And now for something completely different. This year we are touring Russia via river cruise. We never thought about taking a cruise, and we also never thought we'd go to Russia. But Delores and Cathy found an offer we couldn't refuse, so off we go in a few months.
There will be six of us this time, the usual gang of four plus our niece Kelly and her husband Shereef. After meeting up in St. Petersburg, we'll shuttle to the ship and spend a couple of days in St. Petersburg, then cruise two rivers and seas for a week or so before ending in Moscow for a couple of days. We visit at least four World Heritage sites on the way.
Russia wasn't on the bucket list. If you've read my past travel blogs, you know that I like to research and do almost all the planning myself. No tours, except maybe one-day trips outside the city we're visiting. But Russia is different. I don't speak the language or even read the alphabet. (I am currently working on that!) I wouldn't try to make reservations or navigate public transportation, especially between two big cities. We wouldn't do a land tour either -- all the packing and bus riding doesn't appeal.
This way, the hotel moves with us! The ship stops at a different place every day, so we'll see a lot in a short time. It's White Nights in St. Petersburg, when the sun only sets for a short time and it's light almost 24 hours. It's a national holiday, and it's a milestone birthday for me. It was fate that we go!
We are studying our Fodor's guide and surfing the internet. I've learned a lot already. I'm reading "Russka" to get some history. I'll update as the trip gets closer.