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.
According to the latest data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO), in July this year the total number of insured persons was 1,532,000 which has confirmed the continuous positive trend on the monthly and annual level.
In comparison to the previous June, the total number of HZMO insurees increased by 0.4 percent or 6,500.
The positive monthly changes or the growth of the number of insured persons is usual for the period from February to July and is determined by seasonal movements. However, the slowdown of the monthly growth in the number of insured persons is not surprising during the central tourist season because the needs for workers are already largely met in the pre-season period. According to some older data, it is possible to expect a slight decline in the number of insurees in August.
On the annual level, the number of insured persons rose by 1.8 percent in July and it was 27,700 higher compared to July 2016. According to data from HZMO, this annual growth has been present since March 2015.
The largest increase of the number of insurees (over 21%) on an annual basis was recorded in the manufacturing industry, which generates the biggest employment in Croatia (slightly more than 16 percent of the total employed or insured persons at HZMO).
In addition, with the arrival of autumn the number of insured persons should be reduced slowly due to seasonal factors. Nevertheless, compared to the previous years (since 2013 when HZMO statistics became available) it will remain at higher levels reflecting the slow recovery of the economy.
Janick Jers from the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden enjoyed an afternoon in Cavtat yesterday.
The famous guitarist walked around the picturesque coastal town and was more than happy to sign autographs for fans and pose for photos. Gers (60) is one of the three current guitarists in Iron Maiden, along with Dave Murray and Adrian Smith.
The traditional local party ‘’Gruska noc’’ or ‘’Night of Gruz’’ will be held on Saturday, August 19th, and along with a rich offer of food and drinks, on the central stage in Gruz Croatian famous singer Giuliano will perform. Concert should start around 9:30 pm.
What is important to know if you are in Dubrovnik with car – Gruz will be closed for traffic from 5 pm to 5 am, because of the Gruska noc .
Traffic will go through Andrija Hebrang Street and also from dr. Ante Starcevic street, through Splitski put and Vladimir Nazor Street.
If you are not sure what to do on Saturday night, maybe this is a perfect choice for you – party like a local on Gruska noc.
Exploration works of the seabed within the project of building the reception LNG terminal in Croatia have begun in the Sepen Bay on the island of Krk.
The exploration works, which will last to the 25th of September this year, are being conducted by the Geokon company and include a series of drillings of the sea bottom as well as a geological research of the underwater soil where a jetty for the so-called floating LNG terminal is to be built.
Goran Francic, the director of LNG Croatia, emphasizes that part of the research has already been done, however, due to the government's decision to switch from the initial concept of the land terminal to the floating one, an additional research is needed.
Francic also added that all the relevant port authorities and maritime authorities have already been notified about the research, whilst the research area has been specifically marked so the vessels can avoid it.
The first research of the seabed on the site of the future jetty was carried out a few years ago, however, according to the words of Andrea Lopac from LNG Croatia, due to the Government's change of the terminal concept, now it is necessary to build a firmer and longer jetty.
The results of this research will be interpreted by the end of this September, when the first- round tender for the design of the jetty as well as the purchase of the FSRU ship are expected.
Afterwards, when all the costs are determined, LNG Croatia can require the tariff calculation from the Croatian Energy Regulatory Agency (HERA) i.e. the price of gas from the future terminal. This will largely influence the second-round tender, which is binding unlike the first one, where bidders will compete for the construction of the jetty and for the buying and selling of the FSRU ship.
Stephan Behringer from Würzburg, Germany is certainly no stranger to learning languages; he speaks a grand total of ten. Whilst travelling in Dubrovnik he heard about the free mini-courses of Croatian at the Europe House Dubrovnik and decided to add to his list and make Croatian the tenth language. In fact he liked his first taste of Croatian so much that he asked if it was possible to put on another course when he came back. With two intensive courses under his belt his level of Croatian soon soared. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with Stephan to learn more about his experiences and why he would recommend learning Croatian.
How helpful did you find the Croatian lesson given by Europe House in Dubrovnik?
The Croatian lessons at the Europe House Dubrovnik were my first steps into the Croatian language and were extremely helpful for me, especially as Barbara, my teacher, speaks my own language German so well that she could explain me many things in my mother tongue. Also she put a lot of emphasis on my pronunciation right from the beginning to make sure I learn the basics correctly.
