Matt and I flew from Kiev to Berlin on November 2. It was nice to be back in familiar surroundings. We have visited Berlin before and wanted to include this fantastic city on our tour of Europe. Matt’s sister-in-law has family in Berlin that we met a few years ago at a wedding reception in the Alps. We hit it off immediately and have been promising to visit ever since, and were able to on this visit.
Neeley and I visited Pripyat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone while we were Kiev. Much has been written about the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, so it makes little sense to repeat it here, you can easily find numerous accounts of the tragic incident on the internet. In the past few years, many photos by other photographers have been published and intrigued us, so we decided to go visit the ghost town and see it for ourselves.
Neeley and I are planning on being in Europe until the end of the year, when we will be teaching a photography workshop in Rome. However, as USA passport holders, we are only allowed to be within the Schengen area of Europe for 90 days every 180 days. Sitting down with a calendar, we quickly realized we would need to leave the Schengen area for about a week to stay legal in our travels. After some staring at a world map for a bit, we decide to go to Kiev and explore a place neither of us had ever been to.
After a few relaxing days in Strasbourg, we took the TGV train to Paris. It was our first trip using our Eurail Pass. We have been to Paris recently, so this trip we wanted to focus on wandering more, taking a bike tour to Versailles, visiting some museums, and discovering a few off-the-beaten path spots.
We left Belgium for Trier, Germany to meet up with Neeley’s mom and her boyfriend. Neeley used to live in that area of Germany, and other than seeing some sights, we were also going to see where Neeley used to live and visit with friends who still live nearby. From there we traveled to Patton’s grave in Luxembourg, and then down to Strasbourg, France for a few days.