Explore Russia and Russian culture with a Russian!

Quite likely, you burn with curiosity about Russia, Russian history and Russian culture, but you dislike travelling with the average tourist group organized by the usual travel agency. Especially for you I developed "programmes for individual tourists and small groups". These programs of course reflect my own interests in and knowledge of Russian culture.

I offer the following possibilities:

  • Organize lodging and board for visitors, as paying guests, in a Russian family, in the first place my own family. Prices are low, and in addition visitors will have the occasion to get acquainted with Russians and to become friends with them, in short to participate in Russian life. I can also book hotel rooms: prices will of course be higher.
  • Guide you along the treasures of Russian culture and art placing these in their historical and cultural context. Apart from the usual places of interest, I can guide you along unusual, unknown, idyllic monuments, ancient castles, monasteries, woods, lakes, in and around St Petersburg (like the most ancient town of Russia, Staraja Ladoga) and elsewhere in Russia, and inform you about their role in Russian history. For instance I can arrange trips for individuals and small groups (up to 5) to the historic sites of Pskov, Izborsk, Petsjory and Novgorod.
  • Artist-guided tours around studios and galleries with introduction to professional artist;

For an example of my cultural programs, see below:

Cultural tour in and around Saint Petersburg

This program has been organized in such a way, that people can choose to participate in one, two, or three weeks of this program. People can also choose to participate in only the second, or the third week, or both, or they can choose a few days. Also combinations of days from weeks 1, 2 and 3 are possible on demand

Week 1. Highlights of Russian culture: an introduction

Day 1.

Arrival, meeting at the airport. Transport to accommodation, making acquaintance with family and flat, welcome dinner.

Day 2.

Morning: visit to the Hermitage, Rastrelli's baroque imperial winter-palace, now one of the world's foremost art museums.
Afternoon: Visit to artists in
St. Petersburg
Evening: concert/theater

Day 3.

Whole day: Excursion to the nearby town of Pushkin. The baroque and neoclassical imperial palaces in Pushkin, with their parks, are dazzling creations by outstanding architects and artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
For this excursion a car with chauffeur can be hired at an extra cost of $20-$30. It is also possible to go there, at much less cost, by public transport, but this takes much more time (but may be quite interesting!).
Evening: free.

Day 4.

Morning: Free
Afternoon: excursion to the baroque Lavra of St. Alexander Nevskii, one of the foremost monasteries in
Evening: free.

Day 5.

Morning: visit to the decaying imperial palace of Strel'ny near St. Petersburg. A very unusual atmosphere, evocating the tragic decline of imperial Russia
You can rent a cab for this excursion (an extra cost of $20) or use public transport.
Afternoon: free.
Evening: free.

Day 6.

Morning: Visit to Russian Museum ,with Russian painting from medieval ikons to Russian Avant-garde and Socialism-realism.
Evening: concert/theater

Day 7.

Morning and Afternoon: Visits to typical Russian versions of baroque and eclecticism: the Smol'nyj convent and cathedral, and the church of the Saviour on the Blood.
Evening: good-bye party.

Day 8.

Departure, seeing off at the airport.
For those staying for a second week descriptions of some interesting and unusual independent excursions will be available for day 8 (e. g. to the Petrokrepost', a castle on the shore of Lake Ladoga. You can rent a car with chauffeur for this excursion (ca $25) or use public transport.

Week 2. St. Petersburg in Russian World Literature

Day 9.

Morning: visit to the starting point of modern Russia: the history museum of Saint-Petersburg in the Peter and Paul fortress, and to the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Afternoon: visit to Pusjkin's apartment and museum.
Evening: free, or reading poetry about St Petersburg in English translation (Pusjkin, Achmatova, Mandel'sjtam).

Day 10.

Morning and afternoon: visit to the nearby town of Pavlovsk with its neoclassical imperial palace and its vastromantic park in English landscape style. This about 600 hectares large park is strewn with statues, pavilions, summer-houses, bridges and other structures. Picnic in the park, reading poems of Russian authors about palaces and parks in English translation (Pusjkin, Achmatova, a.o.).
Evening: free.

