Customer Feedback...
If you take the time to read over this information, you will find that our customers have been extremely pleased with their visits thanks in large part to their guides. This is sincere, honest feedback from our previous customers.

Photo: The Grand Palace in Peterhof, Russia.
At the Grand Palace in the suburb of Peterhof.

Subj: Re: Saint Petersburg, Russia - from Ed
Date: 12/26/2003 6:10:14 PM Eastern Standard Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova



Hello Ed -- WOW! There are no words to really describe what a great time we had in Saint Petersburg. Veronica, our guide, was perfectly wonderful from the moment she picked us up at the airport. She brought us to the hotel and then took us on a little tour of the neighborhood and made dinner reservations for us. I also have to thank you one more time for all your advice and suggestions. As you know, being the budget minded travelers that we are we were a bit reluctant to hire a guide and it turned out to be the smartest thing we've ever done. Veronica's knowledge of the Hermitage, the State Russian Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Tsars, the Greats, the Catherine Palace, the list is just endless. She made everything seamless and easy for us the entire time. We so enjoyed her that we hired her for an additional day. Not having to deal with the guide books and maps was just a treat too, thanks to Veronica. The trip down to the metro was wild, and some of the stations were just breathtakingly beautiful, more like an opera house than a metro stop. We all even enjoyed a sleigh ride through the woods in Pavlovsk.

Reentry from this trip has not been easy, I think we could easily have stayed longer to see more of the city. The food was great, the people were all so nice, the weather was wonderful, the hotel turned out to be in a perfect location away from Nevskiy Prospekt and with a view of Saint Isaac's Cathedral right outside the window. Veronica made sure we got to the Mariinskiy Theatre (The Nutcracker) and brought us to our seats one magical night. After the performance she brought us to a lovely restaurant and got us settled in one more time. It was just the best trip!

Thanks again for everything, it will be a time to remember, all the best, Ellen

**********************************************************************************************

Ed,

Sorry for the long delay in response... we traveled to Paris from St.
Petersburg and I was just swamped trying to balance touring with work! ;-)

My coworkers and I absolutely LOVED St. Petersburg - in large part due to
our guide, Sasha.  The city itself is absolutely beautiful, and the stories
and inside knowledge that Sasha provided made our experience so much more
memorable than it otherwise would have been.  We were really pleased by the
way that Sasha was able to balance making sure that we saw (and heard) all
the major sights (and sounds) with our quirky tourist requests (e.g. the
Farmers Market).

We were also very impressed by the organization of your company... they
were constantly in contact with us and we always had at least two phone
numbers that we could call.  In fact, a real test of your company's
abilities occurred when my colleague got stuck en route to St.
Petersburg... so while we expected her to be waiting for us when we
arrived, your people were able to communicate to me that she would be
actually getting in at 10:50pm.  And, to the great relief of my colleague,
the driver was waiting for her upon her arrival.

So, thanks so much for helping us to have such an incredible time while we
were in St. Pete's!  We'll definitely give you a call if we're in Russia
again!

Thanks,
Jeanette

**********************************************************************

Thanks for the message Ed:
 
I will be more than happy to write some feedback on Sasha - he was fantastic.... but busy at the moment. I will try to get something to you in the next few days.
 
Sincerely,
 
Robert
----- Original Message -----
From: TPozdnyakova@aol.com
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: Guide Assistance

 

Hello Robert,

I heard that you did give Tanya in Saint Petersburg a call and she set you up with our guide Sasha. If you could spare a moment, we would really appreciate any feedback on the service you could give us. The most important bit of feedback would be if you were satisfied with your guide. If the information about Sasha is positive, it could have a strong impact on his ability to get more customers from us in the future.

Thanks very much.

Ed Ryder
www.RussianGuideNetwork.com
 

NOTE FROM ED: Sasha handled a couple in early December (2002) who had bought thousands of dollars worth of porcelain (with his help). Something went wrong with the customs paperwork and we were called on for follow-up assistance. As with most of our busy customers, they don't take the time to write an endorsement, but this is what this couple's personal assistant had to say, who had handled all of their arrangements with us:

Note 1:

Ed,

Carole was contacted by UPS again today and understood that the matter was resolved.   However, just to be sure, she thinks a follow-up call by Sascha to the store would be best.

She also mentioned that they were EXTREMELY pleased with Sascha and would recommend him and your services to anyone.

 

Thanks for your help and have a nice weekend!

 

Monika

==================

Note 2:

Dear Ed,

The tea sets have arrived and not a piece is broken.... a miracle considering that the porcelain is paper thin.

Carole Tolbert would like to get word to Sascha that she and Pat would gladly provide personal recommendations he needs for any future jobs. Please let him know that Carole can't say enough good things about his pleasant character, kind nature, and professionalism.

Thank you, too for the wonderful service you've provided. It was a great pleasure working with you.

