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.
August may have drawn to a close by the summer madness continues in Dubrovnik. It seems like the late summer sun is still affecting people’s judgement. This latest example of terrible parking was sent in yesterday from a reader and is one of the worst example we have seen this year.
How dumb must you be to park like this? The Dutch driver, presumably a tourist, had parked his, or her, car across two disabled parking spaces! The feat of stupidity, which was recorded in the Lapad suburb yesterday, caused a local to comment “there are fools all over the world.” We are inclined to agree.
Dubrovnik awoke this morning with the acrid smell of smoke hanging in the air as the forest fires that have been burning for the past days in Konavle filled the air. The fires, which started yesterday on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina are now totally under control and the area is under surveillance for further burns.
The Dubrovnik County emergency centre reported that fire-fighters from Konavle, Cilipi and two Canadair planes had been tackling the blazes but that they were now under control.
Tourists in the Zupa area had a strange attraction as Canadair planes swopped down over the Sheraton Hotel to scoop sea water from the bay of Zupa. And the Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, had a front row seat as the planes filled with water close to his mega yacht Eclipse which is currently on anchor in the Bay of Zupa.
The shopping centre in Zupa near Dubrovnik, SUB CITY, is celebrating its first birthday this weekend with a number of special events in store. All day today the centre will feature dance and song as a party atmosphere comes to SUB CITY, with Latin American Dance, theatre plays, events for children and at 16.30 a giant birthday cake.
The fun continues tomorrow, Sunday, with children’s workshops, clowns, a magician and dance. The stores inside the centre are also involved in the birthday celebrations with many offering special discounts to mark the big weekend.
Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt was spotted this week on the Croatian coastline seemingly soaking up the sunshine and sightseeing. However it has emerged that the star of Mr & Mrs Smith had more concrete reasons for his flying visit to Dalmatian seaside.
He may have just celebrated his second wedding anniversary to Angelina Jolie but Pitt travelled alone to Sibenik where he met with business partners to discuss a possible 1.5 billion Euro real estate project.
According to reports from RTL Pitt met with architect Nikola Bašić and investors to see the site of a new development which would include luxury villas, a golf course, shops and a hotel.
It was truly a flying visit as the Hollywood star spent only one night in Croatia, in the D-Resort, before jumping on a private plane and heading back to France to be with his family.
The Zagreb Stock Exchange has finally recorded some positive trends. On Thursday, the 1st of September the Crobex index increased by 0.32 percent to 1,824 points and reached the highest level since the 7th of November 2014 when it was at 1,831 points.
At the same time, the Crobex10 strengthened for 0.64 percent to 1,063 points which is the highest level since the 13th of October 2014 when it finished at 1,066 points.
The regular share turnover was 13.6 million Kunas, which is roughly 5.8 million Kunas more than on Wednesday, the 31st of August.
''Yesterday the stock market achieved 13.63 million Kunas of the regular share turnover, which has been rarely seen in recent years. Both indices ended the day in positive figures, whilst the Crobex index kept the whole week above the psychologically important level of 1,800 points'', said Ante Obucina, a broker from Podravska banka.
On the weekly level the indices have moved back into positive territory for the fourth week in a row, with the Crobex in the green by 0.87 percent and the Crobex10 by 1.28 percent.
The most liquid were shares from Hrvatski Telekom, which accounted for 4.25 million Kunas of turnover. Its price increased by 4.59 percent to 153.75 Kuna.
According to data from the Croatian Tourist Board based on data from the eVisitor and eCrew systems, in the first eight months of 2016 around 13 million tourists visited Croatia and realized 75.1 million overnight stays.
In the period of the 1st of January till the 28th of August 2016 the most overnight stays were realized in the Istria County (20.7 million), followed by the Primorje-Gorje County (14.4 million), the Split-Dalmatia County (14 million), the Zadar County (9.7 million), whilst the Dubrovnik-Neretva County achieved almost 6 million overnights. This season the Sibenik-Knin County realized 5.3 million overnight stays.
As usual in previous years the most numerous guests with the highest number of realized overnights were Germans (14.2 million), followed by Slovenians (8.4 million), Austrians (5.7 million), Italians (4.7 million), whilst tourists from Poland realized 4.5 million overnight stays.
''This season has shown how important is the cooperation between the public and private sector and that in a short period of time it is possible to achieve really great results, especially during summer, which totally surpassed all previous records. This is something everybody in the tourism sector should be proud of'', said Anton Kliman, the Croatian Minister of Tourism.
He also emphasizes that according to announcements from the tourism industry, it is expected that upcoming off season will exceed last year's 80 million overnight stays and make this tourist season the best one in the independent Croatia.
The first interventions in the so called “bikini law” were taken this week with security guards warning tourists on the new dress code regulations now in force inside the Old City of Dubrovnik. Instead of fining these first offenders the guards decided to warn them to cover up rather than fine them.
To remind you of the new regulations, if you are now caught “wearing swimwear or inappropriately uncovered” on the public streets of the city you will have to pay a fine of 1,000 Kunas, or around 134 Euros. This so called “bikini ban” will mean all visitors to the city centre will have to cover up or pay up. Bare-chested men and bikini clad women are a thing of the past as a total of fifteen security guards will patrol the streets looking for flesh-baring law breakers.
The new set of regulations also includes a ban on riding bikes, throwing cigarette butts, walking dogs without a leash and the use of sound amplifiers for music and entertainment programs. The 1,000 Kuna fine will be reduced to 500 Kuna if paid on the spot.
It is a weekend of vocal groups, or Klapa, in Cavtat with a festival of these harmonious melodies this weekend. This is the 17th year in a row that this festival has been held and this year will see ten vocal groups from all over Croatia perform.
Organised by the Konavle Tourist Board and the Klapa Ragusavecchia the festival opens on the 3rd of September at 8.30pm on the terrace of the Villa Banac in Cavtat. The opening night is a bumper one with nine different vocal groups performing. And then on Sunday the 4th of September the vocal group “Iskon” will perform. Entrance to both evenings is free of charge.
Klapa music is a form of traditional a cappella singing in Dalmatia, Croatia. The word Klapa translates as "a group of friends" and traces its roots to littoral church singing. In 2012 Klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.