Tuesday, 25 June 2019
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’s a traditional event and one that always brings a smile to visitors faces, the Small Festival of Folklore and Heritage was held yesterday. For the eighth year in a row that wonderful festival saw the younger generations of the region respecting the history of past generations as they twisted, twirled and sung in the sunshine on Saturday.


The Cultural and Artistic Society of St. Juraj Osojnik organised this display of folklore dances and heritage from the region as well as guest groups from Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nine children’s and youth folklore groups from Dubrovnik and beyond entertained the numerous spectators, including the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, with their interpretations of centuries old dances and songs.

A great event and the perfect way to pass on these traditions to future generations.

mali festival osojnik

The Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) reported this week that there are around 35,000 uninsured vehicles driving on Croatian roads, and if these drivers have an accident they will face fines up to 50,000 Kunas.

Unregistered and uninsured vehicles endanger the general state of traffic safety and cause huge material losses to citizens. Such vehicles are often technically incorrect, and the consequences of traffic accidents are in most cases more difficult than those with technically inspected, registered and insured vehicles – said the HUO in a statement.

HUO and the Croatian Police Force, within the National Road Safety Program of the Republic of Croatia, are carrying out a campaign "Stop uninsured vehicles", with the aim of further reducing the number of uninsured and unregistered vehicles and improving awareness of the importance of compulsory registration and insurance.

And it isn’t only Croatian registered cars that are targets, there have been reported cases of foreign drivers who enter the country without the correct papers, as well as some owners some have falsified their foreign driving documents.

“The campaign started in 2009 when we recorded 300,000 uninsured vehicles, while today we estimate that this figure is around 35,000. This is a great success we have achieved over the years,” - said HUO Director Hrvoje Paukovića

Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson are making their way to Croatia as yet another Hollywood blockbuster is to be filmed in Croatia. Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Robin Hood, The Hitman 2, the list could go on and on, Croatia is Hollywood on the Adriatic. In fact, Salma Hayek was in Croatia only a few months ago working on Hitman 2 or The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard which she filmed with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds in Istria.

Salma Hayek 1

Hayek in Istria for Hitman filming - Photo Instagram 


UPI.com is reporting that “Production began this week in Los Angeles and Croatia on Bliss, Amazon's new sci-fi drama and romance starring Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson.” Although there is no news as yet as to where the production will be location in Croatia.

Mike Cahill, whose credits include I Origins and Another Earth, wrote and is directing Bliss.


"Mike Cahill is a brilliant storyteller gifted by a unique ability to craft the truly high-concept idea in a deeply soulful way that resonates with audiences. As a real fan of all his work, I am delighted that we can provide this opportunity for him to take his vision further than ever before. We know our global customers will be excited to see what Mike and his team -- Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson, and this fabulous cast and crew -- can do with such complex, yet real characters in such an imaginative and thrilling world. It will blow people's minds, I am sure," Ted Hope, co-head of movies at Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Welcome back to Croatia Miss Hayek.

Quite clearly the heat is only helping to further aggravate some Dubrovnik drivers. According to a post on the Facebook account of the Mayor of Dubrovnik the traffic inspectors that help with the flow of traffic and pedestrians, especially on the Pile entrance into the Old City of Dubrovnik received death threats in the early hours of this morning. And not just once but twice.

In the morning hours, the traffic inspectors of the City of Dubrovnik received two death threats just because they were doing their job. Unfortunately, the desire for money and earnings for some individuals is more important than respect. Additional traffic restrictions are waiting for us in 2020 and in 2021 the full ban on Pile for all buses except for the public bus company Libertas”, commented Mayor Frankovic on his Facebook account. The City of Dubrovnik has reported the threats to the police.


An old colleague where I used to work in London was full of these strange and seemingly senseless phrases. He literally had a phrase for every situation, every eventuality. I was never sure if he just made them all up or was quoting other more famous people.

We often used to try and catch him out, by throwing an unusual situation in his path. He always, always had an answer. Advice – his answer “Good rarely came from good advice.” Religion – “If there were no God there would be no Atheists.” And Politics – “He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. A long career in politics awaits him.” Another dozen or so have stuck in the deeps of my brain and every now and then they appear. One that we all used to hear on a weekly basis was “If things don’t change, they stay the same.”

This is a phrase that I could use time and time again in Dubrovnik. But this week’s selection involves my adopted home of Zupa. I think pretty much the first day I landed in Dubrovnik twenty something years ago I heard the story of how a “fast road” was going to be built between the airport and the city. A perfectly logical idea as Mr. Spock would say. As the vast majority of our visitors come via the airport a fast link seems not only logical but absolutely imperative. And bearing in mind that it is the only connection, i:e there is no other way to get to the airport, it surely must be top of the list of importance, if there is such a list?

