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Sofie and Jos - Belgium , 29.08.2015 00:00:00

2015 August 26 tour. Part I

Outside the city of Volgograd, we wanted to visit Pitomnik (main German airfield inside the “Kessel” from where the last German airplane departed from the Stalingrad cauldron) and Kalach-on-Don (where the “Kessel” encirclement of the 6th Army was completed by the Red Army). For this purpose, we contacted Stalingrad Battlefield Tours/Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. Mikhail Shuvarikov, Company Director, responded instantly and offered us a custom-made tour. It was splendid. We will never forget that tour and day. It was without doubt the best tour we ever took. We visited Gumrak railway station, Pitomnik airfield and several memorial spots on the road to Pitomnik, on the road to Kalach and in and around Kalach. Mikhail Shuvarikov and his driver Sergey were both very friendly, pleasant and skilled guides. Mikhail has in-depth knowledge about the Battle of Stalingrad. But also concerning non-WWII-subjects, especially present-day Russian society and the Western perception of Russia, it is very entertaining to talk to Mikhail and Sergey. They are intelligent, open-minded and critical minds. A day with them against the landscape of Pitomnik, Kalach-on-Don, the Don-Volga-Canal and Don river is more than worthwhile.

Sofie and Jos - Belgium , 29.08.2015 00:00:00

2015 August 26 tour. Part II

We booked a tour for Pitomnik and Kalach-on-Don. Both were absolutely impressive. But Mikhail and Sergey showed us more than that: the Don-Volga-Canal, the Don river with its mighty banks. They even stopped twice along the desolate road between Volgograd and Kalach to buy us fruit, tea and a local snack sold by locals on simple markets by the roadside. Mikhail and Sergey offered us an all-in experience: detailed WWII history, Russian landscape and nature, Russian life. Even insight in how Russian citizens think and how they think of the perception the West has concerning Russia. We met relatives of a Red Army lieutenant at a mass grave site and local vendors at fruit markets along the roadside: Mikhail acted as an interpretor between us and them. Thanks to Mikhail, we could speak to these people, ask them questions, learn about their lives and background. Sergey does not speak English but that was no obstacle at all: with Mikhail as an interpretor, all communication between the four of us was 100% smooth. Mikhail’s English is very good. Taking a 1 day tour to Pitomnik and Kalach-on-Don with Stalingrad Battlefield Tours/Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company: a magnificent all-in experience! Thank you, Mikhail and Sergey, for sharing your impressive history and country with us and for offering us the best tour of our lives!

Sofie en Jos – België, 30.08.2015 00:00:00

26 August 2015 tour. Dutch version. Part I

Buiten Volgograd-stad wilden wij Pitomnik (belangrijkste Duitse vliegveld binnen de “Kessel” van waaruit het laatste Duitse vliegtuig vertrok van uit de Stalingrad-omsingeling) en Kalach-on-Don (waar het Rode Leger de “Kessel”-omsingeling rondom het 6de Leger volbracht) bezoeken. Met het oog hierop contacteerden wij Stalingrad Battlefield Tours/Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. Mikhail Shuvarikov, de bedrijfsleider, antwoordde direct en bood ons prompt een tour-op-maat aan. We zullen deze tour en dag nooit vergeten. Het was zonder twijfel de beste tour die we ooit deden. We bezochten Gumrak-station, het vliegveld van Pitomnik en verschillende memorial-sites op weg naar Pitomnik, op weg naar Kalach en in en rond Kalach. Mikhail Shuvarikov en zijn chauffeur Sergey waren beiden vriendelijke, aangename en bekwame gidsen. Mikhail beschikt over zeer grondige kennis omtrent de Slag om Stalingrad. Maar ook wat betreft niet-WOII-gerelateerde onderwerpen, vooral het huidige Rusland en de Westerse perceptie inzake Rusland, is het heel erg interessant om met Mikhail en Sergey van gedachten te wisselen. Het zijn intelligente, ruimdenkende en kritische geesten. Een dag met hen tegen de achtergrond van Pitomnik, Kalach-on-Don, het Don-Wolga-Kanaal en de Don-rivier is meer dan de moeite waard.

Sofie en Jos – België, 30.08.2015 00:00:00

26 August 2015 tour. Dutch version. Part II

We boekten een tour naar Pitomnik en Kalach-on-Don. Beiden waren enorm impressionant. Maar Mikhail en Sergey toonden ons meer dan dat: het Don-Wolga-Kanaal, de Don-rivier met zijn machtige oevers. Ze stopten zelfs twee keer langs de verlaten weg tussen Volgograd en Kalach om fruit, thee en een locale snack voor ons te kopen, gemaakt en verkocht door de lokale bevolking op simpele marktjes langs de kant van de weg. Mikhail en Sergey boden ons een “all-in” ervaring aan: gedetailleerde WOII-geschiedenis, Russische natuur en landschappen, het Russische leven. Zelfs inzicht in hoe Russische burgers denken en hoe ze denken over de perceptie die het Westen heeft inzake Rusland. We ontmoetten verwanten van een gesneuvelde luitenant van het Rode Leger op een massagraf-site en lokale fruitverkopers op marktjes langs de kant van de weg: Mikhail trad op als tolk tussen hen en ons. Dankzij Mikhail konden we met deze mensen spreken, hen vragen stellen, inzicht krijgen in hun leven en achtergrond. Sergey spreekt geen Engels, maar dat vormde geenszins een obstakel: met Mikhail als tolk verliep alle communicatie tussen ons vieren vlekkeloos. Mikhail’s Engels is erg goed. Een tour van een ganse dag met Stalingrad Battlefield Tours/Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company: een schitterende “all-in” ervaring! Dank je wel, Mikhail en Sergey, om jullie impressionante geschiedenis en indrukwekkende land met ons te delen en om ons de beste tour van ons leven aan te bieden!

