The Netherlands, flower tour
St Petersburg, Russia
Jul 2 - 8, 2014
Join pro photographer Mirjam Evers one of the founders of PQA on a once in a lifetime Adventure to Russia! Visiting Russia in the summer seasons best for photography since there is light in St. Petersburg late into the evening, referred to as "White Nights". During White Nights, when a faint twilight takes the place of night darkness, the streets, squares and embankments acquire a unique charm.
July 1st- Travel from USA to St Petersburg (LED)
July 2nd - Arrive St Petersburg late afternoon
Transfer from Airport to Hotel. Welcome Dinner. Overnight stay Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*. (D)
July 3rd - St. Petersburg
After breakfast we will depart for a city photography tour of St. Petersburg: Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral. The Fortress is a small ancient city in the center of modern megalopolis. St Isaak Cathedral is one of the most stunning structures in the world. The interior decoration of the cathedral is a symphony of gold, marble, and precious stones. Designed by the French architect Montferrand between 1818 and 1858, it is the largest church in St. Petersburg. Lunch at the restaurant "Gloss", followed by excursion to Museum of Vodka with Vodka tasting after lunch. Evening shoot. Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*
July 4th - St. Petersburg
Photo excursion to the Hermitage Museum. The Winter Palace is one of the buildings that makes up the Hermitage, the largest art museum in all of Russia and ranks among the most prestigious museums in the world. It was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 as a private court museum and evolved into the most remarkable collection of art in the world containing more than 2.7million works of art. Afernoon visit and photo shoot at the Yusupov Palace and photograph the Main Chambers, Private Chambers and exposition "The Murder of Rasputin". Among the palaces treasures is the infamous white marble staircase and works of art by Rembrandt, Rubens, French tapestries and Venetian mirrors and wood carvings. It was here in 1916 where the notorious Grigory Rasputin was assassinated. The palace is a beautiful example of St. Petersburg's early 18th century architecture Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*
July 5th - St. Petersburg
Excursion to Tsarskoe Selo and Catherine's Palace. Excursion to Pavlovsk. The Pavlovsk palace and beautiful park used to be the Royal estate at the end of the 18th century, and it was the former residence of Catherine II’s son, Paul I. The Pavlovsky ensemble is one of the largest parks in Europe. It is a blend of Baroque and neo-classicism and often reminds visitors of Thomas Jefferson’s famous residence, Monticello. The gardens are sumptuous—the Russian equivalent of Versailles. Photograph the small grottoes, pavilions, artificial ruins, miniature fortresses and peasant cottages surprise the unknowing visitor as they suddenly appear around the next bend. Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*
July 6th -St. Petersburg-Peterhof
After breakfast we head to Alexandria Park with stops at the Cottage and Gothic Chapel during the excursion to Peterhof. There are several architectural monuments in the park – Gothic Chapel (the former Church of Alexander Nevsky), Farmer Palace, Telegraph house, Guardroom, Gothic Palace etc. Peterhof (Petrodvorets) – the so-called “Kingdom of Fountains” and rival of the Palace of Versailles. Peter the Great intended to build a summer residence as splendid as the Versailles palaces. The initial layout of the summer residence was drawn by Peter himself.
In the afternoon photograph the TSARITSYN and OLGIN PAVILIONS during the tour to Peterhof. Tsaritsyn Pavilion (Tzaritza’s Pavilion) was the place where the Tzar’s family gathered together. Lunch at the restaurant "Oranzhereya"/ Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*
July 7 - St. Petersburg
Early morning departure to Gatchina, Palace and Park. Gatchina is a part of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments. The Palace's Neoclassical style is echoed in the park, bridges, gates, and pavilions, such as "The Isle of Love" , "The Private garden", "The Holland garden" and "The Labyrinth" among others. Lunch at the restaurant "Za Stsenoy" New Island dinner-cruise. This Restaurant-Ship is St. Petersburg's only floating luxury Restaurant. Photo opportunities of St. Petersburg from the river Neva while enjoying dinner. Overnight stay at the The Hotel Astoria 5*
July 8 - St. Petersburg-USA
Fly back to the US
Itinerary subject to change
Based on double occupancy in a 5 star hotel.