Kind Regards,

Monika

<>

==============================================

Subj: Re: upcoming trip to st. petersburg
Date: 2/24/2003 6:31:06 AM Eastern Standard Time
 

we had a wonderful time.  we employed Sasha on the thurs., as tanya probably told you.  he was fine, though inexperienced in some areas of interest.  but what a lovely person.  wish we had met his wife, too. but when we return  we will invite them both to dinner.  his personality and demeanor and level of information concerning our questions was exactly right, and we thank you.!  please forward to tanya.

 
anne freeman

 

=============================================

Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 12:02 AM
Subject: Thanks


>
>
> Alex - Now that I am back home and have recovered from my vacation, I just
> wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for your great guide services
when
> we were in St. Petersburg.  I had a great time!   And, Harlod also really
> enjoyed it.  We really appreciate all the information you gave us and all
> the great places you took us to.  We got to see a lot more than the other
> people who were on our trip.  It was Great.  Thanks Again.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Karen L

Subj: Home again
Date: 4/14/2003 7:09:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova



Ed,

John and I arrived back in Baltimore last night. I do not know where to start.....Sasha was a dream come true. What a wonderful guide for the Bartlett family. John and I wanted to put him in our suitcase and bring him home. He actually seemed like one of the family by the end of the week. The only thing we would have done differently was to have gone to a hotel more suited to business people. We had forgotten that Europeans do not understand how much coffee my generation in America drinks to stay alert all day. Also the business center at the Hotel Europe is not updated with high speed Internet service, not even in their business center. Our kids loved the hotel. John and I have been traveling for about 32 years, and prefer the amenities that are more American. I am told MArriott will open in St. Petersburg soon, that will probably be more business oriented. We stay in the Ritz or Four Seasons in the states....we do like a robe, but would trade it anyday for coffee and highspeed Internet. I am sharing this because I will be recommending you to anyone I know who choses to travel to St. Petersburg.
Once more Thank you for arranging such a grand trip.Sasha, was just what we hoped. As a matter of fact we are going to try to help him arrange a trip to the states in the winter.Please be sure he knows how special we think he is.WHAT A GREAT TRIP. Do not hesitate to use us as reference.
Best Regards,
Jean

=================================================

Ed:

Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed Sasha. He was the first
person we saw when we stepped off the train from Moscow.  He was always
punctual, courteous and very considerate throughout our trip.  I would
highly recommend him to any of your future customers.

Thanks again,
Robert & Kristin

Subj: our trip
Date: 7/15/2003 6:42:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   )
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
CC:   



Hello Ed,  I apologize for not writing sooner.  After returning from our cruise, we left for San Francisco to help our first grandchild celebrate her 1st birthday. We have been home in Florida for more than a week, but because I have severe multiple sclerosis, I have been sleeping a good bit of the time since our return.
 
Sasha provided us with the tour of a lifetime. I had wanted to see St. Petersburg for at least 38 years, ever since I completed 6 years of studying the Russian language and literature.  He took us to the wonderful (and wheelchair accessible) Hermitage, the remarkable fountains and garden at Peterhof, and the garden at Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoe Selo.  We also saw Peter and Paul's Fortress and St. Isaac's Cathedral. In addition, we shopped and we had dinner at a new and accessible restaurant, as well. Great food.
 
What I liked best about Sasha, in addition to his extensive command of the English language and his knowledge of Russian history, was his personable nature and his sensitivity to the extent of my disability.  He was able to quickly obtain entrance tickets, even  in crowded places. In contrast, one lady on the ship later told me that she had practically been crushed by the crowd on a tour organized by the cruise ship.
 
Another advantage of taking a private tour is the degree of flexibility. We went to the Hermitage on the first day because it was a rainy day, and we toured the gardens on the second day, when the weather was beautiful.  Most of the other cruise passengers could not change their pre-arranged tours.
 
Thanks again to Sasha for our memorable tour of St. Petersburg. With your permission, I will mention your company on a website for physically challenged travelers (called http://www.gimponthego.com/) and recommend you to friends (mostly not disabled) as well.
 
Sincerely,
Joan Emerson
 
 
Subj: Report
Date: 8/29/2003 4:49:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova



Ed - Sasha was great. He is intelligent, prompt, flexible, pleasant, well informed but doesn't fake what he doesn't know. I had some qualms about arranging for a guide from the internet but it could not have worked out better. Many thanks. Best regards, Art

 

 

Subj: St. Petersburg
Date: 9/15/2003 12:17:03 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:
To:
CC: TPozdnyakova@aol.com



Dear Sasha,

Thank you for all you did for our small group last week. Without your services we could not have covered half as much ground as we did in three days. Your skill at outmaneuvering the crowds was much admired. It was a service well worth paying for. If I am asked for advice in the future, I shall recommend you to others.

