Chernobyl

I was supposed to meet the tour leader and group close to Independence Square at 08.00, and went up at 07.00 to have enough time to fix something to eat. When I got off the subway I tried my chance at a sandwich shop, but they didn’t have any vegetarian food. A fellow overheard me though, and led me to a food store that was open at this time! They didn’t have any vegetarian ready-to-eat food, but I bought myself water, snickers, bananas and cookies, enough to keep my energy levels high until lunch!

My group consisted of eight participants, a driver and a tour leader, with the people being from all over the place; three from the US, one from the Netherlands, one from England and some more. The other bus seemed to be a Swedish group traveling with Östresor.

On the two hour bus ride there, they showed us a lot of documentaries about the accident, and also prepared us for the checkpoints we would go through. The first one was at a 30 kilometre radius from the reactor, and the main thing we needed to know was not to photograph the security personell.

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We got to see some horses, with the explanation that they develop antioxidants that protect them from radiation, and therefore survive without a problem. The next stop was Duga, the huge radar array, with the bigger one being around 500 metres long, and 150 metres high!

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You are not really allowed to climb it, but we got to do it anyway, with a really nice view, and some blisters in my hands!

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The next stop was to feed the catfish in the cooling lake. As no one were eating those, they grew huge!

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The visit at the reactor place were actually not that cool. As everything is shielded you don’t really see much, but the new shielding looks pretty cool!

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On the way to the city, Pripyat, we stopped by the welcome sign, where our guide showed us how high the radiation could be in some spots. By just walking a couple of metres, it want up by more than twenty times!

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Pripyat was the coolest place to visit during the whole tour. We started with the old café, which looked like it had been really beautiful back in the days, but it was still really cool. Outside, there was an old vending machine, which I think you got water through, but I am not sure!

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We continued, and went by a room with some old propaganda that I think was going to be used when they would show off the city. There were an old theatre behind the doors, but we were not allowed to walk in there, because of the floor. There were a few places here and there we weren’t allowed at, but we got to see many places we were not supposed to anyway!

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The classical spot, the tivoli, was really nice. I have actually never seen a picture of someone sitting in the radio cars or ferry wheel before.

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I have also tried editing the pictures in different ways. Still learning, but some results look really cool!

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Next stop was the sports stadium. You could see the outline of everything, but 30 years of trees growing wild makes a difference!

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The basket court and winning pool were really cool!

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Then, we visited a class room. Some earlier photographers had rearranged the things inside to take some cool photos, so no, the doll was not supposed to be like this from the beginning.

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We continued doing things we were not allowed to do, and got inside a 15-store house. There were great views from above, and on the way down I ran into some of the apartments to get some more photos, and see if there were anything left!

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On the way out of the zone, we hade to go through two radiation checks, to see that we had not picked anything up. Pretty old machines, but everyone were let through!

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After some stops at the memorial monuments, we started the two hour ride home. I slept most of the time, and suddenly we were back.

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It was a great day, with some really nice people int he group whom I talked to a lot, some whom was working with diplomatic business, e.g. in east Ukraine. Pretty cool to hear the stories and perspectives of that person!

Back in Kiev, I was on my way back to the hostel when I heard some street musicians playing. They were playing really good, I loved it!

For dinner, I went back to the same restaurant as the day before. The plan was to go west, as it was time to plan my travel home!

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