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.  But even knowing  the night will be a short one the spirits were terrifically high as we gathered for that final meal.  
 I was asked several times if I was behind the meal, which was fabulous, and helped a great deal by "Dima" our waiter (some people just know how to be welcoming).  I kept telling them that the credit goes to TourMagination; that's a company which knows how to create an ideal setting to celebrate the end of a journey.  And what a rich journey it has been.  We made several toasts today, to the people on this tour, to the people whom we met along the way, to Moscow, and to St. Petersburg.  People who may not have known what they were in for - who were not necessarily drawn to Russia at the outset - will now go home having experienced something very special.  

Today was a free day, and yet we arranged it so that our paths crossed more than once.  A few mainly rested, others explored the great Imperial cemetery where the likes of Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky are buried, and still others went to the great Hermitage museum (now housed separately) of the French Impressionists.  Oh, and there may have been cake and coffee along the way, there may have been rich Russian ice cream, and there may have been more views of more canals, rivers, and stunning Imperial buildings.

At the start of this day I asked people to share memories of the trip so far, and this is what they came up with.  Enjoy!

From various group members as they typed them out:
  1. Len’s tour of Russia is a feast for those who love the arts.  In Moscow we visited the main art galleries and our knowledgeable guide gave us many new insights.  In St.Petersburg, two of us saw ballets at both the Marijinsky and the new Marijinsky theatres. The tour offered the chance to experience the Russian arts scene in a never-to-be-forgotten way!
  2. My perception of Russia has been totally changed by this incredible tour, walking in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, observing local people, visiting incredible buildings and cathedrals, eating deliciously “strange” food, talking with visitors from China, France, Mexico, and Cameroun (French language).  What can I say: this incredible tour has changed my view of Russia.  Thanks to our guide, Dr. Len. Thank you TourMagination.
  3. There are some paintings in the Tretyakov museum in Moskau that are haunting me, given the splendor in which the elite of the day lived and the abject poverty of the people at large, plus the cruelty of the tsars. I’ll never forget the painting “The Troika Apprentices”, knowing that one of the boys depicted died shortly afterwards and his mother asked the painter to sell the painting to her, but he couldn’t because it was already sold, so he did another one just for her the same as the first.
  4.  The walks at night through the cities were so grounding and uplifting at the same time.  Public transportation with everyday Russians, monuments lit up at night, the chance to chat about the history and politics as we walked with our wonderful leader Len.  Just one of many of the highlights of this spectacular tour.
  5.  Red Square at night was fabulous with all the lights on the buildings.  We walked there on the night we first arrived in Moscow and it set the stage for such a memorable trip.

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