The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior III was spotted sailing into Dubrovnik today. The ship, which was christened on October the 14th 2011, has been sailing in the Croatian Adriatic for the past few days highlighting the problem of plastic waste contamination in the sea.
In particular the organisation has pointed out the problem that the Dalmatian islands have with plastic waste, especially the island of Mljet. The vast majority of this plastic waste is brought to Croatian shores from Albania and Montenegro by currents.
The Rainbow Warrior III is designed to be one of the "greenest" ships afloat, and to showcase this quality, it runs primarily using wind power, with a 55 m mast system which carries 1255 sq meters of sail and is backed up by a "state-of-the-art hybrid".
Rainbow Warrior III in Dubrovnik - Photo Zeljko Tutnjevic
The weather has been a hot (sorry about that) topic since we came down from the trees and worked out how to walk on two legs. It is the cornerstone of small talk and without this subject there would be an awful lot more awkward moments in our lives. This month the Wizards’ views on weather are going to cause a storm!
But before I start I need to make a declaration of interest. You see I am a pagan, with a Viking heritage and belief in the gods of nature, worshipping every living thing. So, given this, I am totally committed to preserving the planet. If this belief was good enough for all my ancestors (minus those born in the last thousand years) then it's good enough for me. Now long before meteorologists the ancient shamans or witch doctors traded on their intellect and ability to read the signs of impending weather changes. Indeed my view is that's how religious orders started as it was much better to wax lyrical in the cave than go out and face the elements with a stick. Best leave that to your followers! But back to the point.
Their community’s survival depended on their ability to read the signs and they were prepared to invest a great deal of time and energy on the subject. Hundreds of deities were dreamed up to appease thus ensuring favourable weather conditions. And when the weather did something totally unpredictable they had the best way out possible by blaming it on the fact that their followers had failed to make sufficient sacrifices or spent long enough praying to the nominated god.
The tradition of blaming unusual weather on someone else is alive and well today. Sweltering in the heat of a Dalmatian summer it is easy to understand why the alarmists are all talking about how global warming will be our downfall. It's a shame they weren't here last winter when January saw an unprecedented cold snap with snow falls to rival the alps. Lifelong locals said that they had never seen anything like it. We all woke up one morning to a winter wonderland of crisp, deep, powder snow that would make any skier drool with envy.
Now let's get one thing straight, across the board global temperatures have increased this century but that is nothing new. Back in the dark ages when the Wizard was at university he took a course in meteorology (squeezed in between a lot of serious partying) and learnt one, indisputable fact. The world's climate is determined by the sun, or to be more precise solar activity NOT MAN as we are just not that important. So the point is we should be talking about pollution and not about climate change.
Now please don’t put me in the “climate change denier” box. The convenient name invented by all those people who make a living out of twisting the truth so they get to go to another conference or another government grant to pay their bills. You would have to be a total idiot to suggest that climate change doesn't occur. Just ask any dinosaur. One could give a million examples of climate change evidence from sea level change to desertification. Recently scientists who discovered evidence of the first apes with human like teeth in Greece claimed that apes were forced to change their eating habits due to, guess what - climate change. This lead to vast areas of Eastern Europe becoming savannah grassland 7.2 million years ago and this forced the apes into a bipedal form of walking. A great contemporary example is that over the past decade or so the wine industry in England has flourished to the point where they are now looking to become serious players in the world export market. If you had suggested that this was a possibility fifty years ago you would have been put in an institution.
But, guess what, history records that back in the 11th century grapes were being grown successfully in the very same regions of England. Even the scientists will admit that man’s ability to affect the atmosphere is in relation a gas layer which accounts for 3 % of the total atmosphere. Their argument turns on a concept called the greenhouse effect which basically argues that all the man made emissions go into the air and stop the sun’s rays from penetrating and gas from leaving the atmosphere and therefore the world heats up. It's a perfectly reasonable hypothesis and the mother of all greenhouse effects occurred when a giant meteor crashed into the earth off the coast of Mexico and threw that much rock into the air that the sun's rays were blocked for years and half the world's animal population, including our friend the dinosaur, died. Since then this has occurred thousands of more times on a smaller scale after a decent size volcanic eruption.
