Testimonails Archive 2000 - 2008

We had the pleasure of touring with you in August 17th and 18th.
It was good to meet with you and would like to compliment you and the wonderful guide we had named Katya.
She was delightful, most informative and caring.
We are busy recommending your company to anyone here in South Africa that we know that intends visiting St. Petersburg.
I wish you good things for the year 2009 and please send same greetings to Katya.
 
Fondly,
Sylvia Goldberg, mrsgold(at)icon.co.za
November 23, 2008

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Dear Bella,
Sorry it has taken me so long to write to you but I have been quite busy since we got back after our trip. We just wanted to say a big thank you to you for organising our tour of St Petersburg. 
Everything went very well and all of us enjoyed what we saw. This was due in no small way to the wonderful guide you gave us. Victoria was exceptional and we enjoyed her looking after us very much.
 
With kind regards,
 
Tom Goldman, Tom(at)goldmantravel.com.au
August 12, 2008

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Dear Bella,
 
We have now returned home from our holiday and I just wanted to tell you how much we all enjoyed the tour that you arranged for us. It really was the best and most enjoyable part of the overall cruise. What made it really outstanding was Victoria's incredible knowledge of all the places that we visited together with her knowledge of St Petersberg and Russia in general. She really was a most outstanding tour guide. Please give her our thanks and best wishes.
Regards,
Alan Burke, alan.burke(at)btinternet.com
July 28, 2008

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Dear Bella,
We finally got back home at the weekend after winding up our overseas trip. Our final stop was Istanbul, which we enjoyed very much.
Jack & I would again like to thank you very much, and also Lena for making our visit to your beautiful city such a success.
Should the opportunity arise, we would be most happy to recommend your services.
Our very best wishes to you both.
Kindest regards,
Olga & Jack Golan, ogolan2(at)gmail.com
July 27, 2008

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Dear Bella,
 
We are home!  Just a quick note to say thank you, especially to Victoria and also Nicholai, for a most memorable visit to St Petersburg.  We were so grateful not to be part of a huge group which made it possible to see so much.
 
Please say a special thank you to Victoria for giving us a wonderful time.
 
Regards,
Tony and Tricia, tricia(at)hbsgroup.co.za
July 14, 2008

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Dear Bella,

We arrived home yesterday morning after an exceptional cruise, but this e-mail is especially meant to express our thanks and gratitude for the excellent guiding  of Elbina (I dont know  how to spell her name),  Granted we were not the usual foursome, especially with Jon being disabled and Isadore a bit fragile.  Elbina was very compassionate and accomodating for all our needs always looking out to ease our passage through the sights and sites.  Her knowledge was profound and very informative.  She requested us to fill in a form, but being tired and late I said I would send this  commendation to you Bella and thank you all for an excellent tour of St Petersburg which  I would happily recommend to friends.
Thank you very much.

Gloria and Isadore, images.shapiro(at)ntlworld.com
July 05, 2008

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Dearest Bella,
 
We arrived home yesterday from our trip and I must thank you for a perfectly organised visit. Our time with you certainly was the highlight of our cruise, and being taken care of by you personally was a privilege for us all. Needless to say I would not hesitate in recommending your company.
 
For me it was like being with a close friend and not a tour company.
 
With kindest personal regards,
 
Neville Dodo, neville(at)rampar.co.za
July 01, 2008

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Dear Bella,
 
We are now returned from our cruise and I would like to thank you for a wonderful day in St. Petersburg. Natasha was a first class guide and our overiding feeling was that we REALLY wish we could have stayed longer. Your tour arrangements were first class I and will certainly recommend you (again !) to friends who may be visiting your city.
 
Kind regards,
 
Bernard Shooman, bernard.shooman(at)ntlworld.com
August 13, 2007

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Hello Bella,
 
We are finally home after our two month holiday in Europe.
 
I would like to thank you for organising our time in St. Petersburg so well. Theo and I had an absolutely wonderful time.
 
Natalia was a most excellent guide, and Valeri drove us very carefully.
Comparing our experiences with other passengers on the Regatta, we know we had an infinitely better time.  Please extend our thanks and appreciation to Natalia and Valeri.
 
We particularly enjoyed the opportunity of having a quick look at life in St. Petersburg by our trip on the Metro, and visits to the supermarket and shops, and a coffee in a snack bar.  When we travel, we always enjoy doing the sort of everyday things we would be doing at home - it gives us a look at another part of visiting new countries.