Single supplement $1,650
6 nights St Petersburg
$6,800 Cost per person
Based on double occupancy from St Petersburg $6,800
Single supplement $1,650
Limited to 8 photographers
Accommodations are based on double occupancy in a 5 star hotel. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. PQA will try to match you with a roommate if you do not opt for a single supplement. However, if a roommate is not available, you be charged the additional single supplement fee.
Mirjam Evers is a New York City based travel photographer who specializes in international environmental portraiture, landscape photography and adventure images. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Evers has photographed in more than 75 countries, including many of the most exotic places in the world. Evers' photographs are indicative of her unique capacity to personally connect with diverse cultures and communities. Her eye for location lighting is highly stylized and works to illustrate and heighten the unique characteristics of each international locale. She is able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that is conveyed in every image. Evers is available for worldwide assignments, travel essays and editorial work. Her photographs are available for licensing in print and online, exhibitions and fine print sales. Selected Corporate Clients: Nikon, Lowepro, Lensbaby, Epson and Visa. Selected Publications: AFAR, The New York Times, AARP, Outdoor Photographer, PDN, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo, Departures, MSN Travel.
"She's able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that comes through in every portrait." -Mark Edward Harris, PC Photo
Quest Leader's website: http://www.mirjamevers.com/
Facts About Russia
Russia, a country of enormous social, political and geographic proportions, remains one of the great undiscovered destinations for travel in the 21st century with an incredible diversity of customs and culture. Explore the historic city of St Petersburg where stories of the rich and powerful Russian families of the 19th century prior to the Revolution are brought to life.
A city of canals and cathedrals, palaces and terraces, St. Petersburg is unmatched in its splendor. On the banks of the Neva River, it is the northernmost city in Russia with over four million inhabitants. Its lavish palaces, lush parks, hundreds of bridges, and world-class museums have made it one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world. Since Peter the Great moved the seat of his young empire from Moscow to the banks of the Neva River, St. Petersburg has been the crown jewel of capitals. Its architects drew from the majesty of Europe's most breathtaking sites - the canals of Venice, the palaces of Versailles, the cathedrals of Rome, the streets of Amsterdam, and the aura of Vienna. These aspects have joined together to create a city of unspeakable perfection. In the heart of the city stands the Winter Palace. One side faces the Palace Square with its looming Alexander Column, erected to celebrate the victory over Napoleon. To the rear of the palace is the Neva River and the Peter and Paul Fortress, designed to defend the city from water attacks. Inside the Winter Palace is the world-famous Hermitage Museum, the largest collection of Russian art in the world. The Hermitage originated as the private art collection of Catherine the Great, with hundreds of paintings now displayed in the Palace’s halls, many of which are works of art themselves.St. Isaac's Cathedral is also next to the Winter Palace. The largest orthodox cathedral in the world, it was built in the classic Roman style with cupolas of 100 kilograms of pure gold. A few blocks from the Palace Square you will find the Savior-on-the-Blood Cathedral, built in the place where czar Alexander II was assassinated. The outskirts of the city hold just as many wonders, such as Catherine’s Palace in Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) and Peterhof Palace. The best time to visit St. Petersburg is during summer.
Peter and Paul Fortress was designed to defend the city from naval attacks, but was used as a political prison for dissidents of the tsarist regime and as a museum during the soviet era. The fortress now stands as the tomb for the Russian imperial family.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built to commemorate one of Russia's greatest emperors. Alexander II is most famous for liberating the Russian serfs two years before the abolition of slavery in the U.S. After he was assassinated, the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood was erected in his honor.
