Friday, 19 October 2018
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

Gale force northerly winds have once again ignited the forest fires in Peljesac and Metkovic and the fire brigade and army are again in action. A Canadair plane flew over the fires in Metkovic to help in the firefighting action and in Peljesac the fire brigade is on the ground fighting fires in the hills with help of Canadairs.

According to information from the Ministry of Defence the four Canadairs that were in operation above Orebic from September 25 to 27 dropped around 160 water bombs or about 950 tons of water in three days of operation in a total of 22 hours of flying time.

This years' celebration of the European Day of Languages in Dubrovnik took place in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik in front of the church of St. Blaise and featured over 100 participants and countless languages.

The program was prepared by Europe House Dubrovnik, a Dubrovnik based association, in cooperation with a number of educational institutions, associations and honorary consulates. Participants read, recited, sung and performed short plays – all in different languages. Even tourist joined in the celebration with a tourist from Canada playing a French classic on a harmonica and an American tourist reciting a poem in Namibian.

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The celebration of European linguistic diversity is the first activity in this year's program of Europe House Dubrovnik within the Time to Move campaign, a Europe wide collection of events for young people, organized every October by the Eurodesk platform, aiming to inform young people about various mobility opportunities. As the knowledge of foreign languages enormously contributes to professional opportunities of young people in tourism, Europe House Dubrovnik and its partners mark with this program also the World Tourism Day (September 27).

About the European Day of Languages

European Day of Languages (September 26) was launched by the Council of Europe in 2001 aiming at fostering multilingualism and multiculturalism in Europe. Various events are aimed to draw attention of European citizens of the importance of learning foreign languages, at every age, through formal and informal education, and for a better intercultural understanding.

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Zagreb has had direct connections to South Korea from the beginning of September with Korean Air linking the Croatian capital and Seoul.

So far the results have been better than expected with the South Korean airline reporting an impressive occupancy rate for all flights. There can be no doubt that Croatia is an “in” destination in South Korea, with the starting point being a popular Korean TV series that was filmed in the country and now riding the wave of positivity from the 2018 World Cup in Russia. And the airline is pulling out all the stops to attract even more passengers to Croatia with a series of promotional videos that are being shown through Korean on mainstream TV channels.

By promoting a new line with Zagreb, Korean Air has announced a promotional video "A Walk in Croatia" on its social networks, in which staff from Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes, Zadar, Split and Rovinj promotes this direct line with Croatia. The video has been viewed over 3 million times so far.

Korean Air is one of the world's top 20 airline companies, which in 2017 served more than 26 million passengers. This airline connects 125 cities in 44 countries on six continents; has a modern fleet of 175 aircraft and employs more than 20,000 professional personnel.

Split will have direct flights to Canada next year with the airline Air Transat announcing this new line. According to an announcement from the Canadian/Croatian Chamber of Commerce the flights will start on the 20th of June and operate once a week until the 12th of September 2019.

Split will become the second Croatian airport to accept direct flights from Canada, as Air Transat has been flying to the capital Zagreb since 2016. The flights will be operated every Thursday to the Dalmatian city which is experiencing a bumper year in terms of passenger numbers and new airlines.

“The new fights, one officially confirmed by the airline, would mark a major development for Split Airport, which has previously said it had no interest in attracting long haul services. The airport is in the midst of building its new multi-million-euro passenger terminal to which it will move by the end of the year,” commented the specialised website EX-Aviation.

During the Lifelong Learning Week (1 – 7 October), Europe House Dubrovnik association will organize free of charge mini-courses of Croatian language for visitors of Dubrovnik.

The courses last for 90 minutes and are held in Europe House Dubrovnik's premises, at Nikola Tesle Street 9, according to the following schedule: 1, 2 and 4 October from 10 am to 1 pm; 3 October from 5 to 8 pm.

To check the availability, it is recommended to send the message to the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to the Facebook page of the Regional Youth Info Centre: @icmdnz

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“If things don’t change they stay the same.” I used to have a colleague in London who would use this particular phrase on a daily basis. I never really understood it at the time but now I think I have a better grasp on his sentiment. So I was browsing through the archives of Dubrovacki Vjesnik looking at old copies of the newspaper from the 1960’s. I was actually looking for a particular article, well more background on a topic, but I got completely side-tracked by the headlines I was reading.

For some unknown reason 1964 caught my eye. Firstly, it was rather strange looking at a total black and white newspaper, reminded of my youth, even though the newspaper I was reading was published four years before I was born. Back at that time the newspaper was only 8 pages long, there were virtually no adverts, no TV guides, no horoscopes and no sign of any columns. But the thing that caught my eye was the headlines.

