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.
The Dubrovnik Tourist Board is continuing with their free winter programs for tourists who are staying in Dubrovnik during the winter months. This year throughout the winter months guests to Dubrovnik will have the opportunity to have a free sightseeing tour of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik with an English speaking guide.
Every Saturday, from the 5th of November until March, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board have organized free tours of the city starting at 10.00am in front of the main office of the tourist board just outside of the city walls on Pile.
To sign up for this free tour guests need to register the day before, on the Friday, up to 6.00pm at the tourist board office. After the tour, which lasts until 11.30am, guests will then have the chance to watch a free performance by the dance ensemble Lindo in front of the St. Blaise Church.
On the eve of All Saints Day the market in Dubrovnik today was awash with colours, a sea of flowers. Chrysanthemums, roses, carnations, glorious bouquets and floral arrangements were all in show in the market in Gruz today with hundreds of people preparing for this important religious holiday.
In fact flowers were seen all over the city today as markets popped up selling flowers for the All Saints Day. Many people have already visited the graves of their loved ones and placed flowers, but tomorrow even more flowers will be on show in Dubrovnik as the city marks the day.
It could be argued that Gundulić Square is at the very heart of life in the historic walled city. Dominated by a statue to one of the city’s most famous poets, the square has a busy life, transforming itself like a chameleon many times throughout the day.
As the sun rises over the terracotta roofs the square awakens to the sound of barrow loads of fruit and vegetables bouncing over the stone cobbles. The “green market”, as the locals call it, offers freshly picked produce as well as jars of homemade jams, pickles and spices. Up until midday there is a constant flow of bartering and business and then a few minutes before the bell tower rings twelve times a new sound fills the square.
One…two…ten…thirty, in what looks like a reincarnation of a Hitchcock movie pigeons descend and perch expectedly from every nook and overhang. Gutters, cables and rooftops are a sea of black and grey.
And as the final bell echoes across the city the flock glides down into the once busy market. The reason for this invasion soon became aware – feeding time. The birds are fed with a bucket full of corn whose contents are sown all over the square. Children scream in a mixture of fear and excitement, tourists mimic paparazzi as if they’d just seen the Hollywood celebrities and locals swat their arms over their heads.
The feeding frenzy lasts for just a few short minutes and then normality is restored. Every day, come rain or shine, the city’s pigeons are feed in Gundulić Square and always at exactly the same time. In fact the city council of Dubrovnik actually pays for the bucket of corn that’s spread over the stone square. As the last feathers blow away the square enters it afternoon phase, the clink of coffee cups and the popping of wine corks can be heard as Dubrovnik’s alfresco lunch time takes over.
The globally popular musical duo 2Cellos have been filming their latest video in Dubrovnik over the past few days. Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic, better known as the 2Cellos, spent all last weekend in Dubrovnik filming the video and have used locations such as the Rector’s Palace and the Lovrijenac Fortress.
According to information from the Valamar Group the 2Cellos stayed in the five-star Valamar Dubrovnik President whilst they were in town. We will have to wait a little while longer to see the outcome of the filming, but one thing for sure it will be great publicity for Dubrovnik.
The Croatian Ministry of Defence reported that on the 30th of October two Croatian Air Force MIG 21 jets intercepted and identified a British passenger plane that entered Croatia's airspace.
The Boeing 767 of the British company Thomson Airways was en route from Manchester to Heraklion on the island of Crete and was intercepted between 11 am and noon because Italian air officials were unable to establish contact with the plane. Acting on an order from the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) located in Torrejon, Spain, the mission of interception Alpha Scramble took place at an altitude of 12,500 meters, in the airspace above northern Dalmatia.
Radio contact was soon established with the civilian aircraft which continued its journey to Greece, whilst the Croatian jets returned to its base at Zagreb Airport.
The successful implementation of this task demonstrated the rapid transmission of data and commands between operational centres of the NATO member states and rapid response of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence. Once again it confirmed the ability of the Croatian system for control and protection of the airspace as well as all the benefits of participation in an integrated system of air defence of NATO.
The rumbles of an earthquake were felt in Dubrovnik this morning between 10.30 and 10.40. The epicentre of the earthquake was around 100 kilometres northwest of Dubrovnik in a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nevesinja, which is around 60 kilometres south of Sarajevo.
The epicentre of the earthquake measured 4.3 of the Richter scale. And the quake was felt in Dubrovnik, although there was no material damage.
At the Days of Croatian Tourism event held on the island of Brac last week, a tourist voucher the so called “Cro Card” designed by the consulting company Horwath HTL was presented to the public.
It is predicted that with the introduction of the tourist voucher or the “Cro Card” an amount of about two to four billion Kunas of direct net income will be generated, whilst the tourist sector could directly or indirectly provide almost 21,000 new job openings.
During the year employers would pay a certain amount of money to their employees for the expenses on the domestic tourism and hospitality services in order to reduce dependence of the Croatian tourist industry solely on foreign guests and to encourage stronger consumption of Croats on the domestic field.
''Our analysis predicted three possible scenarios, with a maximum amount of up to 10,000 Kunas which employers would ''pay'' into special cards for their employees. Fifty percent of that amount would be intended for accommodation expenses, 30 percent for hospitality services and the rest for tourist and cultural attractions'', explained Sinisa Topalovic, the director of the Horwath HTL adding that his company calculated that the idea of a tourist voucher should generate between 150 and 600 million Euros of new investments within a period of three to six years.
The Cro Card is also intended to encourage more consumption on the continent thus the coastal Croatia region would be excluded from this application during the peak season.
''Apart for the tourism industry and Croatian workers this project would be worthwhile to employers because through these payments they could achieve tax deductions in the amount of 25 percent up to 100 percent of the amount paid'', concluded Topalovic.
Yet another warm and sunny weekend in Dubrovnik as the Indian Summer in the city continues.
This weekend temperatures were in the low twenties and tourists and locals enjoyed the warm sunshine. The forecast for the next few days is for more sunshine and temperatures around twenty degrees.
Check out the photo gallery of a sunny Sunday by Zeljko Tutnjevic.