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ExperiencePlus! founders Rick and Paola, first traveled to Russia in 1974 when they took a group of twelve high school students on a whirlwind tour of Europe. Rick learned to say “ice cream” in Russian (MOPOЖeHOe, roughly pronounced “morozhnoyay”) one hot afternoon (July 20th, to be exact) when he spent two hours looking for ice cream for Paola’s birthday party. He asked two dozen people on the street in suburban Moscow before he was able to find the ice cream vendor.
The ice cream story has two endings. The first is that Rick was almost two miles from the lodging where the students were and by the time he got back to the dorm the ice cream was starting to melt pretty seriously-- but he had a fine birthday party! The second is that he’s never forgotten the word and uses it whenever he is around Russian speakers and it always brings a smile to their faces and starts a conversation when it comes out of nowhere!
Rick and Paola were thrilled and impressed with “Leningrad, the Venice of the North” in 1974 and are just as excited with the city’s new name, St. Petersburg, since our return there in 2006 to begin our ExpeditionPlus! bicycle tour from St. Petersburg to Istanbul, Turkey. Since then we’ve run a number of expeditions and have introduced a new, Bicycling from St Petersburg to Riga tour to our schedule. You’ll likely want to come early to enjoy the eclectic architecture of Imperial Russia alongside the modern architecture in the neo-gothic skyscrapers.
We’ll transfer to Gatchina, about twenty-five miles south of St Petersburg and begin cycling from there. You’ll enjoy small villages or towns with friendly and curious people as eager to learn about you as you are about them. You will see as you read through the daily itineraries that we spend a delightful day bicycling rural Russia on our way to the border with Estonia and west along the Baltic Coast and the Gulf of Finland.