Last September while visiting Moscow, my boyfriend Jason and I made spur of the moment plans to visit the Chernobyl nuclear disaster exclusion zone in Ukraine. A flight from Moscow to Kiev, Ukraine is only 1 hour 20 minutes (or at least it was up until the month following our visit when sanctions ended all nonstop flights between Russia and Ukraine).
Prior to our arrival in Kiev I was googling to find out how safe it was to visit Kiev, not entirely sure what I was getting myself into. Having just come from Russia with the political situation tense between the two countries, Russian friends expressed that they thought it was crazy to visit Ukraine, “Ukraine? Why would you go there?? There’s a war there”. Plenty of travel forums explained an entirely different situation in Kiev, where life was entirely normal and completely safe, with the only sign of the country’s political problems being evident in the severe deflation of the currency, the Ukrainian hryvnia.
We experienced just that- Kiev was safe, people were very friendly and enjoyed talking to us (so much more so than in Moscow), and everything that we purchased; our comfortable AirBnb, meals, snacks, and taxi fares were absurdly cheap. My only advice about visiting Kiev is to go there longer than 1 1/2 days! There was a lot that I would have liked to see that we missed out on because we had planned such a short trip and spent our only full day our in Chernobyl.
Visited September 2015
Photos by Renee Lusano and Jason MacDonald, shot on Contax G2, Canon 5D MkIII.