A Night of Ballet at the Mariinsky

One of the highlights of my visit to St. Petersburg was to be able to attend the ballet at the famed Mariinsky Theatre.  Built in 1860 by Albert Kavos, the architect who designed the Bolshoi.             So along with fellow travellers, Mary and Sue May, we started out the evening […]

St. Petersburg – Peterhof

You could not come to St. Petersburg without visiting the Versailles of Russia – Peterhof. This was Peter the Great’s summer palace and his favourite.   It is Baroque in design, and is dominated by water with the nearby gulf and numerous water fountains.  However, his wife, Catherine the Great was not as fond of […]

ST PETERSBURG – The Hermitage & Peter & Paul Fortress

My perception of Russia was dispelled very quickly when I reached St. Petersburg.  My vision of a grey country with ‘downtrodden’ people went right out the window.  At least this is my first impression.  It wasn’t only that we arrived for the Victory Day celebrations with music and bands and lots of people, or the […]

St. Petersburg & a Victory Day Parade

After an uneventful flight, I arrived in St Petersburg, picked up my bags and proceeded to look for  my driver.  There he was with my name on his card and off we went into a warm sunny day in  St. Petersburg. The drive was approximately one hour, mostly because it was rush hour and there […]

RUSSIA! Here I Come…

It’s Sunday afternoon, and in a couple of days I leave for Russian and my Trans Siberia Railroad trip from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok!  Twenty three days and some 6537 KM across this vast country.  But here in Toronto for the first time in a very long time it is sunny outside.  As a matter […]


Imagine!  Getting off your airplane and walking to the water to catch a boat to your hotel.  There is water everywhere.  And boats of all sizes.  The water laps at the sometimes crumbling foundations of the buildings – some beautiful – some not so beautiful.  Of course Patricia, it’s Venice!  And it was an amazing […]


“First I am Sicilian.  Second I am European.  Third I am Italian” Someone told me this quote was attributed to Goethe, but I was not able to confirm this. However,  from my observations this seems to be a true statement about the Sicilians.  They are very proud of their history which is long and varied.  […]


August.  I have been back home a month now and the PTTS – or Post Trip Traumatic Syndrome, as I call it,  has disappeared, and the dust has finally settled as Helma R, one of my favourite ATW friends,  said recently. I know from many, you felt the same way.  Who knew?  I was rendered almost […]


We are down to our last sea days and it is busy.  We are all trying to cram in final lunches and dinners and meetings and drinks and just saying good bye to so many people, now dear friends, that we got to know and love on this voyage.  Add to that packing!!  I, along with […]