Just Back From... a Russian River Cruise

John and Pamela Meyerhoffer spent 12 nights sailing from St. Petersburg to Moscow on the Viking Kirov, with stops to explore the region's opulent palaces and historic sights built by the czars and Soviets.

Overrated... Lenin's Tomb. It's only open for a few hours in the morning on certain days, which is inconvenient. We learned that Lenin's body is kept in a preservative solution, then makeup is applied, and then the corpse is dressed for display. The whole process seems somewhat ghoulish—and apparently the Russian government spends millions of dollars a year to maintain it all. We're with the locals who say, "Bury it."

Moment when things got tense... When we saw a young man asking his love for her hand in marriage. She declined! We captured the scene by the Grand Cascade [PHOTO] at Peterhof Palace. It wasn't tense for us, but it certainly was for the young gentleman!

We're still laughing about... A Yaroslavl café sign announcing "Free beer!"...tomorrow (in small letters) [PHOTO]. A sleeping guard in the Hermitage [PHOTO]. And a bear serving vodka to John [PHOTO].

Bonus! Our top tip: When booking this river cruise, select a date when the trip goes from St. Petersburg to Moscow rather than the reverse. When you take this route, you'll have time to reserve the limited tickets available for the Bolshoi Theatre and the Armoury.


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