Saturday, 24 August 2019

“I couldn’t really see what they were doing at first and then I realised to my horror that it was a sex orgy on a public beach,” explained a reader of The Dubrovnik Times. This afternoon a reader of the Times witnessed a four-way sex orgy on a public beach in Zupa called Beterina. The beach is an unofficial nudist beach but not a sex beach! When approached by the reader to stop the four foreign tourists replied “But this is a nudist beach,” in way of an excuse.

As this orgy, which involved three men and one woman, occurred in the middle of the day on a public beach it could easily have been witnessed by children. The four foreign nationals, all believed to be in their late fifties early sixties, seemed oblivious to the swimmers around them and started a four way orgy.

The eyewitness approached the naked quartet and asked them to stop. The four tried to argue their case be saying the beach was nudist, before stopping and moving onto to another beach. This small beach in Zupa, around 12 kilometres from Dubrovnik, is apparently well-known as a swinger’s beach and there is even a homemade sign advertising the fact that swingers are welcome.

Sex on a public beach in the republic of Croatia is punishable by law with fines ranging from 3,000 to 7,000 Kuna. If the police had caught these sex culprits they could have been multiplied these penalties by four.

swinger dubrovnik

Swinging on Dubrovnik beach - just follow the signs 

Dubrovnik is well known for being one of the most romantic cities in the world. Hundreds of couples every year choose Dubrovnik as their magical place to say “I Do.”

And even though the summer temperatures can be, well roasting, this doesn’t stop couples from saying their vows in the Mediterranean sunshine. Just a couple of weeks ago Anna and Gordon Bird, from Edinburgh, decided to “brave” the summer heat and get married.

scottish wedding croatia

 

This was a wedding with a difference, at least for Dubrovnik, as the whole ceremony was a traditional Scottish affair. In spite of the sweltering heat full kilts were the order of the day.

But you can’t have a Scottish wedding without the melody of a bagpipe echoing in the background. The couple managed to find the only bagpipe player in Croatia, Zvjezdan Levinger, and he flew down from the capital Zagreb to make their big day even more memorable.

The unforgettable Scottish day in Dubrovnik ended with a piper’s toast to the bride and groom.      

It is going to get hot again in Dubrovnik as a heat wave is expected to hit tomorrow. According to the State Meteorological Institute for the Dubrovnik-Neretva County there is a moderate heat wave projected for the period from July 30 to August 1, 2017.

Temperatures are expected to rise tomorrow to 33 degrees and on Monday could even rise to 34 degrees. Experts are warning people to stay out of the midday sun and to drink plenty of fluids. Humidity levels are also expected to be high at the beginning of next week. The current sea temperature in Dubrovnik is 24 degrees. 

According to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), on the 2nd of August 2017 humankind will have used annual natural resources.

This international research organization was the first to introduce the method of calculating ecological debt. Carbon emissions are the fastest growing factor of over consumption, whilst the carbon footprint of humanity now makes up to 60 percent of humanity's demand on nature.

The Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) previously known as Ecological Debt Day (EDD) is the date on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources that year. In the last twenty years, it has been marked at the end of September; however, this year is almost two months earlier. The world first entered ecological deficit spending or ecological debt in the early 1970s when the critical threshold had been crossed.

Furthermore, humanity is currently using resources 1.7 times faster than ecosystems can regenerate i.e. globally we are using 1.7 planets and we only have one. The costs of this global ecological excessive spending become more and more obvious all over the world, in the form of shrinking forests, species loss, drought, water scarcity, soil erosion, loss of biodiversity and carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Living Planet Report on the state of the planet published in October last year, all the countries in Croatia’s surroundings, including Croatia, live above their natural capacity. This is also demonstrated by GFN's environmental data, measured in global hectares (gha). It is a unit that measures human demand on nature (ecological footprint) and the ability of the Earth to meet our requirements (bio capacity).

Therefore, Slovenia stands out as the country with the highest ecological footprint (4.69gha), followed by Croatia (3.78gha), Montenegro (3.63gha), Bosnia and Herzegovina (3.22gha), and Serbia (3,1gha). The good news is that in all countries in the region the ecological footprint measured in 2013 was lower than in 2012.

However, the latest data show that Croatia is using resources of 2.2 planets. It entered the ecological debt in 1997 for the first time. Croatia's footprint consists of carbon dioxide (2.06gha), arable land (0.74gha), forest products (0.38gha), fishing areas (0.07gha), populated areas (0.06gha) and pastures (0.19gha). Bio capacity per capita is 2.8 gha.

