Friday, 14 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Dubrovnik, with its timeless charm, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, is emerging as a top destination for digital nomads seeking an inspiring and enriching work-life balance. From its picturesque Old Town to its pristine beaches and thriving coworking spaces, Dubrovnik offers everything a digital nomad needs to live and work remotely while experiencing the beauty of Croatia.

Dubrovnik's historic Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, provides a unique backdrop for remote work. With its cobblestone streets, ancient buildings, and breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea, the Old City offers a serene and inspiring environment conducive to productivity and creativity. Numerous cafes and coworking spaces within the city provide reliable Wi-Fi and comfortable workspaces, allowing digital nomads to stay connected and focused while enjoying the city's beauty. And the first dedicated co-working space has opened in the TUP complex this month.

LongStayDubrovnik: Your Gateway to Remote Living

For digital nomads looking to make Dubrovnik their home for an extended period, the LongStayDubrovnik website is an invaluable resource. This platform connects remote workers with long-term rental accommodations, coworking spaces, and local amenities, making it easy to settle into life in Dubrovnik. Whether you're seeking a cozy apartment in the heart of the city or a villa with sea views, LongStayDubrovnik offers a range of options to suit every lifestyle and budget.

Soaring Above Dubrovnik The Cable Car Experience 6

Embracing the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

Dubrovnik's welcoming atmosphere and vibrant community make it an ideal destination for digital nomads looking to connect with like-minded individuals. From networking events and coworking meetups to cultural festivals and outdoor excursions, Dubrovnik offers ample opportunities to socialise, collaborate, and explore new experiences. There are regular MeetUps held in Dubrovnik, so follow the social media channels of the longstaydubrovnik.com website for more info on these special events. And you can also find more info on the newly opened co-working space as well. Whether you're a seasoned remote worker or embarking on your first digital nomad adventure, Dubrovnik welcomes you with open arms and endless possibilities.

This summer marks the debut of a new accommodation option in the south of Croatia with the opening of Hotel Vallum. And we caught up with Katja Krešić, the Director of Operations of St. Pietro, to discover more about this new project. Unique in its design, the hotel offers twenty-one individual apartment units, each designed for ultimate comfort and luxury. With a focus on creating a serene and luxurious retreat, Hotel Vallum is poised to become a new favourite for travellers seeking relaxation and indulgence on the Adriatic coast.

Soaring Above Dubrovnik The Cable Car Experience 4

Photo - Bozo Radić/CROPIX

So this summer we have a new accommodation option in the south of Croatia with the opening of Vallum. Can you tell me more about the whole project?

Yes, so the owners firstly started with the opening a restaurant, St. Pietro, on the island of Supetar a couple of years ago which is around a ten-minute boat ride from Cavtat. And then they decided to create something new with the construction and launch of a new hotel, Hotel Vallum. We can say that this kind of project is rather unique on the market. The reason is that Hotel Vallum is a property that is made up of individual apartments. In total we have twenty-one accommodations units in the hotel, as well as a spa, a fitness centre and a bar, and what rounds off the whole project, to make it in a way complete, is that Hotel Vallum has a direct view onto the island of Supetar. We are starting to build a brand, the brand of St. Pietro. We are, of course, at the beginning of this story, however I believe that we are certainly moving in the right direction.

Soaring Above Dubrovnik The Cable Car Experience 2

Photo - Bozo Radić/CROPIX

So the whole hotel is made up of separate apartments?

That's correct. We have five different types of apartments, President, Royal, Deluxe, Superior and Premium. For example, the President apartment is a three-bedroomed apartment that is over 150 metres squared. And it is also important to mention that all of our rooms are larger than 60 metres squared, basically much larger than a normal hotel room. All of our bedrooms of course have an en suite bathroom, but we have gone a step further by including a half-bathroom, or guest bathroom, near the living room.

