a year ago
This trip was a terrific experience and I recommend it without hesitation. I knew little about Russia but between reading several of the recommended books (very helpful), having extremely knowledgeable guides, and having the opportunity to speak with citizens about what they see as the pros and cons of their country, I learned a great deal. However, the emphasis is on historic Russia rather than the present status of the Russian Federation. An advantage of this tour was that it provided the opportunity to also see the countryside and smaller towns of the Golden Ring in addition to visiting Moscow and St Petersberg. I had thought that this part of the trip might involve too many cathedrals and monasteries but it was actually very interesting. I was familiar with Russian writers but was impressed by the work of Russian artists and artisans that were new to me. We enjoyed attending a more contemporary Russian ballet and a concert highlighting a Russian composer. The trip involves a fair amount of standing and little down time but it is not particularly strenuous if you are in good health. It is fast paced because there is so much to see. The food was fine but somewhat bland and repetitive so not a draw for us. We had a couple of afternoons for our independent exploration and spent an additional day in St Petersburg following the Road Scholar tour. We felt very comfortable being on our own and others in our group arrived early or remained even longer.