Author Topic: Trip to Alexander Palace? [2005]  (Read 37031 times)

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2004, 11:24:35 AM »
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Exactly, Helen. One had a "dream of a lifetime" the other was so sick of the Romanovs and their palaces he put his entire collection up for sale. It was a rather intense and very full schedule.  A couple of people in the group also became ill- but I think that could happen anywhere.
This was...maybe 8 years ago. I do recal the hotel, meals and transportation around was superior as well.  I wanted to join, but did not have the time.


I suppose that with a large or medium size group, you cannot ever please everyone the same way. This is why it is important that most group members have the same agenda, which I think may be easier to achieve with the members here. Most are pretty avid Romanov fans who will not get tired of the Romanov related places after seeing many of them for two weeks. Plus, going into it, most people here will know exactly what this trip will be about. Of course if I spend 5 grand, I would have very high expectations and would be upset if they weren't met in the end. So it may also be a matter of how much you invest in it for many people.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2004, 11:29:04 AM »
Yes, that was the idea behind the group I am talking about- 12 people all avid "romanovphiles". I guess  it just just tested the limits...One comment I remeber avidly- "all those ruined palaces begin to look alike after the 15th one! "
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

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Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2004, 11:43:56 AM »
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Yes, that was the idea behind the group I am talking about- 12 people all avid "romanovphiles". I guess  it just just tested the limits...One comment I remeber avidly- "all those ruined palaces begin to look alike after the 15th one! "


That's how most people on my group tour around the Golden Ring last May felt about all the monastaries we visited, they all looked the same after a while. Everyone started to say that they never want to go into another RO church as long as they lived! I guess the key is to keep things focused and not overdo anything, balance it so that there is just enough but not too much of one thing. Of course the idea of "enough" and "too much" is different for different people.    :)

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2004, 12:05:59 PM »
I did say that this was a rather "upscale" group tour.  There are more costly ones, as well as less expensive.  The idea being "you get what you pay for".  I would imagine an audience with the dead would be an extra cost option.
Anyway, seems between 3-5 thousand  is the range ??
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Offline Forum Admin

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2004, 12:08:46 PM »
Just to remind our European readers. The Euro is now at an all time high against the US$, almost $1.40, so European travel is more expensive for us.   Also, air fare to St. Petersburg is expensive, but even more so for readers in the Western US, probably 50% higher than departure from New York. Bob will speak to Greg Tepper at Exeter, and get some ballpark ideas, once people decide what kind of travel trip they want. Bear in mind that its a long way from Petersburg to Ekaterinburg!


Offline chintz22

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2004, 12:13:11 PM »
Hi All,

I think setting expectations is half the battle--I like the way Rick Steves outlines his tours for instance http://tours.ricksteves.com/tours05/unique.cfm

Another thing I like about Rick Steves is one of his tour group mottos; No Grumps!  The person who said "all those ruined palaces begin to look alike after the 15th one! " would qualify as a grump in my book.  I know there are plenty of them on tours, but it never fails to amaze me--why do these people bother going on the trip?  I can't imagine having that attitude in Russia!  

I agree with Robert when he said a group of Romanovphiles would be best.  I was just excitedly enthusing to a friend about this thread "Can you imagine, visiting the room where the Empress helped Lili Dehn make her bed during the revolution?  Staying at the monastery that sent supplies to the Imperial Family!" and I saw her eyes glaze over and that familiar quizzical expression form.  It would be wonderful to travel with people who shared that excitement and I wouldn't have to try to explain my interest.

Best,

Sarah

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2004, 12:20:03 PM »
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Bob will speak to Greg Tepper at Exeter, and get some ballpark ideas, once people decide what kind of travel trip they want.


FA,

I am not sure if Exeter would be the appropriate source to quote a price for this type of a trip. I have been familiar with this organization for a couple of years now and I think their prices are most exorbitant out of all the travel services I came across that organize travel to Russia, although I am sure that the accomodations they provide are pretty luxurious. I think most of us here are thinking more along the lines of "Globus" - type accomodations and prices, comfortable but not luxurious accomodations at reasonable prices...  :)

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2004, 12:30:41 PM »
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 I was just excitedly enthusing to a friend about this thread "Can you imagine, visiting the room where the Empress helped Lili Dehn make her bed during the revolution?  Staying at the monastery that sent supplies to the Imperial Family!" and I saw her eyes glaze over and that familiar quizzical expression form.  It would be wonderful to travel with people who shared that excitement and I wouldn't have to try to explain my interest.

I think you said it very well, Sarah. This is why I would much rather go on this kind of a tour with members of this forum rather than my own friends or family who have no appreciation for this whatsoever and would probably end up complaining through most of the trip about how boring and same everything is, or want to do something totally different from what I would want to do!  ::)

I just took a look at Rick Stevens tours website, he doesn't offer any tours to Russia, I guess you just meant we should try to imitate his style in the way he organizes and conducts his tours?

