The Netherlands & Belgium
White Nights, St Petersburg, Russia
Jul 2 - 7, 2014
Highlights St Petersburg, Rusia
Join photographer Mirjam Evers, on a once in a lifetime photography tour, staying at the 5* Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel in St Petersburg, Russia. With its beautiful Baroque buildings and dozens of curving canals that flow into the Neva, St. Petersburg has rightly been called the Venice of the North. In Russia’s northern city of St Petersburg " White Nights" is an exciting time to photograph, when a faint twilight takes the place of night darkness. The streets, squares and embankments acquire a unique charm and the high latitudes are bathed in a pearlescent all-night glow. The White Nights Festival consists of a series of classical ballet, opera and music events and includes performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors, as well as famous international guest stars. Join us in this magically beautiful city dotted with stunning palaces, bisected by romantic canals.
July 1st-Travel to St. Petersburg, Russia (LED)
July 2nd-Arrival into St Petersburg late afternoon.
Transfer from the airport to the Hotel. We will be staying at a 5* Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel in St Petersburg all week. We will enjoy our welcome dinner on a rooftop terrace with spectacular views of St Petersburg.(D)
July 3rd -Hermitage, Palace Square, St Isaacs's and Kazan Cathedrals & The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
Depart after breakfast to the Hermitage when it opens to the public followed by shooting the Palace Square. Afterwards we will walk along the Neva Embankment to photograph the Bronze Horseman and spend a few hours photographing the stunning St Isaac's Cathedral, one of the most stunning structures in the world. The interior decoration of the cathedral is a symphony of gold, marble, and precious stones. Photograph amazing views of St. Petersburg from the special lookout beneath the dome of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral. After lunch we will photograph the Kazan Cathedral and the The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. Visit the craft market next to the church. Late afternoon take a boat trip from the Moika canal and we will be able to photograph the Peter and Paul Fortress, Anchikov Bridge, Yusupov Palace and the Naval Cathedral as well as many other places of interest. Later this evening, we will shoot the spectacle of the massive Neva River bridges heaving apart to let boat traffic through. Bridges stay open till 5:00 am. (B,L)
July 4th-Peterhof and Pushkin-Catherine Palace
After breakfast we catch a hydrofoil from the Neva Embankment near the Hermitage to Peterhof for a half day shoot. Peterhof– the so-called “Kingdom of Fountains” with its Versailles-inspired palace overlooks a cascade of fountains and gardens opening onto the Baltic Sea. We will wander and photograph the fountains, the Great Palace, the Marly Palace, the Tsaritsyn and Olgin Pavilions. After lunch depart for Catherine Palace named after Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great, who ruled Russia for two years after her husband's death. Originally a modest two-storey building commissioned by Peter for Catherine in 1717, the Catherine Palace owes its awesome grandeur to their daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who chose Tsarskoe Selo as her chief summer residence. Filled with 18th-century paintings and ornate rooms, this palace is surrounded by a 1400-acre park complete with fountains, bridges, the Agate Pavilion bathhouse and the Great Pond. The Palace also has a famous Amber Room, stolen by Nazi troops during WWII, but now recreated by Russian craftsmen. This evening enjoy cocktails on the rooftop of the Summer Terrace and photograph the stunning views of St Isaac's Cathedral and panoramic views of St Petersburg. (B,L)
July 5th-Opera theatre backstage tour.
After breakfast enjoy a private photo shoot with dancers at a ballet school. After lunch we will get an exclusive Mariinsky Ballet and Opera theatre backstage tour. Late afternoon photograph the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, named for the city’s spiritual protector of St. Petersburg; includes Trinity Cathedral, Church of Annunciation, and the Tikhvin and Lazarus cemeteries—final resting places of many famous Russians. This evening photograph the Naval cathedral of Saint Nicholas.(B,L)
July 6th-Smolny Cathedral, The Narva Triumphal Arch
After breakfast, depart for Smolny Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg. A visit up the bell tower is a must as the views from the top are quite amazing. After lunch visit a crafts market and the cemetery and Peter and Paul Fortress. This evening enjoy a great panoramic shoot from the Seven Sky Bar and a group dinner. (B,L, D)
July 7th-St. Petersburg-USA
Transfer back to the airport for your flights back to the USA.
Itinerary subject to change*
Based on double occupancy at 5* Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel, St Petersburg, Russia.
Single supplement $1850
$6,800 Cost per person
Based on double occupancy from St Petersburg, Russia
Single supplement $1,850
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
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. 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 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.
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.
Requirements for Entry & Visa
U.S. citizens require a valid passport and a visa to enter the Russian Federation. You will need an invitation letter to get your visa. The easiest way to go about this is to do everything online http://www.travisa.com
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!.
TIPPING: Tipping is increasingly expected at restaurants. Tips should be between 10 and 15%.
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.
Computer / Digital Acessories