The empty playgrounds of Pripyat tell no tales. They stand untouched since the day everyone was told to leave. And, like everything else in this once busy city, they are slowly being digested by the surrounding forest.
I stood at the fourth floor window of an abandoned Soviet-style apartment building, steadying myself for another photograph of the landscape. Behind me, the government official assigned to make sure I didn’t trip over a piece of barbed wire and kill myself (no doubt causing a PR nightmare) cleared his throat.
“No good view here. Better upstairs.”
“OK. Upstairs then.”
Later, outside the Palace of Culture, we gazed at the yellow Ferris wheel. He timidly asked me to take a photo of him standing next to it. A few yards from us, near the trees, I saw a fox. It looked at us, then went its way. I could hear it breathe.
We drove past the ‘Pripyat 1970’ road sign in silence. After the chemical shower I felt much better.