Europe & Britain | People & Stories

The Trafalgar diaries: On tour in the Balkans with our winners, Pt. 1

Recently updated on December 4th, 2023 at 03:02 pm

We’re coming to you LIVE from the road, where we’re traveling together with the winners of our Trafalgar Unlocked Awards contest.

After two nights in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, we crossed into Bosnia and Herzegovina to explore the dark history and promising future of Sarajevo, visited the famous Stari Most bridge in Mostar, and have made it to Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic”.

After five days in the Balkans, we sat down with three of our traveling couples to ask them for their highlights of the trip so far, and dig a little deeper into their previous travel experiences and what travel means to them.

Reached the end and want more/ You can read part 2 of this article here

TAKE THE TRIP: Balkan Delight

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On the road with Lawrence and his grand-niece Avery

Last year Lawrence joined us to trace his ancestry through Spain and Portugal after submitting his DNA for genealogical mapping in 2019.

“Trafalgar’s Highlights of Spain and Portugal tour turned into not only an adventure that I will cherish for the rest of my life, but in fact, became a tour of my ancestral journey through time… It was life-changing.”

Lawrence and his grand-niece Avery are on tour with us right now. Let’s hear how it’s going.

How many countries have you been to each?

Avery: I’ve never left America until now.

Lawrence: Her first time abroad! This is my third trip with Trafalgar. First was Italy, and then Spain and Portugal, and now Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

What are you most looking forward to on the trip?

Lawrence: To see how other people live. Seeing something that’s non-American. Us Americans have a skewed point of view on the world and I just want to open my horizons. I want to taste, hear, smell and see things from a different perspex and point of view to make myself a little more worldly and a little more human.

Lawrence, tell us why you wanted to bring Avery?

My first trip to Italy was in 2022 so I was 64 and now I have the bug for travel. So what I wanted to do was instill that love for travel in Avery at 18 years of age. 

So now she has her entire life ahead of her to now plan trips aboard, trips in other countries to see other cultures, to see other lands, to see how other people matriculate in the world other than just the way America sees the world.

Avery, how were you feeling on the plane over here?

My favourite thing has been the amount of culture shocks that I’ve been experiencing. Just the way different countries operate, even just in the airport. I’ve thought that was really cool. And the huge amount of different [languages] I’ve been hearing.

Any highlights so far?

Lawrence: I wasn’t expecting to take a tram in Zagreb, so I was feeling lile a local traveling around the lower town by tram. It’s a new experience that I’ve not even had in the States.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten so far?

Avery: The beans, potato and rice that we just had

Lawrence: The lamb that we had today was excellent.

Do you have messages for friends and family back home?

Lawrence: Do this! Do this! Trafalgar’s Grand European or any tour you can get on, do this! It will all be designed for you. It takes away the worry and you’ll get to see and do things that will be amazing and that you never thought you would be involved in.

READ HIS STORY: ‘My ancestral journey was a spiritual delight’ – Trafalgar Unlocked Award winner Lawrence’s story

On tour with Candace and her mum Jackie

Avid traveler Candace won a place on our Balkans Delight trip thanks to her recount of a special solo journey on our South American Landscapes trip,

“This tour was an amazing experience of culture and landscapes. There were a lot of solo female travelers and we really enjoyed bonding while on tour,” she said.

When she’s not exploring solo, Candace often travels with her mother, so the two have joined us on this special tour through the Balkans. Let’s find out what they think of the trip so far.

GET INSPIRED BY: Balkan Delight

How many countries have you been to each?

Candace: For me I think I’ve been to about 30 or 35.

Jackie: For me, I’ve been to about 12.

How did you react when you heard you’d won the competition?

Candace: I was surprised because I was expecting to find out sooner than I did. For some reason I expected to hear by a particular day, so when that day came I thought, “Oh, bummer”. But then a couple of days later, I was like “Wow, it happened!”

Do you travel a lot together?

Candace: Since I’ve gotten older we have, but when I was younger.. my brother is a lot younger than I am, so she didn’t really have the time to come travel with me because she had to deal with him. A couple of years ago we started to do mother-daughter trips more often. Even if it just includes a road trip. I’d say about the last five years we’ve tried to make it a frequent thing to try and go somewhere together.

Only four or five days in, what would you say has been the highlight so far?

Jackie: Everything has been a highlight. The togetherness, the way you guys put it together to make us just like a family. On the first day we felt like we’d known each other for weeks. Most of us met at the airport before we ever made it to the hotel. So we sat around talking. It was really awesome and really nice. I was really impressed.

Candace: So far for me it’s Mostar. I’ve been to Croatia before with Insight Vacations [Trafalgar’s sister company]  but that itinerary didn’t include this stop. It didn’t even come over to Bosnia [& Hezegovina], so for me Sarajevo, Mostar… those have been the highlights.

Do you think that traveling has brought you close together?

Jackie: Definitely. I don’t think w were that far apart to begin with, but now we’re more aware of each other’s habits. You gain a certain amount of respect you get when you’re traveling with a companion.

Candace: For me, because we’re together too much, it’s pushed us a little apart! Like if I visit her at home, I can go to my room. Now we’re together 24 hours… so for me, it’s a little more apart.

Jackie: she can’t get away from me!

Can you describe a Trafalgar tour in three words…

Candace: Easy, inclusive, fun.

Jackie: Definitely fun… ohh, that’s a tough one for me – I’ve got a whole lot of words!

Who would you recommend takes a Trafalgar tour?

Jackie: Me! 

Candace: My uncle! Any family members who don’t want to risk fighting about where to go and when to go. It’s great for those groups of people because everything is already set – they just have to get with the program.

On the road with Craig and his fiancée Graham

Craig and Graham recently got engaged on a Trafalgar Tour, and their story won them a place on our tour. 

“I proposed to my partner of six years on a romantic sunset cruise under the Eiffel Tower and the many bridges of the Sein,” Craig said. 

“Our Travel Director, Kevin Marshall, helped to make the moment extra special, by telling the other tour guests about my secret plan and arranging for some Moet to celebrate.”

Let’s find out more about their travels and how they’re enjoying the tour of Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina after five days.

How many countries do you think you guys have visited?

Graham: We have traveled quite a lot.

Craig: Together we have. Before we met, Graham hadn’t traveled outside of Australia. So the Trafalgar tour was his first. I think on that tour it was about 13 countries for you.

Graham: Yes, that was about 13 new countries.

Craig: Oh, that was the Grand European, so most of Western Europe. We went to Bali as well just before coming here.

Graham: That’s another check-off!

Craig: And before that, I’d traveled through South East Asia. 

If you had to describe a Trafalgar Tour in 3 words…

Graham: Inclusive.

Craig: Definitely inclusive.

Graham: Passionate.

Craig: Seamless.

READ THEIR STORY: ‘The most magical moment of our lives’ – Craig’s surprise proposal in Paris

TAKE THE TRIP: Balkan Delight

Do you have any questions for our winners? Leave us a comment. Want to read more about their adventures? Part 2 of this article is live now here

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