The best travel tip I got from a friend here was to use TJ Travel. The smartest thing I did was to follow the advice!
From the time schedule, which included promptness, efficiency and almost never encountering a line, to the flexibility to add a little something here and there that gave us glimpses into local life---yours was the best tour experience we have had anywhere!
Our guide, Tatayana, knew her stuff, but also handled our many questions about Russia in wonderful ways that still stay with me now. Trips to the supermarket and corner food store and subways were Wonderful. She made each a mind-opening experience. She definitely conveyed her pride in her country. The selection of diverse lunch spots introduced us to Russian dishes and unique decors.
Our driver was incredible as well. Not a Thing I would normally pay attention to, but he made traffic go away by taking turns on streets that still gave us great views in the city. They were able to change the itinerary to avoid annoying holdups. He was Always waiting nearby in spots that didn't exist when we got out of the van.
The three day tour made all of us want to return, spend more time, and see the St.Petersburg of the next decade.
We also took the tour with Ringo in Warnemunde. Again, traveling by train and tram was an added benefit. He made Scherwin and Rostock magical and took us to the beach at Warnemunde which I am sure we would have missed. It was an exhausting day one for our age group but that cruise stop would have been pretty boring without that tour. Again, the lunch stop was great!
I came to pity those who booked on board tours paying far more for far less. But please don' t compete with those prices. Representing three countries, we all enjoyed your tipping policy, rather than a flat rate. IT was our chance to reward excellence!