Michael Portillo continues his journey through the borderland where Europe meets Asia and fulfils a lifelong ambition to visit the Black Sea port of Odessa.
His 1913 Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guidebook under his arm, Michael Portillo continues his journey through the borderland where Europe meets Asia and fulfils a personal lifelong ambition to visit the Black Sea port of Odessa.
In Lviv, Michael learns to make Vareniki, the sour cheese-filled pasta, which is so popular in Ukraine, and encounters a much loved 19th-century poet before boarding the overnight express to Odessa. After breakfast on board Michael sets out to explore a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with French, Italian, Russian and Jewish influences. At the city's Great Synagogue he hears how the once sizeable Jewish population is beginning to recover after the violent pogroms of the 19th and early 20th centuries and the Holocaust. An excursion to a nearby bathing resort popular at the time of his guide and during Soviet times leads Michael to a hydropathic establishment where he braves an intimate massage in warm mud. A performance of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty at Odessa's exquisite opera house rounds off his journey.