In July of 2019, we took a Trafalgar trip called "Capitals of the North". We mainly wanted to go to Russia, but this trip stopped in Cophenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki on the way. The alternative was doing a North Sea cruise, which didn't give us nearly enough time in Russia.
- Day 0 -- Travel day LAX to CDG to Copenhagen with nine lost hours to time zones.
- Day 1 -- Arrive in Copenhagen, sightseeing.
- Day 2 -- Copenhagen sightseeing, North Zealand Rivieria and castle tour, canal cruise.
- Day 3 -- Copenhagen to Stockholm.
- Day 4 -- Grand tour of Stockholm, then onto the ferry.
- Day 5 -- Sea to Helsinki, and traditional Helsinki dinner.
- Day 6 -- Helsinki to Saint Petersburg with sightseeing.
- Day 7 -- Saint Petersburg sightseeing, the Hermitage, the ballet.
- Day 8 -- Peterhof Gardens, Catherine's Palace, folklore show
- Day 9 -- Rasputin, travel to Novgorod, Be My Guest Dinner.
- Day 10 -- Travel to Moscow, subways and Red Square at night.
- Day 11 -- Moscow sightseeing, Kremlin, treasures of the tsars.
- Day 12 -- Countryside and St. Sergiyev's Monastery.
- Day 13 -- Travel day Moscow to CDG to LAX.
Some general thoughts:
- We breezed through the Scandinavian capitals so fast it is a blur. However, there are not a ton of tourist things to do in those cities. We might go back to Copenhagen at some point, but Helsinki is so small there is nothing else to see there.
- Saint Petersburg is definitely the most beautiful city we have been to. Saint Petersburg is the city of arts and culture, and Moscow is the city of business and government.
- We need to go back to the Hermitage at some point, preferably closer to the off-season, so the crowds are not so bad, and we can take our time with it.
- We were very concerned about the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet going in. After some minimal study of pronouncing the characters, you can translate a lot of signs.
- We had some concerns about how they might treat tourists, but they are quite the capitalists in Russia.
- The ugly loud Americans have been replaced by the ugly loud Chinese tour busses in the eys of many of the tour guides and people in the cities.
Our group in front of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.