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.
“If this is winter then what will summer look like,” commented on local of the Old City of Dubrovnik today as warm sunshine poured down on the stone façades and clear blue skies brought a bright day with temperatures in the high teens. Whilst large parts of Europe, especially northern Europe, are fighting storms and freezing temperatures the whole of the Dubrovnik region has had an extremely mild winter.
And is clearly isn’t only Dubrovnik that is soaking up the Vitamin D. Today one the most famous beach in Split, the Bacvice beach, an informal match of five-a-side football broke out on the sand. These games continue through most of the year, weather permitting, and today was clearly a great day for beach football.
Zlatan Leko caught the action from the Bacvice beach today and it certainly shows the mild weather that the Croatian coast is enjoying.
Check out the video below
The Croatian Ministry of the Interior and police agencies from Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed at a meeting in Sarajevo on Thursday to strengthen cooperation in combating illegal migration, including better coordination and data exchange, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
"Our task is to improve cooperation in all our areas of activity on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially after a recent meeting between the Croatian minister of the interior and the security minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This primarily relates to improving the readmission system and joint patrols, without the intention of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming a hotspot for illegal migrants," the Croatian deputy chief of police, Jozo Suker, said.
He asked the Bosnian partners for all the necessary assistance in investigating allegations of human rights violations and unlawful treatment of migrants by Croatian border police.
Bosnian border police chief Zoran Galic said that new models of cooperation were needed in addressing the growing migratory pressure on the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours.
He said that last year Bosnian border police had stopped 13,251 people from entering the country illegally, but added that the police could no longer cope with the growing pressure from migrants, all the more so because one police officer guards 25 kilometres of the border.
"That's why we are doing all we can and are setting new models of cooperation to act as effectively as possible in dealing with illegal migration," Galic said.
Slobodan Ujic, the head of the Service for Foreigners' Affairs, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina honoured the readmission agreement with Croatia.
"More than 85 percent of applications sent by Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina have been granted," Ujic said, adding that the summary readmission procedure with Croatia was well functioning and that they were planning to use this model in cooperation with Serbia and Montenegro.
Five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of police equipment to be donated to Bosnia.
Earlier on Thursday, the government in Zagreb decided to donate police equipment to Bosnia and Herzegovina following requests by the country's authorities for assistance in tackling growing cross-border crime. Croatia will donate five thermal vision cameras and 198 sets of equipment.
Later on Thursday, Bosnia's security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic thanked Croatia for the donation, saying that it would help make the Bosnian police agencies more efficient.
The largest pizzeria chain in the world, Domino Pizza, is planning its first ever Croatian restaurant this spring. Zagreb will be home to the first ever Domino in Croatia, and it will be located close to the Sheraton Hotel in the heart of the capital.
Domino Pizza plans to open their first Croatian restaurant in April or May this year, according to a report today in poslovni.hr
The pizza chain currently has over 16,300 outlets in 85 different countries and the Croatian branch is the brainchild of Mihael Sviben from All About Pizza and his business partner Nils David Gornall.
Speaking to poslovni.hr Sviben commented that “We started this story a little over a year ago, and we are working with an investor who already has Domino's Pizza locations in Japan, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Croats love pizza, and we offer an American style of pizza that is completely different from anything currently available in our market.”
According to him, the key to the success of Domino's Pizza besides quality is the speed of delivery, which will be a maximum of 30 minutes. “The location is being remodelled and we plan to open another one by the end of the year and continue our expansion in Croatia,” added Sviben. However no information was provided as to where future Domino Pizza restaurants would actually be situated in Croatia.
Could we also soon see a Domino Pizza restaurant opening in Dubrovnik? So far Dubrovnik has been unattractive to major restaurant chains, including fast food and coffee outlets, mainly due to the fact that even though the city is a magnet for tourists during the summer months the limited population makes business for these large chains unfeasible throughout the winter months. Whereas major brands such as McDonalds, KFC and Subway all have operations in many Croatian cities, Dubrovnik has yet to attract one such brand.
The appeal from the Society of Architects of Dubrovnik, the Association of Croatian Architects, the Croatian Chamber of Architects and the Society of Art Historians of Croatia was rejected, requesting the protection of the Pelegrin Hotel in Kupari on the basis of new scientific knowledge.
