Meneghina Express’ numbers:

12379 Kilometers in 44 days

350 hours riding

297 batteries recharged

12 countries

4500Kg Co2 reduced vs. gas

Day 37 - Ukraine flag - July 16


Text and photos by Flavio Allegretti

Imagine of being in a mountain cabin, rather distant from the reference points that usually define your "normality."

At this point, try to imagine that in the quiet of the night or in the peace of an afternoon nap, someone knock at the door, strongly but politely at the same time. As to say that on the other side there is someone who is visiting you, important and unexpected but with good intentions. Indeed: very good.

A metaphor far from our situation, but close in meaning to what Odessa and all of Ukraine meant for us, so far. An unexpected surprise, since it is not a tourist destination for the masses, at least not for Europeans.

We come to know through the people we encountered: always ready to provide us concrete help, willing to communicate, and often by welcoming all of us for lunch. "You are welcome here, we want people feeling comfortable. We are amazed to see these new technologies that you carry - said our host, referring to our electric motorcycles - and also proud that we were passing through his country. It will be an inspiration for the future."

Odessa lends itself well to a futile game of words in Italian: if you invert the first letter with the last letter, Odessa becomes an adverb expressing urgency. Adesso! (Right now!). Odessa has allowed us a deserved break; the need for relaxing and enjoying.

This city is perfect for this purpose: it has the beach, clubs where Djs play music and where cocktails are really good. Odessa is also a beautiful city full of gardens with red roses that seem wild. This city shows an elegant sense of decadence at times, like a lovely lady who is not afraid to show her age. In other ways - walking in the streets, between neoclassical buildings, buildings of the fifties of the last decade - you can taste the flavor of the unknown , the ambiguous taste of a city that inspires freedom and complaint without fear amalgamation of peoples and cultures. Trams and buses are always on the move, you can get on and off just paying the equivalent of 20 cents of euro. And if someone is stuck in the overcrowded back part of the bus, you can give your coin to your neighbor and he will do the same, hand by hand, sure that your coin will arrive to the driver, who does not need to see the faces of those who have paid. He trusts. All pay. And it all works.

This city has a long history: ancient Greeks, Turks and Tatars were here. As well as Italians merchants in the Thirteenth Century who brought new knowledge in the maritime field. Not to mention, then, the events related to the Second World War and the Odessa Massacre, which saw the killing of thousands of civilians and the deportation of nearly one hundred and fifty thousand Jews. Odessa is a crucial and cosmopolitan hub in the Black Sea. It's an unpredictable city that, among all the other things that we had the opportunity to see during the day that we spent there, surprised us with the "Odessa International Film Festival. And guess which movie was listed among the Best Premier and "masterpieces"? An Italian movie directed by Sorrentino, casting the great Antonio Servillo: “The Great Beauty.”

Ok, we are swashbucklers, motorcyclists and professionals, not experts of movies; but it seemed fair to mention it. Odessa is now a Great Beauty of which we had need to continue our journey, and drive in harmony the next 2,500 km that separate us from Italy.

Path traveled today