Tour Update: Russia 2019, Memories of St. Petersburg, Round 2

    On our last full day of planned activity our TourMagination tour went to Peterhof in the early morning.  This is justly claimed as one of the great Summer Palaces of Europe.  Beautifully situated on a cliffbank overlooking the Gulf […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Moscow to St. Petersburg

    An interesting bit of trivia, the Bistro is usually associated with either Italian or French but is actually from a Russian word for immediate. During the Napoleon war, the Russian military didn’t travel with kitchens to feed the men […]

    Tour Update: Russia 2019, Moscow: Cemeteries & Art Galleries

    So an amazing encounter just now in Moscow.  We were toward the end of our day-tour.  We were on our own after a rich morning in the famed Tretyakov Art Gallery, after earlier stops at the impressive Christ the […]

    Tour Update: Russia Tour 2019, Day 1

    There is a “hold onto your hats” element to every TourMagination tour that Mary and I have been privileged to be part of, and that is certainly the case with this Russia tour. It began yesterday as we all […]

    A Final Russia Blog Post

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Thursday, 4 October 2018. A final blog entry for TourMagination’s Russia and Ukraine Tours, 2018 I’m writing this from my home, which means that the wonderful Russia-extension to the equally wonderful Ukraine 2018 trip is at […]

    Treasures of Russia tour, end of the last day in Russia

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader I was in the Kremlin with our group today on the Russia extension.  While there I kept seeing rather large groups of tourists come and go, often in numbers of 50 and more. I […]

    Treasures of Russia tour, second update

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Our last full day.  I’ve been reading a verse or four from the Bible for each of our days in Ukraine and Russia.  Each portion has been chosen to speak to that particular day, […]

    Day 1, Treasures of Russia Tour, St. Petersburg

    Thursday, 27 September 2018  So we made it to St. Petersburg yesterday evening after a morning farewell to Odessa, on the shores of the beautiful Black Sea.  Our routing to Russia took us after that through Minsk in Belarus […]

    2017 Russia Tour Update: The Last Day

    Well well, we have reached that stage of the final day.  We’ve had our final meal in a lovely setting and are now settled in for a whole 5 hours of sleep (!) before we start our journey home.  […]

    TM Russia Tour 2017: Art Lovers’ Paradise in the Hermitage

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017 For many in the group this was the highlight of the trip, at least in advance.  For so many had heard of the Hermitage.  This art gallery, one of the largest in the world, is […]

    Russia Tour 2017: First Day in St. Petersburg

    Monday, October 16, 2017 If it’s Monday it must be St. Petersburg, at least for this fine cohort of travellers.  We arrived in the late afternoon on Sunday, and settled into our Crowne Plaza Ligovsky.  The location could not […]

    Russia Tour 2017: Last Day in Moscow

    Sunday, 15 October 2017 It’s Sunday morning in Moscow, our last morning here.  Some are still getting going, others are at breakfast (and quite a spread it is), while still others have gone to their rooms to pack for […]

    Russia Tour 2017: Touring Moscow

    Friday, October 13, 2017 Today was a rather conventional day in Moscow, but that only tells half the story. The conventional part was the first half of the day when we went to the Moscow Kremlin and toured the […]

    Day one of the tour to Russia

    By Len Friesen, Tour Leader Well, well, the TourMagination tour for 2017 is up and running.  We arrived in Moscow earlier today after a couple of smooth flights across the Atlantic, and then from Frankfurt to Russia’s capital city.  […]

    Farewell from Russia

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   I have just returned from a long walk through the heart of St. Petersburg, a city that has played such a powerful role in my life over many years.  My TourMagination group has […]

    Peterhof Palace and Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery

    by Hart Wiens, tour participant   This trip has been one of those “bucket list” activities for Ginny and me. We had long talked about visiting the country where our parents and several generations before them lived. Friends kept […]

    Cathedral of the Spilled Blood to Peter & Paul

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   It is our second morning in St. Petersburg, and it is striking how quickly members of our group have gotten a feel for this majestic city of canals, rivers, and palaces. Typical of […]

    Moscow and St Petersburg

    By Len Friesen, tour leader   We had a bit of a bus city tour on Friday morning:  from the Kremlin to the Bolshoi Theatre to St. Basil’s.  We then toured the Kremlin itself, that great fortress at the […]

    Three terrific snapshots, three countries

    by Len Friesen, tour leader   It’s been a magical if slightly sleep-deprived 36 hours or so.  I’ll summarize in three snapshots: 1.  The first snapshot:  Our final banquet in Zaporozhe seems to have barely happened, but it was […]

    Last Words

    The TM Russia/Ukraine trip is at an end, and our lovely group has begun to scatter across European airports.  Before we parted I asked participants to briefly type out personal highlights.  They summarize what was a remarkably rich time […]

    Have Plane, Will Travel

    Well, this was a day for plane travel as the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made it almost impossible to travel between the two countries.  So we made our way very early this morning from Moscow to Munich to […]

    Up Late, Up Early, but Still.

    I think that there’s something about TourMagination that is very special, and it’s the way that it creates moving communities.  It’s happened before (and I’m delighted to see that Donna is one of many past fellow-travelers who is following […]

    Two Moscows: Mother Russia and Red Russia

    Red Square.  The Kremlin.  St. Basil’s Cathedral.  Ivan the Terrible.  Lenin.  Stalin.  It’s hard to grasp how many places and names are directly associated with this great city.  We’ve returned from a busy day in which we say both […]

    Goodbye. Hello.

    We awoke this morning in St. Petersburg for our final morning there. So many of the participants commented on how they had come to feel quite safe to go out on their own in St. Petersburg; so many had […]

    Last days in St Petersburg

    Saturday: A Day of Sharp Contrasts We started the day by taking the Hydrofoil from the Winter Square Palace Embankment out to Peterhof on the Gulf of Finland. This great summer palace of the Tsars was created on the […]

    A City of Imperial Proportion

    Another fine day is in the books.  It started with a mini-tour of St. Petersburg, an imperial city that defies any quick tour.  Our hotel is ideally situated to see this potpourri  of castles, canals and rivers.  The famed Winter […]

    Many Roads, One Meeting Place

    The Russia Ukraine tour is underway!  We met up over the past two days at various places:  Toronto, Vienna, the St. Petersburg airport and even one person (Caroline) who was waiting for us at our hotel in this great city […]