The appeal of the Conservation Department in Dubrovnik was also rejected, stating, among other things: "the high valorisation of the Pelegrin Hotel in the context of modernity makes it necessary to make a detailed architectural snapshot of the existing state of affairs before the beginning of any interventions at the Pelegrin Hotel according to the adopted methodology for documenting cultural assets."
According to the investment plans, the construction of a new hotel is planned at the position of the existing Pelegrin Hotel, and at the position of the Goričina Hotel a tourist settlement.
Dubrovnik is widely regarded as one of the most romantic cities in the world. With its stunning stone architecture, glinting turquoise seas and panoramic views the city is a magnet for international marriage proposals and weddings every year.
So with the most romantic day of the year on the doorstep where can you take your loved one for that extra special dreamy view. We have chosen the top five most romantic spots in the city.
If you were thinking of popping the question on the 14th of February this list might give you some ideas.
On the top of the Srd Mountain – commanding views over the Old City, the islands and the endless Adriatic Sea this view will blow you away.
Lovrijenac Fortress – this ancient fortress might have been the scene for bloody battles in the Game of Thrones serial but it also has a much more romantic side.
Porporela – the breakwater that protects the Old City from high seas is also a quiet spot to be with your loved one.
Gradac park – one of the oldest public parks in the city this tranquil and green park has romantic paths and wondrous views.
Stradun – the heart of the Old City and the most romantic street in the world.
Hotel Kazbek became the first hotel in Croatia to join the global cage-free initiative and has completely eliminated eggs from cage breeding from its whole menu.
“Hotel Kazbek commitment to the cage-free initiative will have a positive impact on animal welfare and sustainable food sourcing at both the local and global level,” commented the five-star Dubrovnik hotel last year and is pushing forward with its sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Whilst many hotels have been slow to catch up on the “green” side of doing business Hotel Kazbek is an example of how the tourism industry can work hand in hand with sustainability. Only one other hotel in Croatia, Hotel Millennium in Osijek, has so far joined this worthy cause.
“Hotel Kazbek is committing to sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs (shell, powdered and liquid eggs) throughout hotel by the end of 2025. Working with Udruga Pobjede, a member of Open Wing Alliance, the initiative is part of an overall goal to source only cage-free eggs across the entire global portfolio by 2025,” added Hotel Kazbek.
Initiated by The Humane League, the Open Wing Alliance brings member organizations together to create a unified front in a campaign to free egg-laying hens from cages.
On the 18th of February a new Croatian President will be inaugurated and the reign of Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic as President will come to an end as Zoran Milanovic becomes the fifth president since Croatia became an independent country in 1990.
Grabar-Kitarovic (51) became the fourth Croatian President on the 18th of February 2015 and this week she completed her final foreign trip as the head of state when she visited Slovenia. It has been an extremely busy five years for Grabar-Kitarovic. And according to information provided by the Office of President to N1 she certainly filled her diary during her mandate as President.
World Cup in Russia was a highlight of President's five-year mandate - Photo Wikipedia
Here is a breakdown of exactly what President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic did during her time in the top political role in Croatia from February 2015 to February 2020:
- She carried out 51 visits within the Republic of Croatia. Of which 31 were official state visits and 20 working visits.
- She received 105 foreign and senior officials at her office.
- Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic made foreign 140 trips, travelling on 71 official visits and 69 working trips outside of Croatia.
- She received 14,081 official letters and petitions.
- During her mandate she received 1,930 gifts.
- Her office organised 18 Open Door Days.
- By the end of 2019 she had made 1,706 decisions on awarding decorations to citizens.
- She carried out 234 different programs inside of Croatia.
All the signs from Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic suggest that she will now, after five years serving as the President, take a break from politics and assume more of a behind the scenes role. There are even suggestions that she will continue her career outside of Croatia. And as she has already held leading positions outside of the country, such as the Croatian ambassador to the United States and the assistant secretary general of NATO for Public Diplomacy, it would come as no surprise that she finds a new role in the US or indeed Canada where she started her diplomatic career.
The summer season is just around the corner and more and more international airlines are offering amazing flight deals to Dubrovnik.
The latest airline to release crazy prices is Air Baltic on flights between the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, and Dubrovnik. The Latvian owned airline is offering return tickets for as little as 120 Euros. The flight time is around 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Air Baltic will start flights to Dubrovnik from Vilnius on the 2nd of May this year and will operate flights twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, until the 24th of October.
Check out the Air Baltic website here