We recommended your company to many people on the ship, including the people who ran the computer centre, Stormy and Susan Sarmagost.  They are remaining on the ship for a couple more Baltic cruises with the Regatta and I hope they contact you.
 
Kind regards,
 
Susan Pretorius, pretorius3(at)iburst.co.za
June 14, 2007

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Bella,
Please pass on my very special thanks to tour guide Natasha and driver Vladimir (I hope I have spelled their names correctly) for the two day tour our party attended a week or so ago. Natasha's depth of knowledge, boundless energy and enthusiastic approach to the time we spent together made these two days the most fascinating time. Her openness, engaging personality and honesty concerning life in Russia past and present made for compelling listening for me!
 
I shall recommend your tour company to anyone I know that ever goes to Russia : You all make tours a pleasure.
 
See you next time,
Best regards,
Mike Dunderdale, dunspro2-2007(at)yahoo.co.uk
June 09, 2007

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Dear Bella
 
I am sorry that it has taken a little time to write to you following our visit to Russia, but as you know we did a bit of travelling after the cruise and it has taken me time to catch up with things since I returned.
 
Zelda and I sincerely wish to thank you for a really wonderful visit which was enhanced so much by your personal involvement.  You gave detailed and careful consideration to every aspect of our visit.  The chemistry was so good and easy and we really had a lot of fun and a wonderful time with you.
 
The flexibility of working with you on an exclusive basis really made the trip.  We have talked to a lot of other people who have visited your beautiful city and none of them have a differentiated experience which you gave us.  I fear that my ability to read Russian is already fading away, but I do remember some bits and pieces and hopefully will retain the fun and wonderful knowledge which you imparted to me.  
 
Thank you for a really wonderful time. I have already spoken to Jan Potter and conveyed our appreciation for the introduction to you.  We have already also recommended you to several of our friends.  Please let me know if we can assist you in any way.
 
I trust that we will meet up on some future occasion.
 
Kindest regards,
Yours sincerely,

Fine Leonard, FineL(at)gfm.co.za
September 27, 2006

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Dear Bella,
Just come back from our holiday and  want to drop a line to say thank you for the wonderful two days you have arranged for us in Saint Petersburg. My husband and I would like to come back to this lovely city some time in the future and when we do so we will be in touch  for you to arrange a tour for us again .we realise that the time was very short and there are a lot more things to see. Natasha was wonderful  very patient with the old people and very informative, please give her our regards. Thank you again.
Irit Abrahams, Abrahams.randi(at)ntlworld.com,
September 11, 2006

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Dear Bella,
Now that I am back at my desk and St.Petersburg is merely a happy memory, I thought that I should send you a note to say "thank you".
The trip you arranged for us was perfect. The guide was excellent please tell her and thank her for us. And our driver was very good and courteous.
We had a wonderful visit to your lovely city and will certainly recommend you to our friends.
Thank you for making our visit such a wonderful experience.
Kindest regards,

Humphrey Borkum, humphrey_borkum(at)ml.com
September 06, 2006

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Dear Bella,
We are now safely back home - and back to work, but the memories of our trip to St Petersburg are still with us.
We so enjoyed visiting your city - and only felt the time too short - we saw so much, but also missed too much.  Natasha was an excellent guide - and Boris a most efficient and courteous driver.  Please thank them again for us.
Maybe one day we will have the time to come back and fill in some of the things we were unable to see.  Meanwhile, I know you will take good care of my friend Maureen Adler.
With kind regards.
Myrna Whiteson, myrna@teenagecancertrust.org
August 30, 2006

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Dear Bella,
This email is long overdue, but I have been so busy since returning from our wonderful cruise.
I just wanted to say thank you for organising our excellent tours in St Petersburg.  I especially wanted you to know that Anasstasia and the driver were superb.  Anasstasia is an absolute delight, knowledgeable and very easy to be with.  We were more than happy with her.  Please give her our best regards and perhaps you can pass on the attached photos.
Kindest regards,
Daryl & Gerald, darylbrett@icon.co.za
August 21, 2006

Daryl & Gerald in St. Petersburg

Daryl & Gerald in St. Petersburg

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Dear Bella,
We arrived home a couple of days ago and want to thank you once again for providing us with such a special time. St Petersburg came alive because of your special guiding, it was the highlight of our tour and I still am thinking and marvelling about all the wonderful treasures you showed us, it will remain with me forever.
Thanks again,
Best wishes,
Sam and Pat Abrahams, pelagus(at)mweb.co.za
August 18, 2006

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Dear Bella
 
We wanted to let you know what a wonderful time we had in your beautiful city of St Petersburg.  Our stay was made all the more interesting and enjoyable, thanks to our wonderful (and expert!!) guide Natasha.  Please can you pass these photos on to her as well as our grateful thanks.  
 