Day 11.

Morning/afternoon: Visit to the apartment-musem of Dostojevskij, Rasputin's apartment, and the area where Dostojevskij situated his "Crime and punishment". Advice: read this novel (once more) before departure!
Evening: concert/theater.

Day 12.

Morning: free.
Afternoon: Tour of Arts-Galleries to see contemporary Russian art, or visit to Russian authors.
Evening: concert/ theater.

Day 13.

Morning and Afternoon: Excursion to park and Tsar' Pavel's beautiful, severely classicistic palace at Gattsjina; visit of the small museum "Pusjkin's mail-coach inn" and to Nabokov's paradise lost: the manor house of the Nabokov family with the famous birch alley. There: reading of poems by Nabokov and Achmatova (in English). Transport by car, cost ca $35.
Evening: free.

Day 14.

Morning: visit to the Museum-apartment of Anna Achmatova.
Afternoon: free, or visit to museum of the Russian Academy of Art, or a Russian Orthodox church service to hear church music.
Evening: good-bye party (for those who leave tomorrow).

Day 15.

Departure of two week participants. Arrival of new participants (see day 1).
For those staying for the following week descriptions of some interesting and unusual independent excursions will be available for day 15 (e.g. to the medieval town Viborg). Cost appr. $35, by car with chauffeur.

Week 3. Russian architecture before and after Peter the Great: a contrast

Day 16.

Morning: Visit to Petrodvorets, the dazzling baroque summer palace of the Tsars in the near vicinity of St Petersburg. Transport by boat or train (cost $......for the boat, $..... for the train).
Evening: concert/theater

Day 17.

Morning and afternoon: Excursion to the medieval castles of Koporie and Ivangorod. Ivangorod is situated on the bank of river Narva, opposite to a German castle on the other river bank. Cost of transport by private car with chauffeur: $........
Evening: free.

Day 18.

Morning and afternoon: Excursion to palaces and park of Oranienbaum at Lomonosov, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The palace and garden are connected by a system of terraces and staircases. Due to its original composition, rich architectural forms and a variety of interiors the rococo great palace was one of the most imposing of all seaside palaces of the petrine epoch.. The complex consists of various palaces in diverse stiles, varying from Dutch renaissance to rococo to classicistic, some with pseudo-Chinese interiors. Transport by private car with chauffeur ($ 30.-) or public transport (cost ca $......).
Evening: free.

Day 19 and 20.

Two days excursion to Novgorod, one of the oldest towns of Russia, 190 km south of St Petersburg. Visit to the Kreml' with its medieval fortifications and the early medieval cathedral of Sophija (Aja Sophia, Holy wisdom); visit of part of the numerous medieval churches, some with fresco's (Feofan Grek!); visit to the medieval monastery of Jurjev on the outskirts of Novgorod, with its surrounding walls and early medieval cathedral of St George. One overnight stay in a hotel (cost $.....), transport by public bus (return ticket ca $......).

Day 19

Whole day: excursion to Staraia Ladoga, residence of Russia's mythical first 9-th century grand-duke Rurik, of Viking provenance. The oldest town of Russia. Also visit of the Alexandro-Svirskii monastery, with its romantic scenery of towers, walls, and spires.
Evening: free.

Day 21.

Morning: Walk along the banks of the River Neva, with an exhibit of diverse architecture from the era of Peter the Great onwards. For instance, Dutch renaissance (palace of Mensjikov, Peter the Great's summer palace), Russian baroque (Hermitage, or summer palace), neoclassical (St Isaac's cathedral).
Afternoon: free.
Evening: good-bye party.

Day 22.

Departure, seeing off at the airport.

----- End of tour -----

Planned theater performances are only tentative, and depend on the time of the year and the available program (mostly it is possible to choose among several tens of performances).