All of these events make man's emissions equivalent to a fairy’s fart. If you are lucky to find a scientist at their desk they will tell you the cause for alarm is the speed of climate change. Well if you can get him/her to sit still long enough before rushing off to another conference in a wonderful destination you might refer them to a detailed treatise by Ian Pilmer in his book Heaven and Earth. Here the author meticulously goes through climate records back to the beginning of recorded history to show that the current speed of climate change is nothing extraordinary. The legions of grant seeking academics are being duplicitous by making their living peddling the fear mongering idea that we all should stop living because that is causing the climate to change. They should stick to the real issue, ending POLLUTION AND NATURE DESTRUCTION and reinforce the fact that it is crazy for man to keep using up all our resources and polluting the hell out of the planet.
We must address the deforestation and habitat destruction going on around the world and these issues should not be mixed up in a debate called climate change. Because let’s face it, there is no debate - climate changes and it always has since the big bang and what we do doesn't have the impact that the jet setting scientists claim. Let’s face it, the oldest trick in the book to get people to give you a grant is to frighten the hell out of them. We should be more frightened of the next pandemic.
So let's stop with the blame game and concentrate on the real game - man's role is important because we have to stop polluting and destroying their environment. Not because we change climate, but because if we don’t stop polluting the climate won’t matter one bit as we will be buried in rubbish and have no food to eat.
The Wizard of Oz
Summer and the heat have quite clearly turned a few drivers in Dubrovnik completely mad! This Polish coach was spotted doing a U-turn on a very busy Dubrovnik road. The driver managed to block four lanes of traffic coming in and out of the city with this incredibly stupid manoeuvre.
Apart from this idiotic turn being completely illegal the driver was trying to do a three-point-turn on an area of road that has a high flow of traffic and is the main road into the city. Sumer madness on the roads of Dubrovnik has begun.
On Sunday the 16th of July at 8.00am the start involves a 1,000 metres swim in the bay of Kupari, followed by a 5,000 metre running section around the seaside promenade of Kupari, Srebreno and Mlini and back to Kupari. For the first time ever the sport of aquathlon is coming to Zupa!
The sport of aquathlon consists of a continuous, two-stage race involving swimming followed by running. “For the first time in Dubrovnik, the Akvatlon League started, and it is with great pleasure that I can announce that Zupa will host one of the rounds,” commented Made Zeravica one of the organisers. Adding that “Our goal is to introduce this multisport to people, this is a sport that is increasingly popular in the world. We have excellent conditions and it's time to use them.”
All competitors will take their competition numbers at 07.30 on a parking at the beach in Kupari, prepare and warm up to start the race. The organizer of event, the Dubrovnik Triathlon, invites all citizens, young and old, to participate and entrance is free of charge. If you are interested you can register at www.racecollector.com
The United States government will finance construction of a helicopter-landing site in front of four Croatian hospitals.
At the initiative of its government to participate financially in improving the quality of health care services in Croatia, the US Embassy addressed to the Croatian Ministry of Health six month ago.
This initiative was followed by a request for Croatia to support the realization of the project by co-financing part of the costs, i.e. to pay the VAT and costs of external monitoring of the polygon construction.
The US government will co-finance the project with $450,000, whilst Croatia will participate with 1 million Kunas approved by the Croatian government. According to the words of the Health Minister Milan Kujundzic, the money was already envisaged and provided by this year's state budget.
Therefore, Zagreb's Nova bolnica KB Dubrava, KBC Osijek and two general hospitals in Slavonski Brod and Karlovac will get new helicopter landing sites and significantly improve the quality of their health care services.
In addition, as part of the construction of the helicopter landing sites, special emphasis will be put on ensuring conditions for night landing.
“Hello I am speaking to Mark Thomas,” came the voice down the phone. I had noticed that it was a foreign number calling so I was in English mode. “My name is Bruno and I am a journalist for the BBC,” he continued.
It was those last three letters that really grabbed my attention. The mother of all broadcasters, the God of the media (sorry CNN) is on the phone...should I bow? The BBC, or as the English lovingly call it Auntie Beeb, is more than an institution in the UK, it has more creditability than the government and more coverage than Coca-Cola, literally everyone consumes it. A recent survey showed that 75 percent of Brits use the BBC, in one of its many forms, as their main source of news. Or in other words 45 million people use it, watch it, listen to it or read it every day.
“We are in Dubrovnik doing a story about tourism and it has been suggested that we talk to you,” continued the journalist. Of course I agreed, I mean how can you say no to your favourite Auntie. Apart from the wanting to talk about tourism I didn’t really have much more information, what would they ask?
