Monday, 14 October 2019

You don’t need a Ferrari or Lamborghini to turn heads all you need is a little creativity, and this charming blue Fiat 500 has creativity in endless supply.

With a funky interior that features the most attractive seats and upholstery and number plates from the Sunshine State, Florida, this little beauty had passersby stopping and admiring it when it parked in Dubrovnik over the weekend.

The Fiat 500 has an iconic status in Croatia and this convertible has obviously had a lot of time and effort (and money) spent on it.

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Keeping cool in the Dubrovnik heat today was a challenge. Temperatures soared to 37 degrees in the city and the humidity was over 60 percent. These weather conditions have been ongoing for the past ten days and it looks like they will continue at least for another two or three days. The public fountains of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik were doing a roaring trade today as visitors looked for refreshment.

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The weather forecasters predict that tomorrow will see temperatures again reach in the mid thirties and sunshine and blue skies are predicted. This August could well be one of the hottest on record in Dubrovnik. Thermometers haven’t dropped below 30 degrees since the month began.

On the long range weather forecast there is a chance that the relentless heat will ease up by the weekend, when temperatures are expected to drop below 30. Experts are warning people to avoid the midday sun, from 11.00am to 4.00pm, and to drink plenty of water.

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It was one of the most discussed and reported new laws of last year, but it seems that it has been forgotten after only a few months. Almost a year to the day, on the 24th of August 2016, the then Deputy mayor of Dubrovnik Zeljko Raguz, unveiled a new regulation for the Old City of Dubrovnik, a dress-code law. Signs were placed at all the entrances to the city informing visitors on how they were supposed to be attired, in reality it was a “bikini law.” At the time The Dubrovnik Times reported that “If you are now caught “wearing swimwear or inappropriately uncovered” on the public streets of the city you will have to pay a fine of 1,000 Kunas, or around 134 Euros. This so called “bikini ban” will mean all visitors to the city centre will have to cover up or pay up.”

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Zeljko Raguz proudly opens the bikini law - a law that lasted for two months  

However less than a year later it would seem that this regulation was a complete waste of public money as it is simply not being enforced. When introduced a team of 15 security guards were hired to make sure that guests followed the rules, these security guards are now absent.

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Against regulations but nobody enforcing the law 

Just today in the Old City of Dubrovnik tens of tourist were spotted either bare-chested or in a bikini, basically not following the rules that were laid out last year. The new law, which seems to have been forgotten, also banned riding bikes through the city streets, throwing cigarette butts and walking dogs without a leash. Once again these are rules that are being ignored.

At the time these laws were introduced the city spent hours debating and bringing the new law in. Signs were made, and then remade as the English translation was wrong, security guards were hired, press conferences were held and yet after all this effort, time and money was spent the regulation lasted a grand total of two months, August and September last year. Was this public money spent well?

It was an extremely warm day in Dubrovnik today as the heat wave brought temperatures up to 37 degrees.

The historic core of the city was awash with colour as locals and tourist enjoyed al fresco coffee and sightseeing, although the spots of shade were highly sought after. The sunny weather is set to continue for at least another four days, and by the end of next week we would see temperatures respite a little and drop to the high twenties.

Check out our photo gallery from today

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It’s no secret that Dubrovnik is a city of romance but this latest marriage proposal is more unusual than most. Sebastian Gorges, from Germany, went that little bit further to propose to his girlfriend Julia in Dubrovnik, in fact he had been planning the big event for six months.

“I was contacted by a young German Geocacher a couple of months ago asking that as I appeared to be the main person in the area, would I hide a fake geocache for him and let him have the location and would I also hide a letter in it for him,” explained Tony Turner to The Dubrovnik Times. Turner, from London, is a keen Geocacher and was only too pleased to help Gorges with his romantic plan. “I had been planning this proposal since February,” said Gorges.

If you have never heard of Geocaching it is a recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. According to Turner there are many of these containers hidden over the Dubrovnik and Cavat areas. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. The geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name, in order to prove that they found it. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it.

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Julia and Sebastian 

Gorges plan was to propose to his girlfriend with a fake geocache hidden in the Dubrovnik region and he roped in the help of Turner. “He intends for his girl friend to find it and inside is a letter he sent me which is a marriage proposal letter,” added Turner. And so the plan swung into motion, Turner hid the container in the park opposite the Minceta shopping centre in Gruz.

After hiding the geocache Turner said “I just hope she says yes.” Last week the big surprise for Julia was unveiled. She found the fake canister, opened it and read the letter, completely unaware of its contents. And she said – yes!

“I have been to Croatia eight times and I love the country, for many years I have been planning to come to Dubrovnik. So then I thought why don’t I make two dreams come true – proposing to my future wife in Dubrovnik,” commented Gorges to the Dubrovnik Times. Adding that the couple both love geocaching and that surprising his girlfriend with a marriage proposal in a country they had never been to before would be the perfect start to their future married life.

