we approached the top of the stairway there were progressively more little vendors set up on the walls around.

And there was this guy showing off his hawk, looking for tip from tourists for photos with him.


A look back down the Potemkin Steps to the harbor and the HAL Rotterdam docked on the right.

Compare this to that picture from the bottom. Here the perspective trick works the other way, and the steps look shorter than they are.


Doves and rabbit-fur hats


Turn right at the top of the steps and you're in a park that feels very soviet.

Wood and iron benches, strips of grass and trees surrounded by little iron fences, but mostly paved walkways.


The park overlooks the port on one side and is bordered by large townhouses on the other.

I wonder whether they're still private homes or have been turned into apartments. Some of them are huge!


A Ukrainian busker in the park. What is that instrument? Lots of sympathetic strings.


Statue and museum to the poet Pushkin, who was exiled here for much of his life.


Canon captured from the British Navy, proudly displayed.


Hercules labors. The city is full of statuary.


Beautiful fountains


Dramatic statuary around the opera house.


I think this is film-making rather than an actual wedding. Although that woman on the right might be a bridesmaid. Maybe it's private film-making.


Quaint little town square with cafes around the edges.


A little bit confused, but communication has occurred.


The streets themselves were a bit worn and depressing, but through gates on either side were these little courtyards where real local life probably happens.


Muscular male columns.


A beautiful iron gateway to what looks like a park.


And we come full circle back to this romantic little bridge that leads back toward our ship.


Lovers and friends have autographed the top rail of the bridge.


And painters practice their skills underneath it.


The long, more industrial bridge back to the portside park is covered with both graffiti and the padlocks of lovers.


Each lock has the names of two people. I think the tradition is to throw the key into the ocean below. Some of them have been here a very long time.



Near the top of the Steps, kids practice skateboard mastery.


As we left, we ran into one of our speakers, Dr. Michael Benton, paleontologist and environmentalist, currently President of the International Paleontological Association.

There are some pretty impressive scientists on this trip!

And the wedding film made it over to the Steps by the time we were leaving.


In the port building, as we left, we found a craft fair and theater show set up.

These guys were good, but we were tired and had quite a time finding our way through the maze back to the ship.

Clear sky as we left Odessa.


Next port of call: Yalta


1 Getting There
6 Olympia
11 Ephesus
16 The Cinque Terre
2 Sorrento
7 Santorini (Thira)
12 Athens
17 Pisa & Sienna
3 Pompeii & Herculanium
8 Istanbul
13 Venezia
18 Tuscany
4 The Amalfi Coast
9 Varna & Odessa
14 Padua & Verona
19 Montepulciano
5 Sci-Am Cruise
10 Yalta
15 Firenze
20 Rome & Home

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