This discussion thread has stirred some fond memories of our Russia Revealed trip in 2009. We sailed on the Rossia from St Petersburg to Moscow. Our cablin was on the lower level which was perfect for us - right down the hall from the coffee and hot chocolate and we passed the gift shop every night on the way to and from dinner. We traveled with friends and each night we would peruse the gift shop - it seemed we found new treasures each time. They really do have nice offerings at competitive prices.
For the shoppers going on this trip, my favorite purchase was a linen sweater that I bought at Goritsky. On the way back to the ship there were stalls of vendors - at least one with linen sweaters. I just stopped to observe others trying on sweaters, and, of course, could not resist trying on one myself. Before I could ask, I was given a price I could not refuse. I live in Dallas so I don't need a heavy cost for much of the winter. This sweater has been perfect and held up nicely to cleaning. Every time I wear it, I think of that fabulous trip.
Before we went, my husband and I would not have considered going out on our own in Russia. However, by the time we traveled from St Petersburg to Moscow, we felt perfectly comfortable. It is such a beautiful walk though wooded park with birch trees to the subway station. Fortunately, the subway station is at the end of the line so it is quite easy to get back. We loved the Moscow subways. We always found someone who helped us whether on the street, in the grocery, at a coffeee shop or on the subway. I think they might have wanted to practice their English, but those were the special moments that we remember. Of course, everyone has to travel at their own comfort level.
I know you will find this a perfect birthday present.