Q; Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to start Your Destination Poland?
A; Ok, I was born in a small town in Poland with about 3,000 people called Miedzybrodzie-Bialskie
Over 20 years ago I married to an American and that’s what brought me to the US. I remember that already at a very young age I was thinking of having a B&B in Poland and do tours to show people the country. I don’t know why I would be thinking at such a young age of what I wanted to do as adult but I was ( I’m talking about 8 or 9 years old ). My imagination was taking me into the future.
Your Destination Poland Idea
Now to answer your question why I started Your Destination Poland? I was actually visiting my family in Poland few years ago and as we set one evening enjoying a Summer night, I told them about the dream I always had ( about the B&B ) and my nephew with his fiancee at the time, said that I should definitely do it, they got more excited then I and we left it at that. However as I came back to the States, one morning I was dropping my daughter off to school and all of a sudden it came to me that maybe it’s not too late, that maybe I should forget about the B&B and just arrange the tours and make sure that everything is organized and guests are having a blast visiting Poland. This Idea felt really good and I started to do research immediately, and that’s how it all started…once I knew how to get everything arranged I registered my business and here I am.
Q; What's some of your favorite places to visit in Poland and why?
A; One of my favorite places is Krakow, Krakow has definitely this special kind of vibe…sort of like visiting Paris in France or Florence in Italy ( which is my favorite in Italy ). Krakow with it’s charm makes you feel like you belong, like you are at home and there is no rush, you can spend hours just sitting at one of many cafes at the biggest market square in Europe and simply enjoy a drink or food as you watch the people passing by, children playing with bubbles or feeding the pigeons. there is always something cultural going on in Krakow and there is no way you could be bored in this beautiful, historical city.
The other fave of mine would be Zakopane, Zakopane can be crowded; however is one of my faves because I was born and raised not that far from the resort and I have always enjoyed smaller Bieszczady mountains, Zakopane is located at the feet of Tatra mountains and it’s nice to visit and mingle with the highlanders and go up the mountains and enjoy the local food.
Q; What are some unique things in Poland that visitors can look forward to visiting or experiencing?
A; Well I think one of them would be in Zakopane, and I am talking about food, there is a spacial kind of cheese that is made called “OSCIPEK”, it is very popular and unique cheese made of sheep’s milk only between May -September, when the sheep are grazing. Visiting Zakopane you will find a lot of stands with the cheese but the real Oscipek is made by highlander living in a hut where he produces the cheese. Real Oscipek must have minimum 60% sheep milk in it and if you buy one with an EU Certification, you know you got the real thing.
The Scull Chapel is also a unique place to visit while in Poland. This chapel was built in 1776 and is decorated entirely with sculls and bones of those who died in past Silesian wars as well as those who perished from the Holera plague. You will see 3,000 of skulls and bones all over the walls and celling and even the floor and 21,000 in the basement of the chapel that was created as a tomb for those who perished. So if you like to get the goose-bumps this may be the place to visit. We are having this sight in our program of the “Wroclaw, Pottery & Prague “ tour.
Q; Why should those looking to visit Poland choose "Your Destination Poland" to plan their trip as opposed to maybe a larger travel agency?
A; What we offer is attention to the comfort and pace of the tour. Many larger travel agencies are simply selling a seat, I spoke with few tourists that were excited to visit Europe and booked a guided tour, however they had hard time remembering any details from the trip, because it was so quick that they felt like they signed up for a marathon instead of a vacation trip.
We pride ourselves in making sure that the guided small group tours are designed in a way where you visit the major sights and still have time of your own, whether to mingle with the locals or perhaps visit suggested places for a free time or eat dinner at a restaurant of your choice. Also our price is guaranteed and there is no hidden fees.
We also try to focus on local 3-4 star boutique hotels, I think they have a lot more charm and unique atmosphere rather then a cookie - cutter hotels which are mostly used by the large travel agencies, not all of them but many of them.
With our small group tours the group can’t be larger then 20 and that makes the trip a lot more enjoyable and it’s easier to possibly make friends for life. We also have the same driver throughout the entire trip and travel host so there is always that person to take care of the guests. Having a shuttle the entire time makes everything easier and we won’t make you get up at 5:00 am to catch a bus or train.
Interview with: Izabela Bigley
Interviewed By: Deirdre Turner