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.
It is open, after a six-year break the fish market in the Old Port of Dubrovnik has finally been reopened. The newly opened fish market, which will breathe some life back into the Old City, was opened by the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, yesterday.
"Six years ago, someone turned off the light, closed the door to say goodbye to the fish market. It seemed impossible to reach the suitable technical conditions, and although there is only a small number of fishermen, it is very important for the city to have this market in function because it marks the identity of the city. If we lose all urban elements, then we will lose people,” concluded the Mayor of Dubrovnik.
For centuries the fish market had been an important landmark, both as a source of fresh produce and as a meeting place, for the city and its inhabitants. Six years ago it was closed, mainly due to unsuitable safety conditions, but now after a lot of hard work and effort the fish market is up and running again.
And although the small population of the historic core may not be numerous enough to support such a market there could well be interest from the hundreds of guests renting rooms inside the city walls. Buying fish caught in the Adriatic Sea, literally within minutes of them being caught, and then sold in a historic market could, and probably should, become a tourist attraction as well as a source of fresh seafood for locals.
The Central Bureau of Statistics has published data on the external and internal migration of the Croatian population from 2009 to 2018, as well as data on migrations per counties from 2014 to 2018.
In 2018, 26,029 people moved from abroad to the Republic of Croatia and 39,515 people moved abroad. Therefore, the balance of migration of the Croatian population abroad was negative and amounted to -13,486, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Out of the total number of immigrants into the Republic of Croatia, 39.8 percent of the people moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and most of the total number of people leaving the country went to Germany, a massive 55 percent.
In 2018, 39,515 people moved abroad. Most of them were between the ages of 20 and 39 and most of them were from the City of Zagreb, followed by the Osijek-Baranja County and the Vukovar-Srijem County.
Source - Croatian Bureau of Statistics
Credit where credit is due. And this time from a service that is very often the butt of bad publicity. A reader of the newspaper Dubrovacki Vjesnik contacted them to praise the service provided by a taxi driver, although the reader wanted to remain anonymous the name and indeed firm of the taxi driver were give. So well done to the company Blue Taxi (Plavi Taxi) and the young taxi driver Ivo Martinovic.
A citizen suffering from a serious illness called the taxi company last night to drive him from his home to the General Hospital of Dubrovnik. The taxi driver was not only extremely friendly and helpful and drove him to the hospital, waited for him outside the hospital, and then drove him back home, but also he didn’t charge him for the service!
“He didn’t want to take one Kuna!” explained the man. He just said, "I know how it is when someone is severely ill. His actions were so kind that I almost felt like crying. I think he and his company deserve public praise!”
The newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will pay an official visit to Zagreb next week, reports the media outlet N1.
Von der Leyen will take on her new role as the European Commision President on the 1st of November when Jean-Claude Juncker will step down. She has repeatedly said that she will work to break down barriers between the larger EU members and the smaller ones. And as Croatia is the youngest member of the European family, becoming a full member in July 2013, it seems that she intends to honour this pledge by putting Croatia on the top of her “to visit” list.
Although the exact date of her visit has not been released to the press yet, Von der Leyen is expected to meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb, to discuss issues that would be the focus of Croatia's upcoming six-month presidency.
The UK has a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and tomorrow he will officially take up his role as the 77th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And Prime Minister Johnson is no stranger to Dubrovnik and the south of Croatia. Back in 2012 the then Mayor of London decided to take a family holiday in Neretva and Dubrovnik and was blown away by the nature and culture.
Describing the wider Dubrovnik region Johnson commented for The Telegraph that “The landscape was peachy: the sea was turquoise; the air was scented with myrtles and thyme; and a series of amazing islands lay stretched before us like a school of green-backed whales.”
In 2012 he stayed in the Villa Stolovi in Neretva, a luxurious five-bedroom villa with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea, complete with a wine cellar, swimming pool and tennis court.
However apart from being blown away at the beauty of Croatia Boris Johnson also had a few choice words at the time for Croatia’s European future and especially the introduction of the Euro as the official currency.
“The euro makes an absolute mockery of independence, self-determination – all the things so many Croats fought and died for. Sure, the tyranny of Brussels is not a violent one, and it is not as poisonous as the tyranny of Belgrade. It is a velvet kind of tyranny, but a tyranny none the less. Avoid the euro, my Croatian friends. In 10 years’ time I want to go back, order a bottle of superb red Dingac, and pay for it in Kuna,” wrote the new Prime Minister in an article in The Telegraph.
Clearly seven years ago his opinions about the EU and the Euro were leading him towards heading up Brexit. It will be interesting to see how Boris deals with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, in the future as he is a former MEP and a strong supporter of the whole European Union movement.
