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.
‘’That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’’, said Neil Armstrong when he first stepped onto the Moon.
These famous words can be used to describe the Croatian furniture industry, but in reverse order. Recently a small furniture company from Slavonia signed a business deal on furnishing several hotels in the United States and made a giant leap. At the same time, this represents a small but significant step for the weakened Croatian economy.
The Ancona Group Ltd is a modern furniture factory located in the eastern part of Slavonia, in the city of Djakovo. Its latest job is to furnish at least five hotels in the US, from New York and Washington to Miami. The company was founded in 2000; however, since 2003 it has been dealing with manufacture of furniture.
So far, the company has exhibited its furniture in the Middle East, from Dubai to Qatar, as well as in Libya. However, they are primarily focused on the market of Western Europe and Scandinavian countries. The latest business agreement has led the company over the Atlantic to the American market.
‘We have signed an agreement on furnishing five American hotels in 2017 and 2018. Four hotels are members of the Club Quarters hotel chain; three are located in New York and one in Washington. These four hotels are to be furnished by the end of this year. The fifth hotel located in Miami is a member of the Even Hotels, and is to be furnished by March or April next year. We have already sent some samples for the project in Miami, whilst the furniture for hotels in New York and Washington is already in the production process. There are some indications that this agreement could turn into a very serious business’’, explained Markica Stanusic, the owner and director of the Ancona Group.
It is interesting to note that cooperation between the Croatian furniture company and Americans started last year. Stanusic was touring the US in the Christmas period and simply by chance, he made a reservation in one of the hotels of the Club Quarters Hotels chain. When he arrived at the hotel, Stanusic expected much more than he saw; the furniture seemed very cheap and modest. He contacted an agent he had met on a fair and asked if there was a possibility to bid on a tender. Therefore, the company applied and won the tender. However, they needed to bring Americans to Djakovo to sign an agreement.
‘’These Americans never imported anything from Europe, but mainly from the Middle East. I do not know what they expected to find here, but when they saw our company, our factory, our showroom and our business approach, they were more than surprised’’, commented Stanusic.
The Ancona Group ltd has 120 employees with 12,000 squares metres of internal space and 25,000 square metres of factory area. Around 70 percent of the company’s total income comes from exports. Their partners and clients are some of the famous hotels and resorts companies such as Radisson, Marriot, Starwood, Sheraton and Modus.
Dubrovnik will play host to a new international music festival this October and The Dubrovnik Times is giving you the chance to win tickets for this major event. We have teamed up with the organisers and now you have the chance to win and to be a part of the first ever Dubrovnik Wave Music Festival.
From the 13th to the 14th of October the stunning island of Lokrum will transform into a host and the big stage for the launch of the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival - the very first music festival in Croatia featuring different genres of music; pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, alternative, world music, electro pop, indie, house and many more all under the same roof. And we can get you in for free for both days!
How do you enter – easy – just follow this link to our Facebook page – easy as that.
All you have to do to enter is to comment and to like – not so tricky – and you could be a lucky winner.
In total we have four tickets – two sets of two tickets – the first pair are up for grabs from 02/10/2017 to the 06/10/2017 and then from the 07/10/2017 and the second pair from the 11/10/2017. Got it?
But stop reading this and get liking and commenting.
Entry will be from 4.00 pm and the program will start from 6.00 pm till midnight each day – two days of musical fun with The Dubrovnik Times and the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival.
Get more info here - www.dubrovnikmusicwave.com
Born and bred in New Zealand David Casey, like so many of his countrymen, is a rugby freak. He eats, sleeps and breathes rugby. The passion he has for the sport shines through with every mention of a player, a try, a stadium or “old friends” who are All Blacks. During his rugby career he played first class rugby for Taranaki a provincial New Zealand team who ironically recently just won the most coveted prize in NZ rugby the Ranfurly Sheild. So how does a semi professional rugby player end up in Cavtat training the Dubrovnik Invictus Rugby Club? When we heard that Casey had arrived in the city we just had to hear his story.