Then from nowhere my mind played tricks on me – I hope they don’t ask me about the Lapad Beach! The reason for this is that this bloody beach has been plaguing me and filling my inbox over the past month. Every day I receive an email from an English tourist worried that the construction work will spoil their hard-earned holiday. I started to make up questions they could ask – “Are you surprised that beach still isn’t finished” – “No, I would be more surprised if it had been finished on time” – What makes you say that?” – “Experience.” Or maybe they would ask me about the new Marina Frapa - “Are you surprised that marina still isn’t finished” – “No, I would be more surprised if it had been finished on time” – What makes you say that?” – “Experience.” Yes, I pretty much had my lines ready for all situations.
We meet at the agreed location and at the agreed time and the picture became clearer. “I was here on holiday for two days with my partner last month and was surprised at the number of cruise ships in the city,” he started as the cameraman set up next to him. Ah, so it was the same question that city has been playing with since the beginning of time – cruise ships. They had done their research that’s for sure. They had comparisons with other Mediterranean destinations at the ready, exact passenger number and had obviously read a lot. “Is Dubrovnik being ruined by the cruise ships and the thousands of passengers?” came the first question. Blimey these guys were going straight for the jugular, no small talk here, straight to the heart of the problem. This was followed by “Should tourists start to avoid Dubrovnik and look to explore other parts of Croatia?” again straight as an arrow to the heart of the question. And as much as I started off wanting to defend the city and be as diplomatic as possible I realised that I can’t defend something that is killing Dubrovnik.
“When I was younger taking a cruise was a luxury thing to do, it was a status symbol and an elite way to see the world, those days are long gone. Now this is quite simply the lowest form of mass tourism, and mass tourism that rapes and pillages a destination (I thought of a Viking reference that was symbolic as boats were involved in both cases) and in the long term will suck the blood out of it and leave behind an empty shell,” I answered.
The journalist looked a little shocked, “well that’s an honest answer.” I nodded “You asked my opinion, that’s my opinion.” If there was anything positive to drain out of the situation believe me I would have tried. I was always try my hardest to find the good in people, to find the positive side of anything, but id something smells like a shit, looks like a shit then there is probably a good chance that it is a shit. I can’t see anything glamorous or luxury about being imprisoned in floating hotel along with thousands and thousands people. And right behind us as we were filming were three huge floating monstrosities, yes the journalists from the BBC had chosen their position very well.
“Cruise ship companies are still convincing plumbers from Torino and bus drivers from Liverpool that this is travelling in first class, this isn’t first class, business class or even economy class, this is cattle class, pack them in like sardines and use destinations as bus stops on a carousel that goes nowhere and sees nothing,” I concluded. “Thank you for your honesty,” the filming ended.
During the first six months of this year, the Croatian National Tourist Board carried out study tours for a total of 348 media representatives, of which 32 were bloggers.
Among them was a blogger from Dubai, Vivek Kukreti (blog http://incelinasheels.com/), who spent nine days visiting Croatian destinations with his girlfriend Nisha Celina, also blogger (blog http://incelinasheels.com/), and Sister Nadije Khan. Although the mentioned bloggers arrived in Croatia in their own arrangements, the Croatian National Tourist Board, in cooperation with National Park Plitvice Lakes, provided support. The blogger Vivek Kukreti has decided to purpose the girl Nisha at Plitvice Lakes, a protected pearl of Croatian tourism that this year attracts visitors from all over the world.
After the successful engagament and the applause from the visitors, the bloggers continued to browse around the park, after which they tried to run the "Pazi Medo" zip line in Rudopolj. During their stay in Croatia the bloggers also visited Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Makarska and other destinations and were simply delighted with their beauty.
- Croatia is truly a beautiful country with extremely preserved nature. When we saw photos on Instagram's profile "Croatia fulloflife" we simply could not resist and decided to visit as many destinations as possible. We already know that we will certainly return to Croatia next year because we want to find out what we just did not get to see and experience - said bloggers from Dubai.
If there is one thing that you can bet your house on it is the fact that Dubrovnik will have warm summer. With average summer temperatures up in the low thirties and clouds as rare as a unicorn for at least five months (and most times longer) Dubrovnik is going to be gloriously hot. This is a city that gets on average over 2,600 hours of sunshine a year, compare that to London with around 1,600 hours or even Mexico City with 2,500 and you can see that summers are done properly here. Quite clearly June, July and August are the hottest months, in fact the record recorded lowest temperature for August was 14 degrees, however May and September can be just as warm.
