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.
Even though it is an American shopping tradition and was dreamt up to follow Thanksgiving Day the rest of the world has now accepted Black Friday and stores both on the high street and online offer discounts.
Croatia is certainly part of the Black Friday fever and crowds of people queued up outside shops in Zagreb waiting to catch a bargain. The shopping malls of the Croatian capital were awash with shoppers looking for huge savings.
But the sales also raised the entrepreneurial spirit with a few shoppers.
The sales and shops opened at 8.00am and less than an hour later some of the reduced price items were being advertised on online platforms. One quick shopper bought a PlayStation 4 for 2099 Kuna and within an hour the same PlayStation was for sale, or resale, for 2299 Kuna online. This shopper was hoping to make a quick 200 Kuna profit from Black Friday. Another “businessman” bought a computer processor for 560 Kuna in the shops and then resold it online for 1,800 Kuna. Black Friday was good business in more ways than one in Croatia.
It’s been a long and busy day for the team at Konoba Veranda in Stikovica as they kicked off their 24-hour humanitarian action to raise money to purchase a CTG machine for the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
The day started at the crack of dawn this morning at 6.00am and the whole team will be preparing meals non-stop for 24 hours. This day-long action is aimed at raising enough money to fund the purchase of a CTG machine that is used for pregnant women for the purpose of monitoring beating (fetal) heart and contractions of the uterus.
From 6.00am this morning till 6.00am on Sunday morning the whole staff is working flat out cooking and servings meals. And today the restaurant was full as the citizens of Dubrovnik showed their big hearts and gladly donated to this worthy cause. Customers ordered a meal and drinks but instead of getting a bill they were asked to donate as much as they wanted to the cause.
The husband and wife ownership team of Maja and Mirko Andrić stated that their goal was to reach 50,000 Kunas over the 24 hours.
We wish them the best of luck with this great humanitarian action!
Croatia are on the very brink of winning the Davis Cup for the second time in history after completely dominating day one of the finals in Lille.
Croatia took a 2 – 0 lead after Marin Cilic and Borna Coric both won their singles matches against the hosts France.
Only once in the history of the competition has it happened that the country, which was losing 2: 0 in the finals, won the title. It was back in 1939 when Australia beat the United States.
Not only did they not win a single match, but they did not win a single set. Borna Ćorić and Marin Čilić were on top form and defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jeremy Chardy in front of 20,000 French fans in Lille.
How often do we neglect the beauty right on our very doorstep? We marvel at foreign destinations and dream of visiting far flung exotic countries when within easy reach are places that have indescribable beauty. Yes, I have just spent a long, long weekend on my absolute favourite destination in the whole of Croatia by far – Mljet.
Even though the Mljet National Park once ran an advert stating that a photo tells a thousand words I am pretty confident that I could fill my columns until the end of this year marvelling at the magnificence of the island. God was having a very good day when he created this island. I have been to countless countries, visited hosts of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty but not one of them comes even close to Mljet. It’s like nature with the volume turned up to maximum, ear-shattering splendour.
And at this time of the year it has the added advantage of being empty, I mean literally empty!
The first day we walked all the way around the Large Lake. By the way whoever had the job of naming the lakes on Mljet was obviously not Shakespeare. It is around 12 kilometres around the lake and guess how many people we met along the way, zero. The next day we walked the Small Lake, and again we had all this nature to ourselves. As much as I was happy to be able to enjoy the birds singing, the fish jumping and the rustle of pine trees in the wind I was also a little depressed that nobody else could see and experience what I was seeing.
How this glorious national park can’t attract walking and hiking tourists in the winter is beyond me. Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me, it just continues to annoy me. But let’s not focus on our own stupidity or laziness. No, I want to concentrate on a huge plus point.
We were lucky to be staying with one traditional Mljet family. This was a perfect picture of humans and nature in harmony. Over the last decade the buzz words have been “eco-friendly” and “green living.” Politicians, governments and institutions have been spending billions on finding a way to save our planet. A planet that the human race has been raping and exploiting for our own gains for centuries. Laws and regulations have been passed. New rules on recycling, in fact new education of our future generations so that they will not make the same mistakes that we have continuously made. But here on a tiny island in the middle of the Adriatic I was experiencing at first hand the future by looking back at the past. We have so much to learn from our past.
The first time we all sat down for lunch, and it was a big family lunch, everything on the table had been produced within a stone’s throw of that very table. We ate and drank like kings and everything was organically and locally produced. Wine, eggs, olive oil, salad, meat, vegetables and fruit all “Made in Mljet.” Every day we ate salad picked directly from the garden in front of the house, we drank wine and rakija from vineyards behind the house and sprinkled olive oil from trees we could see through the window.
And nothing, and I mean nothing is wasted. Glass bottles have no need to be thrown into a recycle bin when they are used countless times to be refilled with wine and oil. Plastic bottles are reused to hold young wines and water. For this is the true meaning of recycling. The micro climate is respected and crops are planted to suit the needs of the weather and the surrounding nature. Living with nature is the key. Nature is far more developed and quite honestly wiser than humans. And on Mljet is was taken back to a time when we lived together as one. Modern technology has made us dumber. Smart phones and smart cars and smart houses have made us all dumb. Nature will always be smarter than us and its time we realised it.
“Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body and soul,” once wrote Anthony Douglas Williams. Thank you Mljet for nurturing me.
It has certainly been a year to remember for Luka Modrić. Winning the silver medal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, being voted as the best player at the World Cup and winning the UEFA Player of the Year and now to top off a great year he has been awarded by GQ magazine as the Sportsman of the Year for 2018.
The Real Madrid ace and Croatia national team captain collected the prestigious award at a gala ceremony held in the Spanish capital Madrid in the Palace Hotel.
Modric was chosen as the best player at the World Cup, before winning UEFA Men's Player of the Year 2017/18 in August, and getting his hands on FIFA's The Best Men's Player 2018 in September. He is also in the running to win the Ballon d'Or 2018, to be presented by France Football on the 3rd of December.
After just two minutes of tickets going on sale for the upcoming Foo Fighters concert in the Pula Arena they were sold out! The Foo Fighters will now go into the history books as the fastest sold-out concert by an international group in Croatia.
As soon as the American rock band announced that they would include Croatia on their World Tour it was clear that the one and only concert in Croatia would be popular, but just how popular and just how quickly the concert would be completely sold-out probably came as a shock to everyone.
Some huge names have sold out concerts in Croatia in double quick time, including U2 in Zagreb and Beyonce in Zagreb as well, but none of these mega bands came close to selling out a concert in just two minutes. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd sold out his Zagreb concert in 3 hours, just 2 hours and 48 minutes slower than the Foo Fighters.
It’s Black Friday the day of the year when stores offer huge discounts to shoppers all over the world. But if you are thinking of buying online make sure that you only use trusted sources as according to new information 13 percent of online shoppers in Croatia have experienced fraud.
The Croatian Banking Association have released figures before Black Friday showing that shopping online has its problems. 13 percent of shoppers had problems ordering online with the most common problem being the non-delivery of goods they purchased.
1,000 people took part in the survey and the results revealed that less than half of them actually bought goods online.
About 36 percent of online shoppers polled said they purchase items from verified online shops only, such as Amazon, eBay, or AliBaba, and merely 14 percent said they bought goods at Croatian online stores.
After a few days of south winds and heavy rains the wind changed and the sun finally popped its head out from behind the thick clouds today. The warm winter sunshine poured down onto the ancient city and it was a truly great day to explore the city or just to find a quiet bench and feed the pigeons.