Thursday, 20 June 2019

“Don’t spend what you haven’t got, cash is the king,” was a phrase my father basically lives his life by, I know because I must have heard it a million times when I was growing up. Meaning my credit card is pretty much untouched, I have no payment device on my mobile phone and I have never had an American Express or Diners card.

Of course being a cash only person can have its drawbacks, apart from the obvious one of not having any cash to be a cash only person.

The last time I went to the UK to visit my family we all went to a mammoth shopping centre. Of course being a man a day in shopping centre is about as interesting as a day at the dentists. My sister was flashing cards around faster than a poker dealer in a Las Vegas casino, from a new bra to a large cappuccino, everything was on plastic, she literally didn’t have any notes in her purse.

Wanting to join in the shopping spree I decided to treat myself to a new shirt, but realising that I had a shortfall in my wallet I asked the shop assistant where the nearest ATM was. “Errr, I think there are some near the blue entrance,” she said unconvincingly. Yes, firstly this shopping centre was so large it had coloured entrances so you could remember where you actually came it, there was even a little train that would take you to the entrance. And secondly she looked completely bewildered that someone had asked her for the cash machines. It would appear that my sister was part of a much larger “plastic only” club. When I finally found the ATMs they were almost hidden under the stairs by the toilets. There was no queue at all, and quite possibly dust on the keys of the machines. And yes just three ATMs for a shopping centre the size of Šipan.

When I put my card in there was even a slightly delay whilst presumably the machine woke from its slumber. And to my horror many, many businesses in the UK don’t accept cash anymore. One example is the new football stadium that Tottenham Hotspur FC have recently opened. It proudly boasts that it is a “cash free” stadium. You want a beer, a scarf or even a £1 Mars bar then you pay by credit card or some form of electronic payment.

All of this of course begs the question why, oh why do we need a forest of flashing, brightly coloured ATMs through the Old City. If our most frequent tourists are from the UK, and they are, and Americans who have a similar if not worse love for plastic, are the second mot numerous who in God’s name is using these machines. Clearly somebody is. I mean if the banks and the money exchange office weren’t making money then they certainly wouldn’t install them. And especially when they are handing over up to €2,000 for the privilege of having your machine on the Stradun.

Of course it naturally raises another question. How much bloody money do banks and money exchanges earn from each transaction if they can afford to pay such sky-high amounts? Every time we slip our cards into an ATM it’s like the bank sees the wheels spinning on a one-arm bandit.

Yes, of course the Stradun looks an absolute disaster with so many electronic ATMs, that goes without saying. And yes something should have been done to solve the situation long before it got this bad. I remember, all those years ago, just two ATMs on the Stradun, Dubrovacka Banka and Zagrebacka Banka. But with just two machines I can never really remember having to queue for a long time. Yes, there were less tourists then, but still an explosion from 2 to almost 40 seems a little extreme.

Is there any way to stop the growth? Probably not. But I am also pretty sure that this wave of ATMs will soon hit the shores and die anyway. Cash is, unfortunately, an analogue form of payment and we now live in a digital world. It will be similar to all of these other phases that come and go. Just like the moon, we all go through phases. And now we are going through the ugly ATM phase. As the British would say “Keep calm and carry on!” 

   

The third edition of the Baroque music cycle "Orlando Furioso", organized by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, begins today, on Friday, June 7th. It will last until June 14th and it includes four concerts of Baroque program, led by Russian musician Dmitry Sinkovski. Concerts are held in the atrium of the Rector's Palace starting at 9 pm.

A charismatic and atypical musician, Dmitry Sinkovsky, expresses his art through a rare combination of three different aspects: as a violinist, a conductor, and a countertenor. In his many musical performances, Sinkovsky effectively reflects one of the main ideas of the Baroque period: the use of instruments as the voice of singers and the use of voice as a perfect instrument.

The first concert of this cycle will be dedicated to Italian baroque music, or more precisely to the works of the first Baroque opera dramatist Claudio Monteverdi. This concert will be performed by the Italian mezzosoprano Josè Maria Lo Monaco, one of the best of her generation, that has performed at the famous Italian La Scala, while Tomislav Facini will be on harpsichord. They will be joined by the great Slovenian theorbist Izidor Erazem Grafenauer and Dubrovnik cellist Vanda Danic.

