Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Our resident "Style Guru" has been scanning the streets of Dubrovnik this week for the latest and greatest in fashion.

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You can build a shining new airport but if you don’t have the people to staff it you’re going to have big problems. This unfortunately was the case when a Croatia Airlines Airbus A320 from Zagreb to Dubrovnik had to change course due to strong northerly winds in Dubrovnik.

According to a report on the specialised aviation website “Avioradar” the plane circled over Dubrovnik waiting for the wind to calm down, but as it reached 40 knots the pilot decided to return to Zagreb. However, as is unofficially reported, the Zagreb Airport refused landing stating that “we don’t have enough people to handle the plane.”

The new airport in Zagreb was finished only weeks ago and at a cost of around 300 million Euros was heralded as being able to handle millions of passengers a year. At the opening the Croatian Prime Minster, Andrej Plenković, commented that “I am sure that such a remarkable airport will contribute to the image of Croatia.”

After being informed that the Airbus couldn’t land in Zagreb the plane was then redirected to Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome where it landed at around one o’clock in the morning.

Why I Hate Uber

Jun 17, 2017

If I'm ever going to be criticised for an opinion, it's going to be because of this text. Talk of the town in Dubrovnik this year is Uber. Uber is one of the biggest companies involved in transportation of passengers nowadays, yet they do not own a single vehicle. They are a mobile platform through which people offering car rides and potential passengers are connected. The success of Uber meant that they broke through some of the heavily regulated and monopolised markets like taxi services in the big urban areas and have brought competition where there was none (or very little). Well done!

However, I don't share the enthusiasm of the majority of people around me when it comes to Uber and similar companies. De-regulation is not a bad thing, especially in countries like Croatia where so much of our business is, if anything, over-regulated. Still, I believe the whole process needs to be done more carefully than the case is. I don't hate Uber, I just wanted you to start reading the text, but I do hate the trend it symbolises. Trend of amateurism over professionalism.

It is visible in so many levels of society: business, entertainment, the media. Everything is now in the hands of the “regular people”, which might sound good on paper, but I think it’s horrible.

There are so many platforms today that pair amateur service providers with service seekers, all looking to be the next big thing. The majority of these have one thing in common – they are not liable for service quality, safety, or standards. The user rating system is put in place in order for the users to be able to rate their service providers... after they have already paid for the service, of course.

From reality contests to services and products, amateurs “with a passion” are being celebrated, supporting the idea everyone can do anything they wish. Well, guess what? They can’t. At least not professionally.

However nice these thoughts sound on motivational posters, it takes more than desire to make something happen, especially to do a job you are not qualified to do.

funny uber
However, I don’t understand the shock of some people in Dubrovnik by this new development. De-regulation (at least in practice) is nothing new in our town or country, as incredible as it sounds. Dubrovnik today seems like a city where anyone can do anything. Anyone can run a restaurant, anyone can be a professional driver or a tour guide, and absolutely anyone can work in the service sector. Guess what the result is? Yep, plenty of bad restaurants, lousy tours and bad experiences for the service consumers. But hey, at least we are keeping our costs down. If you think the market has magically taken care of all the poor service providers by driving them out of business with user reviews and online ratings, you are sadly mistaken. The only reason people choose to quit is because the business of tourism is hard and demands sacrifice. Those that do, first make a dent in the destination’s overall image or dump prices the last year of being in business.

This global trend is making young people grow up into shallow consumers which don't see the value in quality. Why should they? They are being offered all these quick fixes and shortcuts. You think professional photographers are expensive? No problem, buy a used camera with a pre-programmed shooting modes for various situations and go to town capturing your own „professional quality“ photos. You don't want to pay for a graphic designer for your company's website? No problem, buy a cheap template and make your own cutting edge web page. Your friends think you know how to cook well? Excellent, join one of the reality cooking shows and prove to the world you are just as good as someone who studied on LeCordon Bleu and then worked their butt off in various restaurants, going through the ranks to become a head chef.

It's good to believe in yourself. Hell, it's even good to give people a chance to showcase their talents. But, we are starting to believe our own hype. This is why we are today calling pop stars “artists,” amateurs “masterchefs” and forwarding clips of people playing with fidget spinners or painting upside down and calling this an incredible talent. It's all very cute, but the title does not make a book.

It's nice the amateurs have a chance to shine every once in a while, but whenever possible, I'd like to be driven or flown by a professional, have my meals prepared by a qualified person, or at least someone who cares about me, and have people who lecture me be certified to do so. Otherwise, I can simply start calling myself a writer.


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.


Five days of non-stop movement, events and impressive sights – Pink Wing 2017 officially started on the 14th of June in Zagreb.

For the second year in a row, a convoy of 65 luxury vehicles such as Rolls Royce, Porsche GT3 RS, McLaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari worth around 20 million Euros, hit the roads throughout Croatia attracting great attention. This event is also a nice treat for drivers because they are having a unique, direct experience of sights and tastes of the country.

Pink Wing is a unique lifestyle, gastronomic and driving event which gathers together high-level business people, company owners, managers and athletes and provides them with exclusive treatment, top entertainment, extraordinary driving experience and a vacation through socializing and enjoying their cars.

