Travel Director: Gasper Atelsek
Regions: Balkans, Eastern & Central Europe
Trafalgar’s Travel Directors play a key role in providing each of our guests with a truly memorable experience. From the moment your Trafalgar journey begins, our Travel Directors share their local knowledge and provide a personalized, one-of-a-kind insider’s view of each destination. They are experienced travelers, learned historians and culture buffs whose job is to help you become immersed in the places you visit.
This week, Travel Director Gasper Atelsek took a few minutes to talk to the Trafalgar Blog to share some of his experiences and give some insight to why he loves what he does.
What is the best part of your job?
To broaden guests horizons and to inspire them to travel; to show them that we live in a beautiful world full of amazing, interesting, open people, with delicious cuisine, beautiful nature, interesting history, music…
What’s your best Hidden Treasure?
On the way from Split to Dubrovnik in Croatia, there is a small medieval town called Ston, located just a few miles off the main road and hidden behind a hill, surrounded by four miles of wall (the second longest wall in the World after Great Wall of China). Ston also has the oldest salt panes in Europe from 14th century, still operating today. Guests can buy small souvenir packages of salt, and for the seafood lovers, locals are producing famous Ston oysters there. So it’s a full package out of the blue, just few miles before Dubrovnik!
What is your favorite place to take guests?
Taking them to sit in a wooden ‘pletna’ boat, with the owner rowing, in the middle of a quiet and pristine Alpine Lake Bled, on the way to Slovenia’s only island, with a beautiful baroque church and a wishing bell located on top of it.
What is your most memorable ‘on the road’ moment?
A few years ago I was the Travel Director for a group of wine enthusiasts from one of the most famous Californian wine producers. Their most famous wine is Zinfandel and only recently they realized that it originates from Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia. After a difficult drive through the Mediterranean countryside near the city of Split, we were finally able to find this authentic vineyard, where Plavac Mali grapes, a cross between Zinfandel and Dobričić grapes, grow in a beautiful vineyard surrounded by maquis, a medieval chapel and a view to the fascinating Dalmatian islands. It really was a unique moment, which I will never forget.
What vacation photo would you recommend our guests have to take?
The Saint Stephen islet in Montenegro from a vantage point just above. The amazing sunset in Dubrovnik from the hotel’s terrace, and a group photo just below the biggest waterfall in Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Your staple travel items?
Phone, friend’s addresses, sunglasses, positive energy and patience!
What is your tip for feeling like a local when travelling?
Learn a few local phrases and don’t be afraid to use them! If possible, order local seasonal food with a glass of house wine. And as early as possible, visit an open market and buy some snacks like dried figs, olives, honey and fruits.
A favorite local saying you need to know is:
Hvala, Dankeschön, Evharisto, Grazie, Děkuji, Dziękuję, Merci, Muchas gracias – all meaning THANK YOU!
What is your favorite food within your region?
Seafood ‘buzzara’ style in the Mediterranean, rabbit stifado in Greece, goulash soup in Hungary, bratwurst in Germany and knedliky in the Czech Republic.
Must buy souvenir?
Dark chocolate with salt flower in Ljubljana, a fragrant bag of ‘Lavandula Croatica’ (dried lavender) in Hvar and handmade cosmetics from a Franciscan monastery in Dubrovnik.
What or who is your biggest inspiration?
A group of guests at the end of the guided holiday who have become good friends, discussing the places we’ve visited with happy faces and already planning their next guided holiday!
What is your best travel tip?
Be positive, open and trust the Trafalgar experts, who will do everything they can so that you will have an unforgettable and unique holiday of your dreams.