Regards

Richard Norman

<>

Subj: RE: Saint Petersburg
Date: 9/16/2003 3:35:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



I have meant to write sooner and tell how much we enjoyed our visit to St. Petersburg last month.  Sasha was a great guide.  Carol and Bob Olson

 

 

 

Subj: St. Petersburg Guide - Sasha
Date: 10/19/2003 11:57:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
Reply-to:
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



Ed,
 
Just a quick note of praise for our guide Sasha in St. Petersburg.  In a word, he was terrific.  We are fairly independent travelers so at first were not sure we would enjoy being guided around.  But his knowledge of the city and of the individual sites we visited was invaluable and made our visit much more enjoyable, educational and complete than we could ever have done alone.  It was also a great deal easier to travel around with a local, fluent in both Russian and English.  
 
For others considering a guide, here are some specifics that explain my praise:
  1. Upon arrival, Sasha was waiting in the airport lobby, on time and as expected.  When we prepaid for the guide service we had some small concern of getting there and having no one show up.  Not a problem.
  2. He took us to the hotel in a car - nice, clean etc and our education on St. Petersburg began right on the spot with a narrative of the street, buildings and monuments along the way. 
  3. After checking into the hotel, Sasha spent a couple of hours walking around the area and helping us get some money changed and buy some essentials (like bottled water).
  4. After getting back to the hotel he gave us a list of cultural activities that were available during the evenings of our visit and said that if we chose any he would help us arrange for tickets (at a rate that was about 30% less than the concierge of our hotel).
  5. For the 3 days of our visit he arrived at the lobby precisely at the agreed-upon time.  Though once we assume he got there on time since the hotel missed our wake up call and Sasha actually called from the lobby to wake us up!
  6. Our touring was great.  We got to many more of the major highlights of St. Petersburg than we ever could have alone.  Sasha arranged a car with driver on a particularly rainy day (for about $90) so that we could still see what we wanted.  Also at the Hermitage (our primary reason for visiting), Sasha gave us an exceptional tour of the major parts of the collection and buildings.  With him we covered far more than we could have on our own.
  7. We wanted to see a ballet that was sold out.  Our hotel concierge suggested we go to the theater and try the black market (scalpers).  That was not likely to be a success given my (complete lack of) Russian language skills.  Instead, Sasha visited the box office 3 times until we finally got tickets due to a cancellation.  That was a fantastic effort and definitely above and beyond the call of (guide) duty. 
  8. Finally, he arranged for a car to pick us up very early on the morning of our departure and for a rate, again, 30% less than the hotel offered.  The driver was there, as promised, and capped off a terrific job by Sasha.
  9.  
That's it for me.  I know this is a very long recommendation so feel free to edit and select portions of it for your web site, but I wanted you to know how pleased we were with the service and especially Sasha's professional and friendly guide services.  He was great.
 
Dave
Subj: St. Petersburg Guide
Date: 11/20/2003 8:21:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
From:     (Leslie Rosenthal)
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



Hi Ed,
 
I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you to tell you what a fantastic guide Sasha was during my stay in St. Petersburg. I have been overwhelmed with many different photography projects since returning from St. Petersburg and that has caused me to be way behind on returning emails. But not matter how late I am in writing to you, Sasha was an amazing resource in helping me explore St. Petersburg. He was smart and creative and incredibly knowledgeable about the city. All of which made him a remarkable asset in helping me photograph St. Petersburg. And even though we did a lot of non-touristy things, Sasha was still always a few steps ahead of what I needed. Sasha is one of those amazingly competent people who you can absolutely count on to come through for you. For example, he helped me get back stage to photograph the Russian Ballet, which he said was a first for him. That was a fantastic experience as a photographer and the photographs taken back stage at the ballet are unbelievably beautiful, and a lot of that I owe to Sasha for helping me gain the access to be able to take the shots.
 
So there are not enough good things I can say about Sasha except that there are many more things I would like to photograph in St. Petersburg (I never made it to view out the Prin Hotel, I would have liked more time to wander around the area near Primorskaya metro station and photograph all the weird soviet-built apartment communities,  I would have liked to photograph the trolleys at night and finally the subway is amazing, I could shoot pictures down there forever) so I would really love to be able to return one day soon and have Sasha help me explore all the many remaining photographic opportunities I have yet to discover in beautiful St. Petersburg. So in closing I would thank you, Ed, and Sasha too for being such phenomenal sources of inspiration and knowledge about St. Petersburg, and not only enhancing my first stay there but making me want to come back to experience more of St. Petersburg.
 
Many Thanks,
Leslie Rosenthal
 
 
Leslie Rosenthal
Co-founder
Wall Kandy
leslie@wallkandy.com

www.wallkandy.com
"hang a conversation piece"

Dear Ed,

Thanks for your emails. To get such fantastic testimonials is always a real
treat for me! It was great to work for Leslie. We explored many interesting
places here and she took tons of photos, but you know that 3 or 4 days are
not enough for such a big and beautiful city as St. Petersburg. And
sometimes the weather is not very good too... I think that St. Petersburg is
a must to see for people of creative professions, ex. photographers, artists
and  so on. I hope to buy a good digital camera sometime and take some
interesting and unusual pictures too.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned to you before that recently some scenes from
a controversial German film 'Sunset' about last months of Hitler (!!!) were
shot  in ... St. Petersburg. The producers said that they visited many
European cities but only St.Petersburg was able to provide them all natural
decorations! Main scenes of the storming of the Reichstag in Berlin with
4,000 crowds of people were filmed ... at the Shkapina Street (slums!) near
the Baltic Train Station ... The filming caused a great negative response in
the city, especially among the war veterans. I think that thanks to the film
there will be no slums in that area soon!