Depressingly not only has that road never materialised but in fact the situation has gone into reverse. When I first moved to Zupa I could drive from my home to the city without hitting a traffic light before turning off the coastal road. Now it seems that the number has quadrupled. I will pretty soon face four sets of traffic lights. What joy! OK, I would agree that the ones on the crossroads by Sub City are required. Even though a roundabout might have been a smarter plan, but I can live with those and they seem to function relatively well. Why, oh why we need another set that leads to a graveyard that isn’t working is beyond me. Why we need them at all for a graveyard is puzzling. And the few cars that come out of Lidl never really had a problem waiting for a space in the traffic.


These lights have in fact proved more dangerous than safe. As frequently I see cars screeching to stop in time to avoid careering into the line of traffic.

And now another two will soon be in function. What joy! I remember once talking to a representative of Croatian Roads Authority who said that a roundabout on the main coastal road was not a good plan because it would slow cars down to under 40 km/h, which was something they had to avoid. Surely traffic lights slow cars down to 0 kph.

I am assured that these new pedestrian traffic lights are only a temporary measure and will, at some point in the future, be replaced by a tunnel or bridge. My fear, and this is a fear that comes from experience, is that these bridges and tunnels will never appear and the “temporary” lights will remain temporary until the day I die. Another classic example of short-term panicking rather than long-term planning.

There has been a problem with pedestrians crossing the roads in certain sections for years, this is nothing new, or surprising. In fact, it isn’t even an expensive solution. But heads of power have been buried in the sand. Time has passed and now we are left scrabbling around for a temporary fix, rather than a permanent answer. So we have gone from a planned fast road with multiple lanes, to an absolute bottleneck in Zupa. Come rain or shine, summer or winter, the drive from the airport to the city, and vice versa, will take longer than ever. Whilst many other destinations are planning new eco-friendly transport connections from major hubs we are doing pretty much exactly the opposite. I should be shocked, but I’m numb.

If things don’t change they stay the same – maybe in our case it would be better if things just stayed the same.   

Split is absolutely one of the rising stars of the Croatian tourist scene and its airport is receiving more new international flights than ever before. The latest airline to connect Split with London is the national airline of the UK, British Airways.

It’s the first time flights to Croatia have operated from London City Airport and British Airways will fly three flights a week through the peak summer months to September.

Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ general manager commercial and customer at London City Airport, said: “Croatia is a new destination for us and one which our customers have told us they want from London City. It is one of the fastest growing holiday destinations and we are delighted to offer new direct flights for the summer.”


Peter Downes, Aviation Director at London City Airport, said: “The new seasonal service to Split in Croatia epitomises how our home carrier, British Airways, is broadening our offer of leisure routes from London City Airport. It’s the latest in a stellar selection of holiday getaway options that our passengers will love, as we prepare for our busiest summer yet.

The first flight from London City Airport to Split landed yesterday, the 21st of June. British Airways also operates flights to Split from Heathrow Airport and has increased frequency there from five to seven flights a week this year.


From today Air Serbia now flies to six different destinations in Croatia as flights resumed to the Dalmatian city of Zadar after a 28-year long break. The national airline of Serbia already operates flights to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Pula and Rijeka and these new flights to Zadar will attract even more tourists from the Serbian capital, Belgrade to the Croatian coastline.

"We are proud to be able to help bring closer the people and economies of the two countries. We are confident that the flights will enhance travel options and will further contribute to the development of bilateral trade and tourism. Our intention is to further develop year-round inbound tourism, by offering our guests all of these destinations in Croatia", reported Air Serbia.

And EX-YU Aviation reports that Air Serbia is offering over 165.000 seats between Belgrade and its Croatian destinations this summer season.



The bays around Cavtat are awash with luxury mega yachts as the summer season has quite clearly arrived. A plethora of super expensive private and charter yachts are dotted around Cavtat today as the rich and famous enjoy their luxury playthings.

One yacht that particularly caught the eye is the 41 metre long Waverunner. Built in 2007 this mage yacht certainly cuts an appealing look anchored just in front of Cavtat.

With space on-board for 10 passengers and seven crew members Waverunner has an impressing cruising speed of 30 knots.

But you’ll need deep pockets to afford a week on this mega yacht as seven days in high season will set you back a mouth-watering 140,000 Euros plus expenses around 160,000 Euros or just under 23,000 Euros a day.



The Voice of Dubrovnik


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