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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed July 2019
    Janet Wilson

    From Russia with Love

    This is a fast-paced tour covering 4 cities in 7 days with almost as many modes of transport. The whirlwind of Moscow and St Petersburg is tempered by the quietness and quaintness of Novgorod and Pushkin. I had no idea what to expect of Russia and you can almost be put off by the visa application process alone, but what I found was a friendlier, cleaner and much greener country than I expected. This trip gives you an ideal mechanism of seeing the key tourist sites plus a little of the country and leaves you wanting to go back to sample more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first time I saw Red Square had the sun just starting to set, with clear blue skies. The image of St Basil's and the GUM department store being lit up will never leave me. And who knew that a trip around the Moscow underground could be so impressive?

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Artem was patient, entertaining, informative and constantly ensured that we got the most out of our trip and our free-time. There were 16 of us on our trip and I'm sure he often thought he was herding cats. Our group got on really well and Artem definitely ensured we had fun as well as culture during our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This may be classed as a leisurely/moderate trip but trying to see everything you can means pounding the pavements and museums for an easy 12 miles per day. Although the trip notes advise purchasing opera/ballet tickets several months in advance, our experience was that (in June) any site you may wish to do in your spare time, E.g. Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg, also needs to be booked a long time in advance. And if anyone offers you horseradish vodka - run!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm veggie and had no problems getting food during the trip - we tried Russian, Georgian and Armenian throughout, with some nods to Asian and pizza in between. There is so much to do in St Petersburg that I'd recommend having an extra 1 or 2 nights to give you time to see more and just do some people watching - but beware that in June there are gazillions of cruise ship passengers.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Isabel Draper

    Nothing like it

    Such a privilege, travelling on a nuclear-powered Russian icebreaker which spends most of the year keeping the northern Russian seaways clear for cargo ships: a brilliant job was due to convert it temporarily for tourists. The dour Heroes of the Motherland were retained to crew the vessel which made it all the more atmospheric, but they couldn’t compete for character with the polar bears, especially the one who was so co-operative for photos despite us having distracted him from his kill. The only downside was that we weren’t warned how hot the boat is: future travellers need to take some light clothing for indoors.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The crunching and shuddering as the boat tackled the ice.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant, and obviously well-regarded by the rest of the team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above re light clothing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Neither the Russians nor the Finns can make tea.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Peter Craig

    Don't know what I am meant to review!

    I would recommend this Tour to anyone with a remote interest in Russia and its history. The Journey (from St Petersburg in our case) to Ekaterinburg unfolded the story of Russia old and new. We were staggered by the churches, some built less than ten years ago. The trains were excellent except the Kazan to Ekaterinburg 14 hour journey, where the train had no buffet or trolley service for food. You have to stock up at the occasional 20-30 minute stop at stations. Fine, it added to the fun. We were recommended not to eat anything unwrapped from the stations but I couldn't exist on biscuits and crisps so had a Russian version of a cheese and potato pasty. No problems. Hotels very good. A really well put together tour which I would strongly recommend. Russians much nicer and much more helpful than their normal image in the west. The cities were very impressive in a classical 19th century way. Come on Exodus, why not a trip starting in Ekaterinburg and going eastwards...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Moscow Kremlin. But too many highlights to list really.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Artem was excellent, fluent and helpful. 100% except he didn't really get over to us in time that the 14 hour Kazan to Ekaterinburg train had no food on board. It wouldn't have mattered except he discouraged us (on hygiene grounds) from buying at the station kiosks. Personally I would judge the station food safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No, relax and enjoy it. It doesn't live down to its Cold War image

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just that small point re the 14 hour journey; decide if station kiosk food is okay or not. I think its okay. But if Exodus want to be cautious tell everyone to stock up with wrapped sandwiches the night before.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Katherine Morgan

    A great trip full of variety.

    A very busy trip with so much to see, it was my first time in Russia and this trip is an excellent introduction into its history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed Suzdal and Vladimir, a pleasant change from the big cities, a great opportunity to see some of the old Russia. The churches were all amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Artem was excellent, very well organised, thorough and extremely patient ensuring all our needs were met. Local guides were also good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light! The hotels never offer assistance with bags etc. Would also suggest an extra day in Moscow which we did, the group day was a bit rushed as there was so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you do the St Petersburg extension, which I highly recommend, make sure you take a direct flight there. We didn't and our luggage didn't come with us so we spent the first three days in our travel clothes.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Christine Mcdougall

    Amazing trip

    This trip is an excellent introduction to Russia. It is fast paced but this ensures you are able to see as much as possible. It was interesting to visit smaller towns of novgorod and Pushkin as well as Moscow and st. Petersburg.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was interesting but highlights were the hermitage, the faberge museum and the Moscow metro. All surpassed expectations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Artem was very good at organising us and in taking us to good places to eat. Very friendly guide with excellent English ( all our local guides were very good and knowledgable about the places we were visiting). I was surprised we did not have a tipping kitty on this trip as it makes everything so much easier.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take comfortable shoes for walking and don’t pack too much.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a very good first trip to Russia. Hotels and restaurants were better than expected. If you have time to add a few days do so. It is easy to get around st petersburg and hotel staff are very helpful. Unfortunately I couldn’t do this as there was so much more to see.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Christine Mcdougall

