"Celebrate Russia's most ancient and beloved festival of Maslenitsa (Shrovetide)with us!"
Maslenitsa, or Pancake week, has been celebrated in Russia from very ancient times, and it is one of the favourite holidays for Russians. Maslenitsa (Pancake week) is the only purely Russian Holiday that dates back to the pagan times.
They celebrate the end of the winter and welcome the spring. They get used to cook blini during this week, because they remind the Sun. The ancestors believed that when eating a round and hot pancake, they tok in a bit of its warmth.
Welcome to Russia!Arrival to Vladivostok. At the airport you will be picked up by our driver and transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day is free to unpack your belongings and explore the city. Enjoy Vladivostok – Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay. Just 100 km from the border of China and North Korea, the city is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Ruler of the EastAfter breakfast we invite you to an interactive theatrical performance that will take you back to the old Slavic times. Come as a guest to the traditional Russian “gornitsa” (chamber) and spend one hour as a true Russian. Your hostesses are beautiful ladies wearing traditional sarafans (embroidered dresses) and kokoshniks (woman's headdress in old Russia). After a seance-excursion about Slavic traditions it is time for the Kokoshnik Tea Party, where you are offered to taste tea balms prepared from Primorskii herbs and age-old Russian drink called “Sbiten”. In the evening the driver will take you to the railway station and the journey along the Transsib will start. Say Goodbye to the Lord of the East!
On Transsib train"On the Transsib train – we are traveling to Irkutsk! Don't miss a chance to see astonishing Siberian scenery from the train window. Enjoy the view of Siberian taiga, rivers and lakes - this intense nature is now very close – you honestly will really begin to feel it. Drop in the dining car – the heart of social life on board! It is a great place to meet fellow travelers, share your experience of your journey and try Russian food as well (smoked salmon, caviar and some vodka).
Welcome to IrkutskYour train arrives in the evening in Irkutsk where our representatives will meet and escort you to Lake Baikal, the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world. On the way from Irkutsk, we will rise by cable way at Peak Chersky. Enjoy the Baikal view from the highest peak of the Baikal Mountains with a cup of hot mulled wine. We then transfer you to a wooden chalet on the shore of the fairytale-looking Lake.
Baikal Lake Fairy-talesAfter breakfast at your hotel you will visit the Taltsy and Baikal Museums. There are over 40 monuments of architectural heritage and 8,000 exhibits of high historical value. Two architectural-ethnographical areas - Russian and Buryat - show a large variety of housing and life of the Siberians. The Baikal Museum Complex houses a vast collection of exhibits, illustrations, and scientific information concerning Lake Baikal (the largest fresh water lake in the world) and the surrounding region made and collected by Baikal experts. Chersky Peak (2085m high) ascent is an unforgettable life experience. You are sure to enjoy the charming nature of Baikal region - deep forests, high mountains, wonderful lakes and incredible waterfalls.
Meeting MaslenitsaToday is the first day of Shrovetide (Pancake week) in Russia. The first day of the Pancake week is called "Meeting". The people of one village went to visit those from another one. People gathered at highlands and ice hills. The fire was made and pancake songs were heard far away from the holiday place. In the evening we proceed to Irkutsk station to catch another Trans-Siberian Train.
On the trainOn the train. We suggest you enjoy your comfortable compartment and amuse yourself with one of the Russian novels from your free Trans-Siberian Kindle. The second day is called "Play beginning". The main show is the noisy and merry siege of snow fortresses, horse race and other joyful competitions. Masked people "Riajenyi" were walking around a village singing funny songs and greeting Maslenitsa. Maslenitsa can be a simple straw sheaf that was decorated litttle by little while visiting different houses.
Sweet toothLate evening arrival to Yekaterinburg, transfer from the station to your hotel and check-into the room. Have a rest after such a long rail journey! Don't forget to eat smth sweet – as today is the third day - "Sweet tooth" (Lakomka). All the village ate blini (pancakes) with such delight you can't imagine. Sour cream, butter and strawberry jam was kept on a large table right in the center of the village. The mother-in-law invited her son-in-law and daughter to be treated with her most delicious blinis. Everyone praised his blinis. Pot with pancakes was with you all the time and every neighbor was treated with your mouth watering "golden suns".
