Year I was invited on a Russia trip escorted by Exeter International, a
Virtuoso supplier. This is a 5 star luxury tour company that offers
unique and wonderful destinations throughout Europe. Upon my arrival to
Moscow I was astonished to discover that our Hotel Baltschug was located
overlooking Red Square. As I gazed out our window I had a sense that me
and my traveling companion were in for a treat! That evening we dined
in the hotel's private restaurant (Bibliotek) overlooking Red
Square..talk about a table with a view. The meal was incredible...right
down to the Beluga caviar, Russian Vodka and Champagne.Day1 We
ventured off bright and early for our deluxe city tour. Later that
morning we visited the Izmailovsky Park for the best shopping in Russia.
(Weekends only) Later that day we visited the beautiful Park Hyatt
Hotel. We finished the day by attending a Circus performance at a local
arena....in our very own private box arranged by Exeter's local
we gathered for a walking tour of Red Square, infamous G.U.M.
Department Store and a 2 hour private tour of the Kremlin. We toured the
grounds of the Kremlin and Assumption Cathedral. Once we entered the
Kremlin...I was amazed at the size and the overall beauty that awaited
us all. Exeter arranged for a private 2 hour tour with the 2nd in
command of the security for the Kremlin. This was unbelievable. Later
that day we had another private tour of the Faceted Palace and Terem,
which was once home to all the Russian Tsars from "Ivan the Terrible" to "Peter the Great". We were advise that these rooms have hosted "Heads of States"
from all over the world.....this experience was so incredible! As
invited guests of the Kremlin, we toured these fascinating residences
normally closed to the public! That evening we enjoyed a ballet
performance at the Bolshoi and dinner at a traditional Russian
departed for our flight to St. Petersburg via Pulkovo Airlines. Here we
stayed at the beautiful Hotel Astoria. Today we toured the city and
visited the Peter-Paul Fortress. The evening was enjoyed by dining in
the elegant Restaurant Davidov located at our hotel. Their specialty
were Bellini's (Beluga Caviar rolled in a crepe with sour cream) simply
tour of the city to view several 5 star hotels. I was amazed as we
entered the Eliseev Palace Hotel (home of the exclusive Taleon Club).
This has to be the most exclusive and ornate hotel I have ever seen. Off
to the Hermitage Museum to view the Malachite Room, Imperial living
quarters and more! Later we toured the Grand Hotel Europe and had a
lovely luncheon. We visited the Great Choral Synagogue, the second
largest in Europe. Later this evening we went to the Opera Performance
of Aida at the Mariinsky.Day5 Today
we had a very busy schedule...off to tour the Pavlovsk Palace...later
we went to the winter palace of Nicholas II (Catherine Palace) here we
had an exclusive tour of this luxurious residence and a private tour of
the Amber Room Workshops, where craftsmen rebuilt the famous amber
panels lost in World War II. This evening we enjoyed a Gala Dinner and
Concert at one of St. Petersburg's private palaces arranged by Exeter.
This lovely dinner was catered by Potel & Chabot--specialists in
haute cuisine and former caterers to Tsar Nicholas II. We were serenaded
throughout our dinner by a local opera singer......I will never forget
our last night in Russia...from the ornate 24 carat gold walls to the
candelabras...it was a 5 star experience and so much more!Day6 We
departed Russia for a 2 night visit to the beautiful city of Paris. We
stayed at The Hotel Du Louvre.. guess what our view was from our
room.....?This city is so amazing and offers so many fascinating
restaurants and touring options. All and all the entire trip was simply
elegant and one of my finest trips ever. If you choose to visit the
wonderful cities of Russia I would highly recommend calling me to
arrange your excursion to Russia with Exeter International. Take a few
moments to view the destinations offered here.
Two years later my husband and I chose Italy as our first choice to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday. We spent the first 3 days in Paris at the Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel and toured the city extensively. We continued on to Tuscany to a small hilltop town known as “Chiusi” and stayed at a beautiful villa style hotel set on the outskirts of the city for five nights. This is a great location to venture off to visit southern Tuscany and Umbria. We visited two hilltop towns per day. Here are a few of our day excursions;
This hilltop town is well known for their red wines.
