SPB TOURS – ST PETERSBURG
We traveled with Holland America’s Eurodam but chose SPB to guide us in St. Petersburg after reading the excellent reviews on Trip Advisor and receiving speedy, expert service, from our first contact with SPB right through the whole process. We chose the two-day de luxe tour.
Travel is by Mercedes mini-bus with a centre aisle, twin seats on one side and single seats on the other. The diver was very skilled, and needed to be as there are traffic jams, semi-blocked streets, congested bridges and pre-arranged deadlines to contend with.
Our guide was Maria aka Masha, who proved to be both philosopher and guide with a strange inability to say the word ‘Putin’ without laughing. A genuine student of history and humanity, and a philosopher of both depth and whimsy, Masha proved a real star. This is a thorough tour that lends great insight into Russian history and character.
On a practical level, people need to know that day 1 is long, involves lots of walking, and leaves all participants so exhausted that day 2 is approached with apprehension. It need not be, for it is far less strenuous and a couple of hours shorter. Lunch is provided on both days, though it is hardly an enhancement of the day, reminding me of a million school dinners. Take your own snacks if you need genuine sustenance. Washroom breaks are available at regular enough intervals and there are only two brief stops at souvenir shops –and these serve free coffee and vodka! It is worth noting, too, that, even in the Hermitage, we were always able to view things without difficulty and places never felt overcrowded. If Masha were a soccer player, she would be Messi, for her positional sense is exceptional and her eye for an opening outstanding.
My wife and I took this cruise primarily to see St. Petersburg. Thanks to the excellent, comprehensive itinerary, brilliant guiding in fluent English and the magnificence of so many buildings, often restored to perfection after brutal desecration and destruction in WW2, we do not hesitate to recommend SPB tours.
Oh –and the owner came to greet us all at the end of the program –a pleasant, welcome touch.
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