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.
”Love is in the air, la la la la…..” Ah, no, wait, have to change the lyrics, ”Heat is in the air, uf uf uf uf…..” Could anybody splash me with the bottle of cold water or better still bucket of cold water, please? Did you know that during the summer months one of the customs of the ancient Republic of Dubrovnik was to serve different kinds of sweets to its VIP guests with one or two pieces of ice or snowballs aside?
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream
Yes, it’s true, but not only VIP guests enjoyed the benefits of ice. By order of the rectors of the Republic ice or snow had to be delivered to the members of the state councils so they could enjoy cool drinks during state sessions. The snow in Dubrovnik falls approximately once every five years so the big Q arises – how and where from the old Dubrovnikers supplied ice and maintained it in the frozen state during summer when the daily temperatures reached 35C?
According to the documents there was a special service in the 16th century for supplying ice from the nearby mountain in Konavle called Snježnica. (By the way, Snježnica is 1234 meters high and you should visit it because panoramic view over Konavle region is stunning). There were three ice caves in the mountain specially made for the collecting of ice during winter months by the peasants popularly called ”ledari”.
This business was supervised by the soldiers from Dubrovnik and sometimes by the duke of Konavle who was based in Cavtat. The ice caves were closed down by the padlocks and straw and branches were put atop to keep ice in the frozen state as long as possible. Ice from the mountain was delivered on horses and mules to Cavtat and then transferred to Dubrovnik by small ships. According to the researchers during three summer months the Dubrovnik aristocracy used approximately 170 kilos of ice a day!
Selling of ice was also organised in the city in a little shop located in the Street of ice! There was a kind of primitive fridge in the shop’s cellar where ”munčelice” were put to chill (munčelice- special glass bottles filled with soft drinks). So the next time you order a cold drink in Dubrovnik think of the trouble they went to all those years ago just to hear the rattle of ice cubes in a glass.
The name is Bond, James Bond! The latest Hollywood blockbuster to be filmed in Dubrovnik could well be James Bond. Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Bollywood and now 007, Dubrovnik is certainly in the frame for all international film productions.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, confirmed to the Croatian television company RTL that negotiations are under way for the filming of the latest James Bond film to be recorded in Dubrovnik.
“It's true; the City of Dubrovnik is negotiating with the Bond people. There are discussions about the finances and it isn’t easy to negotiate with James Bond,” commented Vlahusic with a smile.
The news that the most famous secret agent in the world could be using Dubrovnik as a backdrop will raise even more interest in Dubrovnik as a destination for film lovers. With the Star Wars crew currently preparing for filming of the eighth episode and James Bond possibly in the pipeline it can be said that the two largest and most prestigious film franchises have a Dubrovnik touch.
Has James Bond got Dubrovnik in his sights?
The sexiest beach in Croatia, at least according to the Travel Channel, is in Dubrovnik. With summer approaching fast and guests busily booking their two-week break in the sunshine what better place to get sexy on the beach than Dubrovnik, more precisely the Zupa region. “Croatia's main tourist attraction is, and always has been, its beaches. With miles of pristine continental Adriatic seaside and dozens of islands to visit, the sun and fun are endless,“ opens the article on the Travel Channel's website.
And the top sexy beach in Croatia is the Plat beach in Zupa. Although Plat beach will be more than willing to take all the accolades the reason given is a little confusing, “Number 1 on the countdown is one of Croatia's best-hidden beaches with kicking nightlife. This tiny beach is a balmy oasis of beautiful landscapes,” states the Travel Channel. Whilst the beach is undoubtedly beautiful and hidden you will struggle to find any “kicking nightlife” unless of course your description of a wild night out is watching the stars!
The islands of Hvar, Brac and Rab also featured on the list, see the full sexy Croatian beaches list here
Construction work on a new animal shelter has begun this week in Dubrovnik. The new shelter, relatively close to the existing shelter on Zarkovica, will be completed within approximately 120 days.
The first phase of the construction works are underway, such as site preparation, and heavy building equipment is already on site. According to the city administration the contract to carry out the construction of a new animal shelter in Dubrovnik was signed on the 4th of December 2015 and the company Titan Construction Ltd won the contract.
The City of Dubrovnik has financed this project with 1.8 million Kuna and it is expected that the new shelter will be in function by this summer. After its construction the City of Dubrovnik will become one of the few local governments in Croatia that owns a shelter for abandoned animals. The shelter will comply with all the regulations on conditions for animal shelters, announced the City of Dubrovnik in a statement.
The filming dates of the eighth episode of Star Wars are coming closer and already sets are being constructed in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. On the Stradun, the main street that runs through the centre of Dubrovnik is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe, but how identifiable will it be in the new Star Wars movie. This souvenir shop of the Stradun is in the process of being transformed into a distant world.