Now whilst we all like a little sun on our backs and to soak up some vitamin D you also need to take some precautions. Of course sun cream, a sun hat and a bottle of water are a must, also avoiding the sun from midday to four in the afternoon is a good tip, but we have come up with some special Dubrovnik tricks to avoid sunstroke.
Hydration and not dehydration – taking water onboard in the summer is a number one tool to keep your body cool. Drink 6 – 8 glasses a day minimum. And yes you can safely drink the tap water in Dubrovnik so no real need to buy expensive designer names, just refill an old bottle. If you need to refill your bottles in the Old City of Dubrovnik there are public fountains (Big Onofrio and Small Onofrio) at both ends of the Stradun. The water is safe to drink and is surprisingly cold. And before you were thinking “Well I’ll just have a glass of beer,” or “What about a coffee al fresco?” both caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating...sorry. Bottled water is available widely throughout the city and the price varies from small supermarkets to larger shopping centres.
Fresh fountain water
Hit the beaches – what better way to keep cool than to jump in the sea. The Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik is one of the cleanest in the world, and although it isn’t really tidal it is affected by the winds and currents. In the summer the average sea temperature is around 25 degrees, so pretty much bath like. If you are looking for a more refreshing sea then go to the borough of Zupa and the village of Plat. Here the water from the hydroelectric power plant empties into the sea meaning temperatures are at least there degrees lower.
Life is a beach
Walk the walls in the cooler morning air – the number one attraction, both for locals and tourists, are the Dubrovnik City Walls. Stretching an impressive 1.9 kilometres the walls wrap and encircle the Old City like a ribbon around a present. A visit to Dubrovnik without walking around the walls is like going to the Louvre and avoiding Mona Lisa. However there is virtually no shade on the walls and with the sun baking down on you there is a good chance you will be the next sunstroke victim. Go early! The walls open at 8.00am from May until September; buy your ticket at 8.05am! It will take around two hours to walk the walls so you’ll be down before the sun can fry you. Take water with you (remember tip number one) and a hat.
Catch the early morning flight to the walls
Cool tip – the difference between the shade temperatures and direct sun temperatures can be up to twenty degrees – keep in the shade
Get underground – forget manufactured air-conditioning go with nature. In the Lapad area of Dubrovnik you’ll find Hotel More and directly underneath the hotel is bar in a natural underground cave, rather unsurprisingly named Cave Bar. Throughout the year the bar is pretty much at a constant temperature, around 15 degrees. Mingle with the stalagmites and stalactites and enjoy a fresh cocktail in comfortable and cool surroundings.
Cave Bar at Hotel More
The City of Zagreb has reported on its official website that the Croatian capital is the sixth capital in the European Union when it comes to daily bicycle transport.
According to a survey carried out by Eurobarometer, the Danish capital of Copenhagen has the highest number of cyclists in a daily traffic (35%), followed by Amsterdam (32%), Berlin (13%), Ljubljana (12%), Helsinki (11%) and Zagreb with 10 percent of bicycle riders on its city roads.
Eurobarometer also points out that riding a bicycle to work or to attend daily chores is unevenly spread across the European Union. Therefore, almost a third of the Dutch go to work by bicycle or use it every day, whilst people on Cyprus, Malta or in Portugal have not adopted this practice yet.
''The city of Zagreb has been implementing planned programs with its systematic strategy in order to introduce bicycle traffic as much as possible in the traffic system and to popularize riding a bicycle as means of public transport. Apart from these programs, the city supports bicycle sports events and numerous associations that promote bicycles as means of public transport, sports and recreation'', explained the City Administration.
Nowadays Zagreb has more than 200,000 active cyclists, out of which 3,000 of them are passing daily by a bike counter called Bike Totem at Stjepan Radic Square.
''Our citizens have 562 bicycle parking spaces on public surfaces and more than 300 kilometres of bicycle lanes at their disposal. At the same time, every new road in the city is built with bicycle lanes as an integral part of the traffic infrastructure, thus Zagreb has become the first city to introduce separated traffic on its roadways'', commented the City Administration.
Finding accommodation in Dubrovnik in the middle of the summer months can prove tricky, and it seems that some guests are taking matters to the extreme. A 32-year-old Australian tourist was caught sleeping on a public bench on the morning of the 13th of July in the Pile area of the city.
Sleeping on a bench may be bad form but it isn’t against the law, however this tourist took it one stage too far as he was sleepy in the nude. The police were called and the young Australian tourist was arrested for disturbance of the peace, he was also in an “alcoholic state” according to the report. He was taken to the court where he was found guilty of disturbing the peace and fined.