I have had the pleasure of visiting St. Petersburg 3 times (June 2000, October 2000, June 2001). On my last trip, I was leading a church missions team of 10 persons. I definitely had need of an English-speaking guide. I was introduced via e-mail to Sasha by a missionary working in St. Petersburg. We communicated for two months by e-mail prior to the trip, planning details and making arrangements. Sasha took the trouble to personally investigate on his own time whenever there was an issue up in the air. During the actual trip, Sasha was tireless in seeing to our every need (10 people can create a lot of needs!). His command of the English language is excellent. Our trip was a huge success specifically because of Sasha! I highly recommend him.

Bill Wei.

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

 

Subj: Re: Saint Petersburg, Russia...
Date: 12/27/2003 8:33:14 PM Eastern Standard Time
From:
To: TPozdnyakova@aol.com



Hi Ed,

Just wanted to drop you a note and let you know how much my mother and I
enjoyed Sasha. We got so much more out of St. Petersburg with him than we
ever could have gotten without him. He is incredibly knowledgable about
the history of St. Petersburg, as well as much of the art. He took us to
all the highlights of St. Petersburg, and a drive though the city was a
fascinating lesson in history. On top of all that, he is a gentleman, was
a pleasure to be with and we felt well taken care of.

Using Sasha completely eliminated all the stress of negotiating our way
through a foreign land where we don't speak the language, and allowed us to
completely relax and enjoy St. Petersburg. I recommended him and your
service to my adoption agency, so perhaps you may hear from other families
who take the time to visit St. Petersburg.

Subj: RE: Our hotel in St. Petersburg
Date: 4/12/2004 9:38:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
 



Hi Ed,
 
Sasha was outstanding.  We really enjoyed spending time with him and he did a good job showing us the sites in the limited time that we had.  He seems to be particularly informative on art.  Also, thank you for your outstanding service.  I contacted several guide agencies before choosing you.  I chose you because you were so responsive to my email inquiries.  Take care, Mike


Sat, 5 Jun 2004 11:42:12 -0700
:      Guide Assistance
: <>

Dear Ed,

Our experience with Sasha in St. Petersburg was fantastic! Thanks for all
the assistance on your part and his! I hope that he earns a reasonable
amount as life there appears rough for most.  I am recommending your site to
some friends that are traveling in July.

Sincerely,  

Rob

From:
To: alexander sergayev
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 8:15 AM
Subject: re: Great Trip

 
Dear Sasha...So many thanks for the wonderful time that you showed us.  Our trip to St. Petersburg was really memorable.  We have really had great experiences to tell our families and friends.
 
Thank God that you stayed with us until we got on the train.  Good grief, we could have ended up in Odessa!  The train was full of characters.  The border guards were a trip...how come they only check your passport in the middle of the night?   They must all have different day jobs.
 
I read the review of Paul McCartney's concert...they said that he was great and had everyone singing..English was the national language that night>  I thought of you and your wife and I hope that you had a great time and I hope that it didn't rain..
 
I meant to write sooner, but of course as soon as I got back, it was back to work.  Again, thank you so much, Marsha and I had a great time and would return again in a heart beat.  I hope that we didn't run you too ragged.
 
Best Regards,
 
Ellen Conway  
Subj: visit with Sasha
Date: 8/30/2004 6:06:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    Asummerinrussia@aol.com
 



Ed ;
 
Just to let you know that we enjoyed meeting Sasha. He was very informative, of great help, and made our visit to St. Petersburg a real pleasure. 
 
Thanks
 
Jim and Marilyn
 

From:
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2004 1:33 AM
To: russianguidenet@mail.ru
Subject: Sasha

Just wanted to drop a line saying how happy we were with Sasha. First, let me say my wife, Carol, and I were not even sure if someone would be there when we left the ship in StPetersburg, coming from NY, there are so many scams who knows what is real or not. We were in hopes of someone to take us to the most popular places and hopefully understand his broken English. so, when Sasha spoke English as well as I do and knew so much about everything from the paintings in the hermitage and Russian museum we were thrilled.He took us places we didn't expect to go and knew all the history about everything. When the day and a half was over and we were back on the ship, the three other couples who were at our table talked about what they did on the cruise tours. We saw so many more places and did so much more it was unbelievable. What is really crazy is that we spent less money for the guide and driver than they did, and that includes our visas. we would recommend your guide service with Sasha anytime.

