Friday, 28 February 2020
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.


An unusual sight in the Old City of Dubrovnik this afternoon as a swarm of bees invaded. Tourists reached for their cameras as the bees first flew in a circle above the historic facades and then collected on the stone wall of the Dominican Monastery.

It is unsure where the bees came from, or indeed why they collected on the wall of the monastery. “In all my years I have never seen anything like this, it looked like an invasion when they first appeared,” commented a local shop owner on the Stradun for The Dubrovnik Times.

Check out the video! 

bees dubrovnik


The bizarre weather in Dubrovnik this May, which has been a mix of bright sunshine, hail storms and torrential rains, looks set to come to an end as more settled weather is on the way. In fact according to long-term weather reports on the respected Croatia could be in for an extremely hot and dry summer.

This has been one of the wettest starts to May in Dubrovnik for a long time, with even a hail storm turning the cobbled streets of the Old City white. However over the next few days the weather will become more stable and slowly start to warm. The predication for the summer of 2016 is for extreme heat. “The heat in the southern Balkan Peninsula could result in the warmest summer in recent years," commented one of AccuWeathers Senior Meteorologists Alan Reppert.

Not only will it be a hot summer but also a dry one with the chances of drought and forest fires. “While storms bring relief from any intense heat in western and northern Europe, southern Europe will be sweating this summer as long stretches of above-normal temperatures and dry weather dominate,” writes AccuWeather.

rain maz dubrovnik

The scene in Dubrovnik yesterday - Photo by Tonci Plazibat 

Nature provides food for us to eat, minerals to enrich our bodies, fuel to keep us warm, views to warm our souls and work, lots and lots of work. At this time of the year I think the most sought after worker in Dubrovnik, well certainly out in the rolling countryside, are grass cutters. If you are even left out of work my advice would be to buy a decent grass trimmer and put an advert in a local newspaper – I Can Cut All Kinds of Grass. Believe me you will be inundated with calls!

Summer is here and we have moved to our summer residence to make way for tourists. Most of the jobs have been done but the one I have left to last, the one I always leave till last, is to attack the grass! It has grown to the size of a small child; we have lost our dogs a few times already. The worst thing about this overgrown meadow is that it is mainly made up of bamboo. If you have even tried to cut bamboo then you know how I feel. It has the consistency of an oak tree and the flexibility of rubber.

“Rather than attempt to cut this why don’t we just get a couple of pandas and let them gorge themselves for a week,” my suggestion fell on deaf ears as my wife once again reminded me that the bamboo jungle needed attention.

“I don’t think my grass trimmer will be able to cut through this forest,” this was my signal that we needed to call someone to help. This was when we were met with the most sought after profession in May in Dubrovnik. “Sorry but I have tonnes of work can I call you next week,” answered the first point of call…he never called back. “I have at least two weeks of work in front of me, you should have called earlier,” the second was just as busy. “If I get time I will cut it for you, but I can’t promise,” needless to say that promise was never fulfilled.

There were no excuses left, I would have to dust off my trimmer and get stuck into the panda food myself. Now if I had one of those petrol driven trimmers it wouldn’t have been too much off a problem, but I don’t, I have a small electric version that is designed for manicuring wafer thin grass. I looked at my trimmer then at the bamboo field, I almost felt like saying sorry to the trimmer. Instead of a sharp blade a thin wire hung from my trimmer, this was going to be a challenge.

“Will you be able to cut anything with that,” asked my wife. I would probably struggle cutting hair with this let alone a solid bamboo. I wasn’t wrong! My cable broke almost immediately, and again, and again and again. I needed to change the plan, I had succeeded in cutting a meter squared on the jungle and used all my cable up. “I am going to buy a thicker cable,” I waved to my wife as I set off to the shop. This was a “hero or zero” idea! The trimmer had been designed to take up to a certain size of cable and no thicker, I needed something twice the recommended size, hero or zero!

Wrapping the extra thick cable into the trimmer I already had visions of the electric motor disintegrating. “That looks a little too big for your trimmer,” said my wife, she wasn’t wrong. “Either the trimmer will spin around or I will spin around the trimmer,” I replied. BANG, THWACK, BANG, THWACK. Lumps of bamboo flew up in all directions, this was a massacre. BANG, THWACK, BANG, THWACK. I felt like Freddie Kruger. I was winning.

