On September 11, 2012, I wrote:
Plans are coming together for Jim and me for our pre-trip in the fall of 2013. We're going to go to St. Petersburg Russia for a week. Then to Berlin, Prague and Budapest before arriving in Paris at least a week ahead of Mary Bender. The plans for this trip started during our trip to France in the spring of 2012. My twin sister had friends who were planning to take a “Tour” of Europe by bus in fourteen days…they wanted me to join them to celebrate our 75th birthday. Remember the three month trip in 2009 that celebrated our 70th? I said “no, but I will consider joining you in Paris at the end of the trip for a couple of weeks”. And so another trip began.
Today we purchased our tickets with United Air Miles; I had to gift 4,000 miles to Jim's account for $60.00 and then we had the 60,000 miles we needed for our tickets. That with $91.90 for fees and we're on our way:
FLIGHT: August 5th from LAX to Frankfurt Germany and finally to St. Petersburg.
Arrived at 6:25 pm on August 6th.
HOTEL: We also made a Hotel reservation today with OTEL...
Nevsky Breeze Hotel, St. Petersburg, Russia; check in August 6th and check out on August 13th
GUIDE: We started researching guides as we've decided to hire a guide for 5 days while we are there. Since the cost of a Rick Steves' Tour would be about $6,000. we feel we can spend the money for a guide.
In researching sites on the Internet, Jim has located an English speaking guide by the name of Tatiana. We are communicating with her by email. Her mother taught English in the schools and her English is excellent.
And so the planning began. We added Dresden and Krakow to our plans. And the plan to meet my sister in Paris turned into another six weeks of travel for us with two girlfriends after Jim departs for home. The final plans were finished in the spring of 2013.
And now it is 3 am in the morning of departure day. We went to bed at 9 pm last night to start the process of resetting our clocks. I woke at 3 am and decided to write this first of many journals over the next three months. It’s going to be a long day….the flight to Germany from LA is 11 hours…we lose 9 hours on the clock, arriving in Frankfurt at 11 am tomorrow morning. A two hour layover and then a 4 hour flight to St. Petersburg…losing another two hours…arriving at 6:05 pm. I will be so happy when Tatiana meets us at the airport and whisks us off to our hotel. It’s so nice to know that we will be safely in her hands for our week in Russia.