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Testimonials – Travellers Reviews

A huge thank you to the travellers who shared a review of their experience.*To see images travellers shared, click read more at the end of each testimonial.

Charles HardemanUSA

...an extraordinarily successful visit which more than exceeded expectations!

We have just broken away from our moorings alongside port here at St. Petersburg after an extraordinarily successful 2-day visit which more than exceeded expectations. I have to admit that I am glad that you talked me into doing things I had not done before, and initially objected to, particularly the Metro which we all felt was a special experience.

Speaking of special, you could not have assigned us to a more knowledgeable, personable and patient guide than Nadya. Her command of English and encyclopedic knowledge of Russian history, the places we visited, St. Petersburg and just all matters of importance to us during our visit is unequaled. And, she is also just one of the nicest people on earth.

And, Boris, our bus driver deserves special commendation as well not only for managing the tight time cable amidst the usual difficult St Petersburg traffic and parking conditions, he had to do it while maneuvering around preparations for the upcoming celebrations which posed all kinds of obstacles...please pass on our thanks to Boris as well.

"I would like to add my voice of thanks to the whole team behind the wonderful coordination of our two days in St Petersburg.  As a former event producer, I know just how many things go on 'behind the scenes' and how many things it takes to deliver an exceptional tour.  Our experience is one I will treasure forever.
Nadya and Borya excelled in their roles.  And, as Charles says, Nadya is a delightful young woman who is so well equipped to lead a memorable tour.  She shared so many points of interest and historical facts with us, we'd never appreciate Russia in that way from reading about it.  She truly brought Russia to life for us.
Thank you to you for all the amazing coordination you put into our visit" (c) Kathryn

With all best wishes, and a well done to you Anna,
Charles and the travelling Vikings

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John Mills and Mark WoznyUSA

A million thanks! 

Anna and the 56 Parallel team put together an amazing itinerary encompassing three distinct and very different venues within the Russian Federation; Moscow, Kamchatka, and Saint Petersburg. While the trip required many scheduling variations, every date and time was executed flawlessly by the several drivers and guides assigned to caring for Mark and I during our 10-day journey. Nicolai gave us a condensed (we only had several hours) but comprehensive tour and history of Moscow.

Anna provided superb guiding in Kamchatka making every aspect of our visit there a wonderful adventure. She was a competent, knowledgable leader who lined up perfect assistance from Andre and Vica. After an historical tour of the city by Anna, we went to the snowy hinterlands of the peninsula where Andre and Vica took us by snowmobile and sled to wonderful views and places including a marvelous waterfall and natural hot spring as well as getting close (despite a challenging weather day) to one of three volcanos visited. The woman who owned the camp where we stayed was a great host, making sure that all of her guests were fed hearty meals designated for the outdoor activities we were involved in. We also had picnic lunches of salmon, seaweeds, octopus, and squid; along with breads and cheeses. At least Mark got to sample the various local foods. (I stuck to the cheeses and breads, lol).

We got to rope ski behind the snowmobiles and the rides on the snowmobiles were the best! We got to play on two volcanos, one active, as we rode to both via snowcat. Great fun climbing up and freeriding down on our butts. The last stop on our trip was St. Petersburg where we were met and guided professionally and thoroughly through the sights of the city including the Hermitage and Catherines Palace by Marina and Archie. In spite of some very lengthy flights in between stops, we really covered an amazing amount of territory. We are grateful to everyone associated with 56 Parallel in making this adventure one of the very best ever! A million thanks!

 

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Hendrik and Claudia LeberSwitzerland

Moscow was fascinating, we want to come back soon. And personally, I liked Siberia and Lake Baikal.

I was very happy with the tour organisation it was well planned and everything was smooth. All our needs were covered. The guides in both Moscow and lake Baikal was very good. By the way, the group was also very nice. We were happy to be in a mixed Russian-Western group with mostly young people.

4 Seasons Hotel in Moscow was outstanding, one of the best rooms in one of the best hotels we have ever stayed at. Hotel in Irkutsk was good. The hotels and guest houses on Lake Baikal itself were not up to our standards, especially regarding beds (mattress and bed cover) and bathrooms. Food was ok, but somewhat monotonous. For a week it is ok, but it is not very positive memory.

But anyway, we've enjoyed our time in Moscow and Lake Baikal very much. Moscow was fascinating, we want to come back soon. And personally, I liked Siberia and Lake Baikal. I liked the emptiness, the cold, the ice. With better hotels, I could even convince my wife to come back.

I will definitely recommend choosing the 56th Parallel for others travellers and yes, I highly recommend to travellers explore Lake Baikal, however, it is suitable only for a certain type of traveller.

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Chris WrightAustralia

Everything was wonderful!

I was very happy with the trip. The guide, Yulia, was wonderful. She was friendly, positive, knowledgeable and interesting. Alexei the driver was very good at what he does. The lake, of course, is absolutely beautiful, a wonderful place. Thank you for all of your assistance with that part of the trip too.
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Sandra Thomas and Pat FarrantUK

A trip of a lifetime, many thanks!

Hi Anna, just to say "thank you" for organizing such a fantastic trip in Lake Baikal! Both Pat and I thoroughly enjoyed it and met some lovely people, the one day of -40C was a bit extreme. All went off well, both of the tour guides in Moscow and Irkutsk were really good and drivers met us all promptly, so really well organized! Thank you so much for putting up with all our enquires. Anyway a trip of a lifetime, many thanks! 

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Chris HobbsAustralia

Thank you for being the best tour guide that I have ever had

Hi Dasha. I would like to thank you for being the best tour guide that I have ever had as well as being the nicest. You really made my holiday the trip of a lifetime and one I will never forget. Although it was quite physically demanding at times I suffered no ill effects at all and it did me the world of good. I would love to climb mt Avachinsky, but I would need perfect conditions and be based nearer than Paratunka so as I had more time. Anyway I will look into it as I would love to!
 
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Peter MeggyesyAustralia

There is still a lot of misinformation about Russia, which is so unjustified.

Dear Anna, Michael and 56th Parallel team,
The Baikal itinerary was spot on and the guide from Irkutsk, Dasha, was the best. Her English was superb and she had a genuine passion for Baikal which made the trip really special. The Kamchatka trip ground crew were excellent and well organised. The facilities were excellent, great food and the tour guide Vitaly was strong, organised and extremely efficient.
Russia is a beautiful country, lots to see. Your suggestion to see Kazan was excellent as it was really beautiful.
I had a superb trip in Kamchatka. The 16 of us on tour were all impressed by the four super-efficient tour staff. The food and facilities were first rate and the mercurial tour leader, Vitaly did a remarkable job.  If there was any downside it was that I somehow thought that I would see lots of bears on the Kamchatka trip. Had I have known I would have probably booked a few days at Kurile Lake as well to take advantage of seeing the bears. I tried the day trip option during the trip but the weather was not kind. That is not meant as a criticism but rather feedback that when others book for Kamchatka it is worth pointing out that if they also want to see bears they need to organise the side trip.
Once again, thanks to Anna and Michael and once again all the best for the future. As I said it is a difficult industry that you guys are in and, interestingly, Russia still would be a "hard sell" for you guys. I am a doctor down here and I was amazed at the level of ignorance among my patients about travelling in Russia. Before I went on holidays they would ask where I was going and when I replied "Russia" most were worried for my safety. There is still a lot of misinformation about the place which is so unjustified.
Warmest regards,
Pete
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