Subj: Re: Hello Ed...thanks!
Date: 4/2/2003 6:18:27 AM Eastern Standard Time

Note from Ed: Everything went fine with Helen and our customer. Our driver was supposed to take them to the airport on the day Russia moved the clocks forward for Spring, and he was an hour late, which was a huge embarrassment for us.

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 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

On Sunday, March 30, 2003, at 11:12 PM, wrote:

> I'm really, really disappointed that somebody screwed up and I'm
> awfully sorry. I have written a refund check to you for $35 and it will
> go into the mail system tomorrow.
> When you have time, I would appreciate hearing about your experience
> with Helen.
> Thank you very much,
> Ed

Subj: Our visit to St. Perersburg
Date: 8/7/2004 4:24:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: Asummerinrussia

To Ed Ryder, Asummerinrussia 
Dear Ed: 

I want to thank you for helping us arrange our tour of St. Petersburg, which went very well. We got our visas through Peace travel as you suggested, and that worked fine once we figured out what to do. Their web site is not as clear as it might be.

The tour guide we chose was called Helen on your web site, but is actually named Elena. She was excellent. She teaches English at a university in St. Petersburg, and is also developing a course in Russsian-American Studies. She is very knowledgeable about the important palaces and museums in the area, and really knows her way around the Hermitage museum. She took us to Peterhof, Catherine's Palace, several downtown churches and the Peter & Paul fortress, as well as the Hermitage. She is adept at getting through very crowded places smoothly. She had bought tickets in advance to several places, which saved a good deal of waiting time. You should also know that tickets for the Hermitage can be purchased online at, and avoid long waiting lines.

Elena's manner is very pleasant, and she made our visit very enjoyable. We saw more of St. Petersburg because she knew how to get to places, and how to get through them without wasting a lot of time. The driver she arranged, Dmitri, was also very good. He spoke a little English, and has been driving for 15 years. He has a relatively new Audi sedan which is comfortable and air-conditioned, and we enjoyed visiting with him as well.


Thanks again for your assistance, and please feel free to use us as a reference for your services, and as a reference for Elena (Helen).


Sincerely, George & Renee Keane