I just returned from Insight Vacations Easy Pace Russia program. It was a fantastic experience. We spent 3 nights in St. Petersburg & 3 nights in Moscow & used the train to get between the cities. Since we spent so much time in each area, we had ample time to see all of the sights & also to explore on our own. All of Insight’s Easy Pace programs require a minimum of 3 nights in each city, which allows you to really get to know an area.
One of the highlights of the trip in St Petersburg was our visit to the Hermitage Museum located in the Winter Palace. The Winter Palace was the residence of the Russian Czars & was built during the span of 1754 to 1762. The array of artwork by the masters was mind boggling; with over 3 million pieces of work from the Stone Age to the 20th Century. Peter the Great’s summer residence at Petrodvorets, with its fabulous gardens, is also not to be missed.
Moscow exceeded my expectations. Red Square & the Kremlin were wonderful. Gum’s Shopping Center at Red Square was amazing; built in 1893 brings you back to the time of the Czars. Another thing that wowed me there were the subways. It is hard to believe that a subway could impress anyone, but in all of my travels & there have been lots, I have never seen anything like what I saw there. The station at Red Sq built by Stalin has bronze sculptures throughout. You would think that you were in a museum, rather than a subway station. The other stations also had fabulous art work.
I also found the food to be quite good. Breakfasts were huge buffets with a vast array of choices. Typical Russian dinners were borsht (a hot beet soup) & beef stroganoff (Created by the Duke of Stroganoff because he had no teeth & needed something soft to eat). Salads & desserts are also included. Lots of vodka toasts occur, as well, at dinner time.
Shopping is great with the dollar getting a great exchange rate against the ruble. Picking up a matriochka (stacking doll) is a must. I brought 2 home.