Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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

Famous British pop singer Ellie Goulding with her new husband, art dealer Caspar Jopling, visited Dubrovnik and partied on Friday night at the Culture Club Revelin nightclub.

The musician celebrated for the hit 'Love Me Like You Do' from the movie '50 Shades of Gray' got married last week in York and decided to spend her honeymoon in Croatia.

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The glamourous wedding saw many celebrities attending, including Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, singer James Blunt, actor Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry, actress Sienna Miller and many other celebrities.

The newlyweds hired the same wedding planning agency to take care of the ceremonies as Prince William and Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Pippa Middleton and James Matthews.

And the newlyweds clearly had a ball in Dubrovnik.

Another day, and another Russian billionaire arrives in a mega yacht in Dubrovnik, but this time it is a rather eye-catching one. “Is that a yacht or a battleship,” commented one member of the public as the yacht “A” sailed in between the island of Lokrum and made its way closer to the historic Old City.

Roman Abramovich, with his mega yacht Eclipse arrived first, quickly followed by Sergey Galitskiy and his $250 million yacht, Quantum Blue, and today was the turn of Russian billionaire industrialist and philanthropist Andrey Melnichenko, on his yacht “A.”

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It’s a mixture of modern technology, with hybrid powered propellers, and a nod to times gone by with three massive sails. In fact, it is the It is the largest private sail-assisted motor yacht in the world and it cost Melnichenko a whopping $500 million.

However, as Melnichenko, who is the eighth richest man in Russia, is reported to be worth an impressive $13.5 billion he didn’t have to dig too deep in his pockets.

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“But how hard can that be, I mean you’re are basically floating and throwing a ball around, anyone could play that.” Experience counts for a lot in life. We all know somebody who knows everything in theory but nothing in reality. Every family has its philosopher. Of course the truth of actually putting yourself in the real world and actually trying to do something gives you a rather different perspective on things.

There were one or two sports that I had never really seen before coming to live here, handball was one, and the other was water polo. I say never seen but I do remember catching a very brief highlights once as it was played at the Olympics. But there are so many strange and exotic sports at the Olympics that I never gave it a second thought.

So I basically started from a city that generally hasn’t heard of water polo to one that has one of the best teams in the world.

Yes, that first sentence was my first reaction on seeing water polo for the first time. It looked like children fighting in the bath. Water flying everywhere, splashing and aggressive shouting and somewhere a ball bouncing around. Of course not knowing the rules didn’t exactly help. I later found out that the English actually invented the game, an ex-Jug player told me, although it didn’t really look anything like what it does today.

 

 

And we have had a celebration of the game recently. The explosion of colour and emotion that is the wild league. And the passing of the 95th birthday of the most successful club ever and the pride of the city Jug. The wild league is truly a tradition that needs to be cherished and nurtured. Hats off to all involved, the players, the organisers and the supporters for yet another amazing event. In fact, one of my nephews was actually playing in the final, the same nephew that kind of taught me to play.

Now, when I saw play I really mean try and fail. Along with his brother they both played the sport from an early age. And years and years ago they attempted to show me some of the basics. This was when theory met reality. Of course my first reaction was to catch the ball with two hands, which was difficult enough anyway, whilst at the same time treading water. Catching it with one hand seemed overly difficult. Try as I might the ball, nine times out of ten, just bounced off my hand or went sailing over me and I sunk down in the water. I had been trying this for a few minutes and was already gasping for air. I need to add at this point that I hadn’t actually swum anywhere!

“OK, now we’ll try some attack versus defence,” one nephew shouted. I had already pretty much concluded that this wasn’t a sport for me, but never the less I had a go. Defence in water polo is pretty much attempted murder! The defender is trying his best to pull someone underwater and drown them, or at least that was my understanding. And of course this time we were actually swimming up and down. There is a LOT of swimming in water polo. At least in football you can kind of have a break and stand a little. I ever volunteered to go in goal thinking I’d have a break, bad idea. In water polo my body was in constant motion. I had all the elegance of Bambi on an icy lake. I am really not sure whether I lasted five minutes. But in that time I actually managed to pass to one of my players once. And the only shot I had (I use the word “shot” in the loosest of terms) didn’t even make it to the goal. The ball was plopped in front of the goal keeper and bobbed up and down like a fisherman’s buoy.

