Orange revolution grafitti
Inside the Chernobyl museum
Chernobyl museum Kiev

Mountain Bike Trip Map: Aug 5, 2006
Day 31-Ukraine, Kiev :
Complete Log entry for Emmanuellle

It was nice to wake up a little bit later today.

The plan was to leave Dan’s house at 9 am and go to the Chernobyl museum where there was going to be a little gathering with guests from certain community centers and hopefully a few journalists. A friend of Dan Volk was going to be our translator for the day.

It turned out that there were not too many people who came but I didn t mind, it was small and intimate. I was very happy to see Tanya and Lyuba from the Borodyanka community center who came to support us and brought us a copy of an article about our trip that was in the Borodyanka newspaper.

An unexpected special guest arrived, Christian Faessler, swiss ambassador in Ukraine who came to meet and support us in our adventure. That was so nice of him to take the time to come. We explained our adventure from the beginning in French to him. He seemed to be quite interested and was able to confirm our opinion about Ukrainian’s generosity and kindness with new comers.

Dan gave a short presentation about Foccus and our trip which was completed by a slideshow of our trip which we commented live. It was nice to see the pictures in big format and be able to share the story of our adventure to our new friends.

The vice-director of the Chernobyl Museum said a few words to welcome us in the Museum and congratulate us for our initiative in using our bike trip to raise awareness about the consequences of Chernobyl catastrophe.

Then we were invited for a tour of the museum. The guide was just as amazing as the museum. What she said and showed us was so intense and powerful that I can t find the words to describe the many feelings I experienced during the tour. It was difficult to take in all this information because there was so much. I could see Chris was deeply touched to. So much pain and trauma was experienced by victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe but also so much courage and resiliency. Ukrainian talk about red and black as being symbolic colors of love and sorrow which are found in their delicate embroideries. I think this perfectly symbolizes their life but also anyone’s life. You will always experience hard moments and good moments, they are woven together but life must go on…this is what Ukrainian have told and showed me through their thoughts , feelings and actions, they are a real authentic source of inspiration for me and I am deeply thankful to them.

It took me quite a while to ground myself after the museum tour. I didn t feel like talking but rest and witness my feelings and emotions as they were arising within me.

Eventually they passed and the day went on. A lunch and an easy afternoon were welcomed. We said goodbye to Tanya and Lyuba for the second time, and again tears arose as I feel so close to them even though I have known them for no more than 72 hours.

We toured the city with Dan and his friend Wolk, they are both real interesting people who know a lot about everything, they were able to tell us a lot of this about kiev and its history. That was nice.

We walked through Andrewsky park, visited an interesting museum of the street and took a look at the different crafts that were sold on the street.

It was becoming really hot and I was happy to rest on a terrasse in the shade. Our new friends Eugene and Oxana from Boyarka joined us for a nice walk around the city. This is very nice newlywed couple we had met the day before, we were pleased to see them again. Oxana is an art therapist and Eugene a sugeon and he is only 26 year old!!!

We then went for dinner in an underground restaurant which was cool and refreshing and it was soon time to go home because Chris had to leave early whereas I could sleep in because I had decided to stay an extra day in Kiev to then take the bus the next day and join Chris in Chernaviv for the last 40km to the Slavutych center our last stop.