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.
It isn’t only careless drivers who cause accidents whilst using their mobile phones at the wheel, pedestrians are just as guilty. In these times when we are all seemingly glued to that flashing blue screen in our hands the combination of reality and virtual has its dangers, not least when crossing the roads.
And now the Croatian capital has followed many other world cities by introducing a special type of traffic lights for pedestrians that shines a red light onto the pavement at traffic crossings to warn people looking down at their phones not to cross the road. The first in this pilot project has been installed in Zagreb so phone users will be warned not to walk out in front of traffic.
When this traffic light turns red, it is reflected on the sidewalk as well as on mobile phone screens which pedestrians look at instead of around themselves. Reflecting the red light, the sidewalk, as well as the screens, force them to raise their heads, stop and wait for the light to turn green.
A survey conducted as part of the campaign shows that 92 percent of drivers, 50 percent of pedestrians and 33 percent of cyclists use mobile phones while crossing the street and that 20 percent do not even notice when the traffic light turns red. The findings also show that the responses of drivers using mobile phones are almost three times slower. Mobile phones are considered the fourth biggest killer in traffic.
“Never forget that you have two ears and one mouth, so use them it that order and listen,” once said a wise old man to me. It’s strange the things you learn when you listen.
So I have just arrived back in Dubrovnik after an urgent family matter in the UK. As they said in The Godfather a million times, “The family always comes first.” And yes it is hard being away from the family in times of need but thankfully flight connections between my two countries are frequent, at least out of the winter.
And travelling alone you tend to bump into more unusual situations. Maybe people feel sorry for you, “look he is all on his own,” and just want to be friendly, I am not sure but I do know that you are never alone even when you are alone.
“God, I am really starving and could murder a hamburger,” said one of the ladies in front of me on the plane back to Dubrovnik. “Yes, me to,” answered her friend, “but I guess they don’t have a McDonalds in Kavtat (yes, all the English have renamed Cavtat) so we’ll have to go into Dubrovnik to get one.” I was just about to jump in when another friend shouted from the other row, “Yes, I heard that Dubrovnik has Starbucks, Subway and all those fast food restaurants.” Maybe she was confusing Starbucks with Ćele, Subway with Škola and the fast food chains with Tutto Bene?
It turned out that this rather large group of ladies were on a Hen Night, well Hen Weekend, in Dubrovnik. Which was obviously why one of them, well the bride to be, had been wearing a plastic blow-up crown like a queen since check-in. They had clearly made good use of the pubs in the airport before take-off and were now on a mission to empty the on-board drinks cart of all the prosecco. For sure they spent more on bubbly wine than they did on the plane ticket. Not so much easyJet as easyDrunk! Somewhere over the French Alps they decided to have a sing-along, rather like an English version of Mate Bulić, although the repertoire was Yellow Submarine and not Gori Borovina! I felt a nudge in my side, “Brexit can’t come soon enough,” smiled the lady sitting right next to me as the Hen Ladies were told to calm down by the flight attendant as they broke out into yet another verse of Singing in the Rain.
Yes, if you want to visit the one country in the world that isn’t talking about Brexit then visit the UK. With D-Day looming fast I had assumed that it would be the main topic of conversation, I was wrong. I thought it would have been as crazy as Boris Johnson’s hair, but far from it.
The best way to judge to mood of the English is to go to the local pub. It’s like analogue social media. And not once, even though I repeatedly tried to bring up the subject, was Brexit even mentioned. I couldn’t work out if it was a taboo theme or if people just didn’t care. “Oh, I just can’t wait for it to be over so I can watch something more interesting on the News at Ten,” said an elderly lady at the bar. “I am sick of bloody Brexit,” she added whilst sipping her pint. And that was it.
Generally, the standard of living is very high, the shops are full, the roads are flooded with brand new cars, everything seems to work just perfectly, so people just don’t care about the B-word. “I can’t wait to hit the discos in Kavtat,” my Brexit daydream was broken by the Hen Ladies who had finished arguing with the flight attendant as she stated that “we are coming into land so sorry we can’t serve you any more drinks.” The ladies were getting restless, and I was starting to feel sorry for Cavtat, the only dancing they would see would be at midday in front of the church in Cilipi, but I was pretty sure they weren’t after folklore.
And then came the typically British moment, “Kelly, did you remember to pack the tea?” – “Of course, and Yorkshire Tea, only the best,” shouted Kelly. “I only hope they packed condoms as well,” smiled the passenger next to me.