That's all for now.

Regards, Sasha

 

======================================================================================

Ed....just a quick thanks.  Just returned back from Russia Last night.  Elena was an absolute joy....and was invaluable in getting around and with words of advice.  We shared many laughs.  Best of luck with your business and enjoy your trip to St. Petersburg this summer.   Tom              June 7, 2002

 

Ed,

Elena was a very knowledgeable and pleasant guide. I was very pleased with the service.
The Hermitage and St. Isaac's church were so impressive. I would have to say
that they were better than visiting the Louvre and Notre Dame!
 
Thanks again,
 
Mike                  June 19, 2002

======================================================================================

Thank you

We had a very good time in St Petersburg apart from the hiccup of the car not being able to get to the ship side which was a bit of a nuisance.

Veronica was very professional and attentive to our requests even contacting the Yusupov Palace in advance to ensure that my mother would be able
to sit down occasionally during our tour of the palace (normally not allowed). Her time keeping was excellent.

Denise           July 1, 2002

* * * * *

 


Tanya - the trip was spectacular -  Veronica and Vitaly were tremendous. I cannot thank you enough. I will recommend your services to anyone coming to Russia and I will tell my travel agency to do the same. 

Mark

* * * * *

 

INCREDIBLE!

Dear Ed,

Just a short note to say thanks to you and Tanya. We had an incredible visit and are back on board and sailing to Estonia. Our heads are spinning with all the sites and people.

VERONICA IS AN ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL INDIVIDUAL!  I would recommend her to anyone, anytime and anyplace. She is knowledgeable and extremely accommodating. If you need a reference please DO NOT HESITATE to contact me.

It was the visit of a lifetime.

With thanks,
Rayna

* * * * *

Ed & Tanya,
 
Please pass this onto Veronica for me and have her drop me a line if she gets the chance. 
 
First I would like to thank Veronica for such a wonderful 3 days in St. Petersburg.  Her and the driver were waiting for me as soon as I got off of the plane and they took me to the Swiss Center (great recommendation by the way!!) to get checked in.  Then we were off to see the sights which is just what I wanted to do.  Since I was traveling alone, I was a little apprehensive before the trip but the minute I met Veronica, I knew I was in good hands.  No matter what the plans were at anytime of the day or evening, she would take me door to door making sure I was safe.  She was very accommodating to the different things I wanted to do and see and was very patient with the 8 million pictures took.  I loved all of the detailed explanations of the sites, history and the stories behind the sites that you don't read about in the history books.  I definitely want to come back and would love to have Veronica as a guide again. 
 
I would love to be a reference if you need one,  I would recommend your services to anyone!!
 
Thanks again for such a fabulous time and I look forward to returning.
 
Have a great day.
 
Karla Sue Roberts

* * * * *

We had a wonderful time in St. Petersburg. I attribute this, mostly, to Veronica, our guide. She was very knowledgeable of the city and its history and was quite informative and well-prepared for each of the museums/cathedrals which we visited. She accommodated all of our requests for visiting tourist sites and seeing cultural events and arranged for the purchase of tickets and transportation accordingly. Her easy-going manner and command of the English language made the trip most comfortable. I would request Veronica as a guide in the event I returned to St. Petersburg. Thank you for recommending her.

Eva also worked out beautifully in Stockholm. Though not as well-versed as Veronica, she had an enthusiasm which was infectious. Thank you for suggesting her.

Thanks for everything. A good time was had by all.

Michael

<>

Subj: Saint Petersburg
Date: 6/16/2003 4:58:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: 
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



I thought I would just drop you a note to tell you that I had a brilliant
two days in Saint Petersburg, but I would like to compliment the guide
(Veronica) who was most informative and very knowledgeable about all aspects
of Russian life and answered every question I put to her. In fact it was a
real pleasure even when we were stuck in the traffic (something the guide
books never mention) Also the driver was on time and very patient and the
vehicle was clean and reliable. I can safely say that my time in Saint
Petersburg really eclipsed the rest my vacation.


Regards Ian and Joanne Cross

PS I do not mind if you want to forward this email to Veronica


 

Subj: RE: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Date: 7/25/2003 7:15:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:     (Lucy Allison)
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



Dear Ed,
 
Have just got back from our cruise in the Baltic.  Everything was fantastic and we were blessed with fantastic weather throughout.  Our two days in St. Petersburg were certainly the highlight and our time with Veronica was very special.  She was fabulous and we all thoroughly her company and the good driving of Vitally (spelling?)  Being a small ship the Silver Wind was able to dock right in the heart of the City which was so easy and Sasha very kindly refunded the Port Entry charges as they were not needed.

