Father Frost and the Snow Maiden: New Year's Eve in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia with a Taste of Finland (Dec. 28, 2017 - Jan. 8, 2018)

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Father Frost and the Snow Maiden: New Year's Eve in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia with a Taste of Finland (Dec. 28, 2017 - Jan. 8, 2018)


TOUR PRICE:  The price for this eleven days, air-inclusive St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia with a Taste of Finland package is ONLY $2099.00 per person based on double occupancy (two to a room).  Air taxes are an additional $122.00 per person (subject to slight change until ticketing).  If you want a single room, the single supplement is $499.00.  We have only a limited number of singles available.  We believe this to be one of our BEST DEALS of 2017 and 2018


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Winston Churchill once said, "Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."  Indeed, with over 1100 years of history, Russia is an exotic land with a rich and often turbulent past but whose people continue to frustrate all external attempts at defining their national character. It is impossible for outsiders to understand the so-called Russian soul, when Russians themselves have debated the nature of this soul for centuries.  Russia's geographical location, encompassing two continents separated by the Ural Mountains, has fed into this debate by raising the identity problem posed in the form of the question: Are we Russians largely a European or an Asiatic people?  Or are we something in between with a special destiny of our own?  

Until 1703, Russia was a vast but landlocked nation that had experienced countless invasions from the east and west and remained a rather isolated country engaged in a relentless struggle for survival.  The Mongol "yoke" alone of the ancient lands of Rus lasted for nearly 250 years! But one Russian leader was determined to break Russia's isolation and to link Russia definitively with the West by creating a "Window on Europe" in the marshlands of the Gulf of Finland.  His name was Peter the Great.  In the midst of a long and eventually victorious war with Sweden in the late seventeenth and early eighteen centuries, Peter decided to create a magnificent new capital in the north, St. Petersburg, which would provide Russia with a permanent access to the Baltic Sea and the wider seas beyond.  Founder of the first Russian navy and an experienced European traveler, Peter became convinced that Russia's future must be culturally connected to the West.  

Peter named his new capital after the biblical St. Peter.  Renamed Leningrad after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the city returned to its original name after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.  Often simply referred to as "Peter" by Russians, St. Petersburg is today a magical place of incredible palaces, world-renown theatres, breathtaking Orthodox churches, scenic vistas on the banks of the River Neva, spacious parks and gardens and museums, like the Hermitage, that are mind-blowing in terms of their wealth and treasures.  For history buffs, St. Petersburg was the seat of power for Russian monarchs from 1703-1918, the home of the Russian Revolution, and the location of the heroic siege of Leningrad, where, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives, the Russians held out against Hitler's war machine during the darkest days of World War II.  The inspiration for many famous Russian writers, such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Pushkin, St. Petersburg has a mystique about it capable of turning casual tourists into philosophically-minded humanists interested in discussing not only the Russian soul but the universal soul of man.  

For most Russians, religious and non-religious, the most important celebration of the year is New Year's Eve.  (Russians do not celebrate Christmas in December but in early January in accordance with the Russian Orthodox Church.)  If you want to be in a city when it is truly alive with the most intense joy of the year, then St. Petersburg is it.  Imagine the beauty of the city itself, made more splendid with the crisp air of winter and a fresh blanket of snow reflecting the multi-colored holiday lights strung throughout the city.  Imagine a stroll on Nevsky Prospect, where Dostoevsky himself once walked, followed by a stop in a café or restaurant for some warm borsch, Siberian pelmeni and delicious blini, all slaked down with some of the best vodka in the world.  Imagine celebrating New Year's Eve in one of the imperial ballrooms in which the Russian royalty and nobility greeted in the New Year with French champagne, caviar, and dancing.  Let your imagination become reality by joining us on this amazing New Year's Eve tour 2010-2011.  The "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" awaits you.

In addition to St. Petersburg, we have now also decided to add a three night extension to the ancient city of Moscow at the conclusion of our visit to Peter.   Moscow was first mentioned in the historical record in 1147, when Prince Yuri the Long Arm invited a fellow prince to feast with him in Moscow.  Yuri then constructed walls around the settlement in 1156 thereby officially transforming Moscow into a town.  From the 12th to the 16th century, Moscow served as the center of a process known as the gathering of the Russian lands, which led to the establishment of the Muscovite absolutist state under such tsars as Ivan the Great and Ivan the Terrible.  It is during Ivan the Terrible's reign that the magnificent St. Basil's Cathedral was constructed on Red Square.  Moscow has thus come to represent old, traditional Russia and the seat of religious and political power up until the time of Peter the Great.

As an added bonus, we will be spending a night in Helsinki, Finland on the return from Moscow.  We will one day and one night to enjoy a taste of Finnish culture and food. 

TOUR FEATURES:  This fabulous holiday getaway includes round trip air transportation to St. Petersburg, Russia with a return from Moscow and Helskinki, Finland on Finnair; all private transfers between the airports/train stations and the hotels in St. Petersburg an d Moscow; six nights in the first class Park Inn Nevsky Prospekt Hotel with breakfasts daily;  a full day sightseeing tour  of St. Petersburg, including a three course lunch and entrance to the Peter and Paul Fortress and the world-famous Hermitage Museum; an optional day trip from St. Petersburg to the ancient Russian town of Novgorod with three course lunch;  an optional day trip from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo (Catherine the Great's Palace) and the Yusupov Palace (where Rasputin was murdered) with a three course lunch; one-way high speed train from St. Petersburg to Moscow;  three nights in Moscow in the Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Centre Hotel with breakfasts daily; a full day sightseeing tour of Moscow, including a visit to the Kremlin and entrance to the Armoury Chamber (you will also see, of course. Lenin's Tomb and St. Basil's Cathedral in Red Square);  air transportation from Moscow to Helsinki; private motor coach transfers between the airport and hotel in Helsinki with English-speaking assistant; one night in a four star hotel in Helsinki with breakfast; the services of a full-time, English-speaking Russian tour manager while in Moscow; and a pre-departure orientation sponsored by Kevin Arawjo of ArawjoTours, LLC.