IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS TOUR 2020: St. Petersburg and Moscow

IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS TOUR 2020: St. Petersburg and Moscow

(Preliminary info and expressions of interest)

IN THE STEPS OF ROMANOVS GROUP at Feodorovsky Cathedral, July 2018
Feodorovsky Cathedral circa 2013

1. Tentative time for tour is October 2020. Duration is either 9 days or 14 days. I want to be able to offer an option of only St. Petersburg or St. Petersburg plus Moscow and GARF visit.  Group members will all meet in St. Petersburg.

2. The group will be limited to 10-12 people.

3.  I will make all land arrangements, as well as serving as translator and guide.  Participants will buy their own plane tickets

4. I chose Hotel Ekaterina in Tsarskoe Selo for several reasons. First of all, the location – it is part of the Catherine Palace complex! You can’t get any better than that. Having stayed there more than once, I can vouch that it is a wonderful place with wonderful helpful staff. Your room includes all you can eat, delicious breakfast buffet, complete with cold cuts, blini, hot food and amazing fancy lattes, cafe au lait and the like. When you look out of your window, you see the palace. One of the best parts is that the hotel is owned by the Tsarskoe Selo museum, so your money goes back into the museum, including the Alexander Palace!  Depending on whether you want your own room or will share, the cost for 9 nights will range from USD$700-500 per person. For what you get, it is an incredible deal, less than $100 per night! This, I believe, will be the most expensive chunk of the land package. Since we are doing this without a third party agency, we can also be flexible enough to customise it a bit for individuals, as I mentioned, if you just want to do the StP part and skip Moscow, etc., it will cost you less.

5. Hotel in Moscow TBA but the cost will probably be approximately $500USD for 5 nights, for individual rooms. If you join us for the Moscow leg of the tour, it would include a visit to GARF, which will cost a bit extra, but no more than $70, depending on how many people do it.

6. I am going to put together a different version of the book which will cover just the St Petersburg and Moscow parts of “In the Steps of the Romanovs“,  especially for this tour. The participants will each get a free electronic copy of the book, and will have an option to purchase  a hard copy on

Above is just a very general description for now, and I would like to get some early expressions of interest and thoughts/suggestions. We have over a year to plan this.  Again, I can’t say what the currency exchange will be in 2020, but I don’t think it will be that different, so this should at least give you a general idea. In order for me to figure out a more detailed cost breakdown, I need to know whether you will want to share a room or have your own, whether you will do just St Petersburg part or also Moscow, etc.  So please, email me and let me know as many details as possible!

I would say that if you do all of it at the highest level, you will probably need approximately $3,000USD. If you do it on a budget, you will be able to get away with less than $2,000USD, plus of course your flight (which can be obtained quite reasonably if you plan in advance). But please don’t quote me on it yet, because as we all know, until reservations are made and deposits paid, nothing is ever guaranteed!

Please let me know what your budget is for the land part of the tour and which dates work best for you in October of 2020. Based on this I can come up with more detailed itinerary and cost.

Please email me at

Thank you!


Below are some photos of the Romanov places we expect to visit in St. Petersburg and Moscow when we follow in the steps of the Romanovs:


Feodorovsky Gorodok


Feodorovsky Gorodok

Feodorovsky Gorodok
Feodorovsky Infirmary



Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary – the Yellow Annex
Inside the Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Gorodok


Feodorovsky Infirmary – the Yellow Annex
In front of the Feodorovsky Infirmary

Entrance of Feodorovsky Infirmary
Members of IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Laura, Leslie, Mary and Rosie

Natural water spring in Alexander Park

Canal in Alexander Park
Canal in Alexander Park

Alexander Park alley


The White Tower, Alexander Park
The White Tower

Kitchen garden, Alexander park
Back of Alexander Palace

Outside of Semi-circular Hall,, Alexander Palace
Alexander Palace


I made the above video in summer of 2005, when I lived in Tsarskoe Selo and worked at the museum there. The cathedral was just being restored!


Grand entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members Jessie, Leslie, and others



Imperial entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral
In front of the Imperial entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral

Alexander Park

Alexander Park




Alexander Park


Alexander Park
Children’s Island and playhouse

Our filmmaker Jessie
Children’s Island and play house




Kitchen garden, back of Alexander Palace
Kitchen garden, Alexander Palace


Kitchen garden, Alexander park
Kayaking on the canal in Alexander Park
Kayaking in Alexander Park

Anna Vyrubova‘s house
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group at Anna Vyrubova’s house
Alexander Palace
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members inside the Alexander Palace during renovations. July 2018


Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Today this is Hotel Ekaterina where IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group will be staying








Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Main entrance, Catherine Palace
Main gate, Catherine Palace


Znamenie church and Imperial Lyceum


IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group outside of “Znamenie” church



IN T HE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members Ben, Laura and Kelly



Palace infirmary on Gospitalnaya Street, where Olga, Tatiana and Allexandra worked as nurses