Soaring Above Dubrovnik The Cable Car Experience 3

Photo - Bozo Radić/CROPIX

How did your own personal journey in the St. Pietro group begin?

My career in the hotel industry started in Zagreb with the Hilton Group. I worked in the sales department for all three Hiltons in the capital. And then after a few years of working for Hilton I started with Vallum at the beginning of this year. It all started when I was in Dubrovnik on holiday and I visited the island of Supetar. I was curious about this new project and wanted to explore the hotel and the whole story and indeed possibilities. Honestly, I loved the idea. I know it was challenging to move from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, but I saw the absolute value and potential.

What kind of guests is Vallum aimed at and what, in your opinion, will make this hotel stand out from the already large accommodation offer in Dubrovnik and Cavtat?

We don't really have a target audience; our main goal is that when guests arrive they feel at home. In my opinion this hotel is a perfect option, thanks to its peaceful location, for those guests wishing to spend a longer period of time to explore the whole region. It truly is a great base. And with the added, almost unique option, of having a restaurant on an island to use. It's true that there is a lot of competition in Cavtat and Dubrovnik, however I think that we have a lot of added bonuses that makes Vallum distinctive. Just looking at the location, I can't think of another hotel that is as close to the Adriatic as we are, on a tranquil bay with an unspoilt view over the sea. The interior is designed in modern and contemporary style that I'm sure that guests will find both inviting and elegant. I guess our target market could be described as people who are looking for true relaxation and pleasure.

So with Hotel Vallum and St. Pietro in the same group how do you plan of connecting these two objects and make an overall brand?

Yes, we of course have a plan to create a brand – St. Pietro – from our objects, and we'll do this in a number of ways. So we have created and branded towels, beach bags, a perfume, cushions all with the logo of the keys of St. Pietro. We say that our keys are the keys that open the door to heaven. In fact, all the future projects that we will get involved in will be under the same brand and will have the keys as the centrepiece. Of course, we will arrange direct boat transfers between Vallum and the island for all our guests. We firmly believe that this is a winning combination. And of course there are future plans for the island of Supetar, from a pop-up summer cinema to a DJ and live music over the weekend. And it is also important to mention that all guests of Vallum will receive a discount on the island.

From the first steps to completion, which looks like being very soon, how difficult and indeed how long was the whole process?

The first construction of the hotel started about three years ago, however in recent months we have really began to intensively work on the interior finishing and decorations. As you can see the hotel is a very different architectural design and therefore was slightly more challenging to construct. About nine months ago we started with all the interior works and to say that we are pleased with the final result would be an understatement. One thing that I must mention about the interior design is that every room has different paintings that were in fact all produced from postcards of Cavtat.

The Dubrovnik Cable Car offers an unforgettable experience, providing breathtaking views and a unique perspective of the historic city and its stunning surroundings. The cable car is absolutely one of Dubrovnik's most popular attractions, drawing visitors from around the world who seek to enjoy panoramic vistas and a journey that blends adventure with natural beauty.

The cable car station is conveniently located just a short walk from Dubrovnik's Old City. The journey to the top of Mount Srđ takes only about four minutes, but the memories it creates last a lifetime. As the cabin ascends, passengers are treated to sweeping views of the red-roofed cityscape, the glittering Adriatic Sea, and the lush islands scattered along the coast. The whole cable car system was modernised in 2010 after being destroyed during the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s. The current cabins are state-of-the-art, ensuring a smooth and comfortable ride for up to 30 passengers per trip. The glass-walled design allows for unobstructed views, making it a photographer's paradise.

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Mount Srđ: A Panoramic Paradise

At the summit, 412 metres above sea level, visitors are greeted with even more spectacular views. The vista stretches across Dubrovnik, the Adriatic, and as far as the Elafiti Islands on clear days. Mount Srđ is also home to the Imperial Fortress, built by Napoleon's troops in the early 19th century, which now houses a museum dedicated to the Croatian War of Independence. The museum offers insight into the region's history, adding a poignant dimension to the visit. For those looking to relax, the Panorama Restaurant & Bar at the top station provides the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or a drink while soaking in the views. The restaurant offers a variety of local dishes, allowing visitors to savour the flavours of Croatia in a truly remarkable setting.

