The Bruch Family, USA

Hi, Alan,
Thank you for the smoothest, best-executed trip EVER! We've traveled internationally a good bit and your service is the best we've ever had.
It is a leap of faith to wire money to an individual you've "met" on the internet,- rather like internet dating - so we were thrilled when a man with a sign met us in Dubrovnik, and everything flowed like clockwork from there!
From the beginning, I knew I'd found a winner when you responded promptly to each and every email. You immediately grasped the type of trip I was trying to arrange and the type of activities that our group was interested in. When I first began researching the trip, I sent the same information to you and to another tour operator. The other group responded to me too, only they sent a plan for the wrong number of guests and the wrong dates! Two rather basic bits of information! You never made a mistake! When you suggested I wait until October to make our arrangements, I trusted you and amused myself in the meanwhile going over your website with a fine-toothed comb, choosing activities that I hoped would appeal to our diverse group. And October came and you hadn't forgotten me! I hadn't considered quite such an ambitious trip at the outset but once I saw all the wonderful options on your web site I got carried away. Being "on the wrong side of 60", I can't guarantee that I'll have another opportunity to visit Croatia, but I'm sure the children will be back. But you were able to take our wishes and construct a great plan with a nice pace.
I was devastated when my brother could not commit to the trip due to his health, but you were so kind as to hold his rooms, AND to let the trip go forward with 2 fewer travelers than originally promised. I cannot thank you enough for this kindness. It is his loss.
We had done a lot of preliminary reading about Croatia. The choices became overwhelming. You were able to suggest lodging arrangements in each of the areas we hoped to visit that suited us well. I cannot thank you enough for Vestibule Palace in Split. What a treat!
In the case of Pag, a site you do not normally "service", you were able to get us great lodging and a great guide. We were especially impressed that you were aware of where we were in our travels, were up-to-the-minute on the bora weather situation, and were pro-actively making arrangements for any possible scenario. That just doesn't happen for travelers! Most agents book you and forget about you. We were initially interested in Pag because of the cheese factory, but our guide also showed us the underground Roman aqueduct and the olive grove with a tree with a trunk so large that it took 6 of us standing together to get our arms around the trunk, really memorable sites. We did have some language issues at Hotel Boskinac regarding vegetarian food. In fact, everywhere in Croatia we saw gorgeous fresh vegetables, but it was difficult to communicate to restaurants that Beth wanted to eat ONLY vegetables. Ordering a "vegetarian plate" often brought 6 slices of sauteed zucchini, delightful, but hardly a meal. Luckily pasta was sometimes an option. That was our only problem, and nothing to do with your good work at all!
Our guides in each city were personable and knowledgeable and really a joy to spend time with. In Istria people were so kind as to let us postpone some touring on the very rainy day and make a long day the next. Zdenka was delightful; she sang for us ( too briefly!) in one of the tiny village churches in Roc to demonstrate the acoustics, but she had a cathedral-sized voice. I could have listened to her sing for hours! She also arranged the fresco painting workshop with her friend Hari as a special surprise which our daughters especially enjoyed. She also found an olive oil "factory" that would let us come over and tour when Suzie mentioned she would like to tour such a place. What flexibility and accommodation! Unbelieveable!
In Split, after much conversation with my daughter about pets, guide Natasa took us to her home! and introduced us to her own dogs and cat. What a special memory of a special lady.
In Dubrovnik we much enjoyed our driver Frano who really made an effort to point out sights and points of interest on the way to Montenegro (and again on the way to Split) and took us to a great restaurant up in the hills above Dubrovnik on our return from Montenegro to experience "under the bell" cooking. (The evening before we'd walked to a restaurant in Lapad Bay that advertised it, but sadly one had to give them a day's notice for this treat.) It made for a very long day for Frano, but he said he was happy to do it.
The trip to Montenegro was totally worth the travel time. Our local guide in Kotor was perfect. Sadly we did not get this man's name, but we felt like he, Frano, Natasa, and Zdenka - and of course your favorite, Igor - were family by the time we had to leave them. They were people we really enjoyed spending time with and exchanging ideas with.
Chef Dalmatino - a true original! I have to put him in a category of his own. Everybody loved that day at his villa. (We love that everybody has a still! and makes grappa from anything and everything. We brought back a bit of sour cherry grappa from Pag and I am so sad that it is gone.) My daughter is serving one of the chef's wines to her co-workers today while she shows them a power point of her photos.
And the truffle hunt! Thank goodness we booked this before Anthony Bourdain put it on TV! He is now going to have a show on CNN, so I would expect interest to skyrocket. Radmilla puts such enthusiasm and joy into her work. She's the perfect hostess, making the guests feel as if it is as much fun for her as for them.
And thank you for arranging for water in the falls at Plitvice and Krka! Spectacular. You and the guides allotted us the perfect amount of time. On our own we might have been tempted to hike all day, but this way we got to "do it all". What I'm trying to say is that, had we been traveling on our own, we would never have been able to enjoy so many and such varied activities! We were very impressed by how well-kept the Croatian National Parks are with amazing paths and solid educational displays.
I'm sure I've forgotten to mention some things, but the entire experience was a highlight film! Thank you and thank you again.
Kathy Bruch