Large ThursdayAfter breakfast your professional English-speaking guide will be waiting for you at the reception to take you to Sysert city which is 44 km far from Yekaterinburg. There you will take a great please to see Sysert Ceramic Works. You will learn how the workmen made plenty of porcelains. Unique vases or cups will be made in your presence! Moreover, you'll have an opportunity to try making one of them and take it home! After you are welcome to try tasty meal and then have a walk along the Sysert lake. Today is the fourth day named "Large Thursday". The revival of sunny days was celebrtaed by our greatparents. At the same tine Maslenitsa sheaf was left on the hill and everyone added more straw to it. Transfer to Yekaterinburg.
On Transsib trainMorning departure for Moscow. The fifth day of the Shrovetide, "Mother-in-law's evenings". Just married couples treated with blinis their parents. And kids had fun on ice hills.
Maslenitsa farewellMorning arrival and the sixth day is the "daughter-in-law's parties". Young daughters-in-laws welcomed all the husband's relatives. The good cheer was accompanied by gifts and warm words. From this time on, the daught-in-law became an equal family member. This holiday serves as a pretext to find peace of mind with everything and everyone. And at the end, late in the evening, Maslenitsa farewell was celebrated, the fire was set and Maslenitsa was burnt. So let's go to Kolomenskoye, a unique oasis in the centre of Moscow and the summer residence of the Czars since the time of Ivan the Terrible, or to Pavlovsk Park in St Petersburg, close to Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk. You can enjoy a troika ride through the scenic parkland with tea tasting as well as taking part in open-air merrymaking and celebrations.
Forgiven SundayThe seventh day of Maslenitsa is the "Forgiven Sunday". You should beg pardon to each other for any hurt feelings. Don't forget about this wonderful tradition. “Please forgive me” - say the Russians (- “Prosti menya”. - “Bog prostit”) Walking guided excursion along the most beautiful and ancient street – Arbat.
Pure MondayThe first day of the Great Lent is called the “Pure Monday” and it marks the official beginning of the Lenten period and is a day of strict fasting from foods and of exerting spiritual “exercise” through good works. Say “Farewell” to Moscow. We are going to St Pete by fast train Sapsan so in the evening you are on-site.
Alexander Nevsky LavraToday our goal is visiting Alexander Nevsky Lavra which is located at the end of Nevsky Prospekt, it is considered to be one of the largest architectural ensembles in St. Petersburg. It was founded by Peter I in 1710 as the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Saint Grand Duke Alexander Nevsky in honor of the victory order the Swedes won in 1240. In 1712-13 the first wooden Annunciation Church was put up on the left bank of the Monastyrka (or Chiornaya) River, and in 1717 construction of the monastery buildings in stone was started. In 1724 the remains of Alexander Nevsky were on Peter's order transferred from the city of Vladimir to the Blagoveshchenskaya (Annunciation) Church, newly built of stone (in 1790 the silver shrine with the relics was transferred to the Holy Trinity Cathedral).
Back homeBalance of the morning on your own unless your flight is in the morning. Transfer to the airport and end of the program. Till next time?
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- ICE WONDERLAND | JANUARY 2018
- QUEST OF FAITHS | FEBRUARY 2018
- PANCAKE WEEK | MARCH 2018
- REAL RUSSIA | APRIL 2018
- TRANSSIB WATERWAYS | MAY 2018
- THE ULTIMATE TRANSSIB | JUNE 2018
- NAADAM FESTIVAL | JULY 2018
- ART TRANSSIB | SEPTEMBER 2018
- TRANS-SIBERIAN CHRISTMAS EXPRESS | DECEMBER 2018
- TRANS SIBERIAN BELLES LETTRES | NOVEMBER 2018
- THE RED EMPIRE | OCTOBER 2018
- ECO TRANSSIB | AUGUST 2018