Before drowning, or having a heart attack, I threw in the towel and floated off, out of the game. I had a new respect for water polo players. You need to be seriously fit to play this sport. At least in normal polo the horse does all the running for you. So once again a huge congratulation to everyone involved in the wild league, you are absolutely a credit to your sport. And long may this brilliant festival of water polo continue.

Someone once wrote that "a perfect water polo athlete can be best described as having the over-arm accuracy of a baseball pitcher, the vertical of a volleyball player, the toughness of a rugby and ice hockey player, the endurance of a cross-country skier and the strategy of a chess player." Clearly I have none of these skills.             

The City of Dubrovnik will introduce a range of new measures for 2020 in order to better control the flow of traffic around the city, especially the Old City. The City of Dubrovnik, as part of the Respect the City project, which covers proposed short, medium and long-term projects, activities, measures and solutions, has sent to all travel agencies a notice of the rules that will be in force in 2020.

The City hereby informs that from the 1st of April 2020 until the 1st of November it is prohibited to park buses on either the Pile and Ploce entrance into the Old City on Thursdays and Saturdays for buses on organized one-day excursions.

In 2020 it will also be forbidden to transport passengers on the line from the port of Gruz to Pile and vice versa for all buses except Libertas public buses. The city public bus company will be equipped with new and quality vehicles that meet the standard of passengers for the next year.

We’ve had wild camping in the public parks of Dubrovnik, sleeping on the beach and even napping in inflatable boats but sleeping on the roof of a car, well that’s a new one.

This German tourist was spotted on the beach of Kupari this morning tucked away in his sleeping bag and clearly enjoying his al fresco accommodation.

He certainly had a nice view when he woke up and he didn’t have far to go to the beach, although the night-time mosquitoes might have been a problem as well as the actual comfiness of his bed.

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It’s a busy morning for mega yachts in Cavtat, with three massive luxury yachts, with two Russian billionaire owners and in total $1 billion of yachts.

Eclipse the plaything of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich arrived a few days ago in Cavtat and hasn’t moved an inch since. And now the Chelsea FC owner has been joined by another Russian owned yacht, Sergey Galitskiy and his yacht, Quantum Blue. Galitsky is the owner of the Russia’s largest retail chain, Magnit, and reported to be worth $3.5 billion. His yacht set him back a staggering $250 million.

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And the third of the luxury trio is the yacht Pelorus, reported to be owned by Hong Kong billionaire and property magnate, Sammy Tak Lee. Pelorus dented his millions to the tune of $250 million. So with Eclipse at $500 million, Quantum Blue at $250 million and Pelorus at $250 million that’s $1 billion of mega yachts in front of Cavtat today.

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A Libertas public bus was stolen early this morning and taken for a destructive joyride around the Sub City shopping centre in Zupa. The public bus was parked in Srebreno when it was broken into at around 2.30am this morning and driven at high speeds crashing into cars, traffic signs and traffic lights before being crashed into a wall and flower bed destroying them completely.

Police have reported that they are looking for three young men in connection with the crime, who fled the scene. The police investigation is ongoing.

The spokesperson for the Dubrovnik Libertas bus company, Niksa Grljevic, commented that “Unknown perpetrators caused a minimum of 20,000 Kuna damage to the stolen bus last night. The front of the bus is completely damaged, from the bumper, grille, windshield to the screen at the top of the bus. Our team is in the field and after their assessment we will know the exact amount of damage. As for the perpetrators, we suspect three young people, and we will know more details after the police report - concluded Grljevic.

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A fire broke out today on the island of Lopud today just after 1:00pm in the area north of the beach of Sunj. The Dubrovnik fire Brigade were called to the scene and reacted quickly.

The fire was quickly brought under control, thankfully the wind had dropped and helped in fighting the fire, and a little after 1:40pm the fire was extinguished. Twenty-two firefighters from Dubrovnik arrived on the scene and in spite of the difficult conditions successfully fought the fire. Whilst two special fire-fighting planes were on standby they weren’t required as the forest fire was extinguished by fire-fighters.

The cause of the fire is not yet known. It is believed that some members of the fire brigade will stay on the island overnight to monitor conditions.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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