“You must be home by now?” asked a friend a few days ago. The answer was, and indeed is, not yet! “I should be home before the St. Blaise festivity,” I answered with a smile.
We are dragging our feet a little on the return journey. Taking our time to soak up the sights that Europe has to offer, and there is a lot on offer. We’ve mainly followed the sun south without too much of a plan, which is probably why it’s taking us so long. We seem to be drawn, like moths to a light, to lakes.
We’re now staying on the third, or maybe fourth European lake, and this time it’s in the Italian Alps, a glorious tiny lake that sits above Lake Garda and is filled every year with melted snow, it’s a real gem. If you can imagine a shining turquoise lake completely surrounded by snow-capped mountains and only three Alpine cottages around it, then you have an idea of what we are watching in the morning. It’s tough to move on from this gift of nature.
And our dog is going to be sad when we head south again, at least he has ticked off “swim in an Alpine lake” from his bucket list.
Once we made our way off my island home under the English Channel the travel situation got easier, if not the Covid situation. Things change so quickly that it’s almost impossible to follow them.
Yes, it’s clear that less people are moving around Europe, we have only got caught in one traffic jam in almost a month.
Have you ever had to show your passport to drink a coffee before? At first I thought Italy had the strictest measures, literally everyone is wearing a mask inside and outside, but that was until I crossed Austria! Actually entering Austria was easy, in fact whilst staying on the shores of a German lake (I told you we are lake lovers) we accidentally went food shopping in Austria. “Are we in Germany or Austria?” I asked my wife as we pushed our trolley up the aisles. Austria was the answer. A day later and we transited over the Austrian Alps.
Now before I tell this story I know that the Austrians had a tough time before Christmas and they are probably more sensitive than most countries. So we stopped to refuel our petrol tank in one of those typical Austrian service stations in the Tyrol region. “Could you show me your Covid passports,” said a rather stern lady as we tried to buy coffee. Apart from Croatia and the UK, as far as we can tell from our experience, you can’t enter any shop, café, restaurant, hotel, etc., without showing the “Green App.” But Austrian has taken this to a whole new level.
“Yes, that is good now could I see your passports?” continued Helga. I haven’t just made that name up, I actually read her nametag. I was just about to say that only people in official positions could ask to see my passport, and that I was just trying to sip a cappuccino and nor cross an international border, but stopped myself as Helga didn’t seem to a have a sense of humour. “Ah, Thomas,” she looked at my photo and then at my passport photo and then looked me up and down again.
“She should be working as a customs officer and not a waitress,” I said to my wife in Croatian so that Helga wouldn’t put me in detention. “This is all correct, now one more step before I can give you your coffee, you need to fill out this form,” said Helga in an accent that made her sound like a character from ‘Allo, ‘Allo. Anti-vaxxers in Croatia would be already having a nervous breakdown at this Austrian treatment.
By the time I had filled out the form my coffee was already cold, and to be honest it was almost undrinkable anyway. It might be a stereotype but you can’t beat coffee in Italy and croissants in France and chocolate in Switzerland. We waved goodbye to Helga, however we weren’t finished with Austrian restrictions, and it seemed that poor Helga had made a cardinal mistake.
As we left the shop another shouting voice in angry German stopped us. We turned round to find Helga 0.2 pointing to our masks and her mask. WTF! There is a reason that Austrian looks like a flock of chickens. The only masks allowed are the so-called FFP2 and we were wearing surgical ones. Helga might have bombarded us with paperwork but Helga 0.2 escorted us out the café like a dog herding sheep.
Next stop Verona and some culture, before arriving back home in Dubrovnik later in the week, this has been a Christmas and New Year break to remember for a lifetime.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
I’ve recently started swimming every day in the sea, without a wetsuit, in Zadar, in winter, at 8.30am every morning.
And when I say every morning, it really is. Today is Sunday and instead of enjoying a lie-in like most normal people, I’m going a little earlier, at 8am, so that I have a quick swim before setting off to go hiking.
People think I’m crazy, but I’m not the only one it seems.