“What’s that smell,” bellowed my wife above the buzzing of the trimmer. I looked down to see a whiff of smoke coming from the trimmer. That can’t be a good sign. BANG, THWACK, BANG, THWACK. But I was so excited that I was finally destroying the bamboo that I didn’t want to stop. If the trimmer catches fire then I will start a fire in the bamboo and get rid of it that way. One way or another the bamboo is coming down!

I rested the trimmer; the smoke had died down, the ultra thick cable was still alive, I was in business. After an hour or so I had flattened the field, I had also used all my cable. Unfortunately I was left with another problem; the very bottoms of the bamboo shoots had refused to be destroyed. The garden now had hundreds of bamboo traps, which dug into my feet as I walked. It reminded me of those traps that the Japanese army left for the Americans as they made their way across the South Pacific islands. Razor sharp bamboo designed to cut through flesh, and it seems that I wasn’t the only one to notice this similarity, my dogs refused to step one foot on the minefield. “Maybe we should have adopted a family of pandas after all,” was the conclusion for the day.

After the long and thorough winter preparations the Dubrovnik Sharks, the city’s American Football club, will travel to Zagreb this weekend to play their final tournament of the season. This weekend will be the decider for the Sharks, if they perform well and succeed in attaining positive results then they have a chance to enter the finals of the Croatian Flag Football League. This tournament will decide who will be the final four clubs of this year’s league.

The tournament in Zagreb will see the Sharks play against the Osijek Cannons, Bjelovar Greenhorns, Zapresic Saints and the hosts Zagreb Thunder. It will certainly be a tough weekend for the Dubrovnik Sharks but we wish them all the best of luck and hope that they will return to Dubrovnik on Sunday evening as a member of the final four.

The club have announced that all the results, including photos, will be posted on their official Facebook site and would like to take this opportunity to thank Direct Booker for their support.

Go Sharks!


Photo by Adriatic Images 

Tourism is a key industry for Croatia accounting for around a fifth of the country's total GDP. According to statistics from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics for March 2016 the number of domestic tourists increased by 6% which led to an increase of 20.8% in the total number of tourists for this period.

The number of domestic overnights edged up 4% in the review period increasing the total number of tourist overnights by 25.5%. As far as foreign tourists are concerned, most visitors arriving in Croatia in March were visitors from Germany and Austria followed by visitors from Italy, Slovenia, UK and the Republic of Korea. The highest number of overnight stays were realised in hotels.

According to the figures of the Central Bureau of Statistics for March 2016 slightly more than 45% of the registered businesses in Croatia were inactive while among the active businesses 37.8% of them do not have any employees.

At the end of March this year 244,040 companies, enterprises and cooperatives as well as institutions, bodies and organizations were registered in Croatia. Approximately 54.6% of them were active in that period.

The largest share and the highest activity were seen in trade companies (63% active entities). At the end of March statistics showed that 37.8% of active businesses had no employees.

The largest share of active business entities with one or nine employees was 51.2% whilst the share of active businesses with between 10-49 employees was 8.2%. The share of medium-sized companies with 50-249 employees was 2.3% and only 0.4% were large business entities with more than 250 employees.

The structure of the active registered corporations by ownership types shows that private ownership is the most common in Croatia. By the end of March 81.9% of the registered corporations were in private property and only 0.8% were under the ownership of the state.

According to the CBS figures at the end of March 78.197 business entities were in crafts and free lances.

The bizarre May weather in Dubrovnik this year continued last night when a heavy thunderstorm brought torrential rain and hail, yes hail, to the streets of the city.

At around 3.30am the heavens above Dubrovnik opened and hail fell turning the streets white. Some parts of the city actually flooded as the rain thundered down. The National Weather Service reported that in 8 hours an amazing 44 litres of rain per square metre, which was a national record.

Seeing the cobbled streets of the Old City of Dubrovnik covered in hail in the middle of May was, to the say the least, unusual.

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Many videos were made about Dubrovnik, but it seems that we can never get bored of them. Couple of weeks ago video ''Dubrovnik in timelapse'' was published on Youtube. It shows amazing scenes filmed in and around the beautiful Old City in only 54 seconds. Maybe that's why it's so captivating! Take a look and be ready to press ''repeat'' couple more times.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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