Odessa – My Nostalgia for Summer of 2013

Graham Phillips

Everyone knows Samuel Johnson’s adage about ‘when a man is tired of London Londonhe’s tired of life‘. Well, I’m guessing that’s not quite the same for Kiev, which in late 2012, with the rise of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism, I was quickly tiring of, albeit not quite ready to return to a London which I’ve always loved, but, only having embarked from in 2011, wasn’t just ready to return to yet.

However, leaving Kiev in early 2013, I did spent some time back in the UK, and in London, pondering the next move. Belgrade, Prague, Riga, all were considered as I looked to continue something which had started in 2011 for the first time, spending some time living out the UK.

But, after some long walks and lengthy deliberations, the decision came out as Odessa, a city I’d fallen in love with when visiting while working for What’s On magazine in Kiev, 2012. So it was, driving across Europe, and western Ukraine, I set off in July of 2013 –

And so it was, I arrived, and, with a long-term plan of making a life in Odessa, set about making the most of summer in Odessa – cycling along the beachfront on my bike, catacombs, hitting the beach, swimming, barbeques, vineyard tours –

And, of course, the city’s legendary nightlife too –

So, you can understand, when I look back to summer of 3 years ago, I feel real nostalgia. It was Odessa, when it was Odessa. There was a normal mayor, order, everything was good. Russians were there on holiday. Ukrainians were there. And they both got on great with each other, along with all the other nations there in that mega city by the sea, founded with Catherine the Great’s own money no less.

I guess, not to sound like the Wonder Years, that no one really knew back then, that that was the last summer of Odessa as it was. So, permit me for a bit of nostalgia as I look back to things as they were, 3 years ago in Odessa.