We really felt that we got a very good overview of St Petersburg, and obviously whilst we cant see everything, we did feel that the tour was very comprehensive.  Possibly, we should have gone into the Church on The  Spilled Blood. I don't know.  But what I do feel was very intersesting, and should be included in your future tours (with possibly more time) was the Jewish Centre.  I know that Pavel wanted to talk more and more and we were pressed for time - but what he had to say was very interesting - and time is running out to hear these testomonies first hand.  (In chatting to the other SA couple who also used your company, they also felt that they would have liked more time there to listen to Pavel). Many South African Jews have their roots in Russia - my grandmother lived in St Petersburg at the turn of the century and half her family were left behind with no trace anymore.  It's good to feel a link to the city.
 
So thanks once again for making the tour run so smoothly - we will have no hesitation in recommending your company to any friends visiting St Petersburg.
 
Best wishes,
 
Debbie Miller, debira(at)millers4.com,
August 16, 2006

 

Debbie Miller in St. Petersburg  

Debbie Miller in St. Petersburg

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Dear Bella,
We are home at last and unpacked and now I have a bit of time to write to
you. I am so pleased you met us at the ship so now I know what you look like.This is a short note to thank you for the well organised tour. Everything worked like clockwork and both Natalya and Valery were very pleasant and informative.We were very impressed with all we saw. The Hermitage was fascinating, but the Peterhof Palace was breathtaking in its beauty. We were amazed by the Metro stations and the night at the ballet was unforgettable!
If you visit Cape Town please contact me so I can maybe show you a bit of my beautiful city.
Thanks once again,
Kind regards to you and Natalya,

Veronica and William Carter, vwcarter(at)icon.co.za
July 31, 2006
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Bella:
Thank you for a wonderful time in ST. Petersburg.  The trip with you and to the ballet will forever be in my memory as one of the best trips I have ever taken.  Thanks again for showing us your city. I will be certain to refer friends and family to you.

By the way, I think you really should think about opening up a t-shirt store too!! There is a need for this in ST.Petersburg!!!!!!!!!!

Joel Miller,  joelamiller(at)hotmail.com
July 09, 2005

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Dear Bella,
This is just a brief note to thank you so much for arranging such a superb tour of St Petersburg.  We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with Marina, what a mind of information.  In fact it has taken quite a time to try and absorb the beauty and culture of your city and it may not surprise you that hopefully in the not too distant future we would be able to come back again.
I am recommending Dr and Mrs Whiteson to you, they will be coming in August and hope they will enjoy themselves as much as we did.
Thank you once again,
Kind regards,


Judy Peterman, sophiapeterman@aol.com
July 03, 2006

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Dear Bella,
Thank you very much for organising such a lovely time in your beautiful city.
Anastasia was a most informative and charming guide and we really enjoyed seeing the sights with her.
I am certainly going to recommend that our friends come to St Petersburg and will have no hesitation in recommending Tour de Force to them.
Thank you also for the Vodka, which I will enjoy whilst we talk about St Petersburg.
Linda joins in sending our best regards to you.
 
Manfred Salamon, msalamon@ozemail.com.au
June 29, 2005

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Dear Bella,

Proof of our wonderful time with you.

Regards,

Alan & Brenda, arecht(at)hillroad.co.uk
June 28, 2005

Alan & Brenda in St. Petersburg

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Dear Bella,

We are now back home to winter storms and rain and cold ( 13 C ) - unlike the great time in St Petersburg.
I just wanted to drop you a line to thanks you for the arrangements and say that Natasha was excellent and we really enjoyed having  her take us around.
I believe she is a real assest to your company and if we come again would like to have her show us around again. Pleae pass on our very best regards to her.