Chianciano-Terme: Sleepy hilltop town known for the spas.
Cortona: Known for the movie/book “Under the Tuscan Sun” we were fortunate to locate the villa during a long winding walk a long distance outside of town. I have the photos to prove it!
Gubbio: A beautiful hilltop town where we experienced a yearly holiday on May 15th during a traditional race…which lasts all of 6 minutes….the townspeople carry symbolic wooden candles….up a very steep hill …..to a Basilica….the ironic thing…the Pope’s candle always wins…..this is a big event------similar to the “Palio” in Sienna.
Todi: Quaint and quiet hilltop town with sweeping views of the hillside and a wonderful Ristorante written up in several travel guides with the best Truffle Tagliatelle ever….. Simply delicious……!
Orvieto: A lovely hilltop town with lots to see and enjoy…reached either by car or funicular….there is the most magnificent Zebra striped Basilica in the town square and an authentic moldy wine cellar….we dined this evening in a wonderful ristorante that featured the best Scaloppini with Limon, which was superb!
Chiusi: A small medieval town with underground Etruscan city ruins. We dined at a wonderful ristorante at “Chiusi di Lago” which offers spectacular views of the lago (lake).
Montalcino: The drive to this hilltop town was the most breathtaking of all! This town is home to the infamous Brunello wines. There are so many wine cellars/bars throughout the town offering fabulous wine tastings.
After 5 wonderful days in wine country we drove approximately 4.5 hrs south to Positano. We stayed in a lovely Villa/Hotel overlooking the Mediterranean. Our 3 day stay in the Amalfi area was filled with day trips to Sorrento, Amalfi, Ravello and Vietri. The dining was superb. I gathered several wonderful ristorante referrals for clients that will surely be a hit for future clients to the coast. We dined at the “Le Sirenuse’s” fine dining ristorante “La Sponda” for our anniversary and we truly enjoyed our meal along with the sweeping views of the Mediterranean and village of Positano.
The one tip that I would suggest to my clients is; To rent a car and drive the Amalfi coast---we were intimidated by all the hype about the hair-raising driving stories---but once we got behind the wheel we could not stop raving about what a thrill it was to actually drive the coast----so we took turns driving---we both loved the experience and if a client is not faint at heart…….. I would highly recommend driving---it made our experience here so much more adventurous!
Off to the beautiful island of Sicily for another 4 days in Taoromina. We stayed at the San Domenico Palace Hotel. This hotel is truly a find and certainly depicts the former 14th century monastery. The location is wonderful. The gardens were in full bloom and strewn throughout the rare of the property. It is set high atop the hillside with sweeping views of the Ionian Sea. Just a few steps away is the bustling hilltop town with many ristorantes to choose from along with an abundance of upscale shops and galleries. I would suggest venturing down side streets where you can virtually locate a wonderful garden, bistro, art gallery and so much more. We experienced another Italian procession honoring “The Madonna” on our last evening in town. These people have such a passion for their religion and country it is amazing to experience such an event. We ventured off for several day trips to Agrigento to visit the “Greco Teatro” Greek Amphitheatre Ruins. We also visited a small seaside town high atop Taoromina called (Castelmola) with magnificent views of Mt. Etna.
The last two days were spent in Rome at a small boutique hotel located near the Spanish Steps. We have been here several times, so this visit was to relax and enjoy the “people watching” in the Piazza Navonna at our favorite bistro. During this trip we experienced a new concept offered at the Borghese Gardens. A 15 minute hot air balloon ride attached to a cable with views of the ancient city of Rome. How apropos to end this lovely journey with a lasting view of Rome suspended high above the city.I love this country and all that it offers and find it so intriguing. I trust that any future Virtuoso clients would be cared for with the utmost attention to detail due to my diverse experience of this destination.