We travelled as a group from Hawaii. There were 24 people in our group. A few were not from Hawaii, but they all had Hawaii '"connections". Our group leader was Deanne Horie.
The staff of the Ingvar was outstanding. "Sasha from Russia" was so informative but also very entertaining. Also, the dining room crew took care of our group like family. They saved off a couple of tables for us so that we could enjoy our meals together. This made the trip more enjoyable for us. I enjoyed rehashing the day's activities with friends over a nice dinner.
This was my first experience in going through locks. I had read about locks and how they work, but had never actually gone through one. It was quite an experience for me. Glad I was able to experience it while I'm still able to travel.
I was surprised to learn that most of the Russian people actually hate communism more than Americans do. We know about communism intellectually, but they had to actually live through it. Our visit to a Russian family in their own home was an unforgettable experience for me.
That visit to the local school was also quite impressive. Our guide was an eighth grade student. I was blown away with how smart and confident she was. Their school system allows students to decide on how they want to spend their remaining three school years. They can prepare for university, or they can start learning a trade. Most kids in the US wouldn't have a clue after the eighth grade on what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I wonder how this is working out for the Russian kids?
Only one observation. The bathroom door didn't swing all the way open, so a person could accidentally walk into it.