Into the Zone: My Trip to Chernobyl & Pripyat

July 15, 2010 · Posted in Adventure!, Urban Exploration · 50 Comments 

“You are going to Chernobyl? Why on Earth?”
“Well, if you have to ask that, I don’t think I’ll have an answer that will satisfy you.”

Ever since I heard that it’s possible to go on a trip to the Chernobyl power plant and in the city of Pripyat in the turn of the millennium, doing that has been one of my dreams and Things To Do Before Dying. Why? Well, I refer you to the quote in the beginning of the blog post, a discussion I’ve had several times in the last few weeks. Ever since I was a kid I have been very fascinated with post-holocaust settings and “A World Without Us” types of scenarios, modern ruins have had a certain weird appeal to me for ages, and then then of course Chernobyl is a name that gives rise to all kinds of thoughts and feelings.

Chernobyl, Pripyat and the Zone of Alienation

I was 11 when the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded. I’d like to say that the moment had a big impact for me, but it really didn’t. It’s a bit strange, since my memory goes really far back to my childhood and Chernobyl certainly affected Finland, which got a big dose of fallout along with Sweden. Somehow, apparently, it just didn’t affect me personally enough that I had committed it to memory back then.

In 2007 I became aware of the new sarcophagus being built over the old one in 2008, when the Ukrainian government also forbid traveling to the graveyard of the military vehicles used in the clean-up. “That’s it for that dream”, I thought stupidly and more or less forgot about the whole idea – until Toni phoned me earlier this spring and asked if I was interested in accompanying him and some other people to the radioactive zone.


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Caving in Wales: Ogof Ffynnon Ddu – The Cave of the Black Spring

July 8, 2010 · Posted in Caving · 3 Comments 

The two weeks after our Australian trip it was mostly hot as hell in Finland, and I was busy with getting everything back on track. I generally like hot weather as long as I can escape it, but unfortunately our crappy apartment is freezing in the winter and hot and stuffy as hell in the summer, so I’m not looking forward to summer days in the city. I didn’t have that much time to wind down, apart from the midsummer festival Juhannus which we spent in our cabin with pals, mostly eating, saunaing, drinking, playing board games and sleeping far too late.


After that there was too days of catching up with work and equipment shopping, until it was the time for Susi and I to leave our first caving trip ever. Miri has been hinting that I should try it for some time now, and caving has started to sound more and more interesting. As it happened, Miri’s and our schedules didn’t match, but when Dare asked us to come to Wales to check some caves, against all odds there was an empty weekend I could free from the calendar.

(Check out the big photoset of the trip on Flickr!)


The South Wales Caving Club headquarters, where we stayed for the weekend.

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