The world popular actress and singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus was a guest at the ''Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'' a few days ago.

On this occasion, Fallon made Cyrus sing popular songs whose lyrics were translated by Google Translator first in Croatian and then in English again. The result was a real chaos and great dose of fun for the audience.

Cyrus sang Ed Sheeran's hit ''Shape Of You'' which when translated sounded like ''Your Body's Curves'', however, the rest of the translation was no less bizarre.

The video was posted on social media and almost a million people watched it in less than 24 hours.


Real Madrid superstar Marcelo is truly relaxed in Dubrovnik Last night he took a walk with his wife Clarissa Alves and friends in the Old City. He was really friendly and down to earth – taking photos with fans every step of the way.

According to some news sites, Marcelo and his wife came to Croatia because of the wedding of Marcelo’s teammate Mateo Kovacic and his future wife Izabel.

Since bride to be had her bachelorette party in Dubrovnik, it was speculated that the wedding might be held in our city too, but it seems that that was only a false rumour.

The Telegraph has recently published an article titled ‘The 25 greatest Mediterranean islands for a family holiday’ and of course, some of the most beautiful Croatian islands are the list.
From numerous amazing islands, the ‘’chosen ones’’ for this article were Vis, Mljet, Brac and Hvar.

Vis has been listed as best for: back to nature.
-For years closed to foreigners, the Croatian island of Vis remains blissfully unspoilt. Visitors arrive by sailing boat, lured by peaceful turquoise coves, authentic seafood eateries and organic vines – it’s explained in the article.

Mljet is described as best for: peace and quiet with teens.
-The pine forested island of Mljet has just 1,088 residents. Visited mainly by daytrippers, peace reigns here once the last excursion boat leaves at 4 pm. One third of the island is a national park with two turquoise lakes surrounded by dense woodland, criss-crossed by hiking paths – the Telegraph says about Mljet, with some recommendations on things to do, such as cycling around the lakes, stopping for a swim, visiting St. Mary islet, etc.

Brac is listed as best for: sporty and independent teens.
-Zlatni Rat beach in Bol is a blissful strip of fine pebble, lapped by turquoise sea on two sides, and it’s perfect place for sporty teens who prefer to do their own thing rather than stay at an all-inclusive resort – it’s explained in the article with some extra advices how to spend a family holiday on Brac.

Last but not the least is Hvar, described as best for: trendy teens.
-Glamorous Hvar conjures up images of a Venetian hilltop fortress, purple lavender fields, superyachts, pricey seafood restaurants and celebrities (the likes of Beyonce and Daniel Craig). Despite the hype, it’s still a place where families are well catered for – writes The Telegraph.
For more details visit the original article.

Years ago when I first came to Dubrovnik I remember how I was intrigued to see so many small buzzy motor bikes and so few new cars. Well that's certainly changed. The place is now as congested as most cities and during the tourist season the roads are often impassable. Gone are the screaming little motorbikes and they have been replaced by, remarkably, new cars.

I have never owned a new car in my life. Not because I couldn't afford one but because it is a foolproof way to lose money. While leasing a new car is like using your money to light a fire.

The B grade movie called the Cars That Ate Paris from the 1980’s has turned out to be a masterpiece as the congestion and pollution is so bad now in the world’s most liveable city that the authorities are implementing a raft of extreme measures including charging an extra tax on those with diesel cars over ten years old. They have also banned cars from sections of the road along the left bank. All over the rest of the world city administrations are having to deal with the explosion of cars and are putting in place various management strategies. These are generally drawn up by a group of professionals who go by the lofty name of Traffic Engineers. These people spend their lives looking at figures derived from surveys and try and develop models which will help reduce traffic congestion. Good stuff, if it works. Coupled with working out traffic flows they recommend other strategies to help reduce congestion. These can range from restricting the type and size of vehicles entering the centre of cities to implementing fees designed to make driving unattractive.

One of the most outrageous strategies employed by a government to restrict the number of cars in the central city area was that developed by Singapore back in the days when they had a very authoritarian regime in power. The idea was that if you had less than two people in the car you could not drive past a certain point. Now this doesn't seem unreasonable and in fact many cities have used the technique since. The difference in this Asian country was that at the designated point they had military with machine guns and if a driver went past with only themselves in the car the soldiers would shoot the ties out. Understandably this policy did not last a long time but it did work unlike policies adopted in a lot of other places including Dubrovnik.

When the tourist season starts all the problems here are compounded by the mirade of huge busses which pour people out at the Pile gate and lead to traffic jams which have an effect on the whole city. These inevitable problems faced by all tourist towns have been compounded by an explosion in the number of vehicles on the road, too many of whom are driven by deluded people who think that they are employed by a formula one race team. Or worse by people who think they are on a farm.

Of all the antics I have seen my favourite is the technique of finding a place to stop which will cause the maximum amount of chaos and then thinking its all ok because the hazard lights in the car have been turned on!

Then there is the game of Russian roulette on roundabouts where in the rest of the civilized world people use their indicators when merging - not here! Last but not least is the total lack of respect a lot of people show for other people's’ property. Thank god I didn't buy a new car when I arrived as touch parking rules and I have even been sitting in my car and had someone slam their do into the side and simply walk away.

