Traveling to one’s ancestral homeland is a bucket list wish of many but sometimes it’s not possible to visit in person. What’s the next best option? Book a virtual tour with us and utilize the expertise and local knowledge of our experienced guides to deliver a personalized experience that’ll leave you with special, heartfelt memories. Read on to hear how one family came together for a trip to Prvic Sepurine, Croatia with their very special guide Anita.
“We are a close-knit family of 7 and for the 4th of July, we decided to organize a virtual experience with Beeyonder to visit the island of Prvic, Sepurine in Croatia. While my mother’s side of the family is all from Croatia, none of us had ever been there. As her paternal grandparents, parents, and brothers immigrated before World War II, she has never been to the island but has expressed a desire to see Prvic, Sepurine. Taking into account her age, some physical challenges, and the pandemic, traveling there would have been too complicated.
How Our Tour Came Together
I looked for options and discovered Beeyonder and thought a virtual tour could be the perfect solution. While there were virtual tours already being offered in parts of Croatia, it did not come as a surprise to find there were none being offered in Prvic Sepurine. Still, I completed the online questionnaire, and to our surprise, our guide Anita graciously agreed to accommodate our request due to the island's close proximity to her home in Zadar.
We provided Anita with some family history, including my grandparents’ names, when they were born, and their parents’ names. We knew the island was small and while we did not have exact addresses, we provided Anita with very approximate locations of the homes where my grandfather and grandmother lived growing up. This lack of detail did not faze Anita who did her research, asked locals, and eventually discovered the home where my mom’s father grew up with his parents and his siblings, and the home where my mom’s mother was raised with her siblings.
Her research also unearthed that my mother’s first cousin still lives in the home where her mother grew up. While he wasn’t on the island at the time of the tour, Anita managed to share a photo of him with his grandson, who is named after my mother’s grandfather. As part of the experience, Anita also took us all over the island. We visited the two local churches – where my mom’s ancestors were likely baptized and married – and the locations of what would have been the schools at that time in history. Just walking the streets with her made it feel like we were there and gave us a sense of how close everything was. There were no cars on the island (just a fire truck) so to walk through the narrow roadways and see stone buildings that have been there for centuries was so exciting. It truly felt like we were experiencing what my ancestors saw day in and day out!
We Were Blown Away!
To be honest, we did not know what to expect, and while we provided Anita with some family history and other details we did not want to get our hopes up. Imagine our surprise when she started the tour by showing us the burial place of my great grandparents. On the burial marker, was a picture of them that my mom recognized, as that same picture was in her home growing up. My mother shed tears of joy, even Anita was crying, knowing how precious this experience was for my mom and our family. When I asked my mom afterward how she felt she shared: “What a thrilling beginning to a wonderful tour. It was as though time had stopped and we could peek into history and touch the homes and lives of our loved ones. In Anita's caring hands, the experience was unforgettable.”
Anita is an amazing guide who went beyond any textbook tour. It was apparent that she did a lot of "homework" to give us a wonderful experience. She made the tour very personal and showed such an interest in our family and we feel like she’s part of our family story now. She even followed up after the tour with more facts and photos and graciously offered to send us some videos as keepsakes.
My family and I still are still replaying this experience over and over again and we can’t thank the Beeyonder team and Anita enough for this experience that we will never forget. We are happily spreading the word about Beeyonder and can’t wait to book another tour with Anita, or one of the other fantastic guides on the platform!”
While we cannot guarantee a personalized experience, we are available to help customize tours and packages to fit your budget and needs. Click here to inquire about a tour today.
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