Thank You

Carol & Artie

<>

Subj: St. Petersburg Tour with Alexander Sergayev ("Sasha")
Date: 10/15/2004 1:40:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:    =
To:    Asummerinrussia@aol.com
 



Dear Ed:  Just returned from our Russian vacation and want to thank you for recommending Sasha as our guide in St. Petersburg.  We had a wonderful time and learned so much.  Sasha showed up promptly each morning and was full of plans for every day.  If the weather was good, he took us to parks and showed us the sights along the Neva.  If the weather was bad, we went to museums and churches.  He always knew where the best bathrooms were, and the best places to shop or enjoy authentic Russian food.  We had a lot of questions about Russian culture and his answers gave us so much more insight into this fascinating country than we would have gotten from books.  On our last day with Sasha as our guide, he went over the plans my husband and I had for sightseeing on our own, explaining carefully which metro stations we needed to take to get where we were going.  He gave us his home and cell phone numbers and encouraged us to contact him if we got into any trouble.  We feel like we made a friend in Sasha.  We will never forget him.
 

 

From: Kate
To: "Elena Morozova" <russianguidenet@mail.ru>
Date: Monday, November 15, 2004, 7:13:17 PM
Subject: Guide Assistance

===8<==============Original message text===============
Lena,

My partner and I would like to pass on to you and your company our many
thanks to Sasha for all his help and guidance during our recent trip to St
Petersburg. We have of course emailed Sasha to thank him, but we would like
you to know too.

He was a wonderful guide - full of information and interesting points, and
we had an itinerary just suited to us, including a visit to a micro-brewery
for my partner, and the Dostoevsky Museum for me. Sasha was prompt and courteous at all times with a
great deal of knowledge, and a dry sense of humour! He is an excellent ambassador for your wonderful
city, and we would have no hesitation to recommend him to friends, and in my
case, clients.

Many thanks to you too, for your assistance in arranging our trip, and
making it so memorable.

With kind regards,

Kate


===8<===========End of original message text===========


 

Subj: Feedback
Date: 7/4/2005 3:18:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
Reply-to:
To:    Asummerinrussia@aol.com
 



Ed,

Now that we are home from St. Petersburg, I wanted to thank you for helping to make our trip a great success.  From the very beginning, your detailed hotel reviews helped me choose the right one for our needs.  (We stayed at the Comfort mini-hotel which I can highly recommend...great location, good facilities, and a very accommodating staff).

And then, your suggestion on using a guide proved correct and Sasha was wonderful as he showed us around St. Petersburg and the surrounding area for four days.  His short orientation on the day we arrived was very helpful in getting us settled in the city.  We appreciate very much his patience in indulging our wishes to take pictures and shop along the way in addition to his excellent knowledge about the city.  Also, when our return schedule to the airport changed and we used hotel transportation instead of your service, he provided a prompt refund after making sure everything was in place with the hotel.

In short, I think our trip was as close to perfect as it could be.  Thanks again for the part your company played in making it so!

John Jones and John Bangert
Little Rock, Arkansas"

 

Subj: RE: Cash machines in Saint Petersburg
Date: 7/6/2005 9:48:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From:   
To:    Asummerinrussia@aol.com
 


 

Dear Ed, 

 

We just got back from Europe 2 days ago and this is the first chance I have had to write to you.  First of all, we couldnt have been more pleased with Sasha.  He was polite courteous, attentive, very informative, and completely accommodating.  He was always punctual and handled all of our requests with great aplomb/  Actually on the last day the ladies had to beg for some shopping time and just relaxation time.  All in all it was a wonderful experience and everyone had a great time.  On leaving St. Petersburg for Helsinki by train.there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that there is a Russian train and a Finnish train.  The bad news was we were on a Russian train.  The only bummer part of the trip was this prehistoric train ride on this 50s something train.  UGH!!

 

For any clients that I have traveling to Russia I will definitely put them on to you.  Again, thanks for your help.

 

Mark


Date: Friday, October 7, 2005, 6:22:07 PM

===8<==============Original message text===============

Hi Sasha,

We arrived back yesterday afternoon, local time. The flight was flawless and
we had  a good ride.

Thank you for such a good guide to us and your care and attention during the
period you were with us. We all enjoyed your commentaries and your company.
We will surely recommend you to our friends if your services are required.
Please do keep us posted and keep in contact. Don`t fail to update us on
anything that you consider worthwhile and let us know if you happen to pass
through. When I have my pictures downloaded I will email you copies!


 


 

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