“I'm kind of comfortable with getting older because it's better than the other option, which is being dead. So I'll take getting older,” once said the actor George Clooney. This year I will be fifty. A landmark birthday. The big 50. Five decades on this earth.
To be honest my birthday is right at the end of the year so I’m making the most of being in my 40s for the time being. OK, I might be in my late, or very late 40s, but it still counts.
Even though I still have the brain of a crazy teenager my body is starting to sing to a different song. Just the other day I was moving some heavy boxes, yes it’s time to get ready for the renting season, and even though I succeeded in the task I also succeeded in destroying my back. It was probably the first time I have had back ache, I mean real back ache, and so I guess I am lucky. But it was also probably a sign of things coming around the corner.
Am I still middle-aged at fifty? Of course I am. In fact, according to statistics, I am pretty much right slap bang in the middle of middle age. Does that make me feel better? Not particularly. Am I going to age gracefully and politely, definitely not! Mark Twain summed it up perfectly, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” There is a saying in England that when you start to look older than a police officer then you are starting to get old. Well now I am probably older then the chief of police. I am not that switched on at remembering dates, or even my own age, I’ve been thinking all year that I was 48. Yes, I know that probably is a sign of advancing years.
Over the past few weeks I have been receiving constant reminders of my upcoming half century birthday. “At British Seniors, we take your peace of mind seriously. That's why we offer over 50s life insurance - to make sure you and your loved ones have some financial protection in place, for when you pass away,” was the opening line of an email I received just the other day. Not the kind of email you want to read over breakfast, especially when you are eating bacon and not some healthy fruit!
Yes, I haven’t been a resident of the UK for over 20 years and yet still, quite clearly, companies have me on record and have just been waiting for the right time to pounce like a praying mantis. “Your guaranteed lump sum payment can be used to help cover the cost of your funeral, to pay off any outstanding debts or just to leave the ones you love a gift,” continued the mail. I almost choked on my bacon and eggs.
This morbid mail got me thinking though and not about my funeral. Just how switched on and active these companies were being. Even though they were talking about my paying for my future hole in the ground I had to admire their business model, their commercial aptness. So far I have received zero such emails from Croatian companies, absolutely zero. Even my car insurance company failed to call me and remind me until a few days before the insurance was set to expire.
“It's simple and easy to apply for British Seniors Over 50s Life Insurance. As long as you're a UK resident aged 50-80, you're guaranteed to be accepted, with no medical or health questions,” concluded my morning reading. Yes, I will soon be fifty, thanks for reminding me, but I am not a British resident. But even though their plan had this obvious flaw it was still at least a plan and I was full of admiration for their determination. Just a few days later and I received another similar email, this time offering my “amazing deals” on private health care, and once again from a UK based company. Over two decades I have been living at a Dubrovnik address but this hadn’t stopped them waiting and trying.
And bad things come in threes. And yes the third one was the one I was dreading. You might think you’re old when you look older than a police officer, but you KNOW you’re old when you get offered a special offer on a package holiday to Malta with…wait for it…SAGA! Whilst I still feel like raving on Ibiza the truth is that SAGA are offering me “Tours of the beautiful landscaped gardens of the San Anton Gardens in H'Attard.” “If things get better with age then I must be approaching magnificent.
Croatia’s seemingly inevitable move towards adopting the Euro and ditching the Kuna got more momentum on Wednesday as the majority of candidates in the upcoming European elections backed the change. In a panel discussion on the introduction of the Euro held with European political candidates the majority gave their full support for the European currency.
Tomislav Sokol from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) stated that analyses conducted so far showed that euro introduction would have a positive impact on the Croatian economy. Whilst Predrag Matic from SDP believed the public should be asked on their opinion “We are not against euro introduction but believe that the timing should be right and that citizens should be given the opportunity to state their position in a referendum.”
However, it seems that a referendum is not on the cards as the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, has stated on many occasions that the referendum has already been held when the public voted unanimously the join the European Union back in 2012.
And he added back in March this year that the members of the euro area are the most important trade partners of Croatia, and that as much as 77 percent of Croatian citizens' savings is in euros and 54 percent of all loans. He also pointed out that 70 percent of the total tourism revenues came in Euros, 60 percent of total overnight stays come from European citizens, as well as 66 percent of foreign tourists spending. Finally, 75 per cent of Croatia's foreign debt is also in Euros. "That means we are de facto there," he concluded Plenkovic.
