Sunday, 21 October 2018
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.


Once again the citizens of Dubrovnik have gathered together as one in support of a good cause. Yesterday on the Stradun hundreds of people collected as they responded to a humanitarian action to raise funds for children with disabilities. The action was aimed at raising awareness of the problems that people with disabilities face in today’s world and was organised by the Dubrovnik society “Dva Skalina.”

Sports clubs, war veterans, associations, firefighters, police, artists, musicians, tour guides, in fact people from every walk of life came together in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday.


Cake sale in front of Sponza Palace - All photos Branka Mumalo

Together with this action are the association “Together to Health” and the association for Down Syndrome of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County the program yesterday aimed to raise funds for to equip a custom-made playground in front of the Centre for Children with Disabilities.

A cake sale was held in front of the Sponza Palace and in front of the St. Blaise Church there was an entertainment program featuring folklore ensembles, dance and song.


As part of this two-day event, which the organizers called "Prove that together we can do anything,” parents and children with disabilities will be able to go on a boat ride today from Gruz to Hotel Admiral where they will be greeted with a welcome drink and snacks.

For all of you who weren’t able to participate yesterday but still want to help you can donate directly to the Dva Skalina association – Account Number - HR7924070001100305036 (with the indication: for the playground).


Dubrovnik is the Croatian city with the best quality of life and Varaždin is the best choice for business. An award ceremony was held in Šibenik for the gala award of the best cities in Croatia, an event organised by Hanza Media, Ipsos Agency and the website Gradonač Hundreds of Croatian city leaders attended the event which was also attended by the Minister of Development and EU Funds, Gabrijela Žalac.

On accepting the award, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković commented that “the prize confirms the slogan of the city administration 'Dubrovnik a city according to its citizens' and added that the next goal was to provide apartments for our young families. Because in Dubrovnik, it is almost impossible to buy an apartment.

Whilst the Mayor of Varaždin stated that “This is the reward of Varaždin entrepreneurs.”


Photo - HANZA Media 

Dubrovnik won the award for the Croatian city with the best quality of life for a large city, whilst Poreč won in the category for medium-sized cities and Novigrad Istarski in the category of small cities.

The Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Jutarnji List, Goran Ogurlic, said that this selection had been a very long and drawn out process because the voting committee insisted on strict criteria for the awards. In the final selection a total of 41 cites were entered with some of them competing for several awards.

List of winner cities by category

The best cities for quality of life

Small town - Novigrad Istrian
Medium sized city - Poreč
Large city - Dubrovnik

The best cities for business

Small town - Krk
Medium sized city - Sveta Nedelja
Large city - Varaždin

The Best Cities for Education, Demography and Social Policy

Small town - Pag
Medium sized city - Umag
Large city - Čakovec

Winner of "Best Smart City Solutions and Practices" Award - Rijeka

Going on holiday to Oman and fancy a burek? The Croatian bakery Mlinar has opened a bakery and café in the capital of Oman, Muskat and are continuing their expansion across the world.

“The new Mlinar Caffe is also open in Muscat, in the Sultanate of Oman, on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the Muscat Grand Mall, one of the largest shopping centres in Oman. Now visitors and residents will also have the opportunity to taste Croatian bakery products that are already present on numerous world markets,” commented Croatia’s largest bakery chain on their Facebook page.


Mlinar now has bakeries in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Pakistan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. And as the leading company in the Croatian bakery industry, Mlinar produces over 170 million products for the domestic and world market per year.

oman bakery

“And where do I go to catch the bus home?” I questioned my wife over the mobile from my office. Yes, I am seeing another side of Dubrovnik transportation, one that I rarely see, I am a bus passenger. For those of you that rarely use public transport buses are those big orange vehicles with numbers on the front. And my “stallion” for the past week has been the trusty number 10.

Right from the start I am not riding the bus because I am trying to make less traffic on the roads of Dubrovnik, although that would be a noble reason, and I am not catching the bus because I am attempting to lower my C02 emissions, again a noble excuse, no I am passenger out of need. My car decided to die on me, I haven’t held the funeral just yet as the car doctor is breathing life back into it, so I have been patiently waiting at bus stops all over the city and beyond.

As you have probably already guessed I don’t usually catch buses. So these past ten days or so has been a new experience. “How was it?” joked my wife. “It smells of body odour and garlic,” I answered with a smile. Thankfully it isn’t the middle of August, the stench of body odour must be pungent then.

There are still a few things that don’t make any sense. If I buy a ticket in the city for 15 Kunas I can ride around on as many different buses as I want for an hour. But if I pay 3 Kunas more when coming from Župa my journey is limited to that journey alone. I am guessing that it is a question of all the boroughs agreeing to finance equally the share of the journey, but you would have thought this could have been sorted out a long time ago.

And why, oh why can’t someone find a solution for the poor tourists who sit on the number 10 from Cavtat trying to get to the Old City and not knowing where to get off the bus. They are left with a driver, if he is in the mood, shouting “Old Town” at the top of his lungs to know when to get off. And then they are left on Ilijina Glavica looking left and right but no sign of any ancient walls to be found. “Couldn’t they just put an electronic display above the driver to let people know what stop is next,” said a fellow passenger to me. “It would make sense,” I replied. “Why don’t you ask the Mayor,” the pensioner added.

