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.
Bored of the same old restaurants, with the same familiar menus and the same tired interiors...looking for a gastronomic adventure with a difference. We just might have the solution, a blind supper club. On the 18th of September at 7 o’clock this first ever blind supper club will be held.
Not so much a meal, more a dining experience, the concept of a blind supper club might not be one you are familiar with. So to bring you up to speed, firstly the location is different to what you might expect; it is like a private club and definitely not a restaurant. You could be dining on the roof of a building, in a vineyard or in a cave. It’s blind because the menu of what you will taste isn’t revealed until the very last moment, and sometimes not until you sit down. Although this concept is new to Dubrovnik it is certainly popular in the US and the UK.
It is called the Gypsy Table and it will bring together the top culinary talent in Croatia to prepare the best locally-sourced products available, served up in the most beautiful and unique locations in the country all for a great cause…charity. Each future event will have a Croatian charity as the beneficiary of a portion of the proceeds from the event. What makes this even more special, is that the location will remain a secret until shortly prior to the event.
This first ever Dubrovnik “Gypsy Table” is being organised by Croatian-American chef and adventure diner Richard Gruica aka Foodzilla and the head chef of the elite Dubrovnik eatery “Stara Loza” Damir Saric. Judging by this duos CV’s we can expect a night of creative cuisine.
“We wanted to explore the possibilities of a new gastronomic experience in Dubrovnik and a blind supper club ticks all the boxes,” explained Saric to The Dubrovnik Times. “Who knows where we will organise supper clubs, we have plenty of ideas but for now we don’t want to give too much away,” said the head chef. A Secret Location! A big part of attending a Gypsy Table dinner is the excitement of the unknown. Not only will the menu be a surprise, but the location as well. Guests will receive the information on the exact location up to 48 hours prior to the event. Maybe it’s a candlelit dinner in the courtyard of an ancient monastery or communal table atop a secluded hilltop. One thing for sure–it will be totally unique and an evening to remember.
The beneficiary for the dinner is the Žarkovica Aninal Shelter. The event will consist of an all-inclusive feast featuring amazing edible delights, craft beer, wonderful wines, hand crafted cocktails, music and much more. Tickets are 50 Euro per person or 90 Euro per pair. Tickets can be purchased directly at gypsytable.eventbrite.com or via gypsytable.com Tickets will not be sold to walks up and this will be strictly prohibited.
And according to the team details of the next Gypsy Table Pop-Up will be announced at the conclusion of the first dinner, which will take part in the Dubrovnik Good Food Festival.
Ryanair is making the Dalmatian city of Zadar a mini-hub, the low cost airline already operates to thirteen European destinations from the city and has now announced a new destination for 2017.
From March Ryanair will add Glasgow to their Zadar operations, with seasonal flights which will run twice a week. Tickets are not yet available for purchase on the airline’s website.
Ryanair predicts that it will handle around 315,000 passengers on flights to Zadar this year. This is still no news as to whether Dubrovnik will become another Croatian destination for the budget airline.
Dubrovnik is the absolute magnet for cruise ships in Croatia. According to new data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics a total of 395 cruise ships arrived in Croatia waters from the period of January to the end of July and over 63 percent of these ships came to Dubrovnik.
The average stay of a cruise ship is unsurprisingly very short, just two days in Croatian waters, and from the beginning of the year to the end of July 536,953 passengers arrived in Croatia. Compared to last year the number of cruise ships has increased by 2.9 percent and the number of passengers by 3.8 percent.
By the end of this year a total of 882,651 cruise ship passengers are expected to arrive in Dubrovnik on 636 cruise ships.
Cruise ship movements in Croatia - Croatian Bureau of Statistics
Croatia decides today in the general election. At seven o’clock this morning polling stations opened across the country for 3.74 million voters to decide the 151 members of parliament. Nearly 7,000 polling stations will be open until seven o’clock tonight and the preliminary results are expected to be announced at around 10 o’clock.
This is the second time that Croatian voters have been called to parliamentary elections in the past ten months after the previous government collapsed after just five months in charge. And according to pools it could be another close result with a possible coalition predicted.
The opinion polls show the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and their four party coalition leading and predicted to win 60 of the 151 seats. Whilst the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) forecast to win slightly less, meaning a coalition looks likely.
The former government, a HDZ/MOST coalition, collapsed after internal fractions and arguments after the political direction. The coalition started their short appointment on a wave of reform and change, however after five months of infighting reforms were still on the backburner.
Voters have been reminded that they are not allowed to use cell phones in the voting booths to take photos of their ballot papers.
A new world tourism trend has appeared in Croatia. It is all about walking holiday tours throughout Croatia and one of them was walked by an English couple who were more than happy to share their experience.