Apart from German (and Croatian) which other languages do you speak? And how difficult was it to learn Croatian compared to other languages?
I am a polyglot and Croatian is my language number 10. I speak German, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese and Italian fluently and also can communicate in Swedish and Chinese. I would say that Croatian is for me more difficult than Roman languages but still easier than Russian, as it uses the Latin alphabet. Speaking another Slavic language like Russian helps to learn Croatian in certain ways, but it also creates many "false friends" moments or wrong pronunciations.
Stephan Behringer with his teacher in Dubrovnik
Why would you recommend people to learn Croatian whilst in Dubrovnik?
Absolutely! I am totally enthusiastic of at least learning some words in the local language when I travel and if I stay longer in a country I usually take at least a couple of days of language course. If you speak some Croatian in Dubrovnik the locals certainly appreciate it a lot and you can connect with people much easier. Plus the benefit of Croatian is that it is also understood in all the neighbour countries on the Balkans which I could witness myself during the days after my first Croatian language class at the Europe House when travelling to Montenegro and Bosnia.
Did you have the chance to practise your Croatian and what was the outcome?
Of course. Back home I know a Croatian girl quite well and got to speak Croatian with her regularly, but she rather made fun of my slight Russian accent or the fact that I used at least one Russian word in most of my sentences. Also, a good friend of mine is originally from Serbia and I also speak to him from time to time.
Would you like to further improve your Croatian languages skills?
As I like Croatia and the Balkans region, I would like to travel there more. So I am still working on my Croatian and plan to return to Dubrovnik again, after the tourist season to take another week of language course at the Europe House Dubrovnik.
Stephen talks to the Dubrovnik media about his learning experiences
Lokrum island, located 600 meters from the Old City, is a must-visit if you are in Dubrovnik. It’s just one short ferry ride away and one of the most important things to know if you are planning a visit (besides the wonders that will wait for you on the island) is when you can go on and return from the island of Lokrum.
From this Saturday, August 19th, the last ferry will leave the island at 7 pm. During the last couple of months the last departure was at 8. Don’t worry, there is still enough time to explore the island.
-Keep on swimming, but don’t be late and spend your night on the island – wrote the team from the island of Lokrum on their Facebook page.
You can see a full schedule on the photo below.
Next week the British television company BBC will launch a reality show that will be filmed in Croatia.
According to The Sun, the online BBC Three channel will broadcast a new TV series titled ''Croatia 2017: The Brits Are Coming''.
The reality TV show will follow ''debauched antics of youngsters in Europe's hottest new party resort, Novalja - a city on the island of Pag'', wrote the Mirror.
Just to remind you, more than a month ago, The Sun wrote about its fellow countrymen that caused big trouble at Hvar and Novalja, ''Chaos in Croatia - Boozy Brits are turning Croatian resorts into holiday hellholes by ‘throwing up, peeing and fighting’ in the streets’’.
However, BBC has decided to report live from Croatia and to follow a group of holiday-goers to Novalja as they taste the party life on the island of Pag.
‘’Viewers can expect guaranteed British banter, unexpected holiday drama and maybe even some summer romances’’, announced BBC Three.
"This will be an authentic series of films exploring the real lives of young people today and will build on the innovative approach BBC Three has to documentary storytelling’’, commented Damian Kavanagh, the Controller at BBC Three.
After the reality show ‘’Love Island’’ broadcasted on the British commercial TV network ITV2 this year achieved tremendous success and gained huge popularity, even bigger that ‘’Big Brother’’ on Channel 5, other British TV networks are now trying to repeat their success, including BBC Three which will try out with the reality show in Croatia.
ITV’s ‘’Love Island’’ ended last month. It followed six young couples out of which one was declared ‘’the sweetest’’ and won £50,000 of prize money.
For some reason the amount of illegal campers in Dubrovnik this year has exploded. It seems that not a day goes by without another article or photograph of tourists setting up camp in strange positions.
This latest photo was taken on the main road to the Babin Kuk peninsular, ironically around 250 metres from this latest illegal camp is a perfectly legal camp-site. This busy road surely didn’t offer much of a peaceful night’s sleep for these tourists, especially as it is also a busy bus route.
The police seem slow to react to these wild campers around the city and as one citizen commented to The Dubrovnik Times, “I am not so worried about where they sleep I am more worried where they are going to the toilet.”