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2004, 12:37:51 PM »
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Also, air fare to St. Petersburg is expensive
It's not that bad actually if you book in advance, although not as cheap as flying r/t to and from Moscow. I think I paid a little less than $700 r/t from NYC in May, but my ticket was flying into Moscow, then flying out of St Pete with a connection in Moscow, which is generally more expensive than getting into and flying out of the same city. I used Aeroflot (yes I was brave ;)), other airlines are somewhat more expensive but not that much more, maybe another $150. Again, I think it depends on when you book. Perhaps a travel agency can get group rates that are a little cheaper, I don't know how that works... Another option would be to fly into Moscow and take an overnight train into St Pete which would be cheaper too and kind of fun I think. There are several options like that.

Offline chintz22

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #39 on: December 31, 2004, 12:48:37 PM »
Hi Helen,

Yes, the steves site was just for the way he explains his tours--alas he doesn't go to Russia!

Best,

Sarah

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #40 on: December 31, 2004, 01:38:00 PM »
Okay - let's see what we can do - when should we do it?  September?  Just Petersburg?

One problem I have run into before is that some people who THINK they are really into the Romanovs change there mind when you have to hike 2 miles on the Siberian taiga to get to the mine shaft.  They also change their mind when they see us all climbing all over overgrown spots like the Tsar's Train Station and start asking 'when can we go back to the Hermitage'!

I don't think that would be a problem with anyone who's active in the forum but it has happened before.

The greatest number I ever took to Russia was 150 senior citizens - that was a tough trip.  There were lots of complaints about the food and rooms.  I was glad when it was over.

Bob

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #41 on: December 31, 2004, 06:47:55 PM »
BTW the taiga was incredibily beautiful.  There were widely spaced old birch trees, a carpet of grass that looked like it had just been cut, wild flowers and mushrooms everywhere.  The silvery leaves were flashing in the light breeze.  Above a blue sky - incredibly clear and bright blue.  I am sorry Alix never saw it.

Offline chintz22

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #42 on: December 31, 2004, 08:46:43 PM »
Hi Bob,

This trip appeals to me no matter where we go, but I'd like to put in a vote for Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg in addition to St. Petersburg.  St. Petersburg and Moscow are relatively tourist friendly, but there is little or no chance that I would ever be able to get to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg on my own.  To be able to visit the church that was built on the Ipatiev House site and visit the resting place of the family until their discovery in the 90s would be incredible.  I know folks have different levels of mobility but I would be willing to happily hike to any sight you'd care to show me!

Also, I know it is early in the planning stage but is there any possibility that Penny Wilson or Greg King could accompany us?

Best,

Sarah

Offline Elizabeth

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #43 on: December 31, 2004, 09:51:52 PM »
Wow!  I didn't realize that this topic would get such a great response.  When do we leave?   ;)

Seriously, in answer to Bob's earlier post, I would have to place a vote for Tsarskoe Selo/Petersburg (could that include Pavlovsk & Peterhof since they're nearby?).  

If Moscow and the Crimea are options, that would be great too, but I would think something would have to be "left out" (due to the distances involved), and that would mean not being able to go to Tobolsk & Ekaterinburg.  (Unless we go North/South/East/West/South -- Petersburg/Moscow/Tobolsk/Ekat/Crimea -- and then fly back to the US out of the Crimea.  

I would definitely love to go to Tobolsk and Ekaterinburg, but what are the logistics of getting there and, I guess, the most affordable for all of us (i.e., plane or train?).  I never pictured Tobolsk as having either of these, but then, of course, I haven't followed anything about the city since the spring of 1917.   And I wouldn't have ANY problem hiking over the Russian tiaga -- in fact, you might have a hard time of pulling me away from there.   ;)

Regarding facilities:  I'm not really into anything fancy (as long as it has a mattress and running water).  Bob, I know you mentioned something earlier about a monastery, and I've stayed in them in the US -- and had friends stay in them overseas -- in the past.  You don't get "room service" OR an opulent lobby, but the TLC that is given out vastly exceeds anything from a five-star hotel, in my humble opinion.  

As far as "meeting" somewhere (I think that was in an earlier post), wouldn't a major international airport in the USA be best -- i.e., Chicago/NYC/Atlanta -- that would take us directly over there together (and, if it had a layover in Europe, then pick up any others there)?  

Also, would it be cheaper to fly into, say, Finland, and take the train over the border into Petersburg than flying into Russia itself (just an idea)?

Bob, are you in touch with Suzanne Massie at all?  I've seen that her name periodically appears on trips from one of the travel agencies that I used to receive info. from (but VERY expensive).  Not so much her being our guide -- YOU would be our greatest font of info. -- but for some travel/price ideas.

I can also touch base with my priest's father-in-law (can you tell I'm Orthodox).  Fr. John and his wife came back from Russia a few months ago, and I could see what their travel arrangements were (they are elderly so it was not a lengthy trip).  Among their other stops, they visited the Ss. Martha & Mary Convent in Moscow (yes, that's ANOTHER place I would like to visit).  

Saving my pennies as I type . ..

E--  

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Trip to Alexander Palace?
« Reply #44 on: January 01, 2005, 06:42:46 AM »
Cost is not the only consideration for a trip such as that! Time involved would be  a HUGE factor, if it were to be comfortable and as well as informative and enjoyable.  My understanding of domestic air travel in Russia is that it can be  "adventurous".  Also "if it's Tuesday,this must be Belgium" type of tours are  not much fun at all.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.