Saturday, 15 June 2024
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.


The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. It took seventeen years to come around, but patience is a virtue, and I have been very virtuous. To be honest I never thought that the day would actually arrive; I was the most surprised person in the country when it did arrive. Yes the day has arrived that Croatia has a Prime Minister who speaks worse Croatian than I do.

Well that’s probably being a little hard on Mr. Tim, let’s say that our levels are on a par, it is just that I have a Dubrovnik accent, or I should say an English/Dubrovnik accent. I wonder if there is space in Tim's Team for another speaker of broken Croatian....over here Mr. Tim.

I don’t know about you but I can understand Tim perfectly when he delivers speeches. The media has been falling over themselves to poke fun at his errors and misuse of words, even the strange accent, but for me he is as clear as a bell. I can even hear the Canadian twang behind the Croatian, I’m loving it. And according to his Wikipedia site Mr. Tim and I have something else in common, “He is the first non-partisan Croatian Prime Minister,” I mean the non-partisan part of that sentence by the way.

How successful can a “non-partisan” be in politics, it will be a tough and rough ride for Mr. Tim because the odds are definitely not in his favour.

I have been scratching my head to try and remember a successful “independent” politician, whilst there are a few the vast majority were voted for in an election, unlike Mr. Tim, and then they mostly never reached any political heights. Although I believe that at certain George Washington was elected as president of the US whilst not being affiliated with any political party. Although you also have to consider that Washington was the first president, and people actually voted for him, so that’s not really helpful in motivating our Croatian/Canadian.

But wait there is another example closer to home. The current President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, I believe is also an independent, although she again was voted for and even had some kind of political background. Oh, Mr. Tim I am really trying to make this easier for you, but to no avail.

Maybe it is just a trend to want Canadian leaders; they seem to be En Vogue after Justin Trudeau stormed into power as the new Canadian Prime Minister. Fresh and full of ideas, Trudeau was asked early on why he had chosen a gender-equal, 15 men and 15 women, in his cabinet. His answer stopped the reporter dead in his tracks, “because its 2015.”

Even one of the oldest and most important institutions in England, the Bank of England, has a Canadian on the top position. Does anybody else see a pattern forming here? Since it was established in 1694 the Bank of England has always appointed an Englishman in the role of Governor. But now two years before Mr. Tim got hold of the tiller in Croatia the Bank of England appointed the first foreign Governor, the Canadian Mark Carney. Is this a silent Canadian plot to slowly rule the world? Mark Carney became the first non-Briton to be appointed to the post, but also made a commitment to the Prime Minister to take up British citizenship.

But wait Tim has an economic background and so does the Governor, is this a plot to conquer the world through financial control. The Canadians have already tried to control the world through music. Everything started well when the Quebec born mega star Celine Dion hit the radio waves of the world. But that plan went quickly downhill when the Ontario born Justin Beiber wiggled onto the scene. They even tried to conquer the world through drama. And once again the plan was on course when Donald Sutherland filled our movie screens, the plan started to get shaky when Michael J. Fox was added into the mix and was completely flushed down the toilet when Keanu Reeves sped across our screens. The even tried dominating with sport, which worked fine when they played their own sport of ice-hockey and they had the legendary Wayne Gretzky whacking the puck at 200 Mph and scoring goals for fun. But yet again there was to be a “hole in the dam” his name was Ben Johnson. He also moved at 200 Mph at the 1998 Summer Olympics, but that was thanks to a drug cocktail. He later lost the gold medal and was the shame of Canada.

I am presuming that Mr. Tim can’t sing, doesn’t act and isn’t a drug he must be part of a financial Canadian army. I am off to learn the words to “O, Canada, Our home and native land.” Just in case!

Mercedes have arrived in Dubrovnik in style. Some of the latest models of this luxury car were presented tonight in the heart of the Old City along the Stradun.

Mercedes have opened their “Global Training Program” in Dubrovnik, an event that will last until April. Every week sales staff from all over the world will arrive in Dubrovnik for a five-day training course on the newest models. In total around 15,000 Mercedes staff will arrive in Dubrovnik to complete the training. This is an annual event for Mercedes and with Dubrovnik as the host this year the German car manufacturer will add extra tourist figures as well as bring international publicity.

Tonight was a spectacular night on the Stradun as some of the latest models were on display.

Check out our photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat

Look darling I think that’s.......?

Dubrovnik has been a magnet for celebrities over the centuries. Kings and queens, Hollywood A-liners, world leaders, sports heroes and top of the chart singers have all graced the Stradun.  And although it recent years the numbers of stars that have visited Dubrovnik has blossomed the city has a long history of celebrity guests.

Elisabeth Taylor and Richard Burton spent a romantic stay in the city in the 60’s, Sophie Lauren dropped by and many Kings and Queens have enjoyed the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. More recently Michael Douglas, Catharine Zeta Jones, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Richard Gere, Nick Nolte, Tom Cruise, Sir Roger Moore, Tina Turner...the list goes on and on.

One of the biggest names in recent years was Beyonce who drifted into town. She sailed into town on Eric Clapton’s yacht with her boyfriend Jayz and they spent the afternoon having fun on jet skis. And the diva Gloria Gaynor spent a "working" holiday in the city and performed to a packed audience.


Bastian Schweinsteiger mets the Dubrovnik mayor 

The world of fashion also enjoyed the view on the Stradun as mega designer Giorgio Armani inspected the shopping in the Old City possibly looking for inspiration for his next collection. An old favourite of Dubrovnik is Bernie Eccelstone who often drops the anchor of his mega-yacht in front of the old city. After being introduced to the city by his former wife Slavica, Bernie has become a firm fan of Dubrovnik. And the A-list Hollywood stars are choosing Dubrovnik as their summer hideaway.