Thank you so much for suggesting her as our guide and for all your help with advice on visas etc.  We did laugh at some of the people on board who got caught out either by the exhorbitant prices that they had paid, or others who were subjected to the cruise ship excursions.  Anyway, all was well with us and I can't wait to get the photos developed.
 
With many grateful thanks.
Lucy Allison

 

Subj: Trip
Date: 10/19/2003 7:42:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova



Dear Ed and Tanya,

We wanted to thank you both for the wonderful stay in St. Petersburg.  Our guide, Veronika was terrific.  She had extensive knowledge about the places of interest, historical information and art information.  Every question that we posed, she knew the answer and, in addition, she was a delight to be with.  She really planned our days to the fullest and made every effort to show us the sights and surrounds of St. Petersburg.
She even went one step beyond her duties in that she  raced toward a hydrofoil in an effort not to have us miss it and in the process took a very bad fall in which she badly cut and bruised her knee as well as tearing her slacks.  She really went beyond the call of duty!
We have returned home but we will continue to have very fond memories of our stay and for the kindness and patience Veronika showed us in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg.

Thank you as well for your assistance in planning our trip.

Warm regards,
Merle and Ken

=======================================================================================

Dear Tanya and Ed,
 
Back in July, my friend and I decided at the last minute to squeeze in a trip to St. Petersburg during our travels to Khabarovsk (where my friend and I met her new son who she will adopt this month).  The adoption was our primary concern, but at the last minute we decided to sneak in a trip to St. Petersburg.  We are certainly glad that we did!!
 
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ed for coordinating the logistics of our trip and to commend Anna on her splendid tour of her city.  Anna's thorough explanations and extremely pleasant personality were greatly appreciated!!  Anna was delightful during the entire day.  Her excitement about touring us around St. Petersburg was evident in her detailed explanations of not only the sites themselves, but also the history and the stories behind the sites.  We quickly realized that the pride and knowledge that Anna displayed of St. Petersburg was genuine.  [We walked the entire day and even climbed the stairs of the cathedral, and I still cannot determine how Anna walked in her high heels all day long!!!]
 
Again, thanks for your help and especially thanks for aligning us with Anna for our tour of St. Petersburg.  She's a great asset to your team, and I would highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for a complete tour of St. Petersburg by an easy-going, friendly guide (whose English is also very good)!!
 
Sincerely,
Dottie Soland
Philadelphia, PA

 

Tania and Ed:

I recently was in Russia to meet my new son and finalize an Adoption from Khabarovsk.   I had a few extra days to learn about the history and culture of Russia, and decided a trip to historic St. Petersburg was a necessity.  Within a week of finding you on the Internet, we were secured with a wonderful guide named Anna.

Anna met us at the Airport and during the next 15 hours, she shared with us the culture, history and sites of St. Petersburg.  She was very well informed, spoke excellent English, had a fun loving personality and was able to keep us awake and excited in spite of our jet lag!   Being in St. Petersburg during the White Nights, gave us a lot of daylight to see the city and tour well into the early hours of the morning.   We shared lots of laughs and cultural differences that made our stay in St. Petersburg unforgettable.

Anna is an excellent guide and your agency should be very proud of the representation she makes of your company, her city and the country of Russia!   I recommend her to anyone planning a trip to St. Petersburg for a day or longer!

Sincerely:

Linda M. Kinney
Houston, Texas USA
 

Hi Ed,

I'm still in Finland.  We had planned to send you and Tanya short report after we return to the US on Oct. 3.  However, I don't mind giving you a hint about what it will be.   We were very pleased with Anna, and we had a great time.  More info coming later.

Regards,

-Jim

TPozdnyakova@aol.com wrote:
 

Hello Jim,

If you could spare a moment, I'm very curious in any feedback you could give us on the service and how everything went for you in Saint Petersburg. Where you happy with Anna?

Thanks!

Ed Ryder
http://www.russianguidenetwork.com/

Subj: Feedback on Anna
Date: 10/20/2002 9:08:11 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:    jim@larson-tech.com (Jim Larson)
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com, Carol@larson-tech.com
 



Ed,

We had described ourselves and gave a very rough idea of what we wanted
to do for our stay in St. Petersburg via e-mail before we arrived in St.
Petersburg. We arranged a place to meet Anna at the train station.

Anna met our train when it arrived and took us to the hotel we had
booked via the underground. (Your guide to St. Petersburg hotels was
very helpful.) She made sure that we were properly checked in and helped
us buy postage stamps and exchange money. Anna made a couple of
suggestions of additional places we might visit, and clarified what
types of arts and crafts we wanted to look for. We spent the rest of the
first day exploring downtown St. Petersburg and took a boat tour of the
canals. This gave us a good orientation to the layout, architecture, and
history of St. Petersburg.