There’s a guy here called Sam, from the Czech Republic, and he joins me every morning. He took this crazy idea of sea swimming in winter to a new level since we started.
The first time we met up, he made a very fast risk assessment, then before I’d even taken my hat off, he was in, head-first, one big splash of a dive, and he was off.
People think I’m crazy, but I’m not the only one it seems
Some mornings I’m not sure whether I love him or hate him. I have this same relationship with my hiking guide. Depending on whether I’m on some gruelling uphill climb, or enjoying the most incredible views from the Velebit mountains, my feelings towards him are different.
With my swimming companion, there are moments I’m regretting ever having met him. This mostly happens on those frosty mornings when I’m still in bed, and I’m dreaming up excuses of to how to get out of it, so I can just stay wrapped up inside and cosy.
This only lasts a couple of minutes now, and the funny thing is, just by observing this ridiculous process I go through in my head, I can overcome it.
All it takes is getting out of bed and putting my swimsuit on, and the rest is easy. It’s just habit now. I don’t think about it. I just set off. I don’t hesitate getting in. I splash my face with the water first, and I dive straight in.
I always have this moment when I’m swimming back towards the jetty, and it’s like I’m heading straight into the sun. The morning light is shining on the water, and it’s my favourite moment in my day.
“Breathe in the light”, I say to myself.
And in that moment I am filled with joy and gratitude that there’s been someone else to encourage getting my ass out of bed and straight into the water at this magical time. And I’m reminded that the light is returning.
The more I do it, the stronger this feeling gets, and the more I affirm to myself just how good for me this is.
There’s not one day I have regretted it. Even the days when it’s been a bitter 4 degrees outside, and I think 10 degrees in the sea. It’s always a good decision.
Although I know a lot of the science to back up why this is good for us, I don’t even really need to justify it to those who don’t understand. It makes me feel good, I feel great for the rest of the day, and it’s working for me.
I don’t need any more evidence than that.
The next step is just getting rid of that pointless couple of minutes in bed where I think I want to stay put. It’s always going to happen. The part of me that wants to swim is always going to win, so it’s a complete waste of time having that conversation with myself.
It’s like hitting the snooze button. It’s just delaying the inevitable getting up. Each time the alarm goes off it’s the same thing, so why bother?
The answer, as often in life, stop thinking about it and JFDI ;just flipping do it)!
Read more Gillie here...
Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Cavtat. A professional Wellness Consultant she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.
To find out more about Gillie go to www.behappyfit.co.uk
According to last year's census results, there are 14,612 inhabitants on the island of Korčula, which is a decrease of 910 inhabitants compared to the census 10 years ago.
Out of five local self-government units on Korčula, only the Municipality of Lumbarda has positive results and only just with 4 more inhabitants.
The boundaries of the City of Korčula, from Korčula from Čara has 5,419 inhabitants or 244 less than 10 years ago. Blato has 3,322 inhabitants or 271 less, Smokvica 865 or 39 less and Vela Luka 3,789 or 348 less and is still the largest settlement on Korcula.
According to available official data, the island of Korcula has not been the most populated Croatian island for more than 10 years, nor the most economically developed. Its economic and demographic stagnation has been evident for some time. And given the fact that a large population of the island is over 65 years old the future doesn’t look so bright.
The constant decrease in population is even more highlighted by the fact that 30 years ago the island was home to around 17,800 people, or just under 3,200 more when compared with the latest census.
In the last 24 hours, 5,732 new cases of Covid-19 virus were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is 55,499.
Among them, 1,717 people are in hospital, of which 224 are on respirators.
Unfortunately, a further 45 people died in the past 24 hours in Croatia.
The number of people in self-isolation is 25,448. A total of 748,818 people have recovered, of which 5,234 recovered in the last 24 hours.
To date, a total of 3,990,460 people have been tested, of which 12,499 were tested in the last 24 hours.
In the last 24 hours, 279 new cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
These are 138 people from Dubrovnik, 32 from Orebic, 22 from Župa Dubrovačka, 19 from Vela Luka, 17 from Korcula, 15 from Blato, 13 from Konavle, seven from Smokvica, six from Ston, three from Dubrovačka Primorje and Metkovic, two from Lumbarda and one from Ploče and Lastovo.