It’s a long way from New Zealand to Dubrovnik. How did you get involved with the Invictus rugby club Dubrovnik?
Let’s start right at the beginning. In 1998 I moved to Auckland and I meet the Croatian National Seven’s rugby team who were training to go to the World Cup in Hong Kong. I ended up training with them for five weeks whilst they were getting ready for that tournament. In fact that World Cup was Croatia’s greatest success in the rugby world as they almost defeated New Zealand.
So that was the beginning of my Croatian rugby story. I have to add that my mother’s father, or my grandfather, is from Croatia. He moved to New Zealand and my mother was born there. I have always said that I would love to travel at some point to Croatia and, quite strangely, through my Croatian born lawyer in New Zealand I got in contact with a team in Zagreb. So last year I arrived in Zagreb to train the RK Zagreb team. I was there for four months. However I have always wanted to live on the Adriatic so when I got the opportunity to come to Dubrovnik I grabbed it and I am glad I did.
Casey playing against one of the greats of world rugby, Jonah Lomu, and feeling right at home in Cavtat
Where is Croatian rugby on worldwide scale? What is the level of the sport here and how would you compare it to other developing rugby nations?
The rugby World Cup is the third biggest sporting event on the planet. I think the ultimate man’s team sport, from a gladiator point of view, is rugby. In fact rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the world. Rugby in Croatia is just breathing; it’s in a flat line state, and needs fresh ideas and creative promotion and better organisation. One thing that could really bring life back to the sport here is to make it semi-professional. As well the media needs to be given more to work with. If the heads of the game here created some promotional events or feel-good stories then the sport would be more frequently in the media spotlight. It could be really big. The sport is still pretty much at a base level so there is only one way to go. The players are passionate and are willing to learn they just need better organisation and support behind them.
For example I would love to organise a match between the Croatian National Team and an international barbarian team in the near future. I am in a fortunate position here at Invictus in so much as we have a couple of very passionate rugby fans and leading Dubrovnik businessmen involved in the club. Without their help and knowledge it would be much harder to get the Invictus project going. A rugby club needs to be run as a business. When we can show other businesses in the region that being connected with the club is good for them, in terms of business networking and marketing, we will take another step forward.
Casey planning to take Invictus and Croatian rugby onto the next level
Which league are Invictus in and what are your hopes for the future?
We are currently in the Croatian second division where there are five teams in the league. We have two teams from Zagreb in the league which will mean a bit of travelling for us.
Where would you like to see the Invictus rugby club in the future?
Firstly I would like to see us in the first Croatian division. Being the number one sevens side in Croatia and also playing in a European competition. Putting exhibition games on where we would host for example the Croatian national team and other international teams. And also getting creative with other promotional ideas to push rugby forward in the region and in the country.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and the rugby club can use this fact to help promote the sport to the rest of the region.
The future is bright but now is the time to act and start forcing home some of the ideas we have to bring rugby up to the level that it deserves.
Casey playing in Austria for the RK Zagreb team
What has been the attitude of the players since you have been here?
Yes, all of the players have been very positive. The problem is not with the players the problems with the sport in Croatia is at a higher level. Rugby is a product and a product that is just waiting to be sold.
The British low-cost airline, EasyJet (U2 / EZY), announced its 2018 summer flight schedule. All flights are available for sale by September 2nd, 2018. EasyJet flies to 4 destinations in Croatia: Dubrovnik, Pula, Split and Zadar – reports Avioradar.
The most significant reduction in traffic is related to the closure of the base in Hamburg, which Easyjet leaves on March 24th next year and thereby removing the lines from Pula and Split to Hamburg. That means that there will be 2 flights per week less for Pula and 3 flights per week less for Split, compared to this year. All the other lines that EasyJet had this year will be in traffic during the summer of 2018.
Most lines will start flying earlier in 2018 than in 2017. There is a significant extension of the season, for example at the lines from Dubrovnik and Split to Amsterdam, which will start flying at the beginning of the summer flight schedule. The line Split - Milan (Malpensa Airport) will start 10 weeks earlier. The longest stretch will be on the Dubrovnik-Manchester line, that will begin 11 weeks earlier (May 5th) compared to 2017. On the other hand, some lines will start later, such as Dubrovnik – Belfast, which will start during the last week in June.
