July 29, 2019
Review about Helsinki - St. Petersburg - Helsinki by Lawrence DiCostanzo
I want to say that the visa-free three-day tour in St. Petersburg was fantastic. There turned out to be seven people in our group which was great. Our tour guide (Anastasia) was right there waiting for us after Russian passport control. She was personable, educated, and excited about her work. Having taken a degree in art history, she was perfect for all the stops we made. She also was experienced in leading tours, shepherding us in and out the right doors, planning time just right, and making sure we didn’t miss a word or a highlight (of which there were about a million). She managed hearing equipment for our adventure in The Hermitage, made sure we saw Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son, got us ballet tickets, and got us to a borscht restaurant for an impromptu late lunch. She’s a gem!
I have to add that the hotel in St. Petersburg, the Sokol Vasilyevsky was superb. Our room was newly done (as seemed the entire hotel), the breakfast was excellent, and the “pub” was a pleasant watering hole. The boat that carried us over the Baltic was an interesting adventure, too. It’s a bit shabby, but spotless. Because of “technical problems” there was no hot water on the outward bound voyage. But the staff was courteous, the food was plentiful, and we slept really well on our sea voyage. Any experienced traveler would enjoy the voyage, too. And for this tour’s excellent price and value, I can put up with a delay in getting hot water.
Thank you for making this adventure happen for us!