On our second day, Anna met us at our hotel and took us to a couple of
places she thought we would like. She was right. We enjoyed St. Isaac's
Cathedral very much. We also visited a variety of arts and crafts
stores. Then, we visited my number one site that I wanted to see, The
Church of the Spilled Blood. She pointed out all of the interesting
artwork, including some that most tourists would miss (standing directly
beneath one of the onion-shaped towers and looking straight up).

On the third day, we visited the Hermitage. There were long lines of
people waiting to get in when we arrived. Anna recognized an old friend
who was close to the front of the line and arranged for us to join that
tour group, so we didn't have to wait very long to enter. Anna also
sweet-talked (this is a good thing) guards into letting us visit a
variety of businesses and stores.

Also on the third day, Anna wrote down instructions for getting to the
train station from our hotel. She had us rehearse the pronunciation for
the names of the major landmarks between the hotel and the train station
so, if necessary, we could either ask for help or find our way there the
next day. (We only hired Anna for the first three days.) Her
instructions and training enabled us to negotiate the underground and
arrive at the train station by ourselves.

Anna is very articulate in English. We never had to ask her to repeat
what she said. She was also able to track what we said and understood
what we wanted.

Anna was very sensitive about our wishes and concerns. We were concerned
about drinking the water in St. Petersburg, so she helped us buy bottled
water and plastic cups. She helped us order food at restaurants. Both my
wife and I enjoy wandering. Anna would let us wander at our own pace
through interesting streets and alleys, while filling us in on the
history and fun facts for buildings, squares, and streets.

Anna was sensitive to our energy levels, and suggested that we sit down
from time to time so that we didn't get overly tired. By the end of the
third day, both my wife and I were quite tired, so Anna flagged down one
of St. Petersburg's "unofficial taxis" and negotiated a ride back to our
hotel.

Anna was very concerned about our safety. She herded us like a mother
hen when crossing streets. She warned us about pickpockets and
demonstrated how to carry a purse. And, once, Anna hurried us past what
she suspected was some type of illegal activity.

Anna is very enthusiastic about St. Petersburg and Russia, and the
places and things she showed us. She was especially exited about the
Hermitage. Almost every piece of work was her "favorite." I often find
art museums boring; but, with Anna as our guide, this museum was exciting.

We wanted to learn more about Russia than the history and architecture.
We asked Anna many questions--some personal, some political. Anna was
very open about her life in Russia, politics, and hopes for the future.
We feel that we learned much about the real Russian life. We found
Anna's answers to our questions as interesting as the places we visited
and the things we did.

As a schoolteacher, Anna liked to pose "puzzles" which encouraged us to
listen carefully to what she said and what we saw. We found these
puzzles to be both fun and challenging.

Without an understanding of Russian, it would have been very difficult
to get around, order food at restaurants, and negotiate prices. Hiring a
guide was definitely the right thing for us to do in St. Petersburg.
Anna was the perfect guide. She made our visit informative, fun, and
memorable. Carol says that Anna was the "brightest ray of sunshine" for
our visit to St. Petersburg.

Ed, we highly recommend Anna as a guide. We both think she is terrific.
We think so highly of Anna that we'd be willing to talk with your
potential customers about hiring her. By the way, we asked Anna about
her high heels--we're the "high heels" type of people.


 

Subj: Review
Date: 5/21/2003 10:09:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:
To: TPozdnyakova@aol.com



Ed,
I have just returned from St. Petersburg.
Anna K is wonderful. She is the most professional, attentive and agreeable person I have met in a long time. I was amazed at how attentive she was to making sure that each day was productive. She made special efforts to ensure that I was never left alone and safely at my apartment before she made her commute home.
Anna is very gifted in her use of English. Her knowledge of the city and it's attractions round out the attributes of this wonderful young lady.
As as an example of the extreme dedication that she has to her clients, she didn't know for sure when I would arrive but was waiting at the airport when my first opportunity to arrive landed. I was glad that I was on the airplane as I would not have wanted her to have to wait for me.
She also used her ability to communicate with the locals to determine in advance which attractions should be scheduled for a given time due to closures etc. She prevented me from wasting time that I would have spent on closed attractions.
Anna made my trip to St. Petersburg 10 times better than if I had tried to navigate on my own. Frankly speaking, she is great!
Steve Fowler
Captain, Northwest Airlines

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Subj: Guide service - Anna K.
Date: 6/11/2003 5:53:27 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova



Dear Ed Ryder:
             Thank you for your prompt assistance, upon very brief notice, in arranging  a Russian guide for my recent trip to St. Petersburg.
And very special thanks to Anna K. who was my guide for three days. Anna's knowledge of the city's history, art in it's museums, churches and palaces was awesome. Also her handling of all the details of transactions (purchasing admission tickets, negotiating with a taxi driver, showing me how to use the Metro, etc.) made my trip to a foreign country (where I cannot read the alphabet or pronounce the words) one of easiest I have ever had. I highly recommend her services to other travelers who are seeking a memorable & culture rich visit to St. Petersburg with an outstanding guide.
                            yours truly, George Stueck


Subj: Deep gratitude
Date: 7/17/2003 11:11:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



Dear Ed
 
We have returned from our cruise and visit to St.Peterbourg, and it is with great pleasure I write this to tell you how much we enjoyed the visit, to a very great extent thanks to your outfit and to Anna. Everything you promised was indeed so, and Anna was very good.
 
