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.
Following the rallies all around Europe the biggest protest ever was held in Croatia, yesterday. Under the slogan ''Croatia Can Do Better'' more than 40,000 people throughout Croatia and from abroad protested at 6pm on the 1st of June supporting the reform of the education system.
The city squares in Zagreb and in a dozen other Croatian cities were flooded with people who protested against primitivism and interfering of the politics in the education system.
Croatia has long planned to carry out reform of its education system in order to bring it in line with the EU standards but little progress has been made since 2013 when it became the EU member.
Mr Jokic the leader of an expert team in charge of the education reform resigned recently due to the pressure from the conservative government. Many protesters in Zagreb said that education was essential for the future of their children and the country as a whole and that they didn't want to be hostages of incompetent and irresponsible political elite.
After the completion of the restructuring process the Croatian national airline “Croatia Airlines“ will continue with its expansion program in the region in 2017 by opening new bases and purchasing new aircraft. Kresimir Kucko, the CEO of Croatia Airlines, commented that in order to confirm and maintain regional leading position new bases have to be opened and new aircrafts bought. CA (Croatia Airlines) is considering opening new bases in regional capitals such as Sarajevo, Skopje, Pristina and Tirana and connecting them to European destinations.
''The calculations for the regional expansion of our operations have already been made as well as a decision about our route network and schedules. Everything should be defined by the end of the year and implemented from the 1st of April 2017,'' said Mr Krešimir Kučko. He also added that CA was not planning to open all the bases at the same time because it would depend on the arrival of new aircraft. Depending on the demand on the market the carrier plans to use 100-seaters Airbuses and Dash planes.
According to the words of Kučko CA plans on buying four to six new aircraft. ''We have been negotiating with relevant plane manufacturers in the world for two years now and we could present our proposal to the owner in June''.
Weddings can be pretty unpredictable and it's hard to tell what can go wrong, especially when you're in foreign country. Dubrovnik is a perfect location to make your wedding special, but Stephanie Anne Murphy and James Paul Goss from England didn't expect it to be this special... They were planning a wedding in Sponza Palace and everything was ready when the unfortunate event happened – while leaving the boat on their three island cruise, James Paul slipped and broke his hip.
He had a surgery and even though it was so far from what they have planned, the couple decided to get married in the hospital chapel! Wedding planners from Dubrovnik Luxury Weddings did their best to make this day as special as it can be. James Paul was in his bed during the ceremony and the medical staff was present too. On the photos it's easy to see the love between this couple which had a rocky start of their married life. We wish them all the best!
All photos by: Dubrovnik Luxury Weddings
Browsing trough the internet it's easy to find a lot of articles mentioning Dubrovnik and one of them really caught our attention. The article titled 'Dubrovnik Croatia Historic Beautiful City' at the site Amazing World Places shows – Kotor! The main photo was taken at Kotor, Montenegro and what is interesting - that's also the first photo, from Wikipedia, that you get if you type 'Kotor' into Google. To be even funnier, if you scroll down, among the photos of 'real' Dubrovnik you'll bump into another Croatian city, Pula. Mistakes happen, especially in this job, so we are not judging the author, who has probably never been to Dubrovnik. We just hope that the tourists won't be expecting 3 in 1 when coming to our town – Kotor, Pula and Dubrovnik!
Pula in the role of Dubrovnik and the real Dubrovnik
There are many things us people of Dubrovnik are good at. Recognizing and preserving what's best about our local culture at times doesn't seem to be one of those things. There are many examples I could write about, but I chose one that is close to my heart.
I am a great lover of movies. Much like food, I enjoy socialising over movies and love the variety and the wealth of their world. My absolutely favourite way to enjoy them in Dubrovnik was always in one of our so called “summer cinemas“. These are open air movie theatres where people can watch movies under the clear night skies, all the while sipping a refreshing drink and eating hot popcorn. Throw in the mix a company of a loved one or a group of good friends and you have the makings of a great evening.
I recall three of these summer cinemas in our fair city, but the one I enjoyed the most was “Jadran Summer Cinema.“ Located in the very heart of the Old City centre, this magical place is sandwiched between old houses usually adorned by someone's unmentionables hanging on the clothes line. Jadran Cinema always had the world's most uncomfortable chairs, but the movie watching experience you would enjoy there was unparalleled. From the auditorium you can see the top of Mount Srd with its 19th century Imperial fortress in the background and the Church of St. Rocco, just behind the big screen. The entire movie going experience often seemed surreal because of the centuries' old surroundings.
It was always a very special experience to be at Jadran, which exists to this day, but rarely is it used anymore as an auditorium, even more scarcely as a movie theatre. The situation with other open air cinemas in Dubrovnik, “Lapad” and “Slavica“, is even worse. These beautiful places, perfect venues to enjoy on a warm summer night, now lay mostly stationery, probably waiting for someone's boring construction project of an apartment building or a restaurant. The whole thing is very indicative of a decline and slow disappearance of local culture in Dubrovnik, something that's left out of the travel brochures.