The second concert will be held on Saturday, June 8th, and is named "Two Faces of Baroque: solo / tutti". The chamber orchestra of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will be directed by the conductor, as well as a composer, artistic director, pianist, versatile musician Tomislav Facini, and the program includes works of Purcell, Pachelbel, Vivaldi, Händel, Bach and other composers.
On June 11th, the concert called Sentimenti is taking place in the Rector’s Palace. Under the artistic direction of Dmitry Sinkovsky, the chamber orchestra of DSO will perform. Soloists will be mezzosoprano Josè Maria Lo Monaco, Izidor Erazem Grafenauer on the theorba, and our renowned cembalist and organist, the winner of Porin for the Best Performance of Classical Music, Pavao Masic. They will perform works of A. Vivaldi, J.A. Hasse, G.F. Händel.
The last concert of the cycle on June 14th will show Dmitry Sinkovsky in a role of conductor of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, and on the program will be Händel’s "Music on the Water"; Bach’s "Brandenburg Concert no. 5 "i Vivaldi’s " Concerto Per la Solennità di San Lorenzo''.

The Hana Tour Travel Show fair is held in Seoul, South Korea and Dubrovnik-Neretva County is attending it for the third time.

Appearance at this fair was organized in cooperation with the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb and the Tourist Board of the County of Lika-Senj on stand of 18 square meters.

The fair is organized by the largest tour operator in South Korea - Hana Tour, and around 100 thousand visitors is expected.

When it comes to tourists from South Korea, in 2018 they made 43 thousand arrivals and 80,100 overnight stays in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

The European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, arrived in Dubrovnik yesterday on the first part of official visit to Croatia. The leaning man of the European Commission met with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, as well as the Mayor of Dubrovnik and the County Prefect and together they started their meetings with a stroll along the main street through the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, the Stradun.

juncker dubrovnik

 

Juncker, who has been the President of the European Commission since 2014, saw for first-hand the landmarks of the city and then the group sat in a Dubrovnik restaurant where they discussed the important topics related to the future of the European Union and Croatia’s role in a new union without the UK.

Plenkovic also explained the ongoing development of the Dubrovnik Airport, where EU funds are being used to seriously expand the airport, and Plenkovic added that Croatia will continue to invest in infrastructure projects directly from European funds.

Today Juncker is in the Croatian capital where he will meet with Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic.

jean clause junkcer dubrovnik

 

The European Commission on Wednesday called on Croatia to focus investments on research and innovation, sustainable urban and railway transport, energy efficiency, renewables and environmental infrastructure in the coming period.

That is one of the four recommendations for Croatia in the Commission's European Semester 2019 Spring Package which also encompasses specific recommendations for member-states, including Croatia.

The European Commission presents the 2019 country-specific recommendations (CSRs), giving economic policy guidance to all EU Member States for the next 12 to 18 months, and for the first time it also outlined investment recommendations.

Four sets of recommendations for Croatia

As regards Croatia, the first recommendation of the Commission calls for reinforcing the budgetary framework and monitoring of contingent liabilities at central and local level. Croatia is also urged to "reduce the territorial fragmentation of the public administration and streamline the functional distribution of competencies."

The second recommendation refer to education.

Croatia is advised to "deliver on the education reform and improve both access to education and training at all levels and their quality and labour market relevance."

The Commission calls on Zagreb to "consolidate social benefits and improve their capacity to reduce poverty."

This recommendation calls for strengthening labour market measures and institutions and their coordination with social services. In consultation with the social partners, Croatia is supposed to introduce harmonised wage-setting frameworks across the public administration and public services.

In the third recommendation the EC says that investment-related economic policy should focus on research and innovation, sustainable urban and railway transport, energy efficiency, renewables and environmental infrastructure, taking into account regional disparities.

The administration’s capacity should be increased to design and implement public projects and policies.

The fourth set of recommendations relates to the improvement of corporate governance in state-owned enterprises and intensification of the sale of such enterprises and non-productive assets.

The Commission also recommends the enhancement of prevention and sanctioning of corruption, in particular at the local level. Reduce the duration of court proceedings and improve electronic communication in courts.

Croatia is called to "reduce the most burdensome parafiscal charges and excessive product and services market regulation."

This year the recommendations do not mention discouraging early retirement, accelerating the process of increasing the retirement age and the need to adjust pension provisions for certain categories with general pension eligibility.

The recommendations were made based on an analysis of the two documents which Croatia submitted to the EC in April: National Reform Programme and its 2019 Convergence Programme.