Experts claim that reducing food waste by 50 percent around the world could move the Earth Overshoot Day by eleven days, whilst reducing of carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent would move the date by 89 days.

Dubrovnik has its first free dive centre. Don’t worry we didn’t know what free diving was until we Googled it, and then we were worried that we would have to get involved. We needn’t have to be worried Gauthier Ghilain has a way of making you feel calm, in fact after the interview we were ready to strip down and start finding Nemo! “Add some depth to your life”- states Free Dive Dubrovnik and it’s hard not to believe them, the nerves we had at first soon melted. This is a sport for everyone, from seven to seventy, with no prior experience needed. Find out how Ghilain brought free diving to Dubrovnik (with the help of Srdan).

free dive dubrovnik

What better place to start than the beginning

I was born in Liege in Belgium, close to the German border, but then I moved to a small city next to the French border before moving onto Luxembourg. I studied IT Science at Liege and after my studies I did various jobs in the IT industry with my last job working in a bank in Luxembourg.

Working in IT in a Luxembourg bank is a little different than free diving

Yes, when I reached the age of thirty I got bored with my job and with IT. I like nature, I like to move, I like sports and to explore and I didn’t find anything in the banking industry that could satisfy my desires. I discovered that I didn’t belong there anymore. So I decided to take a six months break and travel the world. I went to Central America. My journey started in Guatemala and there is learned Spanish, because I wanted to travel but I also wanted to learn something. I travelled around Mexico, Salvador and Honduras. And in Honduras I tried scuba diving for the first time.

So this was the beginning of your love of the underwater world?

Well this was the first time that I had tried scuba diving that was back in 2007. I love the water and I immediately fell in love with scuba diving. It was a world that I didn’t know yet but I decided that this was going to be my new life. I took all the courses in Honduras.

free dive croatia

What happened when your six months “gap period” ended?

I had highest level of amateur scuba diving but not yet enough to be an instructor. I went back to Luxembourg where I had a job in IT waiting for me, but I didn’t take it. I stayed for a few months and left Venezuela to the island in the Caribbean, Margarita, where I continued my scuba diving courses. I discovered free diving there and it changed my life.

How is it possible to discover free diving?

It is a nice story. I discovered it by accident. My scuba diving instructor and the captain of the boat we used to send me every morning in the sea to tie the anchor. We didn’t want the anchor to damage the coral reef. So I would secure the anchor on the sea bed. I was basically swimming down without any equipment. This started at depths of four metres and slowly moved up to ten metres. This is how I discovered my love for free diving. However I still continued my career in scuba diving, back in Honduras now as an instructor. I still had the love of free diving in the back of my mind so I used to go free diving with some local fishermen who would fish with spears.

So where did you take your first free diving course?

In Egypt. The blue hole in Egypt is a very famous place for free diving. It is 100 metres straight down with now tides, no currents it is like a swimming pool. So I took a course there. After Egypt I went to Thailand, the Maldives. Cyprus and Indonesia working as a scuba diving instructor. In fact in Indonesia I took a free diving instructor course with the British national champion, Mike Board.

I believe your girlfriend had a say in your next global move

Yes, my girlfriend is from Portugal and she likes the Latin way of life. She wanted to leave Indonesia and Costa Rica was now our new home. She feels at home in Costa Rica.

ghilain free dive

 

How did Costa Rica bring you to Dubrovnik?

I started a free dive company in Costa Rica in 2014 and one day a man from Dubrovnik walked through the door, Srdan. He took a free diving course and he became friends. He said to me that me wanted to bring free diving to Dubrovnik, so we decided to do it together. In July we opened a free dive centre. The idea is that I will work here in the European summer and go back to Costa Rica in the Southern Hemisphere summer.

What were your first impressions when you saw Dubrovnik?

To be honest I was only looking at the water – it was so blue.

How would you compare the sea water in Dubrovnik with other destinations you have been to?

Certainly it is the colour – it is bluer than any sea I have ever seen. In the Maldives it is very transparent, but here it is blue. The sea water is a little chilly and quite calm compared to other countries.

Are your courses open to everyone...even complete novices?

Yes, absolutely. We opened the free dive centre in Dubrovnik on the 1st of July this year and cater for everyone. We have a trial course, like an introduction course, if people don’t know what free diving is but they would like to try. This course lasts for four hours. And people will have the chance to learn the breathing techniques, how to equalise the pressure under water and how to go down to depths between five and ten metres. If people want to take things a little more seriously we have a certification course, of which there are three levels. For example level one is a two-day course in which people can learn a little bit more, for example how to rescue partners and how to static and dynamic breath holds. And of course they will learn to dive deeper up to twenty metres.

free dive dubrovnik

And the courses start in the classroom or straight in the sea?

