Sorry for this late reply. Got caught up in my pending work.
What do I say about the tour.... Except that it could not have been nicer.
Everything was above expectation. ... not just my own opinion but also that of the group.
Every one was touched by the care taken by Tari and its guides including Zoya... who despite her limitations in English speech ... really braved the cold and was on hand to help out with a cheer... all the late arrivals.
The 3 persons who arrived later and on delayed flights felt that she was like Florance Nightingale when they arrived Moscow in dull and chilly weather.
One thing ... the mental block about visiting Russia in winter was broken. Every one was comfortable despite the minus 10 c temperature and did not feel the chill. They thoroughly enjoyed the cold weather. Snow is a rarity in India and here it was snowing every day and our people were enjoying themselves.
I hope I can prevail on more people to travel in winter. At least we made a beginning. I remember you telling me during the WTM 2003 you come to Russia in Winter at its beautiful. ... it was no sales talk!
And the museums and palaces that we visited were fabulous. We say in our brochure that the palaces and its gardens in Russia leave many a west European destination by the way side. Of course we could not see the gardens, as they were all white ... but even that were beautiful as the Indian love to see the snow.
Before I left I was a little frightened on the meals and in particular for the vegetarians and so I carried the ready to eat Indian food stuff as well. But I came back with most of it. Whatever, I managed to serve as a supplement was not entirely consume. Even the Indian vegetarian like the food that was served.
If I am to strike any discordant note ... it can only be for the Russian immigration authority. Every member of the group was in business class and therefore were the first in the immigration queue. Each one at a valid visa stamped on the passport plus the voucher and invitation letter for visa. They were all in middle age. Without exception everyone was make to stand a side and wait till the others were cleared. Then after 15 - 30 minutes they were just handed back the passport and told to go out.
Does not create a good first impression. I know this is not in your hand but should there be any occasion for you to meet with the authorities, you may bring up the matter.
Yours is such a beautiful country and why should this stupid immigration guys being allowed to spoil that image.
Thank you once again for the excellent arrangements and with warm regards Benu.