A Must-Do Experience

The Dubrovnik Cable Car is more than just a mode of transportation; it's an essential part of any visit to Dubrovnik. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply in search of stunning views, the cable car ride up Mount Srđ offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the beauty of Dubrovnik.

Luka Modrić has expressed his hope to extend his contract with Real Madrid and his desire to have a farewell from the club like Toni Kroos when he finishes his club career. He does not hide his wish to stay at Real for another year and claims that the "decision about his future has already been made." However, he did not reveal what that decision is in an interview with the Spanish radio station COPE.

Real still has the Champions League final to play this season. They will play it at Wembley on Saturday against Borussia Dortmund, and Spanish media speculate that after the match, an announcement about Modrić's contract extension with the Croatian national team captain could come. Modrić, who has been playing for Real Madrid since the summer of 2012, has a contract that expires in a month. He refused to talk about negotiations with the management regarding the extension of the collaboration.

“I can't say anything. Now it's the Champions League final, so we need to stay focused. Everything else will be known when the time comes,” Modrić said when asked about staying in Madrid, adding that he hopes it will happen.

“I can't wait for that match. I'm preparing for it as if I will play. If I don't start, I will come on later. I feel very good, both physically and mentally,” explained the Croatian midfielder and the oldest player of the Madrid giant.

This season, he has appeared in 45 matches, half of which he started. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is implementing the club's policy of rejuvenating the team, which often leaves Modrić on the bench. Modrić stated that he "will never accept" not playing and will fight for his place in the team but will be available to the team when needed.

“At first, it was hard for me to understand because I have been in the starting line-up throughout my career. Later, I accepted this new role and I think I played well and the coach is satisfied. I think I have done well so far,” he said.

The total turnover of the industry in March increased by 0.6 percent compared to the same month last year, though it experienced a slight dip of 0.2 percent on a monthly basis from February, according to the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

When adjusted for the calendar, the total industry turnover in March saw a significant annual increase of 3.9 percent on the domestic market. However, the non-domestic market experienced a decline of 4.7 percent compared to March 2023. On a monthly scale, domestic market turnover in March grew by 2.2 percent compared to February, while the non-domestic market saw a reduction of 0.6 percent.

Analyzing the main industrial groupings, March showed varied performance compared to March 2023. The total sales of non-durable consumer goods rose by 7 percent, and capital goods by 1.2 percent. However, the sale of energy plummeted by 33.4 percent, consumer durables by 30.5 percent, and intermediate products by 1.9 percent.

On a month-to-month basis, from February to March, the total sale of energy dropped sharply by 50.8 percent, and intermediate products by 8.9 percent. In contrast, sales of capital goods surged by 15.3 percent, non-durable consumer goods by 6.5 percent, and consumer durables by 5.7 percent.

The data from the Central Bureau of Statistics highlight a complex picture of the industry turnover in March, with robust growth in certain sectors balanced by significant declines in others. This mixed performance underscores the varying dynamics at play in the domestic and non-domestic markets as well as among different industrial groupings.

Croatia has been named one of the world’s top three friendliest nations, according to a new global study by Remitly using The Big 5 Personality Test.

With international migration on the rise and tourism returning to pre-pandemic levels, feeling welcomed and making new friends is crucial for settling into a new country. Remitly’s study evaluated people worldwide on the 'agreeableness' trait of the Big 5 Personality Test, a widely recognized and standardized personality assessment.

South Africa tops the list, followed closely by Greece and Croatia. Mexico ranks as the highest North American country in fourth place, while Canada’s friendliness score of 32.84 out of 40 places it seventh. Global superpowers the US and the UK rank 15th and 18th, respectively.

