I wake early, pack my bags and make my way to the metro. Half an hour later I arrive at the bus station, I have an hour to kill before my coach leaves for the six hour journey to Odesa.
I buy something to eat (a Georgian khachapuri with cheese), a cup of vaguely drinkable coffee and settle down to read a book.
The coach arrives, I take seat right at the very front, to the right of the driver, which affords me the best view possible. Pleased with this I settle down and anticipate the the Ukrainian south.
I was warned the journey would be dull and uncomfortable but experience none of that. The wifi is strong, the seat comfortable. The six hours speed by, as does the undulating countryside, the river and woods, the hamlets and towns, the mushroom sellers at the side of the motorway.
The road out of Kyiv is in a terrible condition but even that is interesting, as is the service stop at the half way point near Kropyvnytskyi.
We troop out, stretch legs, buy coffee, smoke cigarettes and watch a puppy playing in the forecourt.
Night falls as we enter the outskirts of Odesa. We disembark at the coach station, it is raining lightly. I orientate myself with Google Maps and after a few wrong turns find myself on Pushkins’ka Street, with a mile and a half walk to my AirBnB.
It is a fine walk. A slight drizzle, warm, the smell of a port, I sniff for the sea. I find the AirBnB and settle in.
I message my friends and we agree to meet at Bodega 2K, a restaurant that specializes in Bessarabian cuisine. The meal is fabulous.
I sleep well that night.