In the classroom. We generally say that free diving is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. So before we enter the sea we have a chat about pressure under water because when you go down under water you will feel pressure. You have to learn to live with this pressure and equalise your air space, this means your ears and your nose and even your mask. After that I explain how to relax and how to breathe. Relaxation is an important part of free diving. And finally I will show people how to recover after a dive.

How long can you hold your breath for and what is the deepest you have been under water?

I can hold my breath for six minutes and the deepest I have been is 80 metres.

free diving dubrovnik

 

Text - Mark Thomas

Photos - Mark Thomas and Free Dive Dubrovnik 

My wife and I are running our own company. Those who have never worked alongside their spouse are waiting for the next sentence, while those who have already pretty much know the story from here.

We are hopefully careful about who we choose for our life partner. If we believe in the value of the old concept of lifetime partnership and mainstream monogamy, we better be. Still, regardless of how much in love you are with your better half or how well you understand each other, nothing can prepare you for the fusion of your work and private life. The fact you and your partner are in sync when it comes to major life issues and are sensitive to each other's needs means exactly nothing in the workplace.

In my experience, couples who are best suited to work together are those that have a complimentary set of skills and characteristics, rather than matching ones. It helps if you can divide the work and responsibilities clearly and follow the arrangement.

All of those general things aside, working together and having your marriage survive each other's constant company, work related arguments over family dinners, and sleepless nights is no easy feat, especially if you are running your own business. We are currently trying to get a second company in six years off the ground together. It's difficult. There is plenty of stress, especially with a seasonal business like ours. Hours are long, days are short, and we can't escape work problems at any point during the day. Is it taking a toll on our life? Oh yes, it bloody is. We are missing a lot because of our decision to be our own bosses and this will not change very soon. It might get a bit better if the company survives and grows. If it fails and we end up in a financial bind and without work... well, we'll worry about that if it happens. There are many moments when it feels like all the frustrations are going to irreparably damage our relationship to the point where we will no longer be able to experience one another without having to look at our marriage through the prism of our business.

So, why would anyone do it? What makes perfectly rational people get involved in such a crazy scheme?

I’m not completely certain I can explain it, but in my case it has to do with the need to be involved professionally in something you believe in. It also has to do with the faith in the one you share your life with. Every beginning is difficult and rocky, but if you can make it work, the rewards are great as well. You get to share some of everyday highs and lows with the one you love and you get to spend more time with that person than majority of “normal” couples.

Also, you get to truly understand and appreciate the struggle you are both going through. Many business owners have a very hard time dealing with the fact their spouses or love interests simply have no way of knowing how overwhelming work related stress can be. I don’t have that problem. I know my wife understands what it’s like looking up at the ceiling at 3am, too worried to sleep even though you are dead tired. She’s right there next to me, looking up at the same ceiling. If you make it work. You get to celebrate together, knowing you made it work. Together.

We are blessed to be friends with many couples like us. Those that toil away together to the point of wanting to kill each other, only to pull themselves up and fight through all the drama until they succeed. It’s a powerful thing and one that requires special people – hard working, sometimes a bit crazy, but always passionate and full of life.

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Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

www.insiderholidays.eu
www.facebook.com/insiderholidays

The city of Split is the capital city of one of the three most important tourist regions in Croatia and the second largest in Croatia. It is also the second largest Croatian port and the third largest in the Mediterranean in terms of passenger traffic. However, apart from all that, it is well known for its rich history, culture, tradition, natural beauty and as Mecca for techno music lovers from all over the world.

The world popular New York Post recently visited the city under the hill of Marjan and wrote nothing but praise about one of the largest Croatian cities.

Walking around the Diocletian's Palace Americans described as a return to the past, pointing out that the globally popular HBO series ''Game of Thrones'' was filmed in the underground complex of vaulted chambers and stone-lined corridors ''where Daenerys Targaryen kept her chained dragons''.

In its detailed report, the New York Post expressed enchantment with spectacular Roman ruins, sun-splashed beaches and the Old Town with around 3,000 inhabitants within the walls of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which is ‘’a vibrant, buzzing living museum packed with bars, cafés, shops and boutique hotels’’.

In addition, Americans also emphasized that Split is fast becoming the hottest destination on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and that it is even rivalling the country’s other tourist lure along the Adriatic – the city of Dubrovnik.

