Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

It was a glamourous evening last night on the Stradun in Dubrovnik as a fashion show “Glamour Fashion Show” brought a touch of style and elegance to the Old City.

Organised by the Dubrovnik Glamour Association the shoe featured designer names such as, Glamour Sposa, Duchess Womenswear, Arileo, Bakus Sposa, Lella Design and Borza Grupa.

And tonight the fashion and beauty continue in Dubrovnik when the Miss Dubrovnik-Neretva County pageant will be held on the same stage.

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The thunder of high-end sports cars will echo through Dubrovnik next week as the Gran Turismo Adriatica 2018 arrives in town. Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches are just a few of the mega brands expected next Tuesday on the roads of Dubrovnik as they pull up in front of the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace in Lapad.

The rally, Gran Turismo Adriatica 2018, started in Opatija today and will wind down the Adriatic all the way to Thessaloniki in Greece. Along the way the drivers will take in Mostar, Zadar, Montenegro and Albania.

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Racing over Dubrovnik Bridge

And at almost 5,000 Euros for a week’s fun the drivers are in for a road trip to remember. The organisers have even brought in a private security team to protect the luxury cars in Albania. “We are working with a private security contractor for this part of the event. We have a security detail of no less than 18 armed guards on both motorcycles and in vans protecting our cars these days,” commented the organisers on the Albanian leg of the journey.

The rally finishes on the 13th of May with a gala party in Thessaloniki and clearly this motoring event is popular as it is completely sold out.

In spite of the unstable weather in Dubrovnik at the start of this weekend the streets of the Old City were packed with tourists and sightseers today.

The weather has been dominated by storms and rain over the past three days and according to the forecast the overcast and grey skies will continue for another few days.

However, the bad weather didn’t put off tourists from enjoying the sights and attractions of the historic centre today and thousands of day-trippers enjoyed Dubrovnik, many from under an umbrella.

Check out the photo gallery of Dubrovnik today by Zeljko Tutnjevic

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Croatians have found a new destination to invest their cash, Montenegro. The southern neighbour is proving a magnet for Croatian investors with over 156 million Euros spent in 2017. According to date from the Croatian National Bank Croatian investment in Montenegro has exploded over the past 18 months, in 2016 Croatian companies invested a mere 10 million Euros, but last year that figure had increase to 156 million.

In fact, Montenegro has become the fifth most attractive destination for Croatian financers. Such a jump in investment must have a backstory and one of the main reasons is that Croatian Telecom purchased 77 percent of Montenegro Telecom last year. This deal alone was worth more than 100 million Euros.

But Croatian investors in Montenegro are not present in the telecoms industry but also in the retail sector, and the tourism sector. In fact, the tourism sector is increasingly attractive for foreign investors, even though poor urban and coastal planning has meant that many popular tourist resorts are extremely badly organised. Montenegro has traditionally been a haven for Russian investors and developers, it is estimated that a quarter of all properties on the Montenegro Adriatic are owned by Russians, but many of these developments were built without proper planning and have left the coastline scarred. 

However, as Montenegro introduced the Euro as the official currency when they broke away from Serbia there is a certain amount of monetary stability and also a lower risk for investors.

This latest video of Dubrovnik will take your breath away. Stunning aerial views, unique angles and glorious panoramas of the ancient city of Dubrovnik. Created by Christin Necker from Zurich, Switzerland, the video entitled “Golden Light of Dubrovnik – Croatia” is an amazing promo video for the city.

Necker commented that “This is my homage to the amazing Croatian city Dubrovnik. After shooting my time-lapse in 2016 I saw the beautiful golden light for the first time in Dubrovnik. One year later I decided, “let's go higher for that” and take my drone to capture the moments.”

Check out this amazing new Dubrovnik video

Forget Prince Harry and Meghan Markle the wedding of the year took place last weekend in Cavtat! Marin Čilić and our own Katarina Milković tied the knot it what was a truly romantic ceremony, elegant indeed.

I followed proceedings with interest to see if the a, b and c conditions of Dubrovnik weddings were respected, and yes of course they were. “If you have been to one wedding in Dubrovnik then you have been to them all,” once told me a wise old friend. I wasn’t so sure that I understood him…until I went to my second wedding.

So did the Čilić’s follow the three golden rules. A) wave a Croatian flag the size of a King Kong’s blanket – check. Yes, of course there was a flag, as well as a man desperately struggling to check it moving whilst giving himself a hernia. I am not sure if it was hanging out of the car window, or sunroof, as they made their way to the party but the flag was certainly spotted…well difficult to miss. And of course all the drivers leaned constantly on their horns as they formed a convey to the party. Maybe the horns should have been rule D. I was about to say that waving the British flag at a wedding isn’t really the done thing, but on the 19th of May, when Megan says “I do,” there will be more British flags flying than there is rice in China.