The voice of the people has been listened to, the official retirement age in Croatia is 65 years-old, again! Following the referendum initiative “67 is too much” which managed to collect an impressive 700,000 signatures the government has decided to revert their decision to make the retirement age 67 and have now announced it will be once again 65.
"Respecting the will of more than 700,000 citizens, we will accept proposals expressed through the initiative to restore the retirement age to 65 and early retirement to 60, the government is not giving up encouraging a longer stay in the work place. And of course, for those people who can, and want, to work after 65 years of age, that is, until the age of 68, amendments to the Pension Insurance Act are proposed,” commented the Minister of Labour and the Pension System, Josip Aladrovic.
Clearly the weight of 700,000 signatures forced the government to reconsider their changes to the retirement ago, and had them backtracking.
"We will give this approach an opportunity for anyone who wants to work longer in the labour market, and which we believe will have a positive impact on employment, income and budget expenditures," added the minister.
After direct flights were launched from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik with American Airlines this year comes news that another transatlantic service could be in the pipeline.
The Canadian airline, Air Transat, have reportedly shown interest in expanding their flight connections between Canada and Croatia and flights to Dubrovnik are being mentioned. According to a report in the specialised website EX-YU Aviation Air Transat have already approached Dubrovnik Airport about the possibility of flights.
“Croatia remains a key destination for Transat in view of the interest shown by Canadian travellers in the summer and its potential for tourism development”, commented the airline to EX-YU Aviation. Adding that “We are continuously looking at all opportunities, including Croatia. Like all airlines, there are a number of considerations involved when we are selecting a destination, including customer demand, airport infrastructure and competition from other carriers”.
Since 2016 Air Transat have been flying between Zagreb and Canada during the summer months and these flights have been showing positive occupancy levels.
The popular UK travel shoe “Travel Man” hosted by Richard Ayoade came to Dubrovnik today to film for the upcoming show to be broadcast on Channel 4.
48 Hours in Dubrovnik will be aired on Monday the 21st of October on Channel 4 and this episode stars the English comedy actor, and darling of Hollywood, Stephen Merchant. Every episode of Travel Man, a fast-paced travel documentary, features a celebrity guest and Dubrovnik had the honour to pair Ayoade with Merchant.
Ivan Vukovic, a leading Dubrovnik tour guide, took the celebrity Brits on a Game of Thrones tour of the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik and he showed them some of the most iconic Game of Thrones locations, such as the steps used for the Walk of Shame.
This Dubrovnik episode will be the first one of new season of Travel Man, the ninth season in total for this incredibly popular UK show.
And it isn’t only Dubrovnik on the menu for the duo, they also visit the charming town of Ston where they get to taste some of the best oysters in the world, go on a buggy safari on the top of Srd Mountain and jaunt out to the island of Lokrum.
And we won’t have long to wait to see the efforts of their hard work in Dubrovnik as the episode will be aired in only a couple of weeks’ time.
The Croatian National Tourist Board and Bluesun Hotels, in cooperation with Korean National Television KBS and A9, hosted the production crew of the most popular South Korean TV show Battle Trip, as well as Korea's biggest pop stars Park Cho-rong and Yoon Bo-mi.
It is a six-day visit to Croatian destinations, where the most watched Korean TV show is being filmed. Otherwise, the Battle Trip broadcast on the KBS channel follows over 25 million viewers in South Korea, as well as a large number of Korean expatriates, predominantly in the US, via KBS World.
Korean pop stars Park Cho-rong and Yoon Bo-mi who are currently residing in Croatia are members of the K-pop group Red Velvet. They are followed on social networks by an army of escorts, to be precise, 8.3 million followers on Instagram and 1.3 million followers on Facebook.
During her journey, she will learn about traditional Croatian customs such as making gingerbread hearts in Zagorje, enjoying gastronomic delicacies in Split, but also experiencing an off-road buggy adventure in Baska Voda and cycling around Brac. The show, filmed at the most beautiful Croatian destinations for 90 minutes, will be broadcast in South Korea in about a month.
"Croatian destinations have made their way into excellent locations for filming top films, series and shows. The positive impact of world-renowned shows and films on the global promotion of our country is beyond question, which is confirmed by the huge jump in our country's popularity in the Korean market after the Korean reality show The Romantic was filmed in Zagreb in 2013. I am sure that the popularity of Croatia in Korea will increase further after the stay of their music stars in our country, but also after the broadcast of this most watched South Korean TV show, "said Croatian Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic, adding that the recent formal opening of the HTZ Representative Office in Seoul further increase our country's promotional activities in Korea.