Read the full article here

 

Passengers desperate to get to Dubrovnik Airport this morning turned to the UberBOAT service to avoid the crowds. The main coastal road to the airport was blocked as Dubrovnik taxi drivers protested at what they see as unfair competition from Uber taxis and the protest caused miles and miles of traffic jams. The protest caused another protest, this time from the public.

According to reports around 30 passengers missed a flight to Rome as the traffic jams built up. Some drivers needed 2 hours to drive to the airport, a journey that would normally take 30 minutes. As the public turned against the protest there was a rise in the interest of Uber across social media channels.

When asked by The Dubrovnik Times about the possible increase of downloads of the Uber app in the Dubrovnik region the Communications Assistant at Uber, Matija Mesic, commented that “We generally don't communicate these numbers as they are business critical.” He did however add that “What I can say is that we wanted to make sure that everyone looking to get to the airport in Dubrovnik today had the option of taking UberBOAT at the same rate as a car. The aim was to make sure that traffic and mobility was available to everyone regardless of the taxi protest which is really negative publicity for Uber and Croatia in general.”

The first two letters of protest are PR and there is no doubt that today's taxi protest was a PR disaster. Whatever sympathy the public had with the battle between the analogue taxi and the digital online service Uber has just swung massively to the side of the new upstart. In the cowboy like showdown on the main road the taxi drivers well and truly managed to shoot themselves in the foot.

Passengers were late for planes, pensioners sat for two hours in the boiling heat, children cried, bus loads of tourists will have memories of Dubrovnik and Uber drivers rubbed their hands in glee as the public pressure built up. A grand total of nobody gave their support for the drivers protest. The mayor, the director of the airport even the Minister of Transport popped his head above the parapet and criticised the protest. The Dubrovnik taxi drivers did manage to unite the public, but not in the way they had imagined.

In one warm morning they managed to bring the matter to the forefront and to convert normal analogue passengers to download the Uber app and convert to the digital side. The key to PR is judging the public mode and making the most of a positive swell. This was a classic example of PR flushed down the toilet. In car terms this was an absolute backfire!

The argument that analogue taxi drivers have to pay taxes, concessions and licenses is true and that the Uber “colleagues” are exempt of these extra charges is also true (to an extent). “Uber has brought unfair competition,” is the charge often heard. Again I could have had some sympathy with this statement, but the answer is not to go to war, for the only people you are really hurting are the very people who pay your mortgages – your customers – the general public.

Learning to cope with the added pressures of these so called “profit sharing community” services such as Airbnb and Uber is battle than should be fought in a more cunning way. However it is a delicate issue because your employers, the public, are likely to get caught in the crossfire, as they did today. For years these same taxi drivers have been living large from a mafia style closed market. That empire has been shaken to its core by a handful of Uber drivers. The Roman Empire lived for a 1,000 years but collapsed in a matter of days. The start of the fall of the Dubrovnik taxi empire began today.

Dubrovnik taxi drivers blocked one lane of the main road from the city to the airport today in protest at UBER. The blockade of the road started at around 9.30 this morning and caused massive tailbacks towards the city.

According to the latest information the road has been reopened after a brief incident in which four taxi drivers were attacked by what appears to be Uber drivers, although this is still yet to be confirmed. Ambulances are on the scene and the injured taxi drivers are believed to be on their way to Dubrovnik General Hospital.

The Dubrovnik taxi drivers had been protesting against UBER as they believe that the online service is illegal. The President of the Association of Dubrovnik taxi drivers, Bozo Miletic, commented that “I'm not the organizer of the protest. I came personally, stopped the vehicle and probably will get a misdemeanour fine. I will pay like everyone else. The organizer of this protest is just Uber and the unlawful way that they work, as well as the bad functioning of the legal state.” Around 170 taxis are believed to be involved in the protest.

As this road is the main road to the airport the protest caused many people to be late for their planes. There are reports that 30 passengers missed a flight to Rome this morning. The director of the airport, Roko Tolic, angrily reacted to the protest, “If such a situation persists, Dubrovnik Airport will make decisions that will regulate transportation more in the long run in this area." And the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, was also just as scathing, “The City of Dubrovnik has so far been a partner with the taxi drivers from the City of Dubrovnik and we have repeatedly emphasized that we do not support the way in which Uber works and that their work is considered unlawful. However, the partnership that we have developed so far has been interrupted because our fellow citizens and guests of our City cannot get an adequate service through the taxis of the association.”

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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