Roman Abramovich goes for a strollon the Stradun 

Michael Fassbender spent a few days sailing around the Adriatic Sea, Francis Ford Coppola was in town, born again star Mickey Rourke met the masses and Richard Gere admired the architecture and Ashley Judd even filmed a new series in the streets. FC Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer enjoyed the views from the cable car and Jon Bon Jovi spent a family holiday in Cavtat. We have already seen Roman Abramovich, Bernie Eccelstone (again), the famous designer Valentino, Sarah Ferguson and the world cup winning footballer Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Keep your eyes never know who you will bump into in Dubrovnik.


Bernie Ecclestone and his wife leaving the Old City 


Sir Roger Moore

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Sarah, Duchess of York

The height of fashion this year in Dubrovnik comes from the rolling countryside of Konavle. Elegant and fresh the hit this year are Konavle bracelets. You may have thought that the Mayans or the Egyptians had a monopoly on traditional bracelets, now they have competition from Konavle. These hand-crafted bracelets have a touch of history as well as a dose of fashion.

The centuries old culture of embroidery from the Konavle region is now being used in a modern manner. The idea and the handy work comes from Stane Vlasic, she pours hours of time and love into each creation. All the handmade bracelets come in differing colours, sizes and designs and each has its own story. They are certainly eye-catching and unique. A beautiful Dubrovnik souvenir, a memento of your time in the city, you can find them for sale in the gift shop Silk and More on Lučarica Street and also in the DESA Association in the Lazareti complex just outside of the Ploce Gate. Take a small piece of Dubrovnik home with you.

The strictly symmetrical geometric motifs were embroidered in a myriad of forms, most often in red, black and dark green with gold-yellow trimming. The Konavle embroidery is a basic decorative element of the women’s national costume of this part of the Dubrovnik region. Applied on the bodice and cuffs, it was originally embroidered in silk thread - obtained from the silkworm that was solicitously bred in every house of Konavle - and dyed with natural colours.


One half of the 2Cellos is about to break the hearts of millions of fans around the world by getting married. Stjepan Hauser has proposed to his girlfriend the popular Croatian singer Jelena Rozga. After a six month relationship the couple are to tie the knot, although they are still keeping details of the wedding secret.

"I believe in love at first sight and it has happened to me,” said Rozga wearing a shining diamond engagement ring.

The 38 year old singer and one half of Croatia’s most well known musical group started their relationship last summer and even with their heavy work schedules and constant travelling the couple bloomed.

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Photo - Livio Andrijic / CROPIX

Grab your chance for a holiday to Croatia with reduced flights with the low-cost airline Ryanair. The popular budget airline has released information of special discounts to Croatia this early summer. This Ryanair special offer is for flights from the 1st of April to the 25th of May, which will still give you chance to soak up some summer sunshine.

The Irish airline operates between four Croatian destinations, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar and Osijek. Ryanair, whose flight prices are some of the cheapest on the market, are offering 25 percent discounts on all flights to Croatia.

You’ll have to be quick to make the most of these deals are this 25 percent discount offer finishes at midnight on Sunday the 7th of February.

The newly built Sub City shopping centre in Zupa near Dubrovnik has been sold. Less than six months after the shopping centre was opened the owners, Agrokor, have sold the centre to the South African investment company, Tower Property Fund, for a 28 million Euros.

Agrokor is currently in the final negotiations with Tower Property Fund and it is expected that the 28.7 million Euros plus VAT deal will be finalised soon. The deal will see Agrokor remain in the shopping centre on a property management contract for the next twelve years.

A statement from the PR department of Agrokor read that, "Agrokor is in final negotiations on the sale and lease back of the centre in cooperation with Tower Property Fund Limited listed.”

It is reported that the negotiations will be completed by April this year. “These retail centres have been sold by Agrokor in a sale and lease back in order for them to utilize the cash more effectively in their business given they are a retailer and property is not their core strength,” commented Marc Edwards, CEO of Tower.

On the eve of the opening of the “Mercedes Global Training” event in Dubrovnik representatives of Daimler AG for Croatia met with the mayor of Dubrovnik today.

Dean Torti, the marketing and PR manager for Star Import, the general importer of Daimler AG for Croatia, said the choice of Dubrovnik for this major event was not accidental. “Mercedes Global Training is organized every year and is intended for sales staff and sales coordinators to learn about new models before they are placed on the market,” commented Torti at a press conference held with the mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic.

Mercedes are based at two different locations in Dubrovnik, at the Radisson hotel in Sun Gardens, Dubrovnik and at Valamar Hotels in the Babin Kuk suburb of Dubrovnik. Over the past weeks hundreds of different classes of Mercedes cars have arrived in the city and over the past days more and more German number-plated Mercedes have been driving around the city.

At the press conference today Vlahusic took the opportunity to thank all involved in this project, adding that the city can look forward to an increase in the number of overnight stays as well as the marketing effect of having this top brand car company in the city.

The Dubrovnik Times has been informed from an inside source that on the last day of the Mercedes training a special event will be organised. An “unmanned” Mercedes will drive from the Radisson hotel in Orasac to the Old City of Dubrovnik. This has yet to be confirmed by Mercedes. According to information we have received the car will drive using GPS and a high-end computer system. Of course the road from Orasac to Dubrovnik will have to be closed during this “driver-less” journey, which should take around 30 minutes.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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