First Tour To St. Petersburg
by Steve Bauer, AFA Tour Director
Being a 38-year-old male who is fairly handsome and intelligent, I have dated many women in the United States and also have dated girls from Russia and Ukraine while attending college. I feel I am an average American with good values and morals. After a failed marriage, I took a job in Berlin, Germany where I spent about a year and a half working and traveling in Europe. After I returned to the United States, I had no interest in dating American Women.
I presently work as the Tour Coordinator with A Foreign Affair and recently returned from our November 30th tour to St. Petersburg, Russia. Although I am well traveled, I had never been to Russia and had no idea what to expect visiting the former Soviet Union. I knew that the tours with A Foreign Affair were the best in the industry and the company had been featured on many television reports and many other media worldwide.
When I stepped off the plane in St. Petersburg, Russia, I was a little apprehensive going through customs. Being that I had nothing to declare, I walked through the line labeled by a green mark. I was expecting to encounter a Russian Official who would want to go through my bags and strip search me, but surprisingly enough there was nobody there to do this, and I walked straight out into the Terminal. As soon as I was in the terminal, I met up with the rest of the Group who had gone through customs before me and we all just laughed because none of us knew what to expect. There in the terminal was a well-dressed man holding up a huge sign that read, "A Foreign Affair." His name is Michael and he is the Office Manager of our Foreign Affair office in St. Petersburg. We gathered our baggage and proceeded to walk out of the airport.
As we walked outside the airport terminal, there was a nice charter bus waiting for us at the curb. We got on the bus and proceeded to the Pulkoskaya Hotel, which was literally not more than ten minutes away. The hotel had many amenities such as stores, shops, bars and restaurants in and around the lobby. Downstairs, I discovered a casino and a place to work out.
I found the rooms to be in Russian style with two separate beds located on the 5th floor, the same floor as the Foreign Affair Office. How convenient! I walked into the office in St. Petersburg and was met by the staff. The four staff members are all eager to help and the office was well supplied with two computers to assist you. At the office, you can rent a mobile phone, obtain a phone card, search the database for profiles of women, coordinate dates, and even acquire opera tickets. Anything you need, the staff is there to help!
The next morning we met Tatiana, who has worked in our St. Petersburg office for years, and then boarded the charter bus for the 3-4 hour tour of St. Petersburg. I was again thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of our Tour Guide. The Tour was excellent and at the end we had a good idea of how the city was laid out, where some of the museums were, and a historical background of St. Petersburg.
That evening we boarded the charter bus to the Social. After we drove ten minutes to the Social, we departed the bus and walked into the club, which was only open to A Foreign Affair Tour Clients. As I walked in, I noticed a lot of activity and to my amazement there were hundreds of Russian Women everywhere! I couldn't believe my eyes!! I heard that the Socials were really good, but I had no idea that it would be so awesome!! I couldn't decide who to talk to first!! As I walked through the club, checking the place out, women were actually tugging on my sleeve to get me to sit down and talk with them. It was amazing! Each Social lasted about 4 hours and I still could not meet all the women that were there. I did write down the phone numbers of the girls I did speak with so that I could call them later and ask them out on a date. There were many bottles of champagne flowing throughout the establishment and food was brought to each table. By the way, A Foreign Affair doesn't charge for champagne or food at the socials. The music was upbeat and the girls loved to dance and dance. Before the Social was over, I had two dates set up for the following day. One girl was going to take me to the Hermitage museum, and then later that evening I was suppose to meet another at the Hotel Europa which is about 4 metro stops from the hotel Pulkoskaya.
That evening, after the social a couple of the guys and a handful of girls went out to eat. The girls brought us to a very nice restaurant where the food was wonderful and the prices were very inexpensive. We never would have found this restaurant if we were alone. In fact, we would have been paying tourist prices. The girls over there really made us feel at home and made sure that the servers and taxi drivers didn't take advantage of us. For example, I was placing a tip down on the table after we paid. The one Russian girl picked up half of my tip and placed it back into my hand and said, "too much tip." Another example was when one Russian Woman waived down a taxi driver. By the way, there are two types of Taxi's in Russia. One kind of taxi is from a taxi company much like our taxi's here such as Yellow Cab. The other kind of Taxi's is what we call Gypsy Taxi's. These include all other vehicles other than a company Taxi. You will pay much more with a company taxi than with a Gypsy Taxi. The one girl we were with placed her hand out and within ten seconds a vehicle stopped. She opened the door and quickly negotiated a price of 200 Rubles for a ride back to the hotel. This was a great deal considering it would usually cost up to 800.00 Rubles with a company taxi.
The next day, there was an optional Metro Tour. The Metro tour is a MUST!! We offer this free tour so the group will be able to get someplace in the city and return to the hotel without getting lost. Sometimes a woman will want you to meet her somewhere. We recommend if you are going to meet a girl for a date, the Hotel Europa on Nevskiy Prospect is a convenient place to do it. Remember, all signs are written in Russian and when you are riding the metro you will not be able to ascertain what stop to get off. This is the reason we offer the metro tour. After this tour you will be able to navigate back and forth from the hotel to Nevskiy Prospect, which is the main street in St. Petersburg. Also during the tour, the Tour Leader will point out places of interest, good restaurants to eat in, and some history as well.
That day, a few of the guys were met in the lobby by some of the women they met at the social. We all went to the Hermitage Museum and had a wonderful time! What was really cool about this is the fact that the girls knew exactly where the highlights in the museum were and they brought us directly to these particular exhibitions. For those of you who don't know, the Hermitage Museum is huge and it could take you days if not weeks to see everything in there. We then had a nice lunch and headed back to the hotel.
When we returned to the hotel, we went up to the fifth floor and into the Foreign Affair Office. There we found a handful of guys searching through the database, and looking through the many books of profiles. The staff was also helping them plan dates, translate conversations, and arranging cell phone usage. Again, I was thoroughly impressed with the efficiency and effectiveness of the staff. That evening we boarded the bus again to attend the next social. This social was even better than the first! After talking with some of the guys after the social many of them had three or four girls who they were interested in and one of the guys just looked at me, smiled and said he was even more confused then before. The next day however, I had to return to the United States and report back to the A Foreign Affair office in Phoenix. The staff in St. Petersburg arranged for the driver, who is also an employee of A Foreign Affair, to pick me up at the hotel and drive me to the airport. The driver was kind and courteous and she made sure I knew how to get to the proper gate.
All in All, this tour was awesome and I would recommend this tour to all guys contemplating a romance tour. Both the city and the women are beautiful. The staff in St. Petersburg are top notch and if you are thinking about a tour that offers a little bit of everything, St. Petersburg is the place.
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