The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Savvy Travel: Steppin' Out in Odessa

The Budget Babe's International Shopping Advisor Fifi LaMode visits Odessa, Ukraine, one hoppin' place. —TBB

by Fifi LaMode
Most of what I knew of Odessa I learned from a very old film by Sergei Eisenstein: Potemkin (silent movie about an event during the Russian Revolution).

Most of you may know of the film inadvertently through the famous scene of the baby carriage tumbling down the steps, copied many times in films by directors such as Woody Allen and Brian DePalma. These are the famous Potemkin Steps leading to the port in Odessa. Imagine my excitement when I saw them from our ship— all 193 of them (husband counted to make sure - LOL). No tumbling baby carriages though, just a pretty boulevard lined with trees and turn of the century homes, all fixed up and pretty.

Ukraine was formerly part of the Soviet Union, a.k.a. Evil Empire. Times have changed indeed. This is a very friendly country. People speak English in restaurants and shops, and the country is in the throes of a major building boom. Old stately buildings are being refurbished, wide boulevards abound, streets are clean, the city is alive and thriving, largely due to its port and the industries connected with it. Did I mention the casinos? Another sign of the times. Most of the cleaned-up old buildings turn out to be casinos.

Another thing that really stood out—and I mean REALLY stood out—are the young women. A lot of supermodel types: super-thin, super-pretty, super-long legs. They are really strikingly beautiful. Fifi hates them. (Kidding) Their uniform is a short tight jacket with big fur trim, poured-on jeans, and very very high heeled boots, very expensive looking, and not a scuff on them.

You have to realize that the streets ain't in good shape. I kept tripping on the uneven sidewalks, even in my practical fugly walking shoes (as my bud the Budget Babe calls them). But not these Olgas and Ludmillas—they just ambled along gracefully. One had red suede knee-high boots and once again, not one scratch, not one scuff. All these super-gorgeous women had shoes that looked like they w ere never worn. My theory is they wear them once, then throw them out! No other explanation is possible.