COSMOS TOUR ITINERARY
AIR COACH TOUR 6950
THE BALTIC REPUBLICS, MOSCOW AND LENINGRAD
DAY 1: U.K.- FLIGHT to LENINGRAD
Fly to Leningrad where you’11 be met by your Cosmos escort and driven to your hotel. D.pf-
DAY 2: LEISURELY DAY IN LENINGRAD.
A full programme of optional excursions. Leningrad was created in 1703 by the iron will of Peter the Great. He made it the capital of all the Russias, and ensured that it should rival any other European capital in splendour, beauty and distinction. Parks, monuments, squares, streets and wide boulevards will bewilder you with their symmetrical beauty, and even more so will the River Neva which adds to the charm of the city with its 600 bridges. Don’t miss out on the included city sightseeing tour. It takes in the Hermitage Museum which houses a magnificent and massive amount of the world’s art treasures. During World War II the city was besieged for 900 days and much of it destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants perished and now lie buried in a huge communal cemetery, the Piskarev, on one wall of which are written the following words — “No-one, nothing is forgotten”. B,D,pf.
Sun 29 Sept
Neva River ¼ mile wide. Hermitage. Churches, bridges, hydrofoils. Went into church with icons.
DAY 3: LENINGRAD – TALLINN.
Drive at first towards Krasnoje Selo, so beautifully described by Tolstoy when recounting the horse racing organised by the guards officers in his novel “Anna Karenina”. Further west to the old fortified town of Kingissep, past Marva and with glimpses of the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the smallest of the Soviet Baltic Republics. A
delightful mixture of German, Scandinavian and Russian architecture and history. The capital was seized by Peter the Great from that grand soldier Charles XII in 1710. B,D,pf
Mon 30 Sept
To Tallinn PM. Countryside Leningrad Tallinn has dachas (wooden) border post with castle, forests. Tallinn complete old town with towers, narrow streets, barricades (being removed). A Nevsky Cathedral. Town Square. Street Theatre. Art Galleries.
DAY 4: TALLINN – RIGA.
An easy journey southwards reaching the Gulf of Riga after the town of Parnu. The drive continues along the coastline, dotted with beaches and camping sites to Riga itself, the capital of Latvia and rightly considered one of the most beautiful towns in the whole of Russia. Your included tour of the old city is a worthwhile experience. A local guide will brief you on some of the most eventful parts of the 777 years of this city’s history. B,D,pf
Tue 01 Oct
Am Tour of Tallinn – Song Festival site, Olympic boat site, old nunnery ruin, then foot tour of town.
PM drive to Riga. Guide – Vivian
DAY 5: LEISURELY DAY IN RIGA.
It is steeped in centuries of history since it was founded in 1201 by Bishop Albert, head of the Order of Teutonic Knights. It has known German and Swedish occupation and many of its most important sights originate from architects of these countries. It is known, because of its parks, as “The Green City” and its buildings vary in style ranging from Roman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Modern, Functional and Contemporary Soviet. The old town is a mixture Of narrow streets, parks, river banks and a canal flanked by old houses, high storehouses with pulleys, lofty church spires and old walls ornamented with stone masts or profusely decorated doorways. The main sights in the old town are the Pils Castle and the Doma Cathedral. B,D,pf
Wed 02 Oct
Hotel in modern part of city (Latvia Hotel). Streets renamed. Coach/foot tour AM (guide Ilya). Visited Latvian Rifleman museum, food dept store. Tarts in bar! Saw barricades.
DAY 6: RIGA – VILNIUS
The countryside, as you travel still further south, becomes much more picturesque. The Republic of Lithuania is known for its forests, swamps and lakes and its many farms produce a significant amount of barley, milk and meat. Vilnius, the capital, is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Neris and Vilen. The heart of the old town “Castle Hill”
with the ruins of Gediminas’ Castle is surrounded by winding streets which lead to the courtyards of Russia’s oldest university, originally founded by the Jesuits in 1569. B,D,pf
Thur 03 Oct
Vilnius Tour PM – to old town (foot) then to Parliament Building – barricades, posters, Junk Pile. Gorby cartoon. TV Tower with crosses to fallen. After 6 visited Folk Museum – outdoor crosses, furniture, weaving artefacts, cloth.
DAY 7: VILNIUS – MINSK – SMOLENSK
East today into the Republic of Byelorussia, the gateway to Moscow. It suffered greatly during the 2nd World War when one in every four of its people perished. Minsk, its capital, is a city with a history plagued by wars, many of which led to its destruction – the last being that of 1941. It has now been totally rebuilt and it is the most prosperous and dynamic city of the region. Across the Russian Steppe to Smolensk, by way of Borisov, where Napoleon’s army was routed in 1812’s terrible winter retreat. Smolensk itself stands on both banks of the River Dnjeper and is surrounded by a relatively hilly and wooded countryside. It is one of the most ancient towns in Russia. B.L.D,pf
Fri 04 Oct
Vilnius – Minsk- Smolensk
All day drive. Minsk has cliffs of apartment blocks, period style buildings in centre. Phoenix Motel in Smolensk. Best hotel in town but rather seedy. The souvenir sellers in this region were more desperate than anywhere else on the tour.
DAY 8: SMOLENSK – MOSCOW.
An easier start this morning since only 230 miles of motorway separate us from Moscow. Arrival will be in the afternoon, giving us time to get acquainted with the capital of this vast country. Take advantage of the programme of included and optional excursions. B.D,pf
DAYS 9 & 10: AT LEISURE IN MOSCOW
Your included sightseeing tour will take you along the banks of the Moskva, the huge university, the older part of the city, the Bolshoi and Lenin Square. You’11 also walk into Red Square, overshadowed by the Kremlin walls, to visit the Lenin Museum and later, one of the Moscow subway stations. There will also be time for an optional excursion to visit the Kremlin territory, churches, treasures, the big bell and cannon. B,D,pf daily
I remember seeing some examples of gigantic soul-crushing Stalinist architecture, also street markets selling souvenirs.
DAY 11: MOSCOW – FLIGHT to U.K.
By coach to Moscow airport for the flight to London. B
N.B. Full passport and visas for Russia will be required on this tour.