Chernobyl – a geiger counter and me

20 May

On 26th of april 1986 reactor 4 of the nuclear powerplant of Chernobyl blew up and resultet in the worst nuclear disaster the world had ever seen. On the 18th of May 2012, equipped with a geiger counter and with a whole lot of courage, I visited the powerplant, 26 years after the disaster.

Unreal, horryfing and somehow still quite intriguing. The main question I was asking myself was why I was there. Why would anyone go to Chernobyl? The radiation readings were some places of the chart. Some hotspots measuring up to 30 microsievert. All in all the trip was actually pretty safe. The total dose of radioation we received was actually less than on a trans-atlantic flight. Still, there was a good reason I went there. I wanted to learn! Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it!

Chernobyl is a man made post apocalyptic hell hole! People can’t live there for the next 800 years. Jesus will most likely return to earth before people settles in Chernobyl again. How come humans can cause so much destruction? Can this happen again? I would say yes! Very much likely!

The city of Pripyat was mind-blowing. 50.000 inhabitants were evacuated within hours for never to return again. 26 years later the buildings are almost collapsing, trees and bushes have taken over the city and in the streets wolves and wild-boars are roaming freely.

The sarcophagh around the reactor, keeping the radiation conceled, is now almost broken. Cracks and rust is everwhere. The invisible enemy is in the air and on the ground,  follwing you wherever you go. It won’t go away. Not for 250.000 years. This is Europe’s dark and dirty secret. A potential catastrophy just waiting to happen, if the sarcophag falls apart. This should be our priority number 1. Preventing further contamination and not hosting UEFA 2012 and overlooking the potential danger lurking in Chernobyl.

I have learned alot from the visit. It’s crucial that us humans learn from our mistakes. Learn from the past and look towards the future. That is what defines us as humans. Turn mistakes into knowledge. Failure into sucess. Let us never forget what happend on that day. Without the sacrifice of those men and woman on that day and during the months after, half of Europe would have been an unlivable place. The forgotten heroes of Chernobyl. We salute you!

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Amusement park in Pripyat

Amusement park in Pripyat

City of Pripyat

Reactor 4 of Chernobyl Powerplant

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Istanbul – East meets west

14 May

Istanbul, the second largest city in Europe, situated on both sides of the Bosphorus sea it’s at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It has been ruled by several empires and kingdoms during the centuries. The country as we know it today is the results of the visions of Ataturk, president of modern Turkey, transformed the nation into the what it is today.

I got to visit the city of Istanbul in 2012 and I must say it a remarkable city. The minarets and the many mosques scattered all over the city makes it look like a scene from “1001 nights”. Catch the ferry and sail across the Bosphorus to the asian side to catch the beautiful sunset. And then perhaps let your taste buds try out a delicious kebab, Turkish’s national dish. Or perhaps go down to the Galata Bridge and have a tasty fish sandwich? What about checking the spice marked out? Coffee, spices, nuts, turkish delights and different cheeses. The spice marked will defenetely fire up your senses.

The beautiful Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque also deserves a closeer look.  After being amazed by these architectural wonders, head for a local turkish bath and get a real scrub. Finish it all of with a delicious cup of Turkish tea and a bowl of fresh Antep Pistachios.

Istanbul welcomes you with open arms! Spend 2-3 days in the city and then go off to explore the rest of Turkey. It has plenty to offer. What can I say about Istanbul? You don’t quite know where you are. Europe? Middle East? Or Asia? I would say Somewhere in between . A city like no other.

 1. So tell me. What´s your ultimate Istanbul experience?

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Galata Bridge

The Blue Mosque

Maiden Tower

Life on the Trans-Mongolian Railway

13 May

The Trans-Mongolian Railway, more than 6000 km long and stretching from Moscow in Russia to Beijing in China is truly one amazing journey you’ll never forget.