Unfortunately, two people passed away; one female from Dubrovnik (born in 1943) and one male from Metković (born in 1937).
129 people recovered: 63 from Dubrovnik, 15 from Korčula, 13 from Konavle, 11 from Župa dubrovačka, ten from Lumbarda, four from Mljet, three from Vela Luka, two from Metković, Dubrovačka Primorje and Blato and one from Ploče, Opuzen, Orebic and Zazablja.
In the last 24 hours, 608 samples were processed, and since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 200,567 samples have been analysed.
64 people tested positive for coronavirus were hospitalized in the Dubrovnik General Hospital, seven patients required intensive care, six were on respirators, and one patient was on oxygen.
There are 1,846 people in self-isolation, and no violation of the self-isolation measure has been reported in the last 24 hours.
With sea temperatures around 14 degrees the Adriatic is far from its summer bath-like temperatures, however that didn’t stop a few brave swimmers from diving in the crystal clear sea this Sunday.
During the warmer months this beach in Župa Dubrovačka is a magnet for swimmers, but today these few swimmers had the beach to themselves, and indeed the Adriatic. And whilst the Adriatic in Dubrovnik reaches up to the high twenties today the sea and the air temperature equalled out at around 14 degrees. And apart from the swimmers there were also a handful of people soaking up the January sunshine on the beach.
“It’s beautiful and so clean, it gives you so much energy,” commented one female swimmer with a broad smile.
Bitcoin got a very great success in the world of the crypto market. If you don't believe in it, you can check its success by typing bitcoin ATM on the internet. Do you believe this digital crypto has a specific ATM the investor uses to get involved in this digital currency? The numbers are still more minor, but not for much time in the future. You will get a bitcoin ATM in every city. The use of this digital currency is increasing. At first, people do not believe in this digital currency, and now they do not believe in other cryptocurrencies. The number of investors is increasing, so the demand for these ATMs is increasing.
If you want to gain a safer experience of buying digital coins, you should try the bitcoin ATM. Millions of people invest in this crypto on https://bitcomo.com for involved in this digital currency. If you desire to obtain a smoother experience, you should try the ATM. Most beginners will choose this option because of safety. If you want to attain more knowledge about this crypto, you have to focus on the points and not miss any single point to get proper knowledge. Below listed points are some great benefits of using a bitcoin ATM one should look to know them.
What makes bitcoin ATM more beneficial?
The bitcoin ATM is one of the fantastic ways from which users can obtain digital coins without any inconvenience. There are so many benefits of investing in this digital currency through a bitcoin ATM, and if you want to attain them, you can get knowledge from the below-listed points.
The first and most fantastic thing you can get in this ATM is matchless speed. We all know about the speed of transacting digital coins through the exchange platform, but sometimes they lag while doing the transaction. But if you use a bitcoin ATM, there will be no problem like this. You can easily do the transaction within no time. So if you are a newbie and are willing to buy this digital crypto, then it is highly advised you go with the bitcoin ATM option. The reason is that this ATMs speed is much better than the exchange, and it will hardly take less than 10 seconds to complete the whole transaction if once the scan is scanned.
High level of security!
Are you worried about the transaction of buying bitcoins from an exchange platform? One will say yes because so many fake platforms can harm your investments. But if you want to avoid it, there is only one option: to use a bitcoin ATM. It is highly recommended because it provides a high level of security, and it proves that the transaction is complete by giving you a receipt in which all the details related to it are written. The growth of bitcoin is very profitable for everyone but also insecure for those new in this digital crypto and looking for an exchange platform. It is evident that if the growth of this digital crypto is high, then demand for exchange platforms also takes place that is beneficial for the scammers only.
No difficulty in the user interface!