Yes, I have had a lot of people coming up to me on the bus, mostly just to say “How are you Englez” or “I don’t see you on buses very often,” but some have also been offering all sorts of advice. “Couldn’t they just put some extra buses on when the children finish school?” said one kind looking old man to me. Again that seems to make perfect sense.

Most of the time the buses have been “standing room only” and on a few occasions we have had to drive straight past people waving desperately at bus stops. One time we were so full that I imagined us having to get out and push the bus up one particularly steep hill. If you want to know the real situation, then it is good to get up close and personal.

One thing that has been bothering me, really getting under my skin, is young people not giving up their seats to the elderly or to mothers with children. I haven’t sat down on a journey yet. But the amount of poor manners from children and young adults is shocking. Where are they learning their manners and common decency?

And by far the most bizarre situation was catching a bus with wooden seats and Wi-Fi! How surreal is that?!? Old school meets modern technology. I can surf and check my emails but at the same time my backside is slowly going to sleep on a wooden seat. “Your car is finished and ready for you to pick up,” said my friendly mechanic down the phone line. Thank God, although at the same time I going to miss letting someone else drive me around.

“A bus ride is like being in another world,” once wrote the American novelist J.A. Redmerski. Yes, a world filled with garlic, uncomfortable seats, unclear prices, bad ventilation and poor timings. Thanks Libertas see you in a few years and in the meantime listen to your passengers.

From the beginning of this year until the end of August the number of cruise ships in Croatian seas increased by 4.6 percent compared to the same period from last year.

In the first eight months of the year the number of passengers disembarking rose by 12.5 percent according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. In total during the mentioned period there were 451 cruise ship arrivals carrying around 686 passengers.

Out of a total of 451 cruises, most trips were realized in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (55.9%) and the Split-Dalmatian County (24.0%), both these counties accounted for almost 80 percent of all cruise ship arrivals in Croatia.

And somewhat unsurprisingly Dubrovnik received the most cruise ships with 346 arrivals, followed by Split with 166 arrivals and Zadar with 83.

The explosive new trailer for Robin Hood has been released and Dubrovnik stars front and centre. This all-action blockbuster stars Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Oscar award winning Jamie Foxx as Little John and is step to be released on the 21st of November this year.

“Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance,” states Lionsgate Movies.


Aerial view of the Stradin in Robin Hood - Screenshot 


The latest and quite possibly most explosive ever Robin Hood movie filmed was recorded largely in Dubrovnik back in early 2017 and was the last Hollywood blockbuster to be filmed in the city. Directed by Otto Bathurst the movie was mostly shot in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik with the main street and many of the side streets transformed from the “Pearl of the Adriatic” to medieval Nottingham.

The free flowing action movie has a host of big names, including Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, and Jamie Dornan. And although he only filmed in Dubrovnik for one afternoon the heartthrob star of 50 Shades of Grey left a mark on the city as his photos from the ancient walled city soon went viral.

After the global success of Game of Thrones and The Last Jedi can we expect even more movie fans to visit Dubrovnik in the future to see the set of Robin Hood.

Dubrovnik will have another flight connection this winter as the tourist season slowly but surely pushes into the off season. For the first time ever Dubrovnik will be connected to Poland this winter with the Polish national airline, LOT, confirming that they will fly direct from Warsaw to Dubrovnik throughout the winter months.

“The Dubrovnik Tourist Board is working hard on extending the season into the winter months and this is clear from our slogan – Dubrovnik A City For All Seasons,” commented the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlašić to The Dubrovnik Times.


This new line from LOT started flying in May this year with six flights a week. And it is now extended to the entire winter flight schedule from November 2018 until the end of March 2019. On this line in the winter period there will be four flights a week, or more precisely - Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“This winter Dubrovnik will have direct flights connections with seven European cities throughout the winter, never before have we had so many flights through the winter. LOT will fly for the first time to Dubrovnik in the winter, four times a week, and this connection is important not only for the tourists that will come from Poland but also for connecting flights through Warsaw,” added Vlašić.

Apart from Warsaw with LOT airlines Dubrovnik will also have direct flights this winter to London, Barcelona, Rome, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Madrid. And as Vlašić emphasized the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, along with Dubrovnik Airport, is working intensively to attract even more flights for next year.

LOT has already opened reservations and tickets sales online and according to information bookings are going well. A single ticket from Dubrovnik to Warsaw starts at around 70 Euros and the flight time is two hours.

This Sunday, the 7th of October, a sea-cleaning action will take place in Dubrovnik in co-operation with the Dubrovnik Diving Club and the City of Dubrovnik.

The seabed from the Orsan Sailing Club to the Diving Club Dubrovnik will be cleared of waste materials from 10.00 am to midday on Sunday. The Dubrovnik Public Cleaning company will then collect the waste and dispose of it correctly.

Before the end of this year two such cleaning actions are planned, in Zaton and the Old City Harbour. And similar such cleaning operations are carried out throughout the year to preserve the clarity of the sea water and to protect the biodiversity of the underwater world in the Dubrovnik region.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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