St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe. Because of its rich decorations, gigantic golden cupolas, and sprawling observation deck, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in St. Petersburg. St. Isaac's Square and observe these from the outside: the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, the Palace Square, the Spit of Vasilievskiy Island, the Bronze Horseman Statue, Peter's Log Cabin, Cruiser Aurora, Smolny Palace, the Nevsky Prospect, the Square of Arts, and more.
Hermitage Museum, which is to St. Petersburg what Kremlin is to Moscow. St Petersburg has dozens of beautiful palaces, but the Winter Palace stands above them all. First of all, it is one of the best collections of art in the world. Secondly, this collection is located in the very building where Russian emperors lived. It is here that they rose to power and its if from these walls that they ruled 1/5 of the world's territories. It was also here that the Bolsheviks overthrew their reign. The Bolsheviks were tempted to destroy the palace, the symbol of tsars, but its artistic value was so immense that they transformed it into the museum. They say that if you were to spent three minutes by each of the exhibits in the Hermitage, it would've taken you three years to see the Hermitage. But don't worry - you will have an experienced guide, who will show you the best rooms and halls in just 4 hours. And, when the guided tour ends, you can continue exploring this enormous palace/museum on your own.
Royal residence on the outskirts of the city where Russian tsars spend most of their time during warm time of the year. Peterhof is most famous for its fountain park, which rivals that of Versailles. Its sprawling gardens, ornate fountains, and lavish decorations will enthrall you. Duration of the tour is six hours.
Requirements for Entry & Visa
U.S. citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter the Russian Federation. For visa requirements, visit www.ruscon.com or your local Russian Consulate. Once you have registered, we will send you a letter with an invitation to get your visa.
Food and Eating Customs
The quality of the water in Russia varies from place to place. It is recommended to drink and brush your teeth with bottled water. Also, try to avoid ice, raw foods and vegetables.
The electrical current in Russia is 220V AC. The European standard 2-prong plug is used. Be sure to bring a converter with you, as it is difficult to purchase in Russia.
All prices are generally quoted in Russian rubles. You may exchange currency at hotels, banks, and currency exchange kiosks. Traveler's checks are hard to cash. Credit cards are accepted in most places that work with foreign tourists. Some may turn down American Express. Visa and MasterCard are known, hence - more widely honored. ATM machines are widely available in major cities, but note: they do not have letters on the key pad, so if your PIN includes letters, do remember them as digits! Do not exchange currency in the streets if a native Russian offers to sell you rubles. Always carry some currency with you because many shops do not accept credit cards. Remember to change your rubles to dollars before you leave Russia. Most exchange office outside Russia will not change rubles.
TIPPING: Tipping is increasingly expected at restaurants. Tips should be between 10 and 15%.
TELEPHONE: Despite the recent rapid improvements in the telecommunications infrastructure, telephone service to the United States is expensive in Russia. Your best options include using your hotel room telephone or AT&T, MCI, or Sprint's direct USA services. - If you are away from your hotel, find any pay telephone, which are usually located at Metro (subway) stations. The phones accept ruble coins, special metro coins or telephone cards. The telephone cards can be purchased at newsstands and some stores.
INTERNET: Most big hotels offer its guests Internet access for a fee. There are also quite cheap internet cafes in big cities.
Time ZonesTIME: +8 hours Eastern Standard Time (New York City, Washington, D.C., Miami, Boston)
Health and Medical>
If you take any prescription medication, be sure to bring enough of it for the entire duration of your trip, as some medications are unavailable in Russia. It is also advisable to bring some usual over-the-counter medications with you. These medicines are usually sold in pharmacies, however the labels are in Russian and most store clerks do not speak English. Contact your health insurance company beforehand to find out what your insurance plan offers in case of emergency. Many insurance providers offer specialized riders which can cover emergency evacuation. We do recommend buying a travel insurance.
Clothing and Appropriate Dress
Computer / Digital Acessories