I have informed Chris of our experience and trust he sends alot more folk your way.

Best regards

Dave Martin, airwolf(at)iafrica.com
August 28, 2005

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Hello Bella,

Sorry that it has taken so long for me to send this note to you.

Rose and I really had a most exceptional Baltic Cruise, but the highlight was definitely St Petersburg, thanks very much to you.  We really enjoyed our stay in St. Petersburg and will remember it for ever.

Our pictures have come out extremely well, but the books which we bought at the Hermitage and Peterhof are unbelievable and really show the splendor of St Petersburg and the various sites.

Now, Bella, we discussed you coming to Cape Town.  We are waiting and ready for you whenever you would like to come here for a visit.  I see Eliot Osrin regularly as he is the chairman of our company and he speaks very fondly of you, and he has told me that he also asked you to visit Cape Town - so what are you waiting for!!!!

Rose and I met the other evening with Martine and Rapha Israel and Leon and Minette Munitz, and not only did we see the pictures of their cruise, we saw their video as well, and were able to witness at first hand their dancing skills, as well as yours on your boat trip.

Keep in touch.

With fondest regards
ROSE AND RONNIE STEIN, TrishR(at)foschini.co.za
August 18, 2004 

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Dear Bella,
Anyway, I would like to tell you that we had a wonderful few days in St. Petersburg thanks to your excellent arrangements for us and the terrific guide you got for us.  She was very well informed and explained everything so nicely to us.  We had a memorable few days. Julien and I  will be happy to recommend your services to any of our friends who might be visiting St. Petersburg.
Thanks again for all your help.

Julien & Lilian Karney,  julil(at)bigpond.com
August 15, 2004

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Dear Bella,

We have arrived home safe & well last Sat. After the cruise we went to Palm de Mallorca in Spain to get some sunshine and heat. It was fabulous and we lay on the beach for 3 days to get our body temperature back to normal.

On behalf of Martine , Leon & Minette I want to thank you and to tell you that we really appreciated spending the 2 days with you in your beautiful city, you made our visit so interesting and educational and we also had a lot of fun. Again thank you, big kisses and hugs.

I am attaching a picture here for you as a small souvenir, Pls confirm if you are able to see it as I sometimes have a problem forwarding photos from my computer.

Best and warmest regards.



 

 

Ralph Israel,  ralph(at)preludetex.co.za

July 28, 2004

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Dear Bella,

A note to thank you very much for making our day at the Hermitage a memorial one, it was with out doubt one of the highlights of our Russian trip, and we know that this wouldn't have been possible with out your help.  The ballet was fabulous it will be in my memory for ever.

We so enjoyed meeting you and hope that one day you might come to Cape Town and will contact us.

As you know I went on to London (too many people) and France, which was wonderful.

Again many many thanks from us all.

Catherine Malberbe, pandemoniumcat(at)yahoo.co.uk
July 23, 2004

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Dear Bella: Thank you for helping make my mother and my trip to Russia extra special.
Your insights, knowledge and warm nature helped us feel very much at home in St. Petersburg.
We looked forward each day to meeting up with you and exploring your fascinating and exciting
city. Good luck to you in the future!

Eugene Patron
New York City
August 2002
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We came on the Norwigian Dream on July 6. We were a group of six including 2 teenage
kids and a lady with crutches who had broken her knee in London the day before the cruise.
I am enclosing some pictures we took of you and some of us to help you remember who we are.
It was indeed a pleasure meeting you and enjoying your wonderful city.

Carmen Rossmore
Miami
August 2001

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Dear Bella
Just a short note to thank you for all your help.
St. Petersburg is extraordinary and more so through your encyclopedic knowledge
and charming personality.

Graham Burding
AUSTRALIA
May 2000
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Good hotel, varied meals. Bus was comfortable. Plenty of space; driver was professional
and punctual.
All excursions were according to plan.
Our guide was the most competent, efficient and interesting I have ever met.
The company organized and supervised a lot of extra activities.

Dr. Alex Kolle
England
June 1999

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All well planned and conducted. I have been to Leningrad/St.Petersburg many times and
I have never had such an enjoyable tour, a guide so pleasant, so knowledgeable and
accommodating.
I would like to have the pleasure of working with Ms. Bella Varakina in the future.

James D. Shultz
USA
January 1998

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