Courtyard of Palace Infirmary



Courtyard of the Palace Inifrmary




Alexandrovsky train station, from where the Romanovs left Tsarskoe Selo for the last time
Alexandrovsky train station today
Memorial at Alexandrovsky station to honour the Romanovs



Palace Square during declaration of war, St Petersburg

Palace Square, the Romanovs on the day the war was declared, St Petersburg: Laura, Mary, Theodore, Kelly and Jess
Winter Palace

Balcony of Winter Palace


The In the Steps of the Romanovs group in the courtyard of Rasputin’s apartment on Gorokhovaya St. July 2018
Stairs leading down the back exit of Rasputin’s apartment in St. Petersburg. Felix Yusupov came to get him via these stairs on 16 December, 1916, the night Rasputin was murdered.
Yusupov Palace where Rasputin was murdered
Faberge museum, St Petersburg

Neva embankment, St Petersburg


Gatchina, Silver Lake

Gatchina Palace
Gatchina Palace
Jessie and I




Main entrance, Peterhof Palace




Farm Palace- Peterhof
Mary and I

Lower Dacha, Peterhof

Ruins of the Lower Dacha in Peterhof (destroyed during WWII)

Cross marks the spot of the room where Alexei was born in the Lower Dacha



Iverskaya church outside of Kremlin, Moscow.
Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent

Grand Duchess Elisabeth’s sitting room in Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow


GARF – State Archive of Russian Federation

GARF episode of the IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS July 2018 trip:




What exactly is “Giant Steps” the game that is so often mentioned in the Romanov diaries and letters?  A number of swings with harnesses are secured to a pole by long ropes, and everyone swings around, taking giant strides.


Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia playing on Giant Steps


Anastasia to Nicholas II:  “31 May, 1916. Tsarskoe Selo… These days Maria and I swing on giant steps a lot. We are almost never nauseous, [although] we fell a bunch of times already, but so far have not hurt ourselves…”


Tatiana, Anastasia and Nicholas II on Giant Steps


Giant Steps swing


Nicholas II to Maria:  “Imperial Headquarters, 13 June, 1916… Alexei, Nagorny and Muravnukin are on the giant steps or we play a sort of hide-and-seek…”&nbsp

Alexei on the Giant Steps at Stavka

The Romanov family even built  a make-shift Giant Steps swing for Alexei in the backyard of Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk, obviously it was one of their favourite activities.

Alexei swinging on the Giants Steps in the backyard of the Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk
Apparently, “Giant Steps” is still relatively popular in modern Russia:






Rostov Veliky (The Great)
From the 1913 diary of Nicholas II:

22 May. Wednesday. All night we stood [in a train] at a small station Kozmodemyansk. At 10 o’cl arrived in Rostov. Alix was very tired and besides that she came down with angina, hence she was lying down all day. After the welcome drove in an automobile with the children to the ancient city of Rostov-Veliky. Visited Uspensky cathedral, heard the famous ringing of bells, walked to the White chambers and the princely towers through the Kremlin walls, looking at the inner churches on the way.

Hear the bells of Uspensky Cathedral below – the same bells Nicholas and his children would have heard that day!

The White Chamber as it looks in July of 2018.
The White Chamber in Rostov Kremlin, as seen by the Romanov family in 1913
White Chamber in July of 2018



THE DIARY OF OLGA ROMANOV: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution

THE DIARY OF OLGA ROMANOV: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution

The First English Translation of the Wartime Diaries of the Eldest Daughter of Nicholas II, the Last Tsar of Russia, with Additional Documents of the Period
In August 1914, Russia entered World War I, and with it, the imperial family of Tsar Nicholas II was thrust into a conflict they would not survive.

His eldest child, Olga Nikolaevna, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, had begun a diary in 1905 when she was ten years old and kept writing her thoughts and impressions of day-to-day life as a grand duchess until abruptly ending her entries when her father abdicated his throne in March 1917. Held at the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow, Olga’s diaries during the wartime period have never been compiled into English until this volume.

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Also available as ebook


IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: The Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

This volume offers an accurate glimpse into the final two years of the last Imperial Family of Russia: exclusively through their own diary entries and personal correspondence, supplemented by contemporary eyewitness accounts, many of which are published here in English for the first time.
The reader will get to know on a deeper level the Grand Duchesses and the Empress, as they work at Tsarskoe Selo infirmaries; witness the imperial family’s grief for their murdered “Friend” Grigori Rasputin; experience their arrest after the outbreak of revolution, and follow them into captivity in Siberia – and ultimately the Red Ural – where they meet their tragic end in the cellar of “The House of Special Purpose”.
This already familiar unique piece of history is individually told by Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei. Their collective personal story is a portrayal of a united family bound together by love, hardship and tragedy, taking place during the twilight of an extraordinary bygone era.

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Also available as e-book



For some time after they arrived in Tobolsk, the Romanov family were allowed to attend the local cathedral for services. Blagoveschenie church was located very close to the Governor’s mansion: across the street then diagonally across the town gardens, and across another street to the left.  I did the same walk, based on their own descriptions, and was able to locate the exact spot where the church once stood.  (more…)