One of the cartoon characters popular in this part of the world when I was a child was Asterix the Gaul. This French made comic strip, cartoon, and finally - movie hero was cunning and courageous, and had access to a magic potion which gave him superhuman strength.
In one of the animated Asterix movies from the year 1976, Twelve Tasks of Asterix, our hero and his big friend Obelix had to complete 12 gruelling tasks put before them by the Caesar in order for the Romans to leave their village alone. This cartoon was one of my favourites, but there was one part of it I never understood as a child. Towards the middle of the film, Asterix and Obelix find themselves in a lovely Roman town talking to a tiny character with a droopy face and monotone voice who is there to explain the next task. As soon as they meet him they realise the entire town is full of crazy people, acting in all sorts of disturbing ways. Upon inquiring why all the residents are so strange, little guy tells them they have all been to the “place that sends you mad”, and that's exactly where they need to go to complete the task. When asked what they need to do there, the character says:
“Oh, nothing much. You just have to obtain a certain permit that will then allow you to the next task.”
“I see“, says Asterix, “nothing but a simple administrative formality.“
“That's right, a formality…“ – says the Roman ominously.
This leads into one of the toughest tasks in the entire film, as our heroes navigate the endless corridors and offices of the Roman administrative building “that sends you mad“, acquiring form after form and battling ever conflicting information fed to them.
Eventually, tired and half crazy, Obelix goes into a rampage, punching through walls of the building and screaming…
…and that, ladies and gentlemen, is what running a business in Croatia is like.
Croatian bureaucratic machinery is fierce and can make a grown man weep if taken on ill prepared. Here, you need a signed and stamped paper for everything. Maybe it’s in our blood. After all, the history of Dubrovnik is so well documented because of the efficient archives of the Dubrovnik Republic. I wonder if this means that one day, in the distant future, there will be a historian giving a lecture on the ancient Dubrovnik, holding a framed faded copy of my request for a building permit or change of address.
He might carefully take the document around the auditorium giving everyone a chance to examine my hastily filled out form.
“For lack of more information about 21st century Dubrovnik, we are left to deduce poor penmanship is indicative of insufficient formal education in the area.” – Lecturer would reveal pompously, completely missing the point.
Oh well, who can blame him? How is he to know the real reason behind my scribbled handwriting are five cups of coffee I had to go through on the morning in question, to prevent myself from going mad and punching through the walls.
Bozidar Jukic 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.
Tickets for almost twenty music, drama and folklore events as part of the 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which this year will take place from 10 July to 25 August, have gone on sale on the website of the festival - www.dubrovnik-festival.hr
In addition to tickets for two guest performances in this year’s festival there are also tickets for the big anniversary concert of the Dubrovnik folklore ensemble Lindo. The renowned ensemble will celebrate 50 years of Lindo at the Festival with a performance in front of the St. Vlaho Church as well as four performances on the Revelin Fortress as part of the 67th festival.
According to a statement from the Dubrovnik Summer Festival tickets for the remaining events in this year’s festival will be on sale by the end of May.
Jet2 airlines will open up a new market for Dubrovnik with the introduction of new flights from Glasgow Airport. The first flights will arrive in Dubrovnik on the 30th April 2017 and will operate on a weekly basis every Sunday throughout the summer season.
This new route, from Scotland’s biggest city, will be in direct competition with Thomson Airways and is sure to bring more interest in Dubrovnik as a destination.
The flights are already on sale and start at around £50 for an adult single ticket.
Steve Heapy, Chief Executive, Jet2 said: “It has certainly been five years of development at Glasgow Airport and we are thrilled to launch further growth. Since our first flight took off we are not only increasing capacity year on year but we have also more than trebled our range of destinations from seven to 30.”
The Godfather, Game of Thrones, Pirates of the Caribbean and James Bond are all the repertoire of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra for tomorrow the 3rd of May. It what should be a spectacular evening of music the orchestra plans a concert of Baroque music combined with music from the world of films. Famous movie soundtracks and well-known classics all under the careful eye of conductor Tomislav Facini, a memorable evening.
The concert, which will be held in the Revelin Fortress at 9.00pm, will feature soundtracks from Hollywood blockbusters such as Titanic, The Godfather, James Bond and the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Tickets are on sale on the website of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra – www.dso.hr and can be purchased on the door one hour before the concert begins.
Tickets start at only 20 Kunas although due to a high demand it is advisable to purchase the tickets in advance.
According to the latest forecasts from Croatia Airlines 2016 should be a year of growth for the Croatian national airline. The expectations are that this year passenger numbers should increase by around 6 percent, which would mean that the airline has seen an increase in passengers over the past four years.
By the end of 2016 Croatia Airlines hopes to have carried 1.97 million passengers, an increase of 6 percent over 2015. If these expectations are correct then the national airline will record its best ever year, the busiest until now was 2012 when it transported 1.95 million passengers. The airline hopes to hit these heady heights with the introduction of many new flights, including new lines from the capital Zagreb to Prague, Milan and Lisbon.
