Helen Trigar and Julie O'Brien
Hi Tatyna and all at TJ Travel,
We were very satisfied with TJ Travel both in St Petersburg and Berlin. Right from the moment when we first contacted you earlier this year to enquire about your tours we found you to be so prompt in responding to our questions and at all times throughly professional and just a delightful company to do business with.
This was our first visit to Russia and when you are planning something in a country so far away from our own, ie Australia there are some anxieties around making plans via the internet. Also, Russia, as a legacy of the Cold War I think, continues to be shrouded in some mystic along with stereotypes that indicate that Russia is not as well organized as some of her Western counterparts. So, this created some uncertainties about whether it was safe to leave our tour in the hands of those who know Russia best or stay "safely" in the hands of the ships shore excursions. The ships add to this uncertainty, of course, by showing little films during the cruise about private excursions struggling to get through the traffic to get passengers back to the ship on time.
I think our fears were pretty much mitigated before we reached St Petersburg as we had out first TJ Tour in Berlin with the most engaging, charming and knowledgable Boris. If you don't mind me saying I think that he is such an asset to TJ. We were impressed with Boris on so many levels but what really amazed me was his ability to abstain from becoming emotive about the horrors of Nazi Germany. He so obviously supported Germany's remorse over what has gone before but seemed (without directly saying anything) to encourage people to use the lessons of history to avoid the recurrence of such atrocities. Along with this Boris just knew his "stuff" so well and was able to impart it in a clear, interesting and entertaining format. To top off an unforgettable day TJ managed to get us back to the ship about 10 minutes before the ship's shore excursion arrived back fromBerlin!!.
St Petersburg. Thanks to TJ for giving us two days of beautiful weather - or was that a little bit out of your control? Seriously, we could not have asked for a better guide than Nina who, like Boris in Berlin, impressed with her profound knowledge and her ability to impart that knowledge so well.
We were warned on our ship that there was likely to be lengthy details getting through customs but the whole process went smoothly. I was a little bit apprehensive about stepping into St Petersburg and not being able to find TJ but, as promised, there was a very visible presence of your representatives as we came through customs and it was straight onto the bus and on tour. Nina was great at anticipating where crowds would be at certain times of the day and getting us to places in time to avoid the crush/rush.
We saw and did so much and certainly received our "money's worth". Having the headsets to enable us to hear Nina's commentary while we were visiting the sights was invaluable. We enjoyed our lunches and the borsch was the best we've ever had!!.
When one puts so much into two days in a city such as St Petersburg one comes away feeling that they have sat down at a huge feast and come away feeling very hungry indeed. How we would have loved to spend so much more time at The Hermitage, for example, but of course that is well beyond the scope of a two day tour of a city packed with history and culture. We are very aware that to have seen about 16 hours of St Petersburg is just so much better than never having seen it at all.
We would not hesitate to recommend your tours and we congratulate you for providing such a professional, efficient and enjoyable service.
Kind regards and all the best for the future of TJ Travel,
Helen Trigar and Julie O'Brien