2019 Pre-Convention Russia Trip was Fantastic!
Talk about a TWOFER! The International Travel and Host Fellowship not only provides an opportunity to host and stay with Rotarian friends from around the world, but also invites you to incredible pre and post Convention tours of countries near or in which the International Rotary Conventions are held.
And what a phenomenal trip we just completed! Before the convention in Hamburg we had the great fortune to join with 50 + fellow Rotarians from around the world in getting an eye-opening look at a Russia we hardly knew! If you had a few perceptions of a large, old country with hardworking downtrodden folks wearing grey clothing with traditional Soviet era housing, and interesting onion-domed churches – well, revise your view!!
We found friendly people (so many young people looking like hardworking residents of any large city - all on their cell phones!) an incredible efficient metro filled with art, unbelievably clean cities (hardly a scrap of trash or graffiti ANYWHERE) and building construction of new apartments and other buildings all over. The sights were there (those churches are amazing!)
And the museums- outstanding!!) Those czars knew how to appreciate art, especially when they could buy up not just a piece or two but whole collections!! The natural beauty was tremendous- so many forests and lovely small towns, besides Moscow and St. Petersburg and the big city delights.
Our guides were honest, willing to take all questions and very happy to have international guests and share their culture and lives. Our Rotary connections were especially treasured. Clubs in several communities knocked themselves out to extend fellowship and share their commitment to service above self though projects and outreach. The special programs and meals they arranged (an evening of great ballet and folk-dance performances by youth at a special art school, a Christmas tree celebration that can’t be described (see photo) and a high-tech cooking experience that rivaled any exciting culinary/cocktail adventure any high end New York City nightclub might offer!!
Don’t miss out on next year’s pre and post-convention opportunities- one involves a totally unique cruise around the Hawaiian Islands!
Jean & John Henderson