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rhkkmk's off to Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn via JFK

rhkkmk's off to Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn via JFK

Old Oct 13th, 2009, 06:17 PM
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laurie_ann - yes, we are US citizens. forgot to mention that in my earlier post.
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Old Dec 9th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Who is this "tengombre" who gets people all these airfare deals? Planning a Thai trip in January. Thanks!
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Old Dec 19th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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He is another Fodorite from NYC , most often found on the Asia board. He has some fare watcher site on his computer and forwards to us anything he thinks we could use. Had a fabulous time in Thailand for our 13th trip on our "budget" trip. Go to the Asia site for lots of Thai info.
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Old Jan 4th, 2010, 06:09 AM
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You probably had enjoyed your trip more had you understand that most people weren´t being moody/rude to you, our culture is just different compared to what you´re used to.

I can only speak for Finnish people, but generally here people tend to be quite reserved and like to have their own space. Behavior that's consider quite normal and even polite in some countries is here often seen as being annoying/fake (like smiling all the time for no logical reason, being extra-friendly with strangers, standing very close to someone when speaking to them etc.) This reflects in customer service, no-one will be constantly asking if you need anything, is everything ok and so on because that would be seen as being over-the-top by local customers.

Regards from snowy Finland
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Old Jan 4th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Babelic, I am trying to organise an itinerary to Sweden, Finland, St Petersburg and now possibly Tallinn. I am a reserved Irish Brit and your Finland is just what I am looking for. I have been to Norway and loved it - felt like home. I am hoping other Scandinavian countries and St Petersburg will be similar.


Thank you
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Old Mar 4th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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ttt
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Old Mar 21st, 2010, 07:30 PM
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ttt for karin
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Old Mar 22nd, 2010, 05:20 AM
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Bob...this was absolutely wonderful to read and very helpful! I'll let you know what Gil and I decide to do. When Gil said he wanted us to do a side trip in addition to our trip to Stockholm I told him I had to contact the BEST Trip Advisor to see if he had been to St. Petersburg, etc. You are the best!!!! Thanks!
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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missed this great TR the first time round, and found it whilst researching a trip to Tallinn, perhaps next spring [2011] when it'll be the european city of Culture.

any ideas what the temperature is like in late March/April?
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Old Apr 6th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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Reread this since am now planning for Helsinki and Tallinn at the start of a long trip in the fall. Definitely sounds like I shouldn't skip Tallinn, but maybe limit Helsinki to keep costs down. I'll be going on to Riga, which seems to have lots of Art Nouveau, my fave. I just checked the Imperial in Tallinn - three nights in July and one near the end of August are already full!
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Old Apr 13th, 2010, 11:17 PM
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One day to walk the city (look at Katajanokka neighbourhood for Art Nouveau buildings), half-day for Suomenlinna Fortress. That's it.
I believe one can explore Helsinki in two days easily.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Great review! I just happened to run into your review on these three cities, as I am planning a very similar trip in October. I had thought of taking the bus from St. Petersburg to Tallinn, but after reading your review I think i will skip that. Right now, I am looking at spending 4 days in Helsinki, 4 days in SPB, and 3 days in Tallinn. I may decide to take an overnight trip to Riga, but I haven't made up my mind on that yet. A lot of the info you posted will be helpful when I start making more detailed plans on my trip.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Dear Bob and Karen, My wife and I will be leaving in a couple of months for St. Petersburg, Russia, where we will be staying for 6 nights. We have found your blogs of inestimable value. For example, we have arranged for Alex to be our guide, starting off with our arrival at the airport on June 25. Although it's almost impossible in St. P we are exploring ways of doing things within a budget, yet with maximum enjoyment. We have high hopes of seeing the Marinskii ballet in its great hall, but their ticket prices for programs with their stars are stratospheric, to put it mildly, at least those we've seen on the web. Naturally, we'd appreciate any suggestions you may offer for finding a strategy for booking seats at minimum cost and maximum enjoyment. For example, are you aware of such a thing as a same day kiosk that sells heavily discounted tickets as we find in many of our cities? Or?? After St. P on to Lahti, Finland to meet with two good old friends, then Helsinki, and Tallinn for five nights. Should be a great trip! Thanks again for your help and happy travels in the future, Norm
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Old May 9th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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Hello Bob and Karen,

I've only just picked up on this trip report and I would like to say 'thank you' for posting such a wonderfully written report. I've have been playing around with the idea of visiting Scandanavia/Estonia and now I can't wait to research Helsinki and Tallinn further.
Happy travels!
Sandy
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Old Jun 18th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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sandy--give tallinn plenty of time....

ttt for joyce c
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Old Jun 19th, 2010, 12:08 AM
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Russian nationals pay a totally different fee to see the ballet. If you are willing to accept their tickets you can sometimes get them on the street outside the theater as they do re-sell them. We saw one small group of tourists do that. Not sure of any other way. We paid the full price but even so was WELL worth it . I do not suggest seeing the ballet at the Hermitage if you are going to Marinsky.
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Old Jun 19th, 2010, 01:54 AM
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Is this Alex the same as Alex Travel and Tours?
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Old Jun 19th, 2010, 01:56 AM
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here is the Alex Travel and Tours website:
http://stpetersburg-guide.com/about/about.shtml

I am confused because I went to tripadvisor and realized they might be talking of two different Alex tour guide. The Alex you mentioned here has last name as Lubynov, the other one is Alex P.

I am looking for tour guide for our trip this July to St. Petersburg.
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Old Aug 13th, 2010, 06:28 AM
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Just wanted to add here that we used the guide Alex Lyubimov based on the recommendation of rhkkmk and found him to be wonderful. We had one extra day to fill after a tour ended in SPb and Alex was available.
He was great company, very fun, very friendly - and the price was amazingly reasonable.

In case anyone is interested, to save from scrolling up to find it, here is his contact info as Bob has it above:
Alex Lyubimov (Tel: 8-921-945-4126)...E-mail: [email protected]

He said he also does transfers to/from airport etc - wish we'd known that ahead of time or thought to ask. I'm sure his rate would've been better than the taxi the hotel arranged for us.
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Old Aug 31st, 2010, 04:41 AM
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this has been great information - thanks bob for the great report!

thanks others for chiming in... now if I could convince everyone else to write TR's... I find them incredibly helpful in planning.
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