Sasha Rojnik has been a Travel Director with Trafalgar for the past 11 years. He loves taking travellers through Italy, Croatia, Russia and the Baltic States. Here at Escape Travel, we thought we'd sit down with Sasha to get the inside scoop on these fascinating destinations.
Tell us about yourself?
I was born and live on the Slovenian Mediterranean coast, right on the border with Italy. It is a bilingual area, a great mixture of Italian and Slavic cultures. I studied business - before starting my career as a Travel Director, I worked for my parents' business in marketing and IT. I have many different passions, the biggest one is photography, languages (speak five of them fluently), reading books, healthy lifestyle, learning, discovering new things and places, meeting new people, going on adventures with my motorcycle... I'm married to a Travel Director, which makes life easier.
Best part of your job?
Getting to know so many different place in depth and seeing the world from the inside. Of course, I then love to share this with my Trafalgar guests! Meeting new people is just as exciting as discovering new places. I try to treat people as if they are my family, who have come to visit me from overseas.
Best hidden treasures?
Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb, Croatia. The most beautiful cemetery I have ever seen, so serene and feels like walking through an art gallery.
'Buza', Dubrovnik, Croatia. Buza in a dialect means 'a hole' and indeed, there is a hole in the majestic Dubrovnik city walls and once you walk through, there are big rocks, the wall from the outside and a bar. The best place to take your partner for a glass of wine in the evening or go for a swim.
Art Nouveau, Riga, Latvia. The amazing Brivibas Street in Riga. Some of the finest Art Nouveau buildings in Europe.
San Gimignano, Tuscany. Although it is a popular and well-known destination, it is a city that amazes me each time I go there. The medieval streets, the towers, the surroundings, the atmosphere, my favourite gelato on Piazza Cisterna…simply magical!
Most memorable on the road moment?
I was with the group in Riga, Latvia, during the Hockey World Championship. We had to go out for dinner and as we left, the game just finished, Latvians won and there was this huge crowd, our bus was blocked. Our restaurant was located a few hundred metres through the park, so I decided to get off the bus with the group and simply walk there. Since I didn’t want to walk with my clip board high in the air, I decided to put one of the guests on my shoulders (she bought the Latvian hockey shirt that day) and marched through the crowds, while everyone were cheering.
Must-take photo op?
Ravello, Italy. The iconic picture high above the Amalfi coast. In the foreground the cypress trees, double church dome and in the background the stunning Amalfi coast. Also the vineyards of Tuscany.
Staple travel items?
Camera, laptop, flash drive.
Tips for acting like a local?
Try new things, listen to the advice your Travel Director gives you, about how the locals do things. For example, when in Italy, forget about take-away coffee, sit down at a nice little square, have a cappuccino and watch the world go by. Don’t be afraid to try new food. No problem, if you don’t speak the local language, a smile will get you a long way. Explore the back streets, sometimes more interesting than the main sights.
A favourite local saying?
The Greek phrase "Siga. Siga." It literally means slowly. slowly, but more broadly means, "Don’t stress, enjoy life!"
Pasta in every way.
Must buy souvenir?
The Matrioshkas in Russia. Your children or grand-children will love you for that.
Best travel tip?
Keep an open mind.