arina and I started working together via email during the busy holiday month of December before we actuaLly met in St. Petersburg in January. Because it was the low cold season, it appeared that I would need private tours both in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Due to my hotel location even a private tour was too cumbersome and expensive for my liking in Moscow; so, we concentrated on the second city of my travels.
St. Petersburg is smaller and colder than Moscow and the number of tourists extremely few during the winter. I was surprised when Marina, with whom I had contracted a private tour, informed me that there was another person wanting the same tour the same day: thus reducing the price and increasing the appeal of my selection.
The private, turned group, tour was of the Hermitage. Marina's knowledge of the museum and European art was grand. My second event which she arranged was a folk show at the Nikolayevsky Palace entitled 'Feel yourself Russian'...Excellent. My driver was excellent as well taking the scenic route to but the well beaten path from the event.
Lastly, Marina went out of her way to come to me to process my credit card before the second event which took place 3 days after the first because I had failed to bring cash for the Hertimage tour. There were two other alternatives, not give the tour or give it and have me bring the funds to her office. She choose the option reflectng trust and professionalism.
I am going to miss our email chatter in which I learned so much more about Russia than tour planning.
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