There are yachts, there are mega yachts, and then there is the Emir of Qatar’s yacht! Al Lusail set back the Emir a whopping $300 million when he purchased it back in 2016 and is the 24th longest private yacht in the world and it certainly dominated the Adriatic when it arrived in the Bay of Zupa yesterday.
Reported to be worth $2.5 billion the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, at 39 is the youngest sovereign in the world.
Rumours were abound that the billionaire Sheikh had arrived in Dubrovnik to cast his eye over investing into a hotel resort, with even a local politician suggesting he was here to inspect the Kupari resort.
Sheikh Tamim is the head of the Qatar Investment Authority which, apart from owning Qatar’s oil and gas interests, is also the owner of the luxury London store Harrods.
If the tourist season, as some claim is worse than last year, then the rent-a-car companies at the Dubrovnik Airport certainly aren’t feeling the pinch. Rent-a-car agencies at the airport are blooming, with more customers than ever before. Some estimates show that around 800 cars are being rented out every day, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik.
“The season is really very good. Every day we are renting out around 60 cars. We can report that we have had no difficulties with customers the parties, although we have had numerous problems with the infrastructure at the airport itself. We simply don’t have enough room. Before the reconstruction started they did not advise or take into account the needs of rent-a-car agencies. We do not have enough space for vehicles,” commented a rent-a-car agent in one of the major agencies.
Another fellow agent who works for a smaller agency at the airport added that the season is excellent, and that prices have come back to normal.
And a third agent commented, “This season may be a little better than last year, we have no right to complain. There are a lot of cars on the market, but also a lot of guests. True, no one gives the exact figures, but from the 20 agencies operating at the airport, I think that the larger have at least 150 rentals a day, and then the medium sized ones have between 40 and 80 rentals a day. And then the smaller agencies have between 15 and 20 rentals a day. The average number of vehicles rented is probably higher at the weekend than during the week, but roughly around 800 vehicles are rented out on a daily basis,” added a young rent-a-car worker.
“We have days when we rent around a dozen, but we have 60 reservations on weekends. You could say that we sometimes haven’t enough cars to rent out. I am sure that between 700 and 800 cars are rented out every day. Prices in the summer start from around 50 Euros for a smaller, compact car and most of our bookings come via the internet,” adds another agent.
And it would be true to say that prices vary massively. In the compact car section, we found a three-door VW Polo for 359 Kunas a day, and a Toyota Yaris at twice that price for 780 Kunas a day. In the winter prices are considerably lower.
As tourists often rely on GPS navigation systems and are not used to driving on the busy Dubrovnik roads the majority of the agents were in accord that the number of accidents is relatively low.
"Of course there are accidents, but considering how much traffic there is and how many cars we rent out it is a really negligible number. We would like to take this opportunity to comment on how British and Australians cope so well with driving on the opposite side of the road than their how countries. It's not so easy! We have clients who come into the car and do not even know how to operate the gear box, or where the clutch is and others who have limited experience of driving on European roads. Bur all in all they do very well and we have very little bad experiences,” concludes an agent.
Dubrovacki Vjesnik also found an agency who had a story from the other end of the scale. From the time one client rented a car in the rent-a-car agency to the time he called to say that he had completely scrapped the side of the rented Mercedes was only 13 minutes! Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident and such “express” accident are very rare. However, clients filling up at the petrol station with the wrong type of fuel is less rare.
Every week through the height of summer we are hitting the streets of Dubrovnik to discover what you, our visitors, think about the city as a tourist destination. This week we caught up with a young couple from San Lorenza in Argentina.
Marcus Venitez and Teresa Varene – Argentina
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
The most impressive is the walled Old City, a very beautiful city with the walls and the fortresses. In fact, I didn't really expect it, I knew about the sea and the islands but I didn’t expect to see so much history and culture in Dubrovnik.
What do you think about the prices?
Compared with Argentina the whole of Europe is expensive. However, Dubrovnik is cheaper than Western Europe and more expensive than Eastern Europe. We have come from Bosnia and the prices are certainly higher here, but compared with Italy or Spain the city is much cheaper. But the hostel was expensive, we were in a shared room and paid 45 Euros a night.
Are you satisfied with the level of service you have received?
Yes, everywhere, in the hostel, in bars and restaurants the level of service has been excellent. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness, you have a very clean and tidy city.
Is there something you would have liked to done in Dubrovnik but weren’t able to?
No, we caught the public buses around the city and they work very well. The only thing that we didn’t get to see was the island of Lokrum. We were looking forward to it but the ticket price was just too much for us. We couldn’t afford it. They wanted 20 Euros per person and that was out of our possibility. It’s a shame.
How long did you stay in Dubrovnik?
We stayed for two days in Dubrovnik and now we are going to Split by bus.