Program Itinerary 

 

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 Itinerary Overview: 
 
 
 
Day 1 Sat, Jul 26 Arrive Moscow
Day 2 Sun, Jul 27 Moscow
Day 3 Mon, Jul 28 Moscow
Day 4 Tue, Jul 29 Moscow • day trip to Star City • fly to Novosibirsk
Day 5 Wed, Jul 30  Arrive Novosibirsk
Day 6 Thu, Jul 31 Novosibirsk
Day 7 Fri, Aug 1 Novosibirsk • Total Eclipse Day
Day 8 Sat, Aug 2 Novosibirsk • fly to St. Petersburg
Day 9 Sun, Aug 3  St. Petersburg
Day 10  Mon, Aug 4  St. Petersburg
Day 11  Tue, Aug 5   Depart St. Petersburg
 
   
 
 
   
 
 

 
   
 Day 1   Saturday, July 26, 2008                                                                      Dinner
Arrive Moscow
 
 
Upon arrival at Moscow Airport, you will be met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. (At the time you make your reservation, choose either 4- or 5-star hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg.) Following dinner at your hotel, we’ll depart for an optional short evening walking tour in famous Red Square with the brilliantly illuminated cupolas of St. Basil’s Cathedral, perhaps the most recognizable symbols of Russia.                      
Overnight: Courtyard Marriott
(4-star) or Hotel Metropol (5-star)
(3 nights)
 
  
Day 2   Sun, July 26              B
Moscow: Metro, Izmailovosky Park, Tretyakov Gallery
 
 
After breakfast this morning we’ll begin with a tour of Moscow’s underground Metro. The first Moscow Metro station opened in 1935, and  
 
 today there are over 150 of them along the 125 miles of track. The stations in the city center are showpieces of Socialist art, furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, and with marbled, gilded, and bronzed walls and ceilings. 
   
     We will use the metro to make our way to Izmailovo Park flea market. Located on the former royal hunting preserve, this huge market is the best place in Moscow to find deals on a huge variety of Russian souvenirs and crafts, from matrioshka dolls to lacquered boxes, from Soviet memorabilia to watercolors, with great opportunities for people-watching. We will have free time here to wander on your own.  
   
     After lunch on our own, we will tour the Tretyakov Gallery housing the most spectacular collection of Russian icons. The entire collection, rarely seen outside of Russia, contains 5,000 paintings, 3,000 works of ancient Russian art, 900 sculptures, and 30,000 drawings and engravings. After the tour, the balance of the day is free to explore on your own. 
   
 Day 3   Mon, July 28                                                                                      B
Moscow: State University, The Arbat, Kremlin and Armory Museum
 
 Following breakfast we’ll depart on a full day of orientation of Moscow, the economic and political center of Russia. Founded in 1147 by Yuri Dolgoruky (literally “Yuri of the Long Arms”), Moscow rose to prominence during Mongol domination and eventually became the Russian capital. Eclipsed for 200 years by St. Petersburg, Moscow was restored as the Russian political center after the October Revolution in 1917.  
   
     We’ll begin our orientation tour with a drive to Moscow State University to enjoy panoramic views of the city and continue on to the beautiful grounds of Novodevichy Convent, founded in 1524. We will also visit the huge memorial complex of Victory Park with its many fountains and monuments. Our tour will continue with a drive back to the city center, past the Bolshoi Theater and the notorious Lubyanka Prison.  
   
     We will stop for a walking tour of Old Arbat Street, one of the oldest streets in the city, to learn about its interesting architecture and history. In old times, court artisans and craftsmen lived in this neighborhood, and later it was an artists’ enclave. The Arbat became a pedestrian mall in the 1980s and is now like a busy street fair, with small shops lining the sides of the street and tables of crafts and merchandise set out along the center. Here street artists draw portraits, musicians sing and play, and vendors sell fur hats, matrioshka dolls, woolen scarves, and much more. 
   
     Following lunch on our own, our tour will take us to the Kremlin and Armory Museum. The Moscow Kremlin reminds modern-day Russia of its medieval past. In the mid-14th century, the Russian princes, ruling from the Kremlin, became so powerful that Moscow was named the center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Today, the Kremlin remains the center of Moscow and Russian politics. Inside the fortress walls are palaces, cathedrals and government buildings and the Armory Museum, which now houses Russia's national treasures such as religious icons, Faberge eggs, a bejeweled chalice belonging to Prince Yuri, and Catherine the Great’s ball gowns and shoes.  
   
