The FAM trip Moscow-Yaroslavl-St.Petersburg, organized by Moscow Bureau of Voyage (28 November - 03 December 2014) went just perfectly. This was the most useful and the most fun educational tour for the last years. The partners from Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland were participating.

Our International team met each other on Saturday 29 November at HILTON MOSCOW LENINGRADSKAYA hotel 5* inspection (all the tour participants were arriving on 28.11 with the different flights from worldwide). We have started with the official part first – the hotel inspection. And when the inspection was done, the group was greeted with vodka and bread, “na pososhok” according to the Russian tradition. Hard to say what was the most impressive – a shot of vodka in the luxury decorated Stalin sky scraper building or Moscow Bureau of Voyage blondie staff dressed with the traditional costume.

All in all we took the coach and our 260 km long drive towards the fabulous Yaroslavl had been started. The first scheduled stop on the route was Sergiev Posad – the ancient town located just 60 km away from Moscow, which use to be the spiritual center of Russian Orthodox Church. So our group had the great opportunity to get familiar with this town and, the most important, to visit Trinity-St.Sergius Lavra itself.

We were lucky with the weather – it was very sunny and no serious wind. But it was not so easy for many of us to get adopted to minus 6 degrees by C being arrived from +20…+30

Assem from Lebanon got the first time familiarization with Russian freeze

We have continued our drive and arrived soon into Pereslavl Zalesskiy, the small town on the way to Yaroslavl, laying on the bank of Pleshcheevo Lake.

After the city tour in Pereslavl Zalesskiy and visit to Blue Stone on Pleschcheevo Lake (all of us made the orders to the Stone so will see which orders will come true. Hopefully the reports will follow). And finally we took our way to Yaroslavl, where we had the hotel inspection and welcome dinner at RING PREMIER hotel 4*.
Most of us preferred to stay at the hotel after the long day but the most brave took the advantage to explore the night life of Yaroslavl. Need to say that it was unexpectedly great and “Honey” night club was nominated to be “The craziest club being visited for the last years” by our night life expert Yves from Switzerland. The program of our tour was tight unfortunately so we had no chance to stay longer when 03.00 A.m. at this great club… Waking up at 07.00 A.M. next morning thoughts ruined the continuation of that night.

Next day was started with PARK INN YAROSLAVL hotel 4* inspection. The nice completely new hotel in the usual PARK INN style, located next to the railway station in Yaroslavl. But there is the serious concern regarding the services since the hotel staff is not trained at all. Hopefully the time they have before the high season 2015 will be enough to fix the problem.
Yaroslavl itself is very interesting and beautiful city. It impressed us as the combination of the unique churches and monasteries dated back up to 14th century, and the nice modern buildings and industrial enterprises. We got frozen very quickly being walking outdoor so we skipped the walking tour at the magnificent Volga river embankment. So need to return to Yaroslavl again during the summer time to get closer to this city.

Our way back to Moscow laid via Rostov the Great – the small ancient city about 160 km far from Moscow. Rostov Kremlin, laying at Nero lake, was fantastic. That was the real pity to be short in time in Rostov even the whole day could be not enough here …

It was absolutely dark already on the time we took the advantage of bell ringing at the Assumption cathedral. Maybe because of the full Moon in the dark sky, which was just above the cupolas off the Cathedral, but there was a mystery in this ringing…

The rest of our way to Moscow we use to practice ourselves in Russian song “Katusha” singing as well as to familiarize with the songs of the different nations in the different languages – everybody used to sing the song from his home land. Need to say that the song from Swiss Alps (which sounds like endless Yo-o-o in the different tones) was the most International one since easily understandable in any language.

Monday was dedicated to the hotels inspection in Moscow and city sightseeing at the same time. Hope the colleagues will send their impressions to be published.
Evening SAPSAN speed train took us to St.Petersburg for less than 4 hours. That was quit stressful to recognize that our bus was waiting us … at the airport while the group arrived to the train station of cause. And the real surprise was it took the driver just about 15!!! Minutes to drive from the airport to the train station. So the bus arrived even before we ordered enough taxi cars for all of us. Not sure about the speed the driver used to drive with from the airport, but believe he was able to compete in speed with our SAPSAN train on that route.

The next day in St.Petersburg was very tight again. We needed to combine the inspection of the hotels and the city tour at the same time.

We were lucky to be at Peter and Paul fortress at 12.00 while the canon in the fortress was shooting. It was evident that even 3 days will not be enough to explore St.Petersburg – so many sites to see in this magnificent city! So all of us will return here not even once, and with the clients of cause.
After this long and hard day, we get relaxed finally having the delicious dinner at ANGLETERRE hotel. There was enough time to discuss even the international political situation issues so finally even the guys from Israel and Lebanon came to the conclusion…

The only issue we got upset of in St.Petersburg was the absolutely no night life in the city on Tuesday night. Most off the bars were closed at 23.00. Those who used to work later had no any clients so we were just boring inside. Even “Ugly Coyot” residents were not ugly enough so we left after 3 shots… So the noisy celebration of our trip success did not happened unfortunately – we had no other choice as to drink our Mojito at the hotel lobby bar finally. But we will not give up and will meet again in St.Petersburg but on Saturday night next time!

We would like to express our special thanks for the huge support in this FAM trip organizing to:

Many thanks a gain first of all to you and Tatiana for the organisation of the trip, it gave us a great opportunity to visit unknown places and updates about wonderful Russia, the atmosphere was great and people very friendly. thanks, now we are looking forward to sell our knowledge to tourists :o) !!
The report is very nice (I already got 100 emails from new client asking about nightlife due to the title you guys honored me of "nightlife specialist"... I will make a special section on our website ;o)))) !! )
Yves Cornuz, Switzerland

Thank you very much for your invitation to Russia.
It was a nice and interesting time.
The only things that are improvement was the guide on the bus while we were driving to all destinations. Sometimes it was too much information to record all this in this short time.
Maybe less information is enough for our clients.
Also the bus from Saturday – Monday was not very clean. The other buses were better.
Also for long distance rides, we should count in some breaks for our clients.
The guide in St. Petersburg was very great! Kind, helpful and calm. The ride with the train was very exciting.
Now we can offer this train much better!
The sightseeing in Moscow and St. Petersburg are very interesting and characterized of so much history.
All in one it was an experience to visit Russia and to get to know all the culture and facilities of it.
Vanessa Maywald, Germany

I enjoyed my trip to Russia very much
Services were very good
All hotels were very nice
The first transport it was not very good but other was very nice
Group was a great bunch of professional, interesting and beautiful people
Thank you for all
Fekkak, Morocco

A very big thank you for the nice FAM trip. As it was my very first time in Russia, I had a great opportunity to see so many good sides of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Enjoyed it very much.
Also had a look at your report about the trip. I had to smile a lot when reading about "Yves, the night club expert from Switzerland" :)
I hope we will meet again soon, maybe for a trip in Switzerland with more chocolate and cheese - or in Russia, preferably in summer.
Kim Chareonbood, Switzerland

It was lovelly meeting you in Fam trip. You are so warm and nice person!. I wish this year will be the best for a good business and I would like to thank you for having published this fam trip in your web.
Saliha Benmoussa, Morocco

Tatiana Makeeva, Larisa Valyaeva and all MBV staff.

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