Avid traveller, Gemma Music has just returned from 10-days exploring Finland, Russia and Estonia with Topdeck on their Big Red to Red Star winter trip.
Here’s how she thinks Topdeck has changed her life. And how it could change yours too!
1. Why did you want to visit these three countries in particular?
Weirdly enough, Russia was never somewhere I had planned to visit in my life – especially in the middle of winter when it was -20 degrees! After doing some research following a friend's recommendation to look at this trip, it was a no-brainer to book on the Big Red to Red Star adventure with Topdeck.
2. Why did you choose Topdeck?
The unique itinerary that ticked off Estonia, Finland and Russia in just 10 days created the perfect Christmas and New Year's getaway in the middle of winter. Living in London for the last two years, I had the time off work and this adventure was perfect to allow me to spend time with a group of like-minded travellers in another country, without the fear of being alone on Christmas or trying to find something fun to do on New Year's eve.
3. What was the main focus of your Topdeck holiday?
For me, it’s always food! And the trip did not disappoint. We were treated to local Russian cuisine and hearty Estonian food with our included meals, plus our super-knowledgeable trip leader was there to point out any hidden local restaurants and cafes along the way to find the most off-the-beaten-track places. Along with the food, the main focus of the trip was to learn more of the history and events that took place within each country. Without our Trip Leader, we would have never been able to access all of the local facts and historic details on our own.
4. What unique sights did you see along the way?
From the Red Square in Moscow, to incredible museums in Helsinki and abandoned jails in Tallin, Estonia each day offered a new sight that was a must-do. Everyday we were never short or something to see or do.
5. What was the best food you tried while travelling through Russia with Topdeck?
Vodka and caviar on an included meal was an absolute treat!
6. How did your Topdeck Trip Leader enhance your trip away?
Our Trip Leader was an expert in the area, having already completed the 37 Day Red Star Special, she knew exactly where to go and how to ensure we had the most incredible ten days.
7. What did you do in your free time?
Even when we had free time to explore solo, or take a break from all of the sightseeing, the group ended up spending all of our free time together on most days. With the help from our Trip Leader, we always had something to do. That was the best part of the trip, having unlimited freedom and flexibility to make the trip as much of our own unique experience while travelling in a group.
8. What perks did you find you had, from travelling in a group, rather than independently?
I would have been so lost in Russia if we weren't travelling in a group! The best part when travelling with Topdeck is the hassle free style of travel – meaning we never needed to worry about the logistics of buses or trains and organising tickets for local transport, it was all sorted for us so we could focus on the fun stuff.
9. If you could give one reason for recommending Topdeck, what would it be?
Meeting an incredible bunch of people, all travelling together is literally life-changing!