 

    This evening will be free to dine at one of Moscow’s many new restaurants and explore the area on your own.

 
   
 Day 4   Tue, July 29                                                                                      B/L/D
Moscow: Star City & overnight flight to Novosibirsk
 
 

This morning after breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and travel a short distance to Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City). The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, or GCTC, in the once highly classified and secretive Star City, is located in a forested region and is named for Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Today the GCTC remains the premier training facility for Russian cosmonauts and foreign astronauts planning manned space flights, and closely cooperates with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Johnson Space Center in the USA.

 
   
 
    We will explore the MIR Space Station Simulator and learn about Russian-American cooperation in space that the GCTC supports by training joint crews on the simulator of the International Space Station (ISS). We will see the Soyuz-TMA integrated simulator and the ISS mock-up, as well as the massive Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where crews train in simulated weightless conditions. The world’s largest centrifuge, used for simulating G-loads, is on our itinerary as well. 
 
   
     Lunch will be in the Star City cafeteria, which is used by the crew members in training and other facilitators at Star City. After lunch we will visit the Star City Museum and the GCTC planetarium, which provides a unique view into space - from space. Dinner will be at a local restaurant back in the Moscow city center before our transfer to the airport for the overnight flight to Novosibirsk. 
   
 Day 5   Wed, July 30                                                                                     B
Arrive Novosibirsk: Lenin Square, Opera and Ballet Theater
 
 Arriving in the morning, we will collect our luggage at the airport and board our motorcoach to begin an orientation tour of Novosibirsk. With a population of 1.6 million, Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, and its industrial and scientific center. Novosibirsk did not exist before the Trans-Siberian railway was built, growing up around the place chosen for the rail line’s Ob River crossing. 
   
     Our driving tour will include stops at Lenin Square and the Church of the Ascension, as well as the Opera and Ballet Theater whose landmark rotunda and tall portico have become one of the city’s highlights.  
 Overnight: Hotel Novosibirsk, Sibir or Ob (3 nights) 
   
 Day 6   Thu, July 31                                                                                       B
Novosibirsk: Art Museum, Regional Museum, Academy City
 
 Today we continue our exploration of this thriving Siberian city. The Novosibirsk Art Museum displays mainly 19th and 20th-century Russian art, and includes an extensive collection of mystic/artist Nikolai Roerich's representations of the Altai Mountains south of the city. 
   
     Our next stop will be the Novosibirsk State Museum of Regional Studies, whose task has been to collect original artifacts and information about Siberia’s many indigenous peoples, most of who were still living in the old ways in 1920 when the museum was founded. Today, fourteen of the Siberian indigenous nations are represented here, as well as the early Slavic settlers in the area. 
   
     After lunch we’ll continue on to Akademgorodok (Academy City), 10 miles outside of Novosibirsk. Founded in 1959 by Nikita Khrushchev when he relocated USSR’s top scientists to this special town built expressly for scientific research, Akademgorodok continues today as perhaps the most renowned world-class research campus.  
   
     Join us this evening for dinner and an orientation/weather briefing in preparation for tomorrow’s total solar eclipse. 
   
 Day 7   Fri, August 1                                                                                      B/L/D
Novosibirsk: Eclipse Day!
 
 Today is dedicated to seeing the total solar eclipse. We’ll leave the hotel in plenty of time to set up at our specially selected eclipse viewing location. After fourth contact, we’ll return to the city for dinner and to share our eclipse experiences. 
   
 
  
 
   
 
   
 Local eclipse contact times (approx.) 
   
   
 First contact (eclipse begins): 16:41 
 Second contact (totality begins): 17:44 
 Third contact (totality ends): 17:46 
 Fourth contact (eclipse ends): 18:45 
 Duration of totality 2m20s 
   
   
 
   
 
    
 Novosibirsk Eclipse Day Weather  
 

by Eclipse Meteorologist Jay Anderson         

 
   
 

Russia’s fourth-largest city provides ready access to the eclipse track and to the most favourable area for viewing outside of China. Novosibirsk lies within a small region of south central Siberia that has a notable sunny microclimate. Lying in the midst of the world’s largest landmass, the city is well-removed from oceanic moisture sources. The immense Altai Mountains and the Gobi Desert to the south block monsoon flows that invade Asia at this time of year.

