© Tim Möller-Kaya
© Tim Möller-Kaya

All roads lead to Odessa


I always wanted to visit Odessa but so far have never managed it. This year I got a little bit closer to the Pearl on the Black Sea. Or am I already there? A daughter of the city is sitting beside me in a lovely white lace bra. I no longer need to travel to the Ukraine because since she has been with me, every little stroll has been a dream trip. My subject for today: the journey to love. We walked together through the first snow of winter and I didn’t feel the cold. We stopped for a bite to eat at a small corner place on the outskirts of the city, far from the glamour of the Café Americain in Amsterdam, the Café de France in Marrakech, or the Cafè de l’Òpera in Barcelona. It was a perfectly ordinary day in the fog but for me, the rest of the world could go hang. When you’re in love, you don’t need sunsets over Sugarloaf Mountain, desert skies, or bridges over canals. For us right now, Venice is everywhere. That makes travel easier, but not cheaper – the Agent Provocateur stockings I bought her yesterday cost almost as much as a flight to Rome. And for the basque, I could have flown to Rio. But who said love was cheap? Or not an adventure? Or without risk? There’s still no insurance for the cruising altitude of emotions, the seven-­league boots of happiness, for the jungle – or rather, the rainforest – of desire. But there is faith, hope and will. We believe in our will and trust in God that love may walk, or drink coffee, or cross frontiers with us forever. Then all roads will lead to Odessa.

Our columnist, Helge Timmerberg, an irrepressible globetrotter since 1969, writes travel books and contributes monthly to our magazine.