There are so many wonderful spots in Dubrovnik that are special because of the role they played in the lives of us locals. We still have most of these places within our grasp, but we don't use them anymore as though we don't recognise how much they meant to us. As a community, we are often blind to the matters of the soul and spirit.
We are to blame for thinking and acting following only our hunger for quick profits, not realising we are robbing ourselves in the process and leaving ourselves truly poor. How else can you describe people who willingly substitute watching movies in the heart of the medieval town under billions of stars for dreary halls with wall to wall carpeting, plywood walls and overpriced snacks?
Bozidar Jukic is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
The Dubrovnik Times and Gulliver Travel have teamed up this summer season to offer you some great travel prizes! Stay tuned to The Dubrovnik Times and win with Gulliver Travel!
Easy to enter all we need is your creativity!
Simply add #gulliverexplore to your travel photos and the best photo, as decided by our jury, will win two tickets to explore the beauties of Pelješac and Korčula. Use your imagination!
“History, heritage and splendid nature, how lucky you are to live here,” commented the couple from Germany as we sat sipping wine in a family vineyard in the heart of the Pelješac Peninsular. I couldn’t argue with them. It had been a few years since I travelled across the Pelješac Peninsular and onto the island of Korčula. To be honest I don’t know why I had waited so long.
Famous Legends of Pelješac and Korčula, that was the title of the excursion I was on with Gulliver Travel, just the headline intrigued me. Just to set the scene for those of you who have never been to this region of Dubrovnik. The Pelješac Peninsular stretches out like a green finger into the turquoise Adriatic Sea for around 40 miles, it is in fact the second longest peninsular in the whole of Croatia. A long, thin slice of land indented by a mountain range, the mountain runs like a spine through the centre of this green paradise.
Our day-trip started in the town of Ston. Located at the very joint of the peninsular with the mainland Ston has a rich and fascinating history, for a relatively small destination it has so much crammed in. The second longest defensive wall runs from one side of Ston to the other, you can even walk part of it, and then there are the salt pans that were so important in the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Yes, that’s the reason why they built such an impressive wall. “In the height of the Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries salt was almost as valuable as silver,” stated our friendly guide. We had a short break in Ston, enough time to explore and grab a coffee.
Back onto the coach and now we were entering the green heart of the peninsular. The views from the bus are wonderful, rolling vineyards cling to the mountain sides, on the left is the sea, and then it appeared again on the right. “It is probably safer to be driven than to drive,” I commented to English couple behind me. They knew exactly what I meant, the view was extremely distracting.
Orebić was our next destination where a boat was waiting to whisk us across the Korčula Channel to our island discovery.
Sometimes described in guide books as “Little Dubrovnik” Korčula seems to float on the Adriatic Sea. In fact the portrayal as Little Dubrovnik might be a little unfair, yes historic walls surrounded the old city, and yes terracotta roofs fill the skyline, and yes Korčula had an important role in the history of the whole region. But firstly there is a different feel about Korčula and secondly, and more importantly Korčula doest deserve the description “Little,” in any sense of the word.
The old city is a criss-cross of cobbled streets, a medieval labyrinth, and a city with a soul. “Korčula has had a rich and at times turbulent history,” added our guide as we entered the gate into the Old City.
A tour around the city, an introduction into the legend of Marco Polo’s influence on the city and the island and then some free time to explore the city by ourselves and an excellent lunch in one of the many restaurants, we would recommend the seafood. “It seems that everywhere we go we are met with amazing stories and breathtaking nature,” smiled the German couple whilst we enjoyed a cappuccino in the centre of town.
We spent around three hours in Korcula, but I get the feeling that we could have quite happily spent all day. Back onto our boat and the short trip across the channel where the coach was waiting for us. The organization was running like a Swiss clock.
A short drive back across the peninsular, this time with a view from the other window, and we stopped at a tradition family vineyard for a wine tasting. The family had lived in the same estate for centuries, generation after generation had produced wine and olive oil, these guys knew what they were doing, it certainly showed. We waved goodbye, loaded down with a bottle of red and a bottle of white, the perfect end to a perfect day. “We will remember this day for a long time,” concluded the German couple as we parted, again I couldn’t disagree with them.
By Mark Thomas
The Famous Legends of Pelješac and Korčula is a full-day excursion offered by the Gulliver Travel agency. For more information, including prices, dates and how to book, please visit the Gulliver Travel website here.
Our beautiful town has found its place on another list – a list of 18 places that every woman should visit by herself on the Refinery29.
These days many people decide to travel alone and these kind of trips are quite good for improving, as well as getting confidence. While picking the destinations for the article the author tought about range of factors such as safety, quality of solo activities and the likelihood of meeting other travelers.
It's no surprise that Dubrovnik has a lot to offer to solo travelers, in this case ladies, and that's why it found place among cities like Amsterdam, Bergen, Hong Kong, Verona and others.
- While the walled city makes a memorable appearance as the setting for King's Landing in Game of Thrones, it has a lot more to offer than Instagram backdrops for fans of the show. The seaport is home to some of the best-preserved city walls in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages. And what's behind them is equally enthralling – it's written in the article.