Police officers of the Traffic Police Station will again organize and implement a preventive and educational action "Day of Kindness in Traffic" today, May 24th and on Monday, May 27th in the city of Dubrovnik, from 9 am to 11 am.
This is a project carried out in cooperation with the Private Gymnasium Dubrovnik and local self-government (the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County), with the aim of encouraging a more tolerant relationship between drivers and pedestrians. The goal is to achieve that the drivers respect the pedestrian advantage on pedestrian crossings, which ultimately leads to a feeling of safer and more comfortable participation in traffic in the city of Dubrovnik.
Upon completion of the action, the most tolerant and kind Dubrovnik drivers will be rewarded with gifts.
Attractive presentation of Konavle wine and tradition will be held on Saturday, May 25th, named ‘’Konavle ice and wine’’. The event is part of ‘Spring in Konavle’ and organized by the Agroturism Konavle. For this purpose, in the lobby of the Sponza palace, a symbolic stand will be set up where Konavle wine, cooled with Konavle ice will be exhibited.
It’s good to know the story behind this event! The Republic of Dubrovnik has in many respects been the most advanced country in its time. Among other things, it was because its gastronomic culture, which, together with domestic products, included spices from all over the world. But one product that the Dubrovnik locals had on a daily basis was a real sensation. In the midst of the largest summer heat, on the tables of the Dubrovnik gentry, from the depths of the Snijeznica, ice came on every day.
There were three ice canals in the Snijeznica. During the winter months, under the supervision of one or more soldiers, the peasants filled the canals shaped like wells with snow. Ice wells would then be closed with a key, and throw brushwood and straw on them to keep the ice better. According to the data dating back to 1783, from May 20th to August 20th more than 15 tons of ice would come to the City, so it is easy to calculate that 170 kg of ice was spent daily. It was just one of the prestigious products that the City and the Republic got from the fascinating Konavle, region with extraordinary beauty and natural wealth. Today, Konavle produces excellent wines, and the top of the wine offer is the Malvasia of the Konavle producers.
In honor of the Konavle ‘’ice-man’’ and the memorial to the ancient Dubrovnik Republic on Saturday, Konavljani will once again bring ice and wine from Konavle to the city to show the richness of Dubrovnik and Konavle, and treat all the citizens and the guests as well as the Duke of Dubrovnik treated the most important guests of our Republic.
This year's event is sponsored by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
Split may have for many years been known more as a transit tourist city than a real destination but that is changing, and changing fast. The city’s airport, which has recorded the largest increase in passenger number in the country over the past few years has announced yet another interesting project.
The port of Split, which is the largest port and one of the busiest in the whole of Croatia, has many been known as a link between the mainland and the numerous islands, ferrying holidaymakers to sun-kissed islands such as Brac and Hvar. But with the increase in tourism in the city so the need for a better connection between the two main hubs. The Deputy Mayor of Split has announced a project to connect the port with the airport, the first of its kind in Croatia.
Speaking to the media Nino Vela stated that “Our goal is to connect the port with the airport. We are aware that traffic has doubled in the past ten years. We are working on the project connecting the city to the airport and we hope to begin the design and realisation process in next few years. It will involve the construction of a seven to nine kilometre railway.”
Young violinist Luka Ljubas was the first Croatian to win the prestigious International Violin Competition Vaclav Huml, winner of the main prize Zlatko Balokovic, Ivo Vuljevic and many other prizes and because of that the whole Europe is talking about this talented violinist. He will perform in Dubrovnik on Friday, May 24th, at the Rector's Palace, with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marc Tardue. The start of the concert is at 9 pm.
The concert program includes Debusssy's Little Suite, Sinfonietta by Poulenc, as well as the Bruch's Concert for Violin and Orchestra in G minor.