From the look of this photo sent to us by a reader of The Dubrovnik Times it looks like Star Wars have kept the form of the facades. What far away planet will Dubrovnik be? As the sets get completed the rumours of Dubrovnik's role will become clearer.
Set design of Star Wars in Dubrovnik
The force is with Dubrovnik / Readers Photo
Croatia Airlines is set to introduce new flights from Dubrovnik to Beirut for this summer season. According to information from Croatia Airlines the flights will begin on the 1st of July and operate until the 26th of August.
These new flights from the Lebanese capital will be run on a charter basis. Croatia’s national airline has also announced that they will continue with their charter flights from Mostar to Beirut for the third year in a row.
The Hotel Bellevue in Dubrovnik has been named by The Times as one of the top thirty beach hotels in the Mediterranean; in fact it was number one!
“A short walk from Dubrovnik’s Old Town on a quiet cliff, the Bellevue lives up to its name with excellent views across the sea,” opens the short piece on this Dubrovnik hotel.
With a daily circulation of just over half a million copies this article in The Times will certainly help to raise interest for Dubrovnik in one of the most important markets for the tourism business. Over the past few years the number of Brits visiting Dubrovnik has steadily grown making UK tourists the most numerous in the city.
Hotel Bellevue, which is part of the Adriatic Hotel Group chain, is a five-star hotel within walking distance of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.
“And this was when you first started playing cricket…and this was when you and your sister went to Stonehenge for the first time,” the list went on and on as we moved from one wall to the next.
In stark contrast to my wife and me my parents just adore filling the walls of their house with family photos. In fact not just the walls, almost every surface, every table, bedside cabinet, well pretty much every vertical and horizontal space. I don’t really know why they even bother to paint the walls in the house; they have “family wallpaper” covering almost everything. This is the exact opposite of our house. We use the excuse of, “well we have just moved in,” which worked for the first few years but we have been in our “new” house for almost seven years. The excuse is wearing a little thin.
Quite often we get frames as presents, mainly from my mother and probably as a motivation for us to start actually putting photos up, however these frames remain empty. Well not all of them are empty; some of them still have those photos that you get when you buy the frame already in them. You know the ones I am talking about, the black and white photos of a loving couple looking romantically off into the distance as if they are characters from a William Wordsworth poem. We even had one of these “Wordsworth” photos on the wall for some time until we finally got around to putting our own, slightly less romantic, photo inside.
When the excuse about the new house had died I moved to the excuse of, “nobody prints photos anymore,” and brought up the fact that we live in a digital world and that our family prints are all on display on Facebook. Not a very convincing argument I know.
“And this was the photo when you did the advert for that German shop in Dubrovnik,” continued my mother. I half heard her as I gaped at myself in full Technicolor on the Stradun. Believe it or not, and most of you will find this hard to believe, but I actually once posed for an advertising campaign for DM! I know…I can’t really believe it either. But here on my mother’s living room wall was the proof. And it brought memories flooding back. “How the hell did they choose you,” I can hear you all yelling. The answer is by default. DM wanted to advertise their products to an international audience and in order to do so they had decided to shoot foreigners in recognizable locations around Croatia.
From my memory they used the amphitheatre in Pula, the main square in Zagreb, the Riva in Split and the Stradun in Dubrovnik. I was chosen to walk down the Stradun swinging a DM carrier bag. It was the highlight, and lowlight, of my modelling career. And it was quite probably the end as well. In the end the photos, my photos, weren’t chosen by DM as I didn’t look foreign enough. Maybe if I were wearing a bowler hat, drinking a cup of tea, driving a Mini Morris, holding a copy of The Times and swinging a cricket bat I would have passed the, “you don’t look English enough” test.
Then I spotted a photo of the young me, aged around six, chewing on a Black Jack. Drumsticks, Fruit Salads, Banana Skids, Fizzers and my favourite Black Jacks, were the sweets of my youth. We would save up our pennies and treat ourselves to these brightly coloured sticky sweets. Give us the chance and we would eat them from sunrise to sunset, or at least until out teeth fell out. “Oh how I would love to taste one of those Black Jacks again,” I sighed. To my surprise and horror I could. These sweets had long since disappeared from the shelves; however one company had re-launched them and branded them as Retro Sweets. I was now officially retro!
As soon I discovered this I sped down to the shops and sought them out. I was imagining the sticky sweet flavour, drooling over the candy of my dreams. I bought the biggest bag I could find, it felt like half my body weight in retro sweets. Scrabbling like a madman through all the rainbow coloured sweets I found it, the Gold Medal of all sweets. Massacring the wrapper like Freddy Krueger I throw the Black jack into my mouth. “Argh, this is bloody awful, what idiot would eat this,” I leaned over a rubbish bin and spat out the disgusting sweet. I guess some things are best left in our memories, or on the walls of our mother’s houses, and not relived.