The best thing to use the bitcoin ATM is quickly access it without facing any issue. The reason is the machine will adequately guide you on what you have to do next after selecting the activity of buying and selling. It also teaches you how to scan the code and what inches the scanner should be far from the machine. It is not a difficult task. You can easily do it within no time. Your whole process will be done without popping out of any issue. The whole process is simple but remember to keep your digital wallet account up to date so that you can perform the task efficiently without any inconvenience. It is as simple as using a traditional ATM to withdraw the cash and transfer the amount. You have to follow the instruction and make every step very wisely, and after a few times, you will be the owner of your bitcoin crypto.
Crypto is the best invention of this century. It came into existence when bitcoin was launched in the market. The initial benefit you can grab by capitalizing on this crypto is its blockchain. Blockchain technology is the best one that doesn't have any authority over its head to control it. You will be happy to hear that the cryptocurrency network is p2p which means that people can easily transact their money any time of the day. There are plentiful benefits of cryptocurrency, and people are getting all these benefits by using them for transactions, trading, and long-term investing purposes at the bit bolt .
One can carry out the transactions of crypto quickly. The fantastic thing about the bitcoin transaction is its lower cost. Yes, even if you make more private transactions, you also don't need to pay high transaction costs. With the help of a simple app or website, or hardware bitcoin wallet, any individual can make transfers and receive payments in different kinds of cryptos. Some of the best types of crypto comprise bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc., even if you want to cash out your crypto holding; it is also effortless and straightforward using the bitcoin ATM. You can buy bitcoin from the ATM with traditional money. The people who have a shortage of financial system access can use cryptocurrencies because they only require internet and smart device.
We all know that crypto transactions are in the form of cryptography, and with the security of blockchain, cryptocurrency transfers are the safest form of making payments. It can be one of the most practical benefits you can grab by investing in cryptocurrency. It would be best if you heard that the security of crypto is committed in the higher part by using the hash rate. When the hash rate is higher, it needs high computing power for compromising the entire blockchain network. The hash rate of bitcoin is highest among other cryptos making it the most secure crypto worldwide. It is also essential that using the bitcoin exchange is also secure if you select the reliable and reputable one.
Many people want to invest in cryptocurrency only because of its higher value, but others want to get the advantage of using crypto for making the exchange. You will be impressed to know that the bitcoin transaction is a meager cost because the intermediary has no involvement. Moreover, with the transfers of most cryptocurrencies, one can quickly settle in just a few minutes. However, when you choose the wire transfers of the banks, then it can cost you a high amount of money, and it might take around 3 to 5 days for the settlement. So using bitcoin is the best option you have on your list.
Entirely private transfers!
Privacy is the most probable reason for the increasing fame of bitcoins. Well, the thing is that this ledger only signifies the wallet's address and not the person's identity. So it means that no other person can get to know who is making the transactions. There is no doubt that most of the transfers of the cryptos are pseudonymous, but still, there are many ways available for making the transaction more anonymous. You can learn about these ways and make your bitcoin transaction fully anonymous with little or no hassle.
Easy cross-border payments!
The surprising thing about crypto is that there is no reputation of the borders. A person in one country can easily send crypto to someone living in another country without difficulty. With the traditional modes of payments making the international border, payments were quite a hassle. You have to go through a lot of paperwork and wait for plenty of days to settle the transactions. Moreover, the bank charges a hefty fee for making foreign transfers. But with cryptocurrency, you are free. You can make a transaction in any part of the world without getting permission from any entity. The impressive thing is cryptocurrency markets are open 24 hours a day and seven days a week without having any exception. So it is the best option available right now, and you should get these benefits by investing in crypto now.
Encountering a couple from my hometown who were visiting on holiday led to a conversation on how wonderful it must be, being an ex-pat and living here. I was back and forth on the topic. Yes, it is great being here in this lovely country, but no, it’s not all rainbows and lollipops. Since then, I’ve re-run that conversation and have some thoughts if ever asked again.
Living abroad can be transformative. For many, it starts out as a feeling of being on an extended holiday. Being a foreigner makes the new locale mysterious; as if every avenue, museum, bar, park, or encounter is a chance to explore and traipse the edges of novelty. But as with all fantasies, over time ex-pats acclimate. What was once unusual or quaint, metamorphoses into the daily routine. Perhaps it’s like the 5 stages of grief. The quaint becomes quirky, the quirky irritating. One eventually settles by accepting one’s new home.