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And if you were wondering where the canister was hidden...here is the answer 

Game of Thrones fans are certainly one of the reasons Dubrovnik (King’s Landing) has become a major international tourism haven in recent years, and news that tonight’s episode of the much-loved HBO series may mean the ‘end’ for one of the shows most controversial and beloved characters, has fans nervous with anticipation. Our sources have confirmed that GOT7, Episode 4 “The Spoils of War,” which airs tonight on HBO will include one of the most expensive and dramatic battle scenes in the show’s history (even more expensive than Hardhome and The Dance of Dragons in Season 5!).

The explosive final scenes will leave it open to interpretation as to whether the character of Jamie Lannister will be seeing King’s Landing, or any Landing ever again.

***SPOILER ALERT – PLEASE DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU WISH TO REMAIN IN SUSPENSE! ***

While the actor who plays Ser Jamie Lannister, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, has also recently hinted at such a departure and stated he would like to be finished off by one of Daenerys’ dragons, fans of the show are eager to see if these rumors turn out to be true. The Dubrovnik Times will not reveal if Ser Jamie, better known as the ‘Kingslayer’ does indeed bite the dust this evening, although we can say that the dramatic final scenes of Episode 5 will involve a major showdown between the Lannister forces, the Dothraki, and the Targaryen Queen herself (riding the dragon named Drogon of course, while a horrified Varys and Tyrion look on from above a hill). The scene, which features as one of the most expensive of the Game of Thrones series thus far and ranks as one of the most expensive in TV show history, is sure to position HBO as a network leader and is guaranteed to provide GOT fans with some nail-biting final moments.

Although King’s Landing itself only features in a small portion of tonight’s episode (the scene in which Cersei paces the courtyard floor map with Tycho Nestoris, high representative of Braavos’ Iron Bank), the episodes’ pyrotechnic ending is sure to cast a doom over King’s Landing as fans gear up for the city’s fate in the last five episodes remaining in Season 7.

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Other notable moments will include the much-anticipated return of Arya Stark to Winterfell (it only took her six seasons of walking to do it!) and a sword-fighting scene involving Arya and Lady Brienne that will leave Littlefinger in doubt of his safety (this after he bequeaths Bran the dagger which was meant to kill him in Season 1).

The reunification of all three remaining Stark children – Sansa, Bran and Arya will also be the first-time fans have seen the characters together again since the show’s opener in Episode 1, Season 1 and my how they have grown! The departure of Meera Reed who faithfully lugged Bran around for three seasons is also hinted at, suggesting that with Jon away in the south, things in the north and Winterfell are just beginning to heat up (even though ‘Winter’ has already arrived).

Meanwhile on Dragonstone, Jon will guide Daenerys on an underground tour of the islands caves revealing hundreds of Dragonglass stalactites and wall-rock drawings said to be hundreds of years old and clearly featuring early Andal men, the Children of the Forest and White Walkers, thus finally convincing the Mother of Dragons that the Night King is indeed real. What remains to be seen is if the King in the North will ‘Bend the Knee’ to the Dragon Queen following this intriguing revelation.

Stay tuned, as it goes without saying that Dubrovnik and the entire city of King’s Landing remain in eager anticipation of this evening’s episode.

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After a challenging couple of years the Croatian property market is slowly recovering and house prices are once again on the increase. Property prices are on the rise again in Dubrovnik with reports showing that the average price per metre squared almost 4,000 Euros.

According to reports by the specialised property website Crozilla.com house prices in Dubrovnik in July rose by 2 percent on June and are now 3,796 Euros per metre squared. And in spite of these high prices the interest in the Dubrovnik region, particularly from foreign buyers, is gaining confidence. “Once again we are in the situation where the demand is higher than the offer,” commented a Dubrovnik real estate agent.

On a country wide scale property prices have increased by 4.6 percent so far this year, with Dubrovnik having the most expensive house prices in the whole of Croatia. In comparison to Dubrovnik the average price per metre squared in Split is 2,321 Euros, in Zadar 1,880 Euros and Sibenik 1,583 Euros.

Data revealed by the property website indicated that as far as foreign buyers were concerned the most interest was shown for homes in Zagreb, Pula, and Split. And the most numerous foreign buyers were from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Slovenia.

Fancy arriving in Dubrovnik in style on your own private jet, well with new flights from Air Partner you can do just that. If you want to land in Dubrovnik like a rock star you’ll have to have pretty deep pockets. The private jet hire company is offering flights from Biggin Hill (Kent) in the UK to Dubrovnik and all for £6,800, or £850 per person.

“The latest technology midsize jet, offering 1,800 nautical-mile range and a spacious cabin with double club seating. Very popular and economic with elegance and style thrown in,” advertise the company. The choice of aircraft is a Lear Jet 45 and with only 8 seats on board you won’t be stumbling over other people’s luggage. Don’t worry you’ll have two pilots onboard as well as space for up to eight pieces of luggage and a bathroom. It certainly is a luxurious way to arrive in Dubrovnik this August.