Sydney Reynolds. USA-Australia, 29.10.2015 00:00:00

A friend and I did a tour of Rossoshka. We loved it. Mikhail was our guide and he was lovely. He was knowledgable and was able to answer all of our questions. We could tell he had a great love for the history of this city. We had a great experience and would never have been able to learn as much about Stalingrad if we hadn't done the tour. Mikhail picked us up at the hotel, spoke wonderful English and even returned my camera that I left in the car. He recommended books and movies to further our education. If I had all the money in the world I would have done every tour possible. Definitely recommend it to anyone.

George and Larisa Crockett, USA, 10.11.2015 00:00:00

We travel a lot and we prefer organized trips especially if we travel that far, not to waste time on what can be done by a local professional. We had been looking for a company which would take care of us while there and of course which would give us as much information as it's possible as we were not sure if would have another opportunity to go to Volgograd rather than this one. After a long search on line and having got in touch with some firms we decided to go with Mikhail and his company as from the very first emails planning the trip, the correspondence with Mikhail made us feel comfortable and safe and look forward to the trip to former Stalingrad. Our experience of staying in Volgograd and learning that part of Soviet history came up to all our expectations. Very informative! The guide is very knowledgable and stories we have learned are very touching! The visit to Volgograd has shown us the importance, the great role of the USSR in the World War II and the price it has to pay to win a victory over fascism in 1941-1945. We would highly recommend Mikhail to anyone who is willing to go to Volgograd, Russia.

Bob Becker, USA - Maryland, 14.11.2015 00:00:00

I recently returned from a visit to Volgograd, Russia and was fortunate to have booked a 2-day tour with Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. My initial inquires via their website were promptly and comprehensively answered by Mikhail Shuvarikov, who turned out to also be my tour guide. Although I read the favorable reviews on their website and TripAdvisor, I wanted an independent verification so I emailed my hotel (Hampton by Hilton in Volgograd - an excellent choice for accomodations, by the way). The staff at Hampton confirmed that Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company was a well-regarded, family-run business. This comforted me. My tour turned out to be an outstanding experience, exceeding my expectations. Mikhail is a personable, knowledgeable professional who used his detailed knowledge and local experience to bring the history of the battle of Stalingrad to life. He was organized, prompt and helpful with dining suggestions. His English communication skills are excellent. I've read a lot about the battle but I learned countless new facts from Mikhail each stop on the tour. It's clear that Mikhail has a personal interest in his city's history because his discussions never felt 'canned' and he welcomed questions and conversation. As an added bonus, Mikhail shared family stories about the battle that brought a unique perspective to the tragic but fascinating history of the battle of Stalingrad. I highly recommend the services of Volgograd Sputnik Travel Co. tour.

Mike Timoney. Australia - Brisbane, 16.11.2015 00:00:00

Mikhail was fantastic! Lovely man, great host and guide, intelligent company and a very knowledgeable historian! The 3 days were action packed and very informative - thank God I used this company otherwise I think I would have missed so much in Stalingrad had I tried to do it on my own!! 10/10 experience well done!

John Crane. Czech-USA, 17.11.2015 00:00:00

My friend and I went to Volgograd this June and were very impressed with Mikhail. His tours were not only informative, they were passionate. There was not simply a barrage of historical information, but an understanding of how the war affects the identity of Volgograd. He was patient, helping us to find a favorite vodka - and he even snuck us into the Red Army factory. Accommodation and tours were excellent. We highly recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in the war in the USSR.

Christian Eckert aus Berlin. Deutschland, 13.12.2015 00:00:00

Ich machte am 2.Juni 2015 die 1 Tages Stalingrad Battlefield Tour und erhielt vorher die Visa-Einladung + Voucher. Wolgograd Sputnik arbeitete nur auf Vorkasse per Überweisung ohne Reisesicherungsschein (1Stern Abzug). Besser: nicht für den Kunden so riskante Zahlungsweisen anbieten. Beiderseits immer schnelle und gute Kommunikation. Nochmalige Bestätigung kurz vor der Reise. Die Tour mit Mikhail war schön, angenehm und informativ. Das Versprochene wurde gehalten. Er holte mich pünktlich im Hotel ab/ fuhr mich zurück. Wir fuhren im klimatisierten Mittelklassewagen, sehr angenehm bei der Hitze. Wir unterhielten uns in EN/DE. Wir kamen ohne Anstehen in die Museen. Insb. auf dem Mamajew-hügel konnte er zu jedem Denkmal/ Gebäude, jede Wand, jeden Bunker und zur Aussicht Interessantes erzählen. Er übersetzte jede Inschrift, die man wollte. Er wusste die Wartezeit bis zum Wachwechsel zu überbrücken. Er ging auf Wünsche ein. Die ganze Tour war es so: Man wurde nicht zugetextet, musste nicht an jeder Kleinigkeit anhalten. In den Museen erklärte er die Hauptexponate. Im Panorama-museum: kompetente + visuelle Erläuterungen zu Frontverläufen. Man konnte die Museen selbst erkunden und ihn fragen. Er gab schlüssige und verständlich Antworten. Im Zentrum spazierten wir gemächlich fast ohne es zu merken von einer Sehenswürdigkeit zur anderen. Wir machten Pausen f. Fotos (seine Fotopunkte z.B. Rosenbeete, die Wolga), Erklärungen, f. einen Getränkekauf oder f. ein dtsch. Restaurant.