She has a deep knowledge of the subject, even beyond what is required from a guide, and knows how to present it to her customers.She also knows very well how to navigate in difficult situations.The best example is our visit to the Catherine Palace and the Amber Room. On that specific day, while Sasha and Anna had planned to use VIP tickets, upon arrival we found out that due to the large crowds they cancelled all VIP tickets for that day.Nevertheless, we were inside the Amber room 10 minutes after the Palace was opened to the public, and completed the visit to the inside of the Palace in 25 minutes, simply because Anna knew how to talk to the Security people, and more than that, had the initiative to go around and before  the big groups.All this for $10 to a security guard just to let us in.
 
I will certainly recommend your company to anybody who travels to Russia.
 
Gary Gerber
 
Subj: worked out beautifully, fbb
Date: 7/31/2003 10:08:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:  
To: TPozdnyakova,



Dear Ed Ryder and company at Russian Guide Network:

We're back from Russia (St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Moscow). It was a full and rewarding trip.

Thanks for working with us despite my contacting you at the last minute, and despite travel delays due to flights cancelled and such.  Having Anna as a guide in St. Petersburg was a great help, practically, and lots of fun.  She was informative, good-spirited, very tolerant of our eccentricies, and willing to cater to my own particular enthusiasm for architecture and churches.  So, many thanks to all who were involved!

--Frank B. Brown

=========================================================================================

The trip was great and the weather turned out to be beautiful.  Gulia was
an excellent guide and a lot of fun to be with.  In addition to being very
knowledgeable about the area, she has a good sense of humor (or at least a
lot of patience to put up with me teasing her).

I think Peterhof was my favorite.  It's very peaceful there but the
Hermitage and Saint Isaac's Cathedral are the most impressive.  I also
liked the Russian Church of Spilled Blood for the way it looked.  Actually,
just sitting at one of the sidewalk cafes along Nevsky Prospect and
watching the people go by was interesting.  Lots of beautiful women but if
I was 20 years younger I would be going back to chase Gulia.

Gary
==========================================================================================

Subj: Re: Hello Ed...thanks!
Date: 4/2/2003 6:18:27 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:   
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 

Dear Ed,

Thank you for your professionalism.  We did wait until 12:10 prior to
getting a taxi to the airport and as it was ... with the security and
all... we barely made the cutoff (by 7 minutes) for getting onto our
flight.  It seems they cutoff access to checking in bags 1 1/2 hours
prior to flight time. I wasn't aware of the stricter rules.  (It might
be helpful for some of your future clients...don't know if this is just
because of the recent world situation or if this is common for St.
Petersburg now.)

As to Helen.  She was fantastic!  We made a wonderful new friend. What a
perfect choice.  I have some of the fondest memories of any trip I have
ever taken directly due to Helen and her wonderful way of educating us
about Russian history through art.  She is so very knowledgeable  about
art, artists, Russian history, etc.

It was a breeze and an adventure traveling with her on the metro and the
mini buses.  We even were able to make it up to Pushkin on a bus.  I
will tell you as adventurous as I am, I would not have ventured to do
this without her. And what we would have missed!

I talked with lots of folks at airports on the way home and told them
the only way to see St. Petersburg is with a guide and told them about
your service, but most particularly about Helen.

Please let others know of Helen's warmth, genuiness, spirit of fun,
excellent command of English, true understanding of the nuances of our
language, punctuality, and professionalism. She is a perfect
ambassador.  That is such a hard package to come by and such an absolute
pleasure.  She is highly educated and it shows. We had fun learning
about Russia and she was equally interested in our opinions and exchange
of ideas.  Our meals together were always excellent and such a nice way
to get to kow her a little better.  (Not to mention the benefit of
knowing exactly what we were ordering and whether it was traditional
food or newer cuisine).  She allowed us to set our schedule of what we
wanted to do and when and was also able to recommend places of interest
if she felt we might enjoy them. I never felt we were "on the clock" . 
It seemed more like we were traveling with a friend.  And we feel we
have made a wonderful new friend .....and we treasure each and every one
of our friends regardless of where they are in the world.

Ed, I would also like to add at this time I have really enjoyed working
through and with you.  I will and have recommended your service.  You
have been prompt and informative and made our trip seem effortless.  So
I thank you very, very much.  Services such as your's are a rare find
and I appreciate it.

We, too are sorry about the final driver to the airport.  The reason we
did not call Tanya was because after 12:10 we really didn't know what
she could do for us at that time...it seemed it would have taken too
long for the (or any) driver to get to us.  But all things considered
what a wonderful, fabulous trip...and a final drive to the airport can
not change that or my great memories!