    Fabulous tripa very

    A very good trip to a fascinating country. Trip covers Moscow, novrogod, Pushkin and st petersburg and is very busy. Great to see so many places in one trip. It was all fascinating

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all fascinating but the Hermitage and faberge surpassed my expectations. Trip on Moscow metro also fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Artem was very good. Trip was well organised and he selected a variety of good restaurants for us to try. The food was better than I expected. Very pleasant guide with excellent English. We didn’t have a kitty for tips (which I have had on past trips). I think this would have been a good ideal I really

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take comfortable shoes as lots of walking. You don’t need lots of clothes and avoid a heavy suitcase as you are on the move between towns.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I really enjoyed this trip. I have wanted to visit Russia for a long time. It is a good introduction to the country. If you can add a few days in st petersburg do so. I couldn’t do this on my trip but several members of our group did. Most restaurants and hotel staff speak English and you can get around on your own
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Jane Howard

    25/05/2019

    This trip packs a lot into a short period of time. Be prepared to walk a lot and see a lot of art - all amazing. The overnight train trip is an experience, I didn't get a lot of sleep but I didn't expect to!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The faberge museum was fantastic, as was the Hermitage.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Artem, was knowledgeable and keen to ensure we had the best experience in Russia.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be warned that on some days the lunch stop is late - 2-2.30pm - so packing a few muslei bars to keep you going might be an idea. Travel light - with all the moving around lugging lots of luggage is hard work.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Andrea Minney

    Two wonderful cities

    I loved the trip, just the right length for me, very busy with lots of walking but that was what I was expecting. Nice balance of free time and group excursions. Minimal additional payments required. Not too many early mornings. I was very impressed with the standard of accomodation. We ate as a group most nights and I enjoyed all of the restaurants selected, although we did not have to eat with the group I found it easier than researching my own places. The only part I would do without would be the overnight train, having done many overnight train journeys, I find they just make people tired, it is not an experience I ever enjoy. I would recommend staying longer in both cities before and after the tour, something I wasn't able to do, there is simply so much to see and do.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved St Basils Cathedral, well worth going inside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I liked Eugene, he was very organised and tried his best to keep our group together which was difficult at times. It was easy to say that you were going to do something alone rather than with the group and Eugene was helpful with suggestions of where to go. I liked this as we did not always want to go with the group. He was one of the best tour leaders I have had. He managed to get us around the majority of the sights despite the public holiday and road closures making it very difficult for him to arrange our schedule. The local guides were good but I found it very difficult to hear what they were saying as well as taking photos, it was impossible to do both, so I found I missed a lot of information. We used ear pieces in The Hermitage, which was much easier.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of walking, there is a lot to see in a short space of time and walking is the best way to see most of it. Avoid booking around the Russian public holiday on May 9th, there are many road closures around the centre of Moscow on three days for practicing military parades, then for the actual parade on May 9th. Red Square is also closed at these times, it means that some attractions are not accessible making planning of the tour very difficult. St Petersburg also has road closures over this holiday, meaning we took a different route into the city missing some key sights and activities had to be crammed into a shorter time period. I would have avoided these dates had I known.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    sandeep sahi

    Moscow to St Petersburg

    Thought it was a very enjoyable trip. So much to see and so much history. Russia isn't everybody's idea of a vacation, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought a week was just about the right time considering the distances covered.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I really enjoyed both Moscow for the Kremlin and Red Square are places I've wanted to visit from a young age and St Petersburg is a beautiful city - it's hard for me to decide between the two. If I had to decide, I did go the theatre in Moscow, which was fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Eugene was a very good group leader. Conscientious and helpful at all time and engaging. Members of the group can wander off at times, so he had to be on his guard!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was mentioned in the trip notes that it would be advisable to spend extra time in St Petersburg - it's such a big city and so much to see.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Mike Grady

    Cultural excellence

    Exciting tour of Moscow, Novgorod, Pushkin and St Petersburg. Great architecture, fascinating museums, splendid churches and friendly people. Weather was kind and walking in Moscow strenuous. Good hotels and restaurants.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summer Palace at Novograd and the Hearmitwge and Russian Museum in St Petersburg not to mention trips to Bolshoi and mariinsty ballet in Moscow and St Petersburg.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very helpful and affable The pace of walking tour was demanding and more attention needs to be given to group cohesion and mixed abilities. Made great efforts to engage and with better and timely communication has potential be be a really good tour guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check weather forecasts before trip and pack to cover as many scenarios as possible.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fantastic trip, learned a great deal about Russia and its history and culture.
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