Margaret Kelly Haas
We wanted to say thank you once again for everything that you did for us.
You certainly took very, very good care of us.
We had a wonderful time. Our driver, Alexi and our tour guide, Anatole were so good on our first day and of course, Helen was wonderful taking us through the Kremlin's history. Helen shared so much with us and we even got to see the Unknown Soldier flame and older people putting flowers there.
We had so much fun with you and your friend on Victory day.
I will send you pictures when I can. Your friend was so nice. Please thank her for us.
The day at the Victory Park was very moving (this means we were very affected by the old soldiers). We have told so many people about the respect that is paid to the soldiers by giving them flowers. My husband says that is a very good tradition and he wished we did that here. We did go to Storey Arbat after we left you and found it ok. We found some beers there, finally. That night we found some good vodka at a little restaurant near the Marriott and then we walked down to the Kremlin at 10pm and saw the fireworks from a distance. The crowd was very fine and we had no problems at all. Then we went to the Ritz Carlton and drank some wine and called another friend in the states from the bar! I am so happy that we came for your holiday and so happy we went to Victory Park and to the fireworks.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day for us. This is a holiday where we honor all soldiers in all wars who have died. There are parades in every town, even very small towns. The veterans who are living usually participate. It's very nice. The President lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington.
I know we were tired the day we went to Victory park and the boat and that I got sooooooooooooooo tired of walking, but it was such a great memory for us to do that and we so appreciate all the time you took with us. I have told everyone that you even took us to the train station. That was so thoughtful. Thank you.
We arrived at 11:30 pm in St. Petersburg. It took a few minutes but we found our driver. He was very handsome and very strong. Antone. He took both our big suitcases and carried them up steps and to the car. We got settled in our wonderful hotel and in the morning Galena came and picked us up (with the same driver, I am happy to say!).
We loved our city tour with her. That night Mary Ellen and I went to the show "Feel Yourself Russian" and saw the dancing and singing. We just loved it.
Galena picked us up again and we went to Peterhoff by Hydrofoil for a very interesting day. That night Mary Ellen and I walked around (got lost a little, haha). It was light out until 11:30 and not really dark until after midnight.
On Friday, Galena picked us up and we spent most of the day at the Hermitage. Galena, like Helen, knows her art and her history and was wonderful. Please tell them both how much we appreciate their care of us and the knowledge that they shared.
On Saturday we had a day for ourselves and walked to St. Peter and Paul fortress and saw the graves of the tsars. We climbed to the top of St. Isaac's Cathedral and then we walked down Nevsky Prospekt. By that time, I was very used to walking and Mary Ellen was pretty proud and said I should keep doing it when I get home. I told her no way - when I get home I am taking taxis! That night we went to the ballet at the Mariinsky. Another wonderful memory. We had a late dinner around the corner from our hotel and met some people and had some fun.
What a trip! We are telling everyone how wonderful you and your company are to take such good care of us. I will send you a couple of pictures as soon as I can.
Meantime, many many thanks for making our trip of a lifetime so perfect!