Agreeableness, described as friendly, kind, and cooperative, is a personality trait associated with prosocial behaviors and empathy. Respondents from various countries were asked questions to gauge their concern for others, willingness to help, and ease in making others feel comfortable. Higher scores indicated greater agreeableness and friendliness, which were averaged to determine each nation's friendliness score.Top 10 Friendliest Nations

The Top 10 Friendliest Nations (based on the 'agreeableness' trait of the Big 5 Personality Test):

RankCountryAverage 'friendliness' score out of 40
1 South Africa 34.63
2 Greece 33.71
3 Croatia 33.50
4 Mexico 33.47
5 Sweden 33.30
6 Australia 33.13
7 Canada 32.84
8 Germany 32.66
9 Estonia 32.58
10 Belgium 32.50

 

South Africa leads the rankings with an impressive score of 34.63 out of 40. Greece, inspired by its longstanding value of ‘philoxenia’ (hospitality), is the second friendliest European country, with Croatia closely following in third place with a score of 33.5. Mexico, the friendliest North American nation, ranks fourth, while Sweden is fifth. The UK and the US rank 18th and 15th, respectively.

Ollie Cassel, Head of Growth Marketing at Remitly, commented: “Friendliness is a crucial trait in life, especially when moving or traveling to a new country. The warmth of strangers can significantly impact one’s experience, making them feel more welcome and settled. Our study highlights countries like Croatia, known for its thriving tourist industry and friendly locals, as top destinations for those seeking a warm reception.”

 

According to data from the eVisitor system for the registration and deregistration of tourists, there were close to 18,000 tourists in Dubrovnik last weekend – 22 percent more than at this time last year.

Most of the guests are from the United Kingdom, the USA, Germany, France, Ireland, Croatia, Canada, and Finland.

Since the beginning of the year, around 325,000 arrivals and 890.5 thousand overnight stays have been registered – 21 percent more than in the same period last year.

As the 2024 UEFA European Championship approaches, Croatia finds itself in a highly competitive position, with bookmakers placing them as the ninth favorite to win, offering average odds of 40/1. England leads the pack as the top favorite, followed by France and host nation Germany. On the other end of the spectrum, Georgia is considered the rank outsider with odds of 500/1.

Croatia's journey in this year's tournament will be particularly challenging as they have been placed in what many pundits are calling the "group of death." Group B includes formidable opponents: 2020 winners Italy, 2012 winners Spain, and a surprisingly strong Albania, who remained unbeaten in their qualifying group.

Group B Matches

- June 15: Croatia vs. Spain at Olympiastadion Berlin

- June 19: Croatia vs. Albania at Volksparkstadion Hamburg

- June 24: Croatia vs. Italy at Red Bull Arena Leipzig

Croatias Euro 2024 Journey Can Modrić and Team Survive the Group of Death 1

A Farewell Tournament for Croatian Stars

This Euro tournament will likely be the last for several of Croatia's football icons. Captain Luka Modrić, now 38, remains a pivotal figure in the team. His midfield partner, Marcelo Brozović, currently playing in the Saudi league, could also make his final Euro appearance. Additionally, veteran players Ivan Perišić and central defender Domagoj Vida, both 35, are gearing up for what could be their last major international tournament.

Croatia's Euro History

Croatia has a commendable history in the European Championships, having qualified for every tournament since their debut except for the 2000 edition held in Belgium and the Netherlands. The team has reached the quarter-finals twice, in 1996 and 2008, showcasing their potential to perform on the big stage.

Outlook

With a mix of seasoned veterans and emerging talents, Croatia aims to navigate the tough group stage and make a deep run in the tournament. The blend of experience and new energy could be the key to overcoming the formidable opponents in Group B and advancing to the knockout stages. As fans eagerly await the kick-off, all eyes will be on Modrić and his team as they strive to leave a lasting legacy in what promises to be a thrilling and competitive Euro 2024.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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