 
     
     Southern Siberia experiences the same types of weather systems typical of the northern Great Plains, with periodic low-pressure disturbances and generous thunderstorms. Temperatures are pleasantly warm and humidities typically low. Cooling associated with the eclipse will tend to dissipate smaller cloud elements and the higher angle of the Sun when compared to Chinese locations will make viewing more certain in a partly-cloudy sky. 
   
 
   
 Day 8   Sat, August 2                                                                                     B/L/D
Fly to St. Petersburg: Nevsky Prospekt
 
 After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight to St. Petersburg (included). Upon arrival, we will be met by our local guide and transferred to our centrally located hotel and then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.  
   
     St. Petersburg is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its miles of canals, laced together with graceful bridges set amidst 18th century buildings, have earned it the name, “Venice of the North.” Conceived of by Peter the Great, and designed by his favorite European architects, St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia from its birth in 1703 until the Revolution. 
   
     Our drive along Nevsky Prospekt, the three-mile avenue that is the backbone of the city, will introduce us to Peter’s beautiful city. Stops will include Gostiny Dvor, the city’s oldest and largest shopping center, Eliseyevsky, an extravagantly beautiful pre-Revolutionary food store, decorated with crystal chandeliers and selling the finest caviar in St. Petersburg, and the impressive Kazan Cathedral.  
   
     We will also stop at Peter the Great’s original home, a log house which was the first living quarters built in St. Petersburg. This 645-square-foot cabin was where Peter lived while he planned and worked on the new city of St. Petersburg. Now enclosed by a small stone building, Peter's house still contains some of his belongings. We’ll dine in the city this evening.  
 Overnight: Hotel Helvetia (4-star) or Hotel Astoria (5-star) (3 nights)  
   
 Day 9   Sun, August 3                                                                                    B
St. Petersburg: St Isaac’s Cathedral & Hermitage Museum
 
 After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit lavish St Isaac’s Cathedral, which took 40 years to complete. Czar Alexander I awarded the project to the inexperienced winner of a competition, a young French architect, Auguste Montferrand. The beautiful design was fraught with problems, and construction was halted for years while new technology was invented to build the massive structure. The 48 red granite columns around the lower part of the building each weigh 110 tons, and the upper columns around the rotunda weigh 67 tons apiece. The dome is covered with 220 pounds of gold, and the interior columns faced with lapis lazuli and malachite. Two hundred artists contributed to the exterior and interior decoration, and the cathedral is bursting with sculptures, frescoes, stained glass works and woodcarvings.  
   
     We’ll then continue on to the Hermitage Museum, also known as the Winter Palace. The Winter Palace was built in 1754-62 as the principal home of the czars, and was lavishly rebuilt in 1839 after it was destroyed by fire. Originally a small private palace gallery begun by Catherine the Great with a purchase of 255 paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage today houses the largest museum collection in the world. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin and Picasso. The fabulous rooms with their inlaid floors and gilded woodwork and the grand double entry staircase are works of art in themselves            
   
     The afternoon is free to browse at the Hermitage or stroll Nevsky Prospekt.  
   
 Day 10   Mon, August 4                                                                                  B/L/D
St. Petersburg: Catherine's Palace, Pavlovsk Estate
 
 We will travel out of town today to Pushkin, to see the royal residence Catherine's Palace, originally built in 1717 by Catherine I. In 1752, famed architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli enlarged and embellished the palace, extending the facade to its current grandeur. The estate and palace buildings were almost completely destroyed by the Germans during World War II, but have been carefully and expertly restored into a brilliant architectural monument. The fully restored Amber Room inside Catherine's Palace boasts beautifully crafted amber wall panels re-created from photos and descriptions of the originals, and have become one of the highlights of the Palace.  
   
     We’ll enjoy lunch of Russian favorites served by staff dressed in traditional garb at the dascha-styled Podvorye Restaurant. We will then continue to Pavlovsk Park, given to Czar Paul I and his wife by Catherine the Great. Designed by Scottish architect Charles Cameron, the lovely park and palace is a tribute to the reserved beauty of classicism, in great contrast to the dramatic Baroque style favored by Catherine. Although the Nazis destroyed the palace itself during the Second World War, most of its treasures were hidden in advance of the attack. Outstandingly well preserved, they are now on display.   
   
     Join us this evening for a Farewell Dinner and toast to our successful journey.  
   
 Day 12   Tue, August 5                                                                                   B
Depart St. Petersburg
 
 After breakfast this morning, you will transfer to the airport according to your flight schedule for your onward flight. Optional extensions for St. Petersburg will be offered in the Fall of 2007. 
   
 
 
   
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