Dubrovnik isn’t the only route for this private jet hire company, they also offer flights from the UK to Ibiza, Cannes and Sardinia.

The Hollywood actress Sasha Alexander is currently enjoying a family break in Dubrovnik. Alexander, who is famous for her role as Maura Isles in Rizzoli & Isles and Caitlin Todd in NCIS, has published photos on her social media accounts of the fmaily fun in Dubrovnik and Montenegro.

On Dubrovnik Alexander, who has Serbian family roots, commented that “I came here every summer as a kid, so happy to be able to bring my kiddies back to experience the beauty and rock.”

Alexander married director Edoardo Ponti, son of actress Sophia Loren and the late film producer Carlo Ponti, in Geneva, Switzerland in 2007. They have two children, a daughter born in 2006 and a son born in 2010.

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Simply put: I love driving. I love driving across Dalmatia/Croatia and I particularly enjoy the route Dubrovnik – Prague, usually alone with my two little daughters.

I remember driving to Dubrovnik when the A1 highway was still in construction (one had to zig-zag through Bosnia back then, in an old Skoda with no air-condition), I remember taking pretty much all of the exits in the years that followed, as the A1 slowly spread south, and I remember the glorious feeling when finally the highway made it all the way down to Ploce, which is laughable 50 miles from Dubrovnik. (The next glorious feeling will follow in about six years, when the Peljesac Bridge will open).

Having driven the Prague-Dubrovnik route more than fifty times made me come up with an assemblage of driving and road-travelling tips:

1. Can’t stress this one enough: if you are taking a longer trip across Croatia during the season, plan, prepare and overstock (particularly when going with kids). Check out weather forecast throughout your route, mainly for wind – some passages, such as the Sv.Rok tunnel do get closed down due to strong wind. Check traffic jam situation at borders and plan your trip so you can avoid waiting – if possible, go on a weekday or (if you feel comfortable) go at night. The HAK a.k.a Hrvatski Automoto Klub has a great app – see here http://www.hak.hr/en#traffic-flow-and-road-conditions with almost all information and updates you may need. Always keep extra water, snacks, tissues etc. on board – you never know when you’ll need them.

2. Documents. Make sure you don’t forget your green card and your passport. If driving somebody else’s car – like your parents’ or friends’, whose surname is different from yours, have an authorization from the owner, saying that you are allowed to drive their car (English version is fine). Oh: and in case you travel with your kids alone and your surname is different from theirs, then obligatory take their birth certificates! (yes, I once nearly got sent back at a boarder exactly for this reason, luckily the customs officer melted when I burst into tears, and concluded “let’s say you kinda look like her mother” and let me pass)

3. Kids. Don’t be afraid to take kids on longer road trips – there are lots of places to stop and have fun, plus, nowadays, there are dozens of options how to entertain your kids in the car. Always make sure you provide good shade (a cloth or a towel over the window is the best and the cheapest). Have snacks, CDs, games, surprise toys and tablets at hand. Car-seat table, travel potty, Lego travel sets, etc. highly advisable, too. Motivation is crucial, so plan your trip so your destinations offer something wonderful for the kids to look forward to (a nice playground, kids’ museum, entertainment park, aquarium, or – well – just the sea with all it has to offer). Dozens of original and excellent tips are at What’s Up Moms YouTube channel (ignore that those mothers of three look like supermodels).

4. Sleepover, stopovers, eating stops. Be flexible, that is, research more options along your route, so you can stop where and when it suits you(i.e. you don’t want to wake the kids up for food once they finally fell asleep and you can listen to YOUR music for half hour). Long trips (over 1000 km) are just way more pleasant with a sleep over. Also, eating your lunch and dinner at a gas station restaurant is ok, but it will be nicer, cheaper and generally more relaxing at a local restaurant just two miles away from the highway.

5. Police in the Balkans is generally much nicer than you might have heard. Over all those years, I got stopped dozens of times by the Croatian police, but also by the Montenegrin, Bosnian, Albanian, Serbian and Kosovar, and most of the police officers were human (you mustn’t be rude, though, and if you are aware of speeding, it is better if you admit your fault right away). Driving through Slovenia is a whole different chapter, though – don’t dare to dispute with local police and particularly ever don’t dare to get on the highway without the insanely expensive vignette (you will always be stopped and you will always end up paying hundreds of Euros in fine right away).

6. Toll. In Croatia, there are no vignettes, but toll-gates. In the season, the main exits (Zagreb, Split, Zadar) often get congested, so if you plan multiple trips, it is a good idea to get the special ENC electronic device which will save you tens of minutes in waiting, as you will be able to use the “ENC Only” track. More information – see here: http://hac.hr/en/toll-rates/etc/electronic-toll-collection-etc

7. Gas stations. Nice, clean and equipped. When travelling with kids, look for the yellow Tifon gas stations (great outdoor and indoor playground, eating facilities for babies, microwave, etc.).

8. Emergencies. The standard 112. Road help in English: 987. A 24/7 HAK emergency line is 041 415 800. 

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Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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