South Korea, with a population of 51 million and established a direct scheduled Zagreb-Seoul scheduled airline by Korean Air, represents a huge market potential for Croatia.
In the past part of the year, we recorded over 317 thousand arrivals and 402 thousand overnight stays from this market, which represents an increase of almost 5 percent in overnight stays compared to the same period last year.
According to the realized number of nights, the destinations that record the highest traffic from the Korean market are Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Plitvice Lakes. Korean tourists mostly visit Croatia in the pre and post-season, mostly during May and June, and September and October.
You’ve probably already heard of the famous phrase, “Latin is a dead language.” Nowadays, though, this is no longer the case. More and more schools are beginning to integrate Latin into their curriculum as a required subject. Similarly, more people are becoming interested in learning the language once again. That said, let’s take a look at why learning Latin has become so popular:
1. English Has a Mix of Latin
This may come as a surprise, but many of the English words we know come from a Latin root word. For instance, the word “antebellum” comes from the Latin roots ante-, which means “before”, and -bellum, which means “war.” Thus, learning Latin can help you appreciate the English language more, which is why there’s renewed interest in learning it.
2. Increased Vocabulary
Since many English words come from Latin, you just need to learn some root words in Latin to help you decipher many English words. The English language has a vast vocabulary that can make it difficult even for native speakers to learn. However, by learning a few words in Latin, you can decode the meaning of many words in English. This makes it important to learn Latin if you’re also serious about learning English.
For instance, you come across a highfalutin word such as “omnibus.” If you know the Latin root omni-, which means “for all,” then you can already get the gist of the word “omnibus” without searching the dictionary for its meaning. In fact, the word “omnibus” means encompassing or covering all of a series or set.
3. Language of the Early Church
The mother tongue of the Christian Bible is, in fact, Latin. So, to be able to understand what the Bible says in its original language, many people found it useful to study Latin. When reading translations of the Bible, many small details could get lost in translation.
Learning Latin would avoid that from happening and help you interpret the Bible as accurately as possible. Did you know that the word “Trinity” is actually a Latin word that comes from tres- (which means “three”) and -unus (which means “one”)? For Theologians, it is also important to learn Latin to better appreciate the meaning of words such as these.
4. Getting a Piece of History
Not only was the Bible written in Latin, but all of the works of renowned writers and thinkers were also written in this language. This includes the written works of Cicero, William Shakespeare, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Horace, Vergil, Ovid, Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Tolstoy, Plato, Hobbes, Dante, Homer, and more.
Learning Latin will help you get closer and allow yourself to interpret the original meaning of the works of all these great people and get a piece of history. More people wanted to learn Latin in order to read the classics in their original language and uncover a different take on these literary works.
5. Entails a Different Discipline
Another reason why learning Latin has become very popular is because of the structure of the language. The Latin language is structured very logically, and learning it will enable you to share a similar train of thought. Mastering Latin will help you become more logical, make sound judgments, and enhance critical thinking. Learning Latin is, therefore, a good exercise to think more systematically.
6. Scientific Names are in Latin
Science is something that is very important and will always be used on a daily basis. When science was just being discovered and developed, Latin was used to describe all the scientific things that were being learned. Because of this, all scientific names are in Latin. To have a better grasp of science, many people, especially those working in this field, started learning Latin as well.
7. Latin Dominates in Law and Government
As much as Latin is used in science, it is also the mother language of law and politics. Many legal terms that are used today come from Latin. If someone is gunning to become a lawyer, then they should study Latin. Many words used in today’s court, such as de facto, pro bono, caveat emptor, referendum, veto, or quorum are actually Latin words.
Basically, Latin is the foundation of the English language and has made its mark before, and even until now. This classic language remains to be studied in different cultures because of its rich culture and construction. Given the reasons above on why it has become so popular, you might also be interested in learning Latin as well. Give it a try if you have some time to spare, and you might just be surprised with the beauty of the Latin language.
Whilst the rest of Europe, and indeed most of the rest of Croatia, is gripped in the wet and grey start to autumn Dubrovnik has been basking in golden sunshine for the past few days.
The popular Sunset Beach Dubrovnik was awash with sunbathers and swimmers yesterday as tourists took the chance to top up their tans before heading home to colder climes. With temperatures in the low twenties it was the perfect day to relax by the Adriatic.
And the sea is still warm, the sea temperature today in Dubrovnik measured a balmy 22.5 degrees. In fact, the sea temperature in Dubrovnik is warmer than almost all northern European capitals. Dubrovnik could be in for more sunshine until the end of October as the Indian Summer blazes on.