Rob and Jess Criswell from Manchester, UK, cycled in Istria from Motovun to Groznjan, and then walked to Roc and Ucka, and all the way to Moscenicka Draga on the Liburnia Riviera. ''We started from Motovun where we stayed for two days. The first day we rented e-bicycles and travelled 65 kilometres. We stopped in Groznjan where a jazz festival was being held, and then the next day we walked to Roc, from which we went on foot about 28 kilometres to Ucka. We'll stay in Moscenicka Draga for a few days and then we are heading to Pula. But we'll take a taxi to the largest Istrian city'', says Rob Criswell.
The English couple, in their early 50s, belong to a specific type of tourists who visit their desired destinations on foot. This type of active tourism has been popular in Europe for a very long time now, whilst it has becoming a trend in Croatia in the last 10-15 years. The English couple booked their vacation in Istria and Kvarner over the English agency Onfootholidays which organizes walking tours throughout Europe. It is a ''self-guided'' tour, a new trend where walkers travel by themselves with no guides but with detailed maps and notes provided for carefree walking to various paths and destinations.
The Croatian tour organized by the English agency includes forest and hiking trails from Motovun to Moscenicka Draga. The walking tours start in the late spring, whilst during August these tours are not organized due to the high temperatures. The price of the six-day tour organized by the Onfootholidays is £575 or a little more than 5,000 Kunas per person.
The Criswells from Manchester were the first group of walkers after the peak season. ''Everything was very well organized, the accommodation was provided as well as maps and directions with information on towns we planned to visit'', said the English couple. They also confirmed that walkers, when reached places to stay the night, enjoyed lovely food and excellent wines.
''We live in a city so this was a great anti-stress therapy for us. We enjoyed the landscape which is ever changing and absolutely beautiful. Nature is pristine and unspoiled, whilst towns like Motovun, Hum and Roc are really something special. This was exactly what we had expected, even more than that'', concluded Jess Criswell, the walker from Manchester.
This must go down as our weird story of the week, if not the month. A luxury cruise ship “Sverige Non Pasaran” has been rented by a group of rich Swedish ladies and they are currently travelling the globe. They have been cruising for around a month and on Monday they will arrive at their final destination, Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the rich Swedish ladies will search for a Bosnian man to marry.
Yes, it all sounds rather strange, but the cruise ships carrying 2,000 unmarried Swedish ladies is, as reported by the Bosnian media, on the way to Neum.
The website sarajevo365.com states that the men don’t have to been good-looking or rich, apparently these Swedish ladies have heard that men from Bosnia are full of “male pride” which is exactly what they are looking for.
I guess we will have to wait to Monday to see if these rumours are true, it certainly brought a smile to our faces anyway.
The Brad Pitt and Croatia love affair seems to be continuing with news that the Hollywood star is considering constructing a film studio in the country. After the star of Mr and Mrs Smith visited Croatia a couple of weeks back for a flying trip to visit the Dalmatian coastal city of Sibenik where it is believed he will invest into a real estate project comes more breaking news.
“It is true that Brad Pitt has proposed building a film studio in Rijeka,” commented the actor and friend of the Pitt family, Rade Serbedzija. In fact according to reports in the Croatian press it was Serbedzija who persuaded Brad Pitt to invest in Croatia. It appears that Serbedzija, known for his numerous roles in blockbuster movies such as Batman Begins and Mission Impossible II, had already discussed with Brad Pitt the idea of building a film studio four years ago.
“Brad then I talked about the constructing a film studio in the wider region and I proposed the city of Rijeka,” said Serbedzija. “I told him that Rijeka would be a fantastic choice for several reasons, it is an urban centre but near forests, the sea, island and historic buildings, and he was very interested,” added Serbedzija. The actor has even spoke to the Rijeka city officials about the plan, but no specific location was mentioned. Brad Pitt has his own production company “Plan B Entertainment” Serbedzija has brought many A-list actors to Croatia already including Tom Cruise, Vanessa Redgrave, Ralph Fiennes and Angelina Jolie.
After Brad Pitts recent visit to Sibenik he allegedly described Croatia as “the most beautiful country I have ever seen.”
The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale will be held on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October in the Lazareti complex just outside of the eastern entrance to the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC plans to raise funds to assist in purchasing an outdoor wheelchair swing.
And the DFC have asked for donations for the second hand sale, from Wednesday the 28th of September to Friday the 30th of September your donations can be left at the Lazareti Art Workshop. As the DFC said in a statement “We accept adult, children and baby winter and/or summer clothing, shoes, accessories (jewellery, hats, bags etc.), household items (dishes, glasses, vases, paintings, small appliances etc.) As always, items must be in good condition and working order.”
The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle’s mission and vision is to actively serve the community by providing services that contribute to the health and vitality of the greater Dubrovnik Region. The organization’s goal is to provide friendship and understanding between its members and the Dubrovnik community at large by organizing cultural and social events. The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle engages in fundraising activities for the benefit of its community projects.
So save the dates – Dubrovnik Foreign Circle second hand sale 1st and 2nd of October.