Anyone can get stuck in the rut of standard guiding requirements, even when you live in Croatia, the homeland of so many phenomena, a country rich in heritage with no fewer than ten UNESCO world heritage sites. This rut can be deep and comfortable, so the challenge is to find a million ways to highlight yourself and acquaint your visitors with hidden heritage gems in a wholly new and innovative way.

Everything happens for a reason, and it was an incredible coincidence that the first Interpret Europe Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) trainer, Iva Silla, decided to hold the first IE CIG course for Croatia in Bakar, a charming small town just 20 minutes’ drive from my hometown. I do not know how all the participants came together, but from the very first minute of the first day, I felt an enormous amount of good energy and positive vibrations coming from all the women attending the course. The group was made up of 14 participants, our trainer, Iva, and our good fairy, Silvija Jacić, who did everything to make us feel welcomed and relaxed despite the very intensive and demanding tasks. From the moment we met, it seemed as if we had been a team forever, but the truth was that the majority of us had never met before.

Honestly and without any exaggeration, those five days were among the best days of my life. Thanks to Iva who managed to transfer to us all her passion for heritage interpretation and her extended knowledge in this field. I felt just like a child in kindergarten who is trying to find something nice in everything even if at first sight things didn’t seem promising. What impressed me the most was a tree – simply a tree, standing in an open fish market, which, in less than half an hour became a phenomenon and turned me into a storyteller. If anyone had said before that I would talk about a tree with such passion and love, I would have considered them completely crazy. At that moment I realised that this was not an ordinary course but a course that would teach me to discover hidden meanings in phenomena that we usually take for granted. 

I was right. Both the course and the extraordinary trainer exceeded all my expectations, so much that I knew that I wanted to give my town, Kastav, the potential to feel the same energy we had given to Bakar when walking along its narrow streets and exploring its phenomena. So the decision was made – the next Croatian CIG course will take place in my hometown, Kastav, in February and March 2019 with the full support of the Town of Kastav. Join us!

Ivana Karanikić is a licenced tourist guide, tour leader and the owner of Prolingua travel agency ( and, hopefully, a future IE Certified Interpretive Guide. She can be contacted at:

To cite this article:
Karanikić, Ivana (2018) ‘A not-so-ordinary course for not-so-ordinary tourist guides’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 4-2018, 12.
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