Day 198 | Wednesday September 28
From the hotel in Kryve Ozero it was only a short drive to Odessa. Natalia, the sister of Sergei (number 4) who is a huge EV enthusiast and makes his own electric cars, welcomed me in the city. She arranged that I could stay at Elementary Hostel, right in the middle of centre. From there we drove the car to a charger (there are plenty in the city) and went for lunch at a restaurant. I could pick anything I wanted which is a big treat for me, I was so silly to ask for french fries with the beaf steak to later find out that this was a seriously luxurious restaurant and I received some weird looks when I asked them that, they thought potato puree might be an better idea, fair enough.
Natalia showed me Odessa. I was very impressed by the architecture, it has an Italian/ Greek feel and looks very different as the other Ukrainian cities I visited.
History of Odessa
Odessa is a city with a very interesting history. A small village until 1794, it was transformed into Russia’s 3rd largest city in only 11 years, on the orders of Catherine the Great. She wanted an important commercial port on the Black Sea and decided to named it after the name of the settlement the Greeks had at this very place in antiquity, Odess. Except she thought there were not enough cities in Russia with women’s names, so she feminized it to Odessa.
With Communism came corruption and a bridge, built in 1967, was nicknamed the Mother-in-Law Bridge. There is another pedestrian bridge not very far, and the usefulness of this one is questionable. However, the mayor at the time had a mother-in-law who was an outstanding cook, and he would eat at her house all the time. Along with other communist leaders, he lived in the palaces of the murdered aristocrats and the bridge is located directly in line from his house to his mother-in-law’s! There used to be a lot of love-chains of the bridge but because of the heavy weight they removed them all and placed them on a heart-art-installation.
We met Veronika, a Moldavian girl who did research for a new business here in the city. At the top of a hotel at the beach we had some drinks and the view over the sea and harbor was stunning. With a very noisy taxi we drove to the city for dinner, real french fries this time.
Day 199 | Thursday September 29
Natalia is really well connected in the city. At every corner of the street someone says hello to her and she also had a lot of contacts in the media. For breakfast Sergei joined us, he came back from Kyiv, that’s why he couldn’t meet me yesterday. He explained me about the EV projects he is working on. In the latest blog I told about the Synchronous I saw and this one is actually build be Sergey. He is owner of EcoFactor, an engineering team specializing in the development and creation of the custom-made electric vehicles. They take part in the biggest experimental projects of Ukraine, related to electric vehicles development.
He created the ZAZ, a cool looking and very yellow electric car. It has a range of 500 (!!) km with a topspeed of 140km/h. They have many more projects like a full-electric tractor, check out their website.
Now it was time for some media madness. First we went to a radio-station where I was interview live, you can watch it back here. Than we drove to a little rental-shop where they had all kinds of electric driving things. A lot of friends and people with electric cars joined. They had a segway, an electric autoped, drones and other weird electric things. I tested all of them and they are pretty cool to ride. Some TV-channels came to this place to interview me, you can watch it back here and here.
After all this madness I went to a theater, not to relax but to interview them. It was the Green Theatre. Founded in the 30’s already so it had endured a lot. Now it was still a theatre but with a focus on eco-friendliness. Solar panels, waste separation and a small garden where all there. It may seem logical for Westerners as most of us but in Ukraine this is special as they are not so developed yet on sustainable terms.
At night Slava, Avtor and another guy (sorry forgot your name), who were at the meeting today brought me to town. They had some friends who made live-music, I tested the segway again and it was just really a fun night.