With all this increase in vehicles have come some inexplicable traffic management initiatives which have done nothing to relieve the problems. The effort from the Zupa administration at the intersection on the highway outside the new shopping centre is the stuff of legends. For the entire tourist season last year the traffic lights were turned off creating an apolitical situation. When I made some enquires from someone who is close to the organisation I was advised that this had been done” because it made the intersection work better”. Amazing! Surely if there was a problem you would find someone who knew how to program the traffic lights to get it right.

Then there was the decision to block the direct route from Gruz to the Old Town and redirect the traffic around behind the Minceta building. This involved moving a heavily used bus stop and merging traffic coming from Lapad into that from Gruz and sending it to the Old Town. Totally unbelievable and to compound the problems caused they have broken the basic rules of traffic management by leaving the entrance to a car park and pedestrian crossings just past the corner where all the traffic merges. The only people who would be happy about this idiotic effort were the owners of real estate in the two hundred metres of road which was turned into a pedestrian strip.

Not that creating calm areas is not a great idea but they need to be used as part of a coordinated strategy. The best example of their use I have seen is in major tourist town of Santa Cruz in Tenerife where they have been used to return the centre to pedestrians and the roads left open have been narrowed and the cars forced to slow down. This all works because drivers respect the rules. In Dubrovnik, however this is not the case. Here pedestrians are an endangered species who should be given UNESCO protection. The big game with many drivers, including those who are charged with upholding the law, is to do their very best to get in front of you and onto the crossing before you arrive and then only stopping if you are lucky. The tourist session rarely goes by without a poor hapless visitor being slaughtered on a spot which is designed for their safety.

bus wall

There is not much point in whinging or being hyper critical unless you can offer some solutions, so here we go - first ; the police should set an example and abide by the rules and most importantly enforce them to stop drivers from behaving with a total lack of respect for the need to make the town safer. Second; the local government should make a commitment to returning the inner areas to a pedestrian based system by slowing down and excluding vehicles. This can be achieved by letting the traffic planners do their job and not by take decisions based on some political agenda other than trying to solve traffic problems.

Third; the buses must be controlled and removed from the inner city area by the local government providing smaller shuttle buses to the two Old Town entry points. There are acres of unused concrete platforms along the harbour at Gruz all the way to the bridge on which you could park thousands of buses. Fourth; bring back the light rail which ran from Gruz (where the buses should be parked ) to the Old Town which was removed after sixty years in 1970 after it ran out of control and make sure the system is maintained to avoid another catastrophic accident.

Cities all over the world are realising the mistakes they made in removing this highly efficient method to move people around tight inner city areas. Fifth; restrict the times delivery vehicles can come into the inner city area. This was implemented in another tourist town called Honolulu and by enforcing no deliveries after 8am the traffic flow is a lot smoother. Sixth; parents should let their kids get some much needed exercise and make them walk to school instead of providing a morning and afternoon traffic problem. And dare I say it, perhaps the other people of Dubrovnik could get off their ……. and walk to the coffee shops for their hourly break from work. Seven; local government should restrict the number of car parking spaces in the inner area by moving their parking stations from around the walls of the old town to places further out which are well serviced by regular buses. This could be made free by the sale of the land the car parks currently occupy. Yes and again the people of the old town could experience the joys of walking to their cars.

These measures may not solve the problems but they will definitely help stop them getting worse. With any luck the city administrators will have received an invitation to the recent Sump Conference on traffic management which was be held in Dubrovnik where they might have learnt something.

PS The morning after I penned this story I came within centimetres of taking the final boat journey to Valhalla as I went about my business using the pedestrian crossing outside the fire station. So be very afraid if you see an ego riddled thirty something male driving a lemon yellow Renault Twingo. 

The Wizard of Oz

Dubrovnik can expect another busy weekend of cruises ships with around 15,000 passengers expected to arrive over this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Tomorrow would be a great day to avoid the historic Old City with 7,400 passengers expected on four cruise ships. And then on Saturday a further 5,100 passengers on three cruise ships will dock, followed by 2,500 passengers on Sunday on two cruise ships.

In total this year just over 750,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to arrive in Dubrovnik in 2017, which is slightly down on 2016, on 538 cruise ships.

The president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic always attracts great attention wherever she goes, however, when it comes to media in Africa and Asia she is absolutely a star.
The media there do not report on her political activities but on her good looks, her photos on Instagram and Twitter.

The Croatian president most impressed the Arab world. Thus, the Algeria national TV station made a television broadcast on how the Croatian president painted her apartment in a peach colour. They were impressed and wondered how a president of a state held a paint roller full of paint and painted the walls.

On the other hand, other media write on her unusual activities and specific clothing combinations she wears when she welcomes her counterparts from other countries as well as prime ministers. They usually comment on her appearance, clothing, her blonde hair etc.

In addition, large media space in Asia and Africa has brought the Croatian president hundreds of new fans on Instagram and Facebook, thus dozens of comments written in Arabic are posted below her photos.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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