But I digress. And then one of the most important rules, rule B, sing the same songs your great-great grandparents sung at their wedding. Yes, I took my just two weddings to get into the swing (and learn the lyrics) to all of the cheerful songs. I wonder of the songwriter gets royalties every time there is a wedding. Basically these songs are all based around love for Dalmatia, where people were born, how they are now married, their love of the sea and sorrow at the loss of a son. Rule B should be repeated several times throughout the day until you are brainwashed and singing the songs for the next two weeks. Now there were a few traditional tunes sung around the church, so I can only presume that the “love for Dalmatia” continued in the evening with Mr. Gibonni.

The only rule that I am not sure about is rule C. This rule involves a Croatian invention, an uncle and a vast amount of alcohol. You’ve all seen it, maybe even you are the drunk uncle. Yes, at a certain point in the evening, normally just as an old classic song starts, an uncle who has had rather one to many glasses of wine jumps up onto the dance floor and feels the need to remove his tie and wrap it around his forehead. As I say I wasn’t invited to the big party in Revelin so I can’t confirm that a slightly older man with a tic was bouncing around the dance floor, however I am willing to bet that there was. I can only hope that the three golden rules were followed.

And while I am talking about uncles, or should I say all slightly older men, why is it that they still think they have those Travolta moves. You can guarantee that after a few glasses of bubbly the uncles will explode onto the dance floor thinking they are re-enacting a scene from Dirty Dancing, you half expect them to lift Jennifer Grey above their heads. “Come on darling, this is our song,” they scream as they try to drag wives, and in fact anyone who they pass on their way to the centre of the boogying. And inevitably their spin on the floor (with their tie waving around their head looking like a Red Indian) is short lived as their bodies aren’t quite as young as their minds think they are. That was always one of the highlights of a wedding here for me. In fact, I think I even joined them with a tie around my own head once…if you can’t beat them join them. Could Prince Harry be spotted with a tie wrapped around his forehead…well I wouldn’t be overly surprised.

Whereas the British follow the traditions of - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – here it is more of – something to wave, something to sing and something to tie around your head.

We are certainly in wedding season, and over the warmer summer months we can expect another influx of foreign brides and grooms taking their vows in Dubrovnik. And why not. Who wouldn’t want to tie the knot in such a romantic city? Weddings just have the certain special feeling with St. Blaise looking down on you. You just get caught up in the romance. And it isn’t only us mortals that fall in love at weddings, “When I was a seminarian, I was dazzled by a girl I met at an uncle's wedding. I was surprised by her beauty, her intellectual brilliance... and, well, I was bowled over for quite a while.” Who said these passionate words - Pope Francis.

More flights to Ukraine could soon be in the pipeline as the Ukraine Deputy Minister for Infrastructure is pushing to ease the current restrictions. In 2021 Ukraine International Airlines will launch flights between Zagreb and Kiev, but there is the real chance of flights earlier if the restrictions are lifted.

Speaking to EX-YU Aviation the Viktor Dogvan, the Ukraine Deputy Minister, commented that "In order for us to implement these plans, it is very important for a bilateral air agreement to be drafted between our two countries, which is in line with EU legislation." Adding that “We must remove restrictions currently imposed on airlines in order for them to launch operations between the two countries.”

There are, according to research, a number of airlines interested in operating flights between Croatian and Ukraine. The Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines, even expressed an interest in opening direct flights, but later reversed any planned move.

"While Ukraine International Airlines and Croatia Airlines do not plan to introduce flights in 2018, we as a regulator should provide such opportunities. This is how nonstop flights from Ljubljana, which are operated by Adria Airways, recently resumed", commented the Ministry. Adding that "In addition, Croatia is a member of the European Union with which we wish to liberalise air transport".

The German supermarket giant, Lidl, is planning to sell cannabis in their stores in Switzerland. The cannabis, which will be locally grown, and a gram and a half will cost around 15 Euros or a 3-gram bag for just over 16 Euros.

Croatia made the news earlier this year when it was announced that first cannabis treatment centre in Europe opened in April. The well-known Croatian wellness resort Terme Sveti Martin (Spa Resort Sveti Martin) in the Međimurje County is the first destination to introduce the first European Canabio centre, where preparations of medicinal cannabis will be used for regenerative purposes.

In Switzerland it is legal to sell cannabis, it has been so since 2011, for over 18s and as long as the cannabis has less than 1 percent THC.

Lidl commented that “The manufacturer relies on sustainable agriculture and refrains entirely from adding chemical, synthetic or genetically modified substances.”

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