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.
Clearly not everyone is in a relaxed and laid back mood when on holiday in Croatia, some tourists have a need for speed. A Ferrari was clocked doing an incredible 238.5 km/h on the A1 highway.
The speeding driver was caught on the 12th of May at 3:40pm. The Norwegian driver was clearly in a hurry to start his holiday; he has a souvenir of Croatia but probably not the one he wanted. He was fined for the driving offence and given a one-month ban from driving in the Republic of Croatia.
In the section of the A1 motorway where he was caught speeding the speed limit is 120 kilometres per hour, in other words he was almost doing twice the speed limit, and rather unsurprisingly he recorded the highest speed offence in the Dubrovnik area this week.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, received an official visit from the Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Croatia, Constantine-Mihail Grigorie, yesterday.
Ambassador Grigorie explained that Romania has very good relations with Croatia and that this year is the most intense and productive year in diplomatic relations between the two countries. He also expressed hope for the appointment of an honorary Romanian consul in Dubrovnik, and Mayor Frankovic said that this would be a great honour for the city as more and more Romanian citizens are visiting Dubrovnik.
Mayor Franković also stressed that Dubrovnik is interