Interview with Beata

Beata was born and raised in Toruń, Poland, the city of Nicolaus Copernicus. More than a decade ago, while watching an episode of Rick Steves' Europe, Beata decided, "This is the man I would like to work for!" Within a few years she found herself working on Rick's Best of Central Europe, Best of Europe, and Family Europe tours. She is now raising a family in the US and showing travelers her homeland on our Best of Poland tour.

How does your background help you with guiding?

I have a master's in geography, a HUGE love for Europe, and a passion for travel. I think putting this together with my outgoing personality — and being a native European — helps me be successful. I believe that to truly appreciate a place one should be exposed to as many aspects of it as possible: the geography, art, architecture, culture, music, history, politics, food, faith, current events, daily life, and so on. That's a tall order, but a good guide should try to give people an interesting glimpse into each of these things.

As a native of Poland, how do you feel about getting to show tour members your home country?

It's not easy to describe how I feel. Words like "excited," "thrilled," or "overjoyed" don't quite express it. I feel enormous pride that I will be able to show my tour members places that I have very strong emotional connections with. I also feel a sense of duty to present Poland in the most objective way, probably breaking a few stereotypes along the way.

What can people expect on our new Best of Poland tour?

First of all, they can expect 10 days filled with fun, adventures, and eye-opening experiences. Besides that, be prepared to learn what it means to be Polish, what created our identity, and what influences it today. All while surrounded by beautiful architecture, interesting music, and food that goes beyond sausage and pierogi (which, by the way, I can never have enough of).

Which stop on the Poland tour are you looking forward to most?

To be absolutely honest, I can't wait to take tour members to Toruń, my hometown. It's not only known for its beautiful architecture and as the home of famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, but also for the best gingerbread cookies you will ever have. Luckily for our groups, they will learn firsthand how to make them.

Can you share a favorite tour memory with us?

One evening, at a rural Tuscan agriturismo on our tour, we had a group dinner with live music afterwards. A couple of songs into the performance, I looked around the room and saw that everybody was having a good time. That's nice, but I thought, "I want them to have a GREAT time!" One by one I started encouraging our tour members to dance, and before you knew it, the whole group was pulling off their best dance moves together. The musical performance went on much longer than scheduled, and even the owner of the villa joined us. The next morning at breakfast, a woman who was traveling with her high-school-age grandkids came up to thank me for the evening. With tears in her eyes she told me that this was the first time in her life she had danced with her grandkids! This moment alone, she said, was worth every penny spent on the trip.

Here's what Beata won't tell you…but her tour members will:

"Beata was everything you could hope for in a tour guide — smart, funny, organized, and in charge. I felt completely comfortable in her care. She enhanced our travel experience in countless ways!"

— Tammy in San Antonio, TX