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For Marina, traveling is more than just ticking destinations off a list – it’s about learning to appreciate and love other places, people and cultures.
Marina was fortunate growing up to have family and friends located in different places around the world which gave her the opportunity to travel a lot from a young age. Despite her love for traveling it never occurred to her to pick it as a career path – at least not right away.
She studied communications but quickly decided that it was not the route she wanted to take so after graduation she took the opportunity to go to Greece to stay with her family for 6 months in order to know them better as well as the country, culture and language. She fell in love with her paternal homeland all over again! Plus it was a great base for exploring more of Europe (Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Egypt, Jordan…the list goes on). Needless to say 6 months turned into a year and a year turned into 10.
Still it took some time for her to find tourism as a profession but when she did it was like finding her place in the world! 6 years later, now married and with a kid, she and her family made a tough decision to leave Greece. As they embarked on this new adventure, she decided to continue selling travel, this time as an independent consultant rather than for a local tour operator – of course still focusing on Europe and the Mediterranean which she knows so well and loves so much! Marina believes that the most important thing when planning a trip is knowledge and she takes every opportunity she can to visit the places she recommends and make local connections so as to provide personal insight on the destinations and services. She loves both sharing her own stories and helping others make their own memories. She feels blessed to be able to do this and looks forward to it for years to come.
I have a lot of very memorable experiences so it is hard to pick just one but there is a day that will definitely stick with me forever and it happened on the Greek island of Crete. The plan was for my husband and I to just ‘pop by’ this village outside Rethymno to quickly look at the ceramics that they were known for and then head off to a nearby monastery followed by the beach. We wandered into one workshop (one of the last in the village because I felt the first few were too ‘touristy’, selling only ancient replications) and were quietly taking a look to see if there was anything we wanted to take home as a souvenir. After a few minutes the owner came out of his workshop and says na sas kerasw (‘can I treat you’ in Greek) and held up a bottle of raki in the typical fashion of Cretan hospitality. ‘Certainly!’ we said. The one glass turned into many and was paired with wonderful conversation. We talked about our travels around the island and learned about his business and his family. Needless to say we never made it to the monastery or to the beach but it was a fabulous day
I read a lot! I like to know a few basics about the history and local culture of where I am going and learn a few key words and phrases in the local language – ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘where is the bathroom’.
Combine good organization and structure of the travel basics with plenty of time for spontaneity because some of the best memories come from the unexpected.
Thank you Marina for helping to create a trip of lifetime to Rome and Sicily! It was beyond my expectations. Your knowledge, your guidance, and expertise made my dreams come true. The hotels were perfect and all arrangements went off smoothly. As a solo traveler who is a Senior, you were always available and the Perfetto agency was my local contact and they kept in touch and was available. Thanks Angela and the team! Nothing that I suggested was left unanswered. From the three days at the Rome 1000 Tennis to a Vespa ride in Rome and wonderful small group tours in Rome all was possible. But the most amazing was to me was the third row seats for the Opera Le Nozze de Figaro at Teatro Massimo Palermo !! Marina worked through the Concierge at Hotel Villa Igiea Palermo. When I arrived he told me you certainly have a very professional travel consultant. I will have these Life's Travel Moments memories forever. You're the BEST!-Rosemary
You put together another quite memorable vacation package for us. The Italy trip and adventure was really terrific. As we had told you in the planning stages; we had never been to the Lake region or the Riviera and wanted it to be very special. We are still talking and reminiscing about our experiences. We interacted with several outstanding employees along the way who helped make the trip even more enjoyable. We want to evaluate or send compliments to those outstanding people . Any ideas on how to recognize those special employees?? Particularly; the CInque Terre guide--Andrea, the Wine tasting owner and host Eleanora, and the terrific employees at the Aminta hotel. I have 1 complaint regarding the trip. The scheduling of 2 wine tastings and tours on the same day within such a small window of time is too much. We were unable to make our 2nd tour because we were late arriving at our first tasting. The ride from Cernobbio to Cantine Angelinetta was beautiful and scenic but very slow with construction going on and work traffic.... We were over 40 minutes late but we were able to still get our tasting completed and enjoy our tour. However, once we were through at Cantine Angelinetta it was too late to make the trip to the other winery. We would love to have been able to make it but we felt with the drive back and having had a flight of 5 wines it would have been too much with another half hour or so drive to the winery. If one were not driving and were being escorted then perhaps it would be possible to do 2 tastings in one day. Or if they are scheduled perhaps earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon. Again, we so appreciate all your efforts in making this trip possible. It was wonderful and we will pass your name and company along to any people planning future trips. I guess you will have to start putting together an Amalfi Coast and Sicily trip or a return trip to the lakes (ha.ha....just kidding right now )! After Egypt and now; Italy, you have proven yourself to be the best agent available. Many thanks Marina.-Michael and Bill
Marina helped us plan the perfect trip to Ireland! Perfect! I'm ready to return! We'd made our flight plans, and knew what we wanted to do, but felt at a loss as to the best way to see as much of the country as we could as efficiently as we could...without driving through the countryside ourselves! Marina was extraordinarily helpful. We discussed with her what we wanted, our budget, our dates, types of accommodations, sights we wanted to see and more. Quickly, Marina came back to us with several options but not an overwhelming number of them. She'd done her research and presented these options to us, outlining details as well. Additionally, she made us aware of events going on in Dublin that might affect our travels so we could better plan our time in the country. Marina's suggestions were absolutely superb. We had a beautiful hotel in the city center, recommendations for sights, bars, restaurants, different things to do, and we had one day trip arranged to Northern Ireland and a four day rail and coach trip to the western part of the country. The accommodations were within our budget and were great. The tours were wonderful, everything was taken care of for us in advance (all we had to do was print vouchers and show up!). Marina checked in with us prior to our trip several times to make sure that we had everything we needed, and also touched base when we arrived in Dublin. Her attention to detail, consideration for her clients, asking the absolute right questions to get an idea of what's wanted, needed, affordable is top notch! And, we did this while she is in Europe and I am in the US!!! We will travel to Europe again and I will use Marina again. I've recommended to friends and family and am now recommending to you! You will not be disappointed in the fantastic results and customer service that Marina strives for. We could not have had a better trip! Thank you!!-Kathy and Phil
We had the most wonderful time in Spain and truly loved it! You and Madrid and beyond did a great job, things went smoothly and your guides and drivers were exceptional. There may have been a hiccup or two along the way but that is understandable when you are moving four people around a foreign country for an length of time. My assessment of the Totem Hotel in Madrid was only the size of the rooms, everything else was fine. I think you might want to look at that again as that was the only place that was a problem, the location was perfect as were the rest of the hotels but having to move furniture around just to be able to maneuver in a room with two suitcases was a bit much, but everything else was fine. The hotels in the rest of the trip where great! The Gran Melan, The Alhambra Palace, and the Gallery were all perfect! And your guides, each time we thought it couldn’t get any better we were pleasantly surprised! And to finish with Barbara in Barcelona with the trip to Manserrat and the lunch at the farm under the beautiful trees was a moment we all will remember. It was a long process between you and me getting this finalized but in the end it was a perfect trip and I thank you for all you did to make this a trip to cherish. Your advise and guidance was correct in every instance. You made our trip to Italy a few years ago with family wonderful and you did the same this time, even more so! Please forward this email to Madrid and Beyond, I wanted to thank them also for a great job!-Joan Pallateri