And it is generally at this point that the ex-pat starts feeling nostalgic and searching for substitutes. In my case, it was finding Coleman’s mustard and brown sugar. (The latter, I discovered can be sourced from Asia, who knew?).
Many of the challenges have been solved by having an internet connection, a locally acceptable credit card, and banking with a company that offers it services for reasonable fees. However, other elements key to being a successful long-term overseas resident, require changes to one’s attitude.
Not all people are alike, but all of us will find ourselves confronted with challenges. In being overseas, these might fall into the following buckets -
Not all of us need the same level or form of engagement. Some of us are perfectly happy with our own company. But still, all of us need stimuli. The internet has made that much simpler as it is overflowing with English language content.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
Still, wanting to interact with others is also important to many ex-pats. Being overseas, there are enclaves. Even among people speaking a common language, like ex-pat Americans living in London. But many locals want to practice English and hear about what foreigners think.
On the internet, there are forums such as quora and discord. There are also sites that promote local events, such as here, on the thedubrovniktimes.com as well as the obvious platform, facebook.com. One forum worth noting is meetup.com which helps to match up people (meeting face-to-face) with similar interests. This might be programming, wine-tasting, hiking, sailing, or retirement planning.
Photo by Brandon Holmes on Unsplash
Finding practitioners even at home can be hit-and-miss. Many people rely on recommendations. But when it comes to relying on say, the national health service, it can feel like the doctors at times struggle to explain. Just as at home, talking to the local ex-pat community is probably the best way to find trustworthy clinicians.
Some aspects of healthcare, like dentistry, has been going international as dental tourism has become a lucrative practice. Offering inexpensive, western level services that can also offer great holidays has become an added element when hunting for a holiday.
Completing the insurance forms though can be difficult and should be part of one’s checklist when considering a physician.
Photo by Patricia Jekki on Unsplash
Being able to read a situation, even at home, is tough. We generally know the neighbourhoods to avoid. We also develop mental models about what constitutes an unsavoury character. Doing such in a foreign situation is not so easy. Looking for cues from others is one skill an ex-pat should develop.
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash
One of the greatest irritants of society is having to interact with some sort of authority, be it a utility or government. Like safety, being a foreigner requires looking to others for cues. For some, corruption is a way of life - being able to tell when and how much is hard to estimate. Some services can help when you need to interact. Again, look to the local community for help.
Finding work, especially if you do not have a command of the language can be hard. While one might have started as a professional, on secondment, finding one’s next job is not as easily done. With some companies, location has become less of a barrier. Being able to work remotely, though it might require more flexibility, is a growing option. Some ex-pats have succeeded in landing jobs back home and found ways to work remotely.
Locally, some companies actively recruit professionals and will accept lesser local language skills or not being accredited by the local professional body. But, not everybody is a professional or has a professional skill that is in short supply. When this happens, one might consider alternative types of work. Finding native English speakers from whom to learn, fortunately, is in demand.
Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash
Some sites help find remote work such as data entry, coaching, therapy, problem solving and analysis. Upwork, for example, lists many remote jobs; some for professionals (such as Java developers). And this article has some other ideas.
As with all things in life, there is no sweetness without the bitter. We cannot appreciate how fortunate we are without perspective. And part of the sweetness is finding ways to make things work. Hopefully, the ideas listed here help.
If you are driving from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, or indeed vice versa, don’t turn to Google Maps to get the fastest route, it won’t be the fastest and will lead you on a magical mystery tour through construction sites.
The Peljesac Bridge is nearing completion, with the actual bridge expected to be fully completed and issued with permits by the end of the month, however the two access roads are still in the “under construction” phase. Google however has a different view and have already connected Dubrovnik to the rest of Croatia on their Google Maps service.
If you choose the fastest route then Google will try to send you over a bridge that is still waiting completion, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik. It seems like the tech giant has somewhat jumped the gun, with even the Croatian Prime Minister stating that the bridge project won’t be open until the tourist season this year. And this promise is also relatively optimistic.