The drab post-Soviet country of my imagination is replaced by a sumptuous cityscape resplendent in pastel colours and lit by a seaside sun.
Abandoned villages, limbless toys and a ticking radiation detector lurk at the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
According to old movies, there were two types of European long-distance train: the sexy, luxurious sleeper and the shabby dimly lit train packed with shady people.
Waiters – male and female – dressed in black circulate, taking orders from couples and groups seated at wooden tables. And this is where things start to get interesting.
A new hostel has opened in the heart of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, one of the most radioactive places on the planet.
Three decades ago, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine sent a radioactive cloud across Europe. Now the abandoned city has become an unusual tourist attraction.
Try to stay in unique places rather than chain hotels and try to get out of the main cities.