We will be recommending your services,

Most sincerely,

LJ and Curtis Cripe
==============================================================================

Subj: Tanya
Date: 7/19/2003 6:45:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:
To: TPozdnyakova@aol.com

Ed -

First I wanted to thank you for your help and advice while we were making our preparations for our visit to St. Petersburg. We arrived on the yacht of a friend early on Saturday - they departed for Tallinn late on Monday. While with the boat, we had a guide and van for the folks aboard the boat (Arctur Travel) and were docked at the English Embankment. We visited many of the sites during those 3 days.

On Monday after our friends departed, my wife and I went to the Astoria - along with Prince Charles!! We also ran into some of the dancers from the Hamburg Ballet who we had seen at the Marinsky a few nights earlier. Great hotel, helpful staff, nice room, good restaurant, and tremendous location.

Tanya was in the lobby at 9 sharp on Tuesday. We went to a cafe to get a light breakfast and plan the day. We wanted to walk Nevsky Prospekt, climb the dome at St. Isaac's (we'd visited the cathedral, but hadn't climbed up the dome), visit the Hermitage (the others had visited, we hadn't) and take a boat ride on the canals. We spent the day doing those things and Tanya headed home about 7:30.

She was tremendous and I would recommend her highly. She was knowledgeable, friendly, spoke English very well and was a delight to spend the day with. It was a very hot day on Tuesday, but she was a trooper as we wandered around the city. Overall, I would recommend her to others without hesitation. She is very professional. We gave her a $50 tip - I hope that was sufficient.

I noticed some of your guides had testimonials. I would certainly be willing to write one for Tanya, or you can use anything written above if you would like.

So thanks again for your helpful site and our wonderful guide experience. St. Petersburg is a great city and I hope we return some day soon.

John Kuhn

<>

Subj: RE: Queries on St. Petersburg
Date: 9/19/2003 6:33:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com ('TPozdnyakova@aol.com')
 



Ed,
 
I couldn't praise your service or Tanya enough.  Our trip to St. Petersburg went extremely well this is thanks to your help and to Tanya's great knowledge. 
 
I would hope that we have made a friend in Russia.  She was very informative and it was lovely to be able to ask her about her childhood and compare it with ours.  It was great to be met at the airport and see a friendly face.
 
I would highly recommend your service and again want to thank you for all your help and guidance.  It was greatly appreciated.
 
St. Petersburg was everything we thought it would be and more.  We had a really wonderful and memorable trip.
 
Thanks  again,
 
Fiona
 

=============================================================================

Subj: Thank you!
Date: 8/13/2003 7:50:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time

CC: TPozdnyakova@aol.com (Tanya Pozdnyakova)


Dear Tanya and Ed,

We have recently visited St. Petersburg, Russia on the Regal Princess ship. The 2 day stay in the city was a sheer delight, mostly thanks to the professional guidance provided to us by your young, talented and very promising guide - Galena. She was able, within minutes from our first meeting, to establish a high level of trust and comfort. Everything was arranged as promised by you and delivered on a timely bases. At every place we were treated like VIP's, without delays and long waiting lines. Galena's knowledge of Russian history and current events in the city and the country helped us to better know and understand the wonderful people of Russia. She made our visit to be the most pleasant and memorable in our entire trip. For that we thank Galena and you very much. Feel free to use this letter in your promotions as needed.

Sincerely,

A. Neuman and the Samuels.

<>

Subj: Re: Galina
Date: 9/7/2003 8:13:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:
To: TPozdnyakova@aol.com


Dear Ed,

We had an utterly wonderful trip to St. Petersburg. I'm so glad I found your website, because our trip wouldn't have been half as good without Galina. She is a treasure; bright, fun, personable and so knowledgeable about Russian history and literature. She was the perfect match for us. She became another daughter to us and will stay with us when she returns to the US. What a superb addition to your roster of guides.

Thanks, again, for all your help in setting up our program in Russia. I've told everyone I know about your company and I'm sure they'll contact you if they are planning a trip to St. Petersburg. Galina would be a perfect guide for all of our friends (academics, mostly, interested in literature and in-depth history.

With all good wishes for your continued success.

Maggie Sharma

<>

=======================================================================

Subj: Thank you!
Date: 8/29/2003 2:42:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 




Just wanted to tell you THANK YOU again for all your help and especially for Lena!  She was AWESOME as my daugthers described her.  They all got along like a house on fire!  She was very down to earth, an endless source of interesting information, personable and friendly!  Words can't describe how well the day went and how grateful I am for her company. 

Thanks again!

Sharon DeFreez
 

Subj: Re: Thank you!
Date: 8/29/2003 1:09:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:    sharond@gci.net (Sharon Defreez)
To:    TPozdnyakova@aol.com
 



Hi Ed,

I have no problem with your including my email address.  That way if anyone wants to verify I'm a real person they can do so.  :-)   ... I can't say enough about how fantastic it was and how incredibly lucky I feel stumbling across your webpage!  That day was ... BY FAR... the best day of the entire trip!  Thanks again!
Take care,
Sharon

 

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