Imagine traveling through some of the most remote areas of the world. Cities you’ve probably never heard of before suddenly becomes good friends on your geographical mindmap. Cities like Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and krasnoyarsk becomes imprinted in your memory when the train stops and you jump of to discover the stations. Old babushks selling local fish and vegetables. Perhaps a cheap bottle of vodka on sale aswell? Back on the train you’ll hear the russians chearing over glasses of vodka, the smell of the charcoal samovar and the ever lasting sound of the train wheels rolling on metal tracks.

Russian, Chinese and Mongolian travelers aswell as one or two tourists try to make the time pass by drinking vodka, singing songs and staring out the window. The scenery is slowly changing as you pass through Sibiria. You’ll have plenty of time to experience the changes of nature while spending almost 7 days on the train.

This is a form of traveling unfamiliar to most people these days. Today we have the GPS, low-coast airlines, turbo engines and a more increasing lack of time. This trip is not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

A buddy and I did this journey during the summer of 2011 and I think it is one of the most magnificant journeys you can ever take. Dont worry about what to do those 7 days on the train, but rather what to do when they are over.

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Traveling through the Gobi Desert

Novosibirsk

Street vendor at one of the many stations

Oslo – New York r/t – 340 $

8 May

CEO Bjørn Kjos of Norwegian Airline recently promised passengers round trips from Oslo to New York for 340 US dollars. He is also promising new and cheaper direct flights to both Bangkok and perhaps Pakistan. All of this because of their purchase of Boeings new Dreamline 787.

Made out of mostly Carbon fibre the plane is 20% lighter than the previous models made out of aluminum.  It is also said to provide better space, air and lighting. The cabin pressure can also be dropped to lower levels aswell as increasing the humidity, making it even more comfortable for the passengers. The plane is also equipped with a special lighting system, changing the lighting depending on the local time of the destination, reducing the risk of jet-lag and tiredness.

I think Boeing has done it yet again, pushing the competition against Airbus and the other producers even harder. The aviation industry will become more and more interesting once newer and more up-to-date models hit the marked. For us frequent travelers the airline fairs might also become cheaper!

1. Have you been on a 787 flight recently? Share your opinions!

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A map for Saturday – Travelers Documentary

7 May

Ever had a gap-year? Backpacking in south-east Asia while school, work, family and other conformities where put on hold? This is what this movie is about. Quitting your job, saying goodbye to your family, moving out of your apartment, packing your bags and just go. One trip around the world, 365 days and every day feels like saturday. Destination Everywhere!

A map for Saturday is the perfect documentary to watch if you want to boost up your adventure spirit. Ever been traveling as a backpacker? You’ll love it! And for those of you who hasn’t: You’ll love it too!

1. So what´s your favourite travel movie? 

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Chernobyl 26 years after

5 May

In 10 days I will be heading for the capital of Ukraine, Kiev.  A country which seperated from the Sovjet Union in 1991 and is now starting to become a busy tourist attraction as well as experiencing a boom in the economy. This summer they will even, in co-operation with Poland, host the european championship in soccer.

A couple of days in the capital should give me just what I need of buzzling city life, orthodox churches and baroque architecture. A visit to Chernobyl has been arranged and on the 18th of May I will be paying my respect for those men and women who sacraficed their lives on that horrible day of april 26th of 1986. Reactior 4 of the Chernobyl powerplant suffered a chatastrophic nuclear explosion and large quantaties of radioactive material was released into the atmosphere. Rumors have  it that the areas around Chernobyl will not be free of radioation untill 250.000 years from now.

26 years later the government of Ukraine has made this place a tourist destination for those who seek the ultimate travellers experience. This raises some questions which I would like to share with the community of wordpress.

1. The story of Chernobyl and its neighbour city Pripyat is a sad story. What do you think about turning this place into a tourist destination?

2. The tour operators claim that the day tour is perfectly safe and that you are more likely to get more radiation during a 12 hour trans-atlantic flight than a visit to the reactor. What do you think? Would you have joined a tour?