Luka Ljubas was born in Vienna, in Croatian – Japanese musician family. He got his first violin lesson from his mother, and then studied at the Margareten Music School in Vienna, in the class of Professor Arkady Winokurov. In 2006 he started violin studies at the State Conservatory in Klagenfurt in the class of Professor Brian Finlayson. In 2012 he graduated from the Academy of Music in Vienna, and since 2015 has become a regular student in the class of Professor Gerhard Schulz. During his career, he has often performed in Austria, at places like Vienna Konzerthaus and on numerous international stages - in Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Slovenia and Japan. He played as a soloist with the Korus Symphonic Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Schönbrunner Schloss Orchestra, the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and many others. As part of one radio portrait, a recording of his performance of the violin concert by J. Sibelius was broadcasted, and his recordings were broadcasted several times on the Austrian radio.
On the website of the City of Dubrovnik from May 22nd, you can see the situation in traffic on the main traffic points in Dubrovnik via livestream from cameras located at:
2. Ilijna Glavica
4. Solska Baza
5. Posta Lapad
6. Dom Zdravlja
This is another tool of the City of Dubrovnik for citizens, as well as visitors, really useful when it comes to informing about current traffic situation. The link is available on the home page of the City of Dubrovnik – just clickhere.
Game of Thrones fans have a new destination to visit in Croatia as a museum to the globally popular HBO series has opened in Split. With dragons, costumes and packed full of props and interesting exhibitions from the series the museum stretches over 300 metres squared and offers fans of the serial a unique experience.
Game of Thrones comes to Split with new museum - Photo Ivan Vukovic Vuka
Although Dubrovnik was the main location for Game of Thrones in Croatia the series also used stunning locations in Split and Sibenik and the themed museum covers all the bases. On entering the museum visitors are greeted with a roaring dragon from the serial. And this is no coincidence as the location where Daenerys kept her dragons is a just a minutes’ walk away in the ancient Diocletian cellar.
Game of Thrones dragon greets visitors - Photo Ivan Vukovic Vuka
There are over 100 different exhibits from the show and the dark, and slightly eerie atmosphere inside gives fans another dimension. With five different themed rooms in the museum and characters from Jon Snow, Tyrion to Drogon visitors are sure to have a great time.
Croatia and the Game of Thrones are undoubtedly connected forever and this new themed museum is just another reason for fans to visit the country. The Split Game of Thrones museum is the latest in a long line of specialised Game of Thrones attractions in Croatia, from special themed tours in Dubrovnik, to a visitors centre on the island of Lokrum in Dubrovnik to numerous stores offering authentic souvenirs. The connection between Game of Thrones and Croatia doesn’t look like ending any time soon, even though the eighth and final season has finished.
Eerie atmosphere in Game of Thrones museum in Split - Photo Ivan Vukovic Vuka
“The museum looks amazing! This is my first time in Split and I am a huge GOT fan. I knew it was filmed in Split so I went to museum to see everything about it. It is really nice, with lot of interesting things to see and read but also with great photo spot! Also the room with white walkers, WOW! Definitely, I would recommend this!” commented one visitor to the new museum.
Crammed full of interesting exhibits - Photo Ivan Vukovic Vuka
The museum is located on Bosanska Ulica in Split and is open every day from 9:00am to 10:00pm. And more information can be found at the Game of Thrones Split website.
From the 1st of June this year all European Union citizens will have the opportunity to work in Switzerland, apart from Croatians. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry have announced that from the beginning of June their citizens, along with citizens of Romania will have full freedom to work in Switzerland and will enjoy all the right of the rest of Europe.
However, Croatia will remain the only EU member state whose citizens cannot live and work in Switzerland without a work visa. The maximum length of visa Croatians can receive is three months.
Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but is closely linked with the Union through a series of bilateral agreements that allow it to participate in the single EU market, even if it is not a member.
The promotional film of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board "Dubrovnik Riviera" won another first place and a gold medal. This time it was on 40-year-old American festival, the prestigious Telly Awards.
The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 to honor excellence in local, regional and cable television commercials with non-broadcast video and television programming added soon after. With the recent evolution and rise of digital video (web series, VR, 360 and beyond), the Telly Awards today also reflects and celebrates this exciting new era of the moving image on and offline.
The Telly Awards annually showcases the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world.
With the Dubrovnik Riviera as a winner, it is worth mentioning the second place won by the promotional film of the Tourist Board of Lika-Senj County "Visit Lika".