Pula has a stronger Pula - Bristol line with one extra flight per week, so the flights on Saturdays will be boosted by another flight every Wednesday. In Zadar, the line for London -Luton will be intensified in the pre-season and will start three weeks earlier, from May 5th, 2018.
Most lines have been announced for Split - 17 lines or 96 flights a week in the heart of the season. For Dubrovnik there are 16 lines with 55 flights per week, 4 lines for Pula with 10 flights per week, and two lines for Zadar with 5 flights per week.
A vast majority of people cannot imagine starting a day without one thing – coffee. It is no wonder that this favourite beverage has its day celebrated once a year on the 1st of October.
Coffee is one of the most popular hot beverages in the world; coffee lovers around the globe drink around 1.6 billion cups of coffee every day. There are two types of coffee – Arabica and Robusta, whilst the largest world coffee producer is Brazil, which produces almost twice as much as Vietnam and Columbia.
As far as Croats are concerned, they simply love coffee. According to some estimates, Croats drink three to four cups of coffee a day, maybe making the International Coffee day a National Holiday would be a good idea. There is even a cat cafe in Zagreb. They consider coffee as an invitation for gathering and socializing, as a break during the day or as a consolation. To most people coffee is the first thing they think of when they open their eyes in the morning.
The International Coffee Day is an occasion that promotes and celebrates coffee as a beverage, with events now occurring in places across the world. The first official date was the 1st of October 2015, as agreed by the International Coffee Organization and was launched in Milan, Italy.
On this day, many businesses offer free or discounted cups of coffee. Some greeting card companies sell National Coffee Day greeting cards as well as free e-cards.
Dubrovnik Aquathlon was held yesterday for the second time and it was a great fun. Competition started at Beach Banje and competitors had a great challenge in front of them –swimming, followed by five kilometres of running.
As said, it all started at Banje, with a turn around in front of Hotel Excelsior, followed by Australian swing on the beach, and then a new round of 500 meters of swimming.
After the swim, the competitors ran along the stairs, took the racing equipment at Lazareti and headed for St. Jacob and back. The race ended on Ploce, behind the City, in front of the Gymnasium.
With competitors from Croatia, professionals and recreationalists from several other countries have competed.
Luka Dumancic and Zara Bakovic are the winners of the second Dubrovnik Aquatlhlon. Dumancic finished the race in 33 minutes, 42 seconds, while Bakovic needed 43 minutes and 20 seconds.
Photos: Tonci Vlasic
How do you take your dog swimming with you...easy all you need is a couple of surf boards and a waiting raft and you are away.
This pet owner in the Lapad Bay today proved that “walkies” can also be on the water. She took her “best friends” fort a nautical afternoon on the Adriatic Sea, a delightful way to spend the first day of October in Dubrovnik.
On this day, the 1st of October, 26 years ago soldiers of the Yugoslav National Army supported by reservists attacked Dubrovnik at six in the morning and marked the first attack on the city in the Homeland War. On the 1st of October 1991 the attacks started from the land, sea and air, and the aggression left Dubrovnik without power and water for the first day.
In order to create a complete blockade of information the television and radio antenna on the Srd Mountain overlooking the city was destroyed by air attacks. The telephone connections to the city were also seriously damaged.
Dubrovnik was left without electricity, water and connections with the world for the next three months. In total the Yugoslav National Army sent between 1,000 and 13,000 soldiers to the Dubrovnik region as well as support from aircraft, navy ships and heavy artillery.
Up against this relatively large Yugoslav force were around 750 poorly armed soldiers and volunteers from the Dubrovnik region who held a front of over 200 kilometres. They heroically defended Dubrovnik and defeated the Yugoslav Army and preserved the city and its inhabitants.
This day will be remembered in the darker pages of Dubrovnik’s history.