The airline has also given a promise to introduce new flights from Dubrovnik this year, more importantly through the winter months, with three flights a week to Frankfurt in the pipeline. In a statement the airline said that “The expansion of the European network of destinations has been enabled by the successful completion of Croatia Airlines' restructuring program in 2015, which concluded the company's obligation to operate with a reduced market capacity. This way, the company will be even stronger in contributing to the development of Croatia's tourism potential and the Croatian economy, and further strengthen its position as a regional leader.”
- Art is the other face of life, something we carry with us every day. What does the average person think about art? He might say that he doesn’t know what art is, but then again he knows what he likes,” commented Maro Kriste at the opening of his latest exhibition. Entitled “New Views of the City” the exhibition by this renowned Dubrovnik artist opened last night in the Association of the Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities hall on Siroka Street in the Old City of Dubrovnik.
Kriste with his new exhibition has presented his image of Dubrovnik in a new and interesting way. Ten images full of colour are on show in this new exhibition, the sixth solo exhibition that Kriste has held and is certainly worth visiting.
The opening night of “New Views of the City” was packed with media, friends, family and members of the art world.
The children of the Dom Maslina home enjoyed an exciting outing on the 29th of April to the Kojan Koral horse ranch in Konavle, thanks to the continuing commitment and support of the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle. The day included riding and caring for the horses, outdoor games and lunch.
The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle is a non-profit organization which supports the Dubrovnik community through social and humanitarian events. This excursion was the third event organized by the group to benefit the children of Dom Maslina.
The second Dubrovnik Half Marathon was held yesterday, the 1st of May, and attracted runners from all over the world. More than 400 runners lined up at the start line on the Stradun waiting for the starter’s pistol.
Unusually for this time of the year in Dubrovnik rain fell all day on Sunday, and whilst this probably helped the participants it also cause a few problems. The director of the Dubrovnik Half Marathon, Alen Boskovic, commented that, “the bad weather will be an advantage for the runners but has meant that the organisation has been more challenging.”
Some of the streets around Dubrovnik were closed as the athletes made their way from the historic Old City of Dubrovnik towards the Ombla River, and the 21.09 kilometres back to the finish line on the Stradun.
The winner of the second Dubrovnik Half Marathon was Danijel Fak from Croatia with a time of 12 minutes and 22 seconds, whilst the fastest of the women was Nikolina Stepan with a time of 21 minutes and 33 seconds.
Nikolina Stepan and Danijel Fak with their winner's medals
With almost a million cruise ship passengers arriving in Dubrovnik every year it can be a challenge to steer clear of the cruise ship crush. With the historic old city of Dubrovnik acting as a magnet for the thousands of cruisers your “Dubrovnik Experience” could easily be trampled under foot...thousands of feet. Through the summer months it isn’t unusual that five mega-ships, or more, dock in the city unloading upwards of 7,000 guests. If you were thinking of sipping an al fresco coffee in the stone laden architecture of Dubrovnik whilst listening to the swallows twitter in peace, think again. Avoiding the cruise crush isn’t easy, you are heavily outnumbered, but with a little help you can at least miss the peaks.
Three or more cruise ships means long delays
Here are our tips for evading the Dubrovnik cruise crush
Plan ahead – there is an ace of your sleeve, you just need to know when to use it. If you already know in advance when the peaks of cruise ships passengers will be then you can make plans to be elsewhere. The Port of Dubrovnik publishes every year a full list of all the cruise ship movements into Dubrovnik; this includes the cruise ships that dock in front of the old city and in the Port of Dubrovnik. It is a relatively easy document to follow, you choose which month, then scroll down looking for the dates that are important to you. Each date has a detailed breakdown of the number of ships, the number of expected passengers and the times of departure. The opening menu for the document is in Croatian, but the rest is in English, it is easy to follow. You can even look a year in advance. If you can see that 7,000 passengers are on their way then adjust your own plans.
Here is the link - http://www.portdubrovnik.hr/girica1.php
Know where to go and where not to go – not only do you know the dates and numbers of the cruise ship passengers you also know their movements. Even though some of the cruise ship passengers have been to Dubrovnik many times before they are still only really attracted to one point - the old city of Dubrovnik. Travel agencies and even the local government have been trying for years to introduce new attractions to spread the masses around. They have had only limited successes with these new projects. Dubrovnik for the vast majority of tourists is the walled city, end of story. Coaches and taxis ferry thousands of passengers from the Port of Dubrovnik to the entrance of the old city on Pile Gate where they wait to be greeted by their guide. The Pile entrance through the summer looks like Piccadilly Circus in rush hour. If you really want to visit the historic old city then use another gate, such as the east entrance, the Ploce gate. Basically if you can see that there are three ships or more planned to anchor then don’t visit the old city of Dubrovnik.
Enjoying your day?
Timing is vital – most of the cruise ships that steam into Dubrovnik are on a day-trip, there are very few that spend an evening moored. The schedule of modern cruising is to sail through the night and arrive in a new destination as the sun comes up, and Dubrovnik isn’t an exception. With this in mind you can still enjoy the beauties of Dubrovnik even when a few thousand cruisers are in town. As the ships will sail off into the sunset in the early evening the passengers will be called back on board in the mid afternoon. Our advice is to avoid the historic core from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Which means you can have breakfast and evening dinner in Dubrovnik, but find somewhere else for lunch.
Now that could cause a traffic jam!