Kiev and Chernobyl

by | Inspiration

I love travel, mainly long haul and for several weeks. But this last weekend has made me appreciate the value of a short break.

I am a fan of Meet Up Groups and TravelTogetherUK had a trip organised to Kiev and Chernobyl. No hesitation; count me in!

A man I was dating at the time thought it would be enough to watch a TV programme, but I want to experience life, not be an observer.

What was great about this group trip compared to commercial companies was that we had a WhatsApp group created so we were chatting in advance and it made it easy to find and coordinate our activities whilst away.

We met at the airport, got a couple of minibuses to the hotel and then out for dinner as a large group. I had had a terrible roomie on my last group holiday, this time Jules was fab.

Kiev has some terrible historical moments, a poignant one when the army shot at young people demonstrating in the square. I learnt a lot about the history, and politics was discussed as the presidential elections took place on the Sunday with Volodymir Zelensky winning by a large majority.

We spent a full day on a couple of free walking tours, and clearly the highlight was going to Pripyat to walk around the abandoned city after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It was a 2-hour drive from Kiev and we had to take passports. We were shown films on the bus with some haunting footage. There were three check points. The first was as we entered Dytyatky (on the border of the 30 km Exclusion zone). We had to show passports, were given a pass, told about the security and safety aspects, and at the second check point given GPS devices so they could track us. The tour company was excellent.

We visited the abandoned kindergarten, saw the unfinished 5th and 6th reactors and cooling towers and stopped at the monument to the firemen that lost their lives following the disaster. We were able to take photos near reactor number 4. We drove through the Red Forest and to Pripyat, the town which housed the workers of the power plant and their families. So many abandoned buildings with toys, books and more just left. The fairground with the famous Ferris wheel and dodgems.

At the end of the trip we again reached the Dytyatky Control Point to measure our radiation levels.

I am a huge fan of Street Art, found a trip and using the Whatsapp group organised a sub group trip – loved it. What was interesting about doing this with a guide was learning more about the artist and the meaning behind the art. I’ve got explanations on my Instagram page against the relevant images.

I have got lots of photos on my Instagram page:

What are your stand out holiday/travel destinations – do share.

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.