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Damir Perkovic

Country: Croatia

Trips run: HR & FCO

What is your travel experience/background?
My travel experience encompasses just a few journeys abroad. I would single out trips to the UK (England and Wales), France (Paris) and Croatia's border countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Italy). I am usually spending my free time outdoors and Croatia is a perfect place for outdoor activities. I enjoy all kinds of activities, like mountaineering, caving, cycling, canyoning and kayaking etc.

How long have you been leading trips?
I have been guiding and trip leading since the end of the summer 2009, so this is my first complete working season.

What are your favourite activities/events on the trips you lead?
My top activity is white-water canoeing, because unlike rafting guests have more control of the boat and possibly of decision making.

What is the best thing about your job?
I really enjoy my job and it is very hard to single out only one best thing about it. I suppose the best things would be meeting new people, sharing thoughts, ideas and experiences, showing our culture, history and natural beauties. Also one of the greatest things is the possibility of people outdoors with them as part of a team, where we learn from each other and in the some ways grow together.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened on a tour?
Well the funniest thing happened once on a river. I accidentally fell out of the boat and the group didn't realise I was holding on to the bottom of it. When they looked back they thought they were alone in the middle of the rapids and looked at each other in panic and disbelief trying to work out what was going on. In that moment I jumped back unseen into the boat, so that when they looked again they saw me rowing normally like I'd always been there. They were surprised and probably asking themselves if it was just their imaginations. Everything happened so fast, it was like I was in a David Copperfield trick - now you see him, now you don't. We laughed about it all night long.

In your mind, what is the best place to visit in your country?
The coast is very beautiful and it is also the most popular tourist destination, offering beautiful nature and lots of historical sites. If you are into culture, sightseeing around cities on the coast is the best choice, with places like Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Sibenik and Trogir. Also there are still parts of Croatia that are undiscovered by tourists, which offer some unforgettable beauties. Lika, part of Croatia with two national parks (Northern Velebit and Plitvica lakes) and nature park (Mount. Velebit) is one of the most beautiful areas in Croatia, with a mix of Alps and Mediterranean landscape. Croatian mountains are not so high, but their beauty is unique and about to be discovered.

In your mind, what is the most interesting custom in your country?

Lots of guests find that the Croats have a very firey Mediterranean temperament and at the same time they are a very easy going people. In Dalmatia everyone is like, "Take it easy, everything will be fine." kind of way. Sometimes guests see people in what seems like a big verbal fight, when really it is just a normal conversation. Also guests are amazed to see how regular people, complete strangers to them, will often invite them for a snack or a drink when they see them passing by. Hospitality is an integral part of our culture, especially in the Dalmatian hinterland, where you are respected only if you are a good host.

In your mind, what is the most important phrase to know?
Zivili - Cheers

Dobar dan - Hello

Hvala - Thanks

Pomalo - Take it easy

In your mind, when is the best time to visit and why?
The best time to visit Croatia is mid to late spring and early to mid autumn. In those periods the weather is still nice, it is warm enough but not too hot and it is not so crowded like in summer. Dalmatia is one of the places with the highest number of sunny hours in Europe, so any time would be good for a visit but always check the forecast!

In your mind, what are the most important items to pack for your tour?
Sunscreen and a hat are must haves and for all those water activities and old pair of training shoes are a much better solution to those water shoes that people usually wear. Sometimes by the end of canyoning their soles start to come off. People usually expect good weather and they are surprised by occasional rain and summer showers, so some light rain gear is advisable.

Please come up with a short statement that describes your experience
Since this is my first full working season in tour leading for The Adventure Company, I can only state that being outdoors and going through all the activities creats a special bond between people. I really enjoy spending time with guests, helping them and at the same time being part of a team. At the end of each day, when you see the faces, words are not needed. You can see that they are happy and satisfied.

Please tell us some interesting facts about your region
Saint Jerome was born in the Roman province of Dalmatia and he used the saying, "Forgive me God for being Dalmatian." because he was very quarrelsome and would easily get into conflicts.

Diocletian's palace was built as a residence for a retired emperor with a mausoleum as his final resting place for one of the greatest emperors and Dalmatians. After his death the palace was used as a refuge for over-thrown emperors. Among them was Julius Nepos, the last legitimate Roman emperor who was killed inside the walls of the palace.

Alka is a chivalry competition that is held every year on the first Sunday in August for the last 300 years, to commemorate a great battle in 1715 when 700 defenders of the town Sinj repelled an attack of 70,000 Ottoman soldiers.

One of the symbols of Dalmatia is a donkey and legend says that the Romans used them to trace and plan roads. They would let the donkey go in front of them because they knew that the donkey is so lazy he would find the easiest and shortest way possible.

Dalmatia got it's name from a large number of sheep in times before the Romans. Delma means sheep in the language of the Illyrian natives who lived in the area. In the time of the Romans, the Dalmatian sheep used to be famous for the best quality wool.

The dalmatian dog is an ancient breed that originates from this area and was used as a war and border dog. The people living in Dalmatia call themselves Dalmatians, which provokes a laugh from the tourists.

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Damir Perkovic
Damir Perkovic