Now you have to bear in mind that this was written over half a century ago. And if you think the problems and challenges we face today are something new…well you are wrong. First headline – “Almost 300 cruise ship arrivals until now” an article about cruise ships, yes a rather actual theme today. It claimed that by the end of the year (1964) a total of 321 cruise ships would dock in Dubrovnik carrying around 70,000 passengers. 321 cruise ships in 1964. And how many will arrive in 2018, a grand total of 440. So in 51 years the growth is 119, or just over 2 extra cruise ships every year.

I flicked forward. Headline number two – “How are the taxi drivers in Dubrovnik behaving?!?” Seem familiar? I quickly read through the article, which was basically about where taxi drivers were allowed to stop and how they should behave with clients, however I didn’t see any mention of Uber.

Headline three and the déjà vu continued – “The landscape of Lapad is changing.” I wonder what could be changing in Lapad. Surprise the Lapad Beach. You could say it was Sunset Beach beta version. An article about the beach was newly renovated and how they expected a bumper season with plenty of tourists.

Onwards and the next page revealed “Lokrum without light, drinking water and telephones.” Ok, those problems have been fixed but exchange Lokrum for another island and you could have exactly the same headline.

And the Lokrum story was right next to an article “More than ten hectares of forest burned down.” Another familiar story.

And the rest of that page was filled with a story that made me chuckle. “Why isn’t there any Dalmatian pršut in the restaurants.” Panic on the streets of Dubrovnik, no homemade local pršut for lunch. Another page another déjà vu – “Private accommodation at the centre of attention.” No this wasn’t an article about Booking.com or Airbnb but it did have a copy/paste feel. In 1964 there were 6,200 beds in private accommodation. It went on to say that more and more people were interested in renting their apartments to guests and then the fatal sentence “However, who will organise the sale of this private accommodation…” Just wait a few years and the answer will come. Looks like every generation found a second income from renting to tourists.

“New necessity for the development of tourism,” was the headline in the next issue with a text that really could have been written yesterday and I have a feeling will be written every year, at least once a year, until the end of time.

And another timeless classic was on the very next page “Are we ready for the extension of the tourist season?!” Yes, we are ready!?! We have been ready for the last fifty years and we will be ready in another fifty year’s time.

And the next issue “Dubrovnik is interesting for American tourist.” I wonder if they had some inside information of Game of Thrones back then. But I’ll leave you with my favourite, which came after the news that the coastal road was finally completed. The headline in 1964 read “What after the coastal road?” That one is easy to answer – fifty years of absolutely nothing just a whole lot of talking.

The Dubrovnik taxi scene will become even more crowded from next week when the popular Zagreb taxi company Cammeo starts operations for the first time in the city. Cammeo advertised on the website that “In order to mark our arrival in this beautiful city, we honour you free travel within the city (up to 30 kuna), starting from Tuesday (02.10) from 6 am until Friday (05.10) to 6 am.”

Cammeo has a very effective app, which is also available in English, and is renowned offering cheap fares, which will undoubtedly put more pressure on local taxi companies to lower their prices.

From the 15th to the 21st of October the Dubrovnik Good Food Festival will once again bring some gastronomic delights to the city. The Dubrovnik Tourist Board will organise various tasty events and one will include numerous restaurants throughout the city offering special menus highlighting local cuisines and all at promotional prices.

Festival Menus at Promotional Prices

During the festival, various workshops will be organised, such as a workshops on preparing traditional Dubrovnik desserts, traditional Croatian dishes, as well as a food styling workshop and a food photography workshop. The central event for all visitors of the festival will be dinner with a celebrity chef, which, apart from the gourmet program, will feature a music program that will add to the atmosphere.

The hardworking chefs of around thirty Dubrovnik restaurants have specially created festival menus for the Good Food Festival at special prices, which you will be able to try during all four days of the festival. Take advantage of this great opportunity to visit restaurants that you’ve never been to and let Dubrovnik restaurateurs present you their delicious, creative and tempting dishes.

The participating restaurants: Gradska kavana Arsenal, Banje Beach, Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota, Bistro 49, Restoran Buono, Chihuahua Cantina Mexicana, Kavana Bistro Dalmatino, Domino, Restoran Gusta Me, Klarisa, La Capella terrace & restaurant – The Pucić Palace Hotel, Hotel Lero Piano bar, Magellan, Moskar – Street Food, Orka, Orsan, Pantarul, Porat, Rhea Silvia wine & tapas bar, Rozario, Stara Loza, Sunset Beach Trattoria, Taj Mahal – Hotel Lero, Taj Mahal – Old City, Tavulin, Veranda and Zuzori.

Download the restaurants menus from the link above

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