Chernobyl – my personal experience. Part 2.
In the first part about Chernobyl I was explaining:
What is this place✔️
What happened and why✔️
The impact of the catastrophe on Earth, human, flora & fauna✔️
What is radiation and its time of decay✔️
The new sarcophagus✔️
To visit Chernobyl you need a special permission on paper and a valid passport. Also it is not possible to enter without a tour guide.
If you see on SoMe or hear someone going there on his/her own – it’s not true or it is illegal. So if you are considering going there solo, don’t waste your time researching. Also why would you do that? It is just NOT smart).
I booked a trip with Soviet Wonders tour and our guide was Evgenia (not sure if it is a good writing) and I was glad to choose this one. I totally recommend it.
There are rules in the Chernobyl zones like:
You have to follow your guide.
You cannot touch anything, you cannot even put a tripod on the ground, and if you use a drone (probably you need a permission for that too) you cannot start it from the ground or any object.
It is not allowed to enter any building.
There are places (which has to be secured) were you cannot make pictures.
It is required to wear long pants, long sleeves and covering shoes.
It is not allowed to eat or drink outside (only in the canteen or in a car).
Keep these rules in mind if you want to visit this place because it is for your safety. After all these years following the nuclear catastrophe, it is still highly contaminated zone.
I’ve heard that it is also good to wash your mouth before eating/drinking or just spit the first sip of water. Maybe it is too much but health is a priority.
This trip is not for sensitive people, however I am one of them, so it was hard for me to be there, learning about the history and seeing with my own eyes what happened. This was a though experience.
My trip started like this:
One of the firsts stops is the Monument of the Third Angel that honors people who died in the the catastrophe, and is connected with the bible (New Testament, Revelation 8:10-11). Some people link wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) from the bible passage with the name Chernobyl that means mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).
There are other monuments to honor people that cleaned up after the accident and combated toxic flames. Because of the heat, machines and robots stoped working. Some people were sent to clean up the radioactive parts and could work there maximum 1 minute (!).
Next popular stop is the creepy kindergarten. Inside there are scattered old papers and kid’s drawings, books. In one room you can find beds and old dolls, which I guess initiated the name of this place.
All the wooden buildings in the area were put down. The brick buildings were washed with some special chemicals. Some places on the ground around them are still very radioactive because the contamination was falling down from the roofs.
The most dangerous and radioactive building here is the hospital. I could spent there only 1 minute and go out through the window. Of course NO TOUCHING anything.
In the basement of this building are clothes of the people (firefighters? Can’t remember) who were saving the world right after the catastrophe. It is all left there… To get inside, you need a covers and a mask because there is highly radioactive dust everywhere. Also, you need to know the way because the main entrance – the stairs are destroyed. It is not allowed to enter any building so you do it at your own risk. Near the entrance to the hospital, there is one of the most scary objects in the zone – the rusty gynaecological chair…
The whole area is divided into three zones, where there are cities: Chernobyl and Pripyat or Prypiat, the secret town Chernobyl 2.
From what I’ve learned, Prypiat was a “perfect” town.
There were the best shops (in the communist era a well-stocked store was something rare), salaries were good, there were many facilities, restaurants, cafes, hospitals, schools, college, kindergartens, hobby clubs, swimming pool, river port, and so on.
It was called ‘The Flowers city’ as people were proud that 35,000 rose bushes were planted all over it. 1 rose for one citizen…
Of course it was a Soviet created illusion but it was real for people who lived there for around 16 years until everything changed at the end of April 1986.
Prypec became a paradise for wild animals like wolfs, lynx, there are also horses, two bears and many more. They have evolved in some way and adapted to the contaminated, radioactive environment. It is amazing how nature heal it self when live it to be…
So be careful with the radioactive mosquitos 😉
There are also many cute stray dog that you unfortunately cannot pet.
In the power plant cooling canal for years lived huge catfish but they are gone now… One of the “attractions” was to feed them… Is it weird only for me?
The graveyard of vehicles in Rassokha and the Red Forest is one of the most contaminated areas in the world today.
The name of the forest comes from the ginger-brown color of the pine trees after they died following the absorption of high levels of radiation from the Chernobyl accident. In the post-disaster cleanup operations, the Red Forest was bulldozed and buried in “waste graveyards”. It is green now. When we were driving through this place, the Geiger device was going crazy. The contamination is still very high.
The graveyard of vehicles in Rassokha is a dead zone, not allowed to enter. There are around 200 tons of the machines used to fight the nuclear catastrophe. Rust in peace!
Radiation is invisible and some places are more contaminated than other. Guides them and that’s why you need to be careful and follow them. Sometimes it is a small spot in the middle of nowhere, where you can step on a high contamination and be unaware.
In Chernobyl people work to protect the area, and on the construction site. The’s a canteen and you may have a lunch:
There are also many check points, read below:
In the secret town Chernobyl 2 there’s a huge thing called Duga, which supposed to be used as an anti-missile system, but the nuclear disaster happened and the town was exposed. You may still see the old signs that walking in the area is strictly forbidden and anyone will be shot without a warning.
Chernobyl is a place of one of the biggest nuclear catphastrophe but not the only. There is a lake in Russia which was contaminated 70 years ago and is still so toxic that a living creature could not survive there more than one hour. Besides Ukraine, there is also Japan, Russia, Mexico, Mediterranean Sea and more that have suffered from the radiation. And we don’t have a planet B…
Some of those stories sound like conspiracy theories but after all, I studied journalism and political science😉
In Kiev there’s a National Museum of Chernobyl where you can learn about this part of history (it is NOT the soviet martyrology) in a safer way than going to the place of disaster. Also you can see how radiation destroy DNA and mutate living creatures showed on a mummified puppy.
Chernobyl is a ghost town. Everything had to be left when evacuation took place in 1986 within three days. Now it is a like a jungle, bushes and trees on the roads, buildings, squares, everywhere. From time to time, the Geiger device is making a scary sound, meaning that the level of radiation is very high and you have to go out.
It is surprising even for me that I decided to see this place with my own eyes. I do not like to dwell on the past, and especially on disasters! It is not easy to be in that place and draw a constructive conclusion. It’s a thin line thet requires a great inner balance.
Watch videos from the Radioactive Zone on my Instagram highlights.
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