Chernobyl holiday

Posted on 14th Sep 2017

So, I went on holiday to Chernobyl a few years back…it was amazing!

Just over 25 years after the Chernobyl accident I visited the region with a friend of mine. I was always fascinated with pictures of the ‘forbidden zone’ and this was only feuled by the increased attention of surrounding the 25th anniversary. Chernobyl was popping up everywhere. Several games were published, movies plots revolved around it, books gained renewed attention…I had to go there.

A colleague at the hospital was gracious enough to borrow me a professional dosimeter so I could perform some measurements.

We basically booked everything with one organisation, flew to Kiev, visited the forbidden zone and flew back. Nothing very special or frightening about it. The experience however was amazing!

 Our first stop was in the small town which is inhabited by the people who work in the zone. We were given some rules regarding our visit. In short, no smoking, drinking and eating in the forbidden zone. After signing a waiver to were went on to the energy plant. Out first real stop.

We were about 300 meters from the disastrous reactor number 4. I was expecting pure silence, nothing was further from the truth. I failed to realise that they were building the new sarcophagus so it was like standing on a building site. The experience was nonetheless mind boggling. 

After a few minutes we were driven to Pripyat, the town next to the energy plant which was able to house roughly 40.000 people at the time. In my mind we were about to enter a small city. However we drove into the woods and after a few minutes buildings started popping up. Tall multistoried buildings with Soviet symbols. Again an indescribable sensation, nature took back what we build even after this disaster. 

 

Even though some sight were familiar like the Ferris wheel, bumper cars and swimming pool everything we visited all left a lasting impression on me. The desolation of the area was fascinating. I would venture to say beautiful were it not for the dreadful history.

I am not much of a traveller. As a matter of fact I only left the European continent once, by crossing the Bosporus in Istanbul for an afternoon. If you are in any way interested in Chernobyl and how it affected the surrounding environment I urge you to try and see it for yourself!

Come to think of it, maybe I should start a Kickstarter for funds to visit Fukushima and perform measurements using a Smartphone.