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Andrew Durman - Fantastic Driver/Tour Guide

My wife, and teenage grandson, had the pleasure of having Andrew Durman as our driver/tour guide during a recent 7 day tour of Krakow and Warsaw. Andrew picked us up at the Krakow airport, escorted us to many interesting tourist sites each day(both planned and unplanned), and dropped us off at the Warsaw airport at the end of our trip. Andrew was very friendly, spoke excellent English, had an exceptional knowledge of the people and history, the major tourist sites, as well as off-the-beaten path sites, the architecture including the homes, churches and villages in the Poland.

We discovered Andrew on a Rick Steve’s forum site. He responded quickly to our emails and we agreed on a tour itinerary and he made all of the advance ticket and private guide arrangements so there were no delays at the major attractions, like Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Waleszczak Salt Mine, Pope John Paul’s home, and the Jasna Gora Monastery, home of the Black Madonna. He even arranged a private tour of the Monastery with a Pauline monk who then invited us to a private mass with the unveiling of the Black Madonna.

We stayed in apartments in the center of the Krakow and Warsaw old town and Andrew picked us up each morning in his 7 passenger Mercedes van, drove us all day and enjoyed dining at some of his favorite restaurants. In addition to the major sites indicated above we also visited Zakopane, Wadowice, and Kalwaria, and many churches, and palaces in Krakow and Warsaw area. Andrew was born in a small village near Krakow and we visited his family’s Catholic church and saw the site of his family home.

We highly recommend that you consider using Andrew for a very personalized tour of Poland.

His website is: http://www.tour-service.pl/index.html

Thank you, Andrew for the great time.

Posted by
2306 posts

Hi, Ray. Thanks for posting. I'm headed to this area next May. Would you be willing to give a real quick sketch of what you did each day (and which days you used Mr. Durman) to give me some idea of what's possible? It doesn't have to be anything big or complicated, maybe just a list of each day and the 1-3 major things you did each day. Thanks in advance if you are willing to do that.

Posted by
242 posts

We used Andrew for just one day and he is a 20 out of 10! He is an excellent communicator and you will feel like your cousin is taking you around Poland. We wanted to find some descendants/relatives in a village about one hour from Krakow and he was prompt, courteous AND made some contacts before we arrived. He found a willing person in the village who gave up his whole day to go around in search of possible relatives. Through his contacts, we were able to go the church and get the grandfather's birth record. Unfortunately, too much time had passed since the immigrant left the village and no one we spoke to knew the family. That is expected after 110 years when no one writes. Despite that, we had a marvelous day and Andrew was essential because almost no one spoke English.

We went back to Poland this past year after I found relatives from other grandparents and MANY older people do NOT speak English. I would estimate that anyone over 40 has very limited English IF they live outside the big cities. We had a translator from my grandparents' village in SE Poland and she, like Andrew was a 20 out of 10.

Andrew is extremely courteous but will also give his opinion on some issues about the history of Poland. He lived through the Soviet influence, so he has a lot of background and perspective that a younger person just doesn't have.

So, to answer your inquiry, look to Andrew for some basic help in family history/genealogy. Go to boards like Polishorigins. com for more info on ancestors and genealogy. They also do marvelous genealogy tours.

Posted by
2 posts

Dave,

I just sent you a PM with our complete itinerary. Briefly:

Day 1 - Pick up at Krakow Airport and visit some local sites between airport and old town city center including the Royal Palace and Old Town City Center.

Day 2 - Visit Wieliczka Salt Mine and other local Krakow sites.

Day 3 - Visit Auschwitz & Birkenau camps and Pope’s Museum in Wadowice, and the Kalwaria Franciscan Monastery

Day 4 - Full day tour to Zakopane – winter capital of Poland, including many picturesque villages and homes, and a stop at a small smoked cheese hut along the way

Day 5 - Drive to Warsaw with a visit at Jasna Gora Monastery with local monk guide in Czestochowa (shrine to the Black Madonna)

Day 6 - Warsaw City sights Tour

Day 7 - Warsaw Outskirts sights tour

Day 8 - Drop off at the Warsaw airport.