Re-discovering Russia

Ver-Colne Valley U3A enjoy their time in a traditional Russian restaurant in St Petersburg.

Ver-Colne Valley U3A enjoy their time in a traditional Russian restaurant in St Petersburg.

In September 2014, Holiday and Events Organiser Mary Gotts took 50 members of the Ver-Colne Valley U3A on an eight-day sightseeing trip to the Russian cities of Moscow and St Petersburg.

Pina Di Pietro and Emily Basford from Wiltshire-based Success Tours helped Mary organise the trip. She says, “Their hard work and attention to detail was impeccable.”

Flying with British Airways, the group’s first stop was Moscow, where their local guide greeted them. Mary recalls, “We took in all the capital’s main sites including the Kremlin and the Armoury as well as some of the main metro stations. Moscow Metro was one of the USSR’s most extravagant architectural projects and, with its grandiose chandeliers and marble columns, it’s not to be missed!” The group then travelled by train to St Petersburg.

Highlights of the group’s time here included visits to the Hermitage, the magnificent collection of art housed in the winter palace of Catherine the Great, and the beautiful 18th century Pavlovsk Palace, which is now a state museum and public park.

Of the whole experience, Mary says, “I first visited Moscow in the Soviet days of the 1970s and, on my return, it was brillaint to see the cosmopolitan hub the city has transformed into. My group, seeing the country for the first time, were also amazed. Russia should be on everyone’s to do list.”