TRAVEL PURSUITS – Report from Russia, April 2014

Barge Haulers on the Volga, Ilya Repin

Barge Haulers on the Volga, Ilya Repin

A group of 16 travellers accompanied Sean Forester to Russia to travel back in time to its golden age of art, music, and literature. They are discussing Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and have already enjoyed Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. But when one travels with Sean, the unparalleled highlight is experiencing art through his eyes as a classical painter. I have had that memorable privilege on three trips in Italy and this past fall in Paris.

Although Wi-Fi was sketchy in Moscow, I had a few mails with comments such as this:

“Stellar trip! Sean is doing an excellent job on all fronts! ‎Great group. All have read book (except possibly one), and are actively participating. Tours are terrific. Food really interesting. Weather cold and crappy, but at least not hot so I’m happy. Vodka delish.”

Sadly, a death in Sean’s family has cut short his stay. Sean has returned home, while the group carries on. Veteran Classical Pursuits traveller Leslie Sauber, from Tulsa, has graciously stepped in to lead the remaining discussions. The local guides are taking a more active role. Clearly, no one can substitute for Sean when standing in front of a Repin or Levitan masterpiece. Here is what Leslie had to say:

“This is a very special group of people – we’ve already become friends and Sean has made a good impression on each of us. We will miss his expertise in art, but we are all adults and have all suffered loss. I will step up to the plate – all are seasoned travellers, so we should be able to carry on even without our beloved Sean.”

And from another traveller: “You should know that he was brilliant this week. Everything went so smoothly.”

We send our profound sympathy to Sean.

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