Matt is fascinated with Chernobyl, a place rarely accessible to the public. Tours must be booked minimum 10 days in advance (you must be cleared by the government) with a minimum of 8 people to fill the bus. Closed shoes, long pants and long sleeved shirts are a must and it is forbidden to bring anything out from the site. Tourists must vacate the Chernobyl “zone” by 5 pm sharp.
Knowing that we had missed the boat for the tour, we decided to drive up as close to the “zone” as we could. We roll up to the secured gate in our RV, each wearing sandals, shorts, t-shirts and big cameras around our necks at exactly 4:50 pm. Needless to say, we didn’t get to go pass the gate and the guard actually deleted our nuclear warring signs photos. Be that as it may, it was still a cool experience. The “zone” looks like a huge forest, to be forgotten for years to come.
The city is fresh and lively. If you took Kiev and dropped it in Spain somewhere, it would look right at home. Arek, Matt and I arrived downtown Kiev at 7pm on a Saturday, perfect time to start the party! While the sun was still out we wandered the streets taking pictures of brightly painted churches and the fancy buildings that line the main streets. We enjoyed a beer on a patio while listening to Indian themed electronic music blaring from the café across the street. You would have never known that you were hanging out in ex-Russia. Next, back to the car to freshen up and crack open the bottle of cinnamon vodka with gold leaf floating in it that Arek bought in Canada. Ready for the night, all three of us marched 25 blocks to the clubbing district. Our place of choice looked liked the Coliseum, two levels of bars and nightclubs with a central courtyard filled with tall, skinny, well dressed, young drunk Ukrainian girls. We ended up dancing until the sun came up, the music was incredible and I made friends with every single person in the club. You know how I love to talk, talk, talk. 2 hours of sleep later we were on the road again, this time heading back to Poland using a different route that goes through L’Viv, a city not worth talking about.