The recommendations are also made based on dialogue with individual member states, their national reform programmes and relevant Eurostat data and finally the recently release Spring Economic Forecast.

The European Semester was introduced in 2011 and provides a framework for the coordination of economic policies across the European Union in an effort to increase resilience to new crises.

 

Nothing says that summer is just around the corner like a change in the Lokrum boat schedule. The little dreamy island of Lokrum, just a short boat ride away from the Old City of Dubrovnik, is a must-visit. Peacocks, rabbits and beautiful nature await for you! 

Since the days are getting longer, the boat operating hours are changed accordingly. The boat will operate from 9 am to 7 pm since today, Friday, June 7th. Don't worry – that's more than enough time to have fun on Lokrum!

lokrum schedule new 1

Deputy Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik Jelka Tepsic and Head of the Department for Tourism, Economy and Sea Marko Miljanic are in Barcelona, where they are participating in the first Mediterranean Sustainable Tourism Convention, which started on June 5th and will last until June 7th.

It is a convention that brings together over 70 speakers and 200 representatives at the European, national, regional and local level of the tourism sector from private and public and higher education institutions.

On this occasion, the City of Dubrovnik got another opportunity to present the project Respect the City, and the deputy Tepsic was a panelist on the topic "Dealing With Excessive Tourism: Sustainability Challenges, Experiences of Tourists and the Local Community". She showed how the city administration faced with the problem of overcrowding, ensuring a better distribution of visitors and suppressing the negative effects of over-tourism.

The purpose of this convention is to stimulate a good discussion on topics to promote sustainable tourism and to provide a platform for presentation of solutions that have emerged from the MED Community project for sustainable tourism.

Franciscan monastery of Saint Blaise in Pridvorje (Konavle) will host the concert of Ines Trickovic & Friends: Homage to Erik Satie on Saturday, June 8th at 8:30 pm as the celebration of Saint Antun Padovanski.

The performers are: 
Ines Trickovic - vocals / texts
Goran Koncar - violin
Zvjezdan Ruzic - piano
Ljerka Koncar Gamulin - cello

This concert is a gift of Ines Trickovic and friends to the Franciscan monastery of St. Blaise in Pridvorje.

It gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy the music of world renowned musicians in the magical atmosphere of centuries-old monastery with the scents of rose, lemon and lavender.

The entrance is free, but your donations are more than welcome and are intended for further renovation of this pearl of Konavle.

You can also pay your donations to the Monastery's account OTP HR3324070001100020781.

From the data written on the offical page of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Franciscan monastery of St. Blaise was founded in 1429, after the region of Konavle became part of Dubrovnik Republic. Construction of the monastery took place through the 15th century. The monastery is located below the Rector’s Palace, the seat of Dubrovnik’s Prince in this part of the Dubrovnik Republic. The church has been restored and consecrated in 1822. There is also a wooden cross, the work of sculptor Juraj Petrovic, created in the mid 15th century. At the main altar there is the altarpiece of Celestin Medovic from 1880. Plane tree in front of the monastery is planted in 1810.

Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiques with the help of Croatian Air Force wset the replica of the cannon of Ivan Rabljanin on the Lovrjenac fort this morning. The original is kept in the Vienna Military Museum.

Because of that, the fort was be closed for couple of hours for visitors, until the cannon was placed in its intended place.

Our reader Andy Gosling was happy to be around while this interesting event took place and shared his photos and video with us. Enjoy!

 HE2

HE3

Ryan Reynolds, famous actor and gin lover, has shared the latest commercial for the Aviation Gin and it caused numerous reactions all over social media – just like everything that Reynolds shares.

Commercial shows Reynolds making a bottle, as dedicated as he can be, but it also caused a buzz because it includes Andy King, who became quite famous after telling an interesting story during the Netflix's documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

Some of you might remember that Reynolds shot this video back in April during his work visit to Croatia, while he was filming The Hitman's Bodyguard sequel in Rovinj – The Hitman's Wife Bodyguard with his amazing colleagues Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson. While doing his gin commercial, he was joined by his beautiful wife Blake Lively, who was already then, as it was announced few weeks later, pregnant with their third child. 

Reynolds delighted his Croatian fans couple of times during his visit, but especially when he shared a selfie on his story with words: ''If you you are gonna be repeatedly punched in the face anywhere… I recommend Croatia. I love this place.''

Surely a great promotion! Now we are waiting for The Hitman's Wife Bodyguard.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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