Today was much more of a boys trip and my little boy was bouncing around all over the place. Today he got to play with nuclear war heads. Ok not quite but pretty close. Before 1992 Ukraine was listed as the third largest nuclear armed country. In 1992 they disbanded their Nuclear weaponry with the help of the USA and there is one very isolated base that is now open by appointment to tourists. This has been one if Mr V's BIG exciting moments on the trip and I am happy to report he was not disappointed.
Firstly it is located 4 hours away from Kiev in the middle of the countryside in the centre of the Ukraine. This means an 8 hour round trip which obviously would put a few people off a visit. As such we had the place to ourself. A military escort showed us and our guide around taking us down to the control rooms 8 storeys below ground. Mr V got to sit in "the seat" and we were show the "go" button is actually grey The red button is to cancel the launch .... you learn something new every day!
It is actually kind of creepy walking around looking at disabled nuclear missiles and hearing about how it takes 22 seconds from the time you receive the order to fire and the actual firing of the missile. You watch all the Austin Powers movies where there is a 30 minute period to set up a nuclear missile ... not true - it would take 25 minutes from the order to launch the missile and it hitting New York City. I hope you can see how unnerving this was hearing about it deep underground by someone who was stating the destruction of now just a city but possible a quarter of the country in such a relaxed way.
Overall an interesting day - tomorrow is going to be even more interesting ... Tomorrow is our tour of Chernobyl. I must admit ... I may be slightly nervous about this particular tour however Mr V and the Tour operator have promised it is safe. I look forward to sharing my thoughts tonight.
Oh yes - and in keeping with my previous tradition - if I thought Russia was cold Ukraine is positively frigid. I seem to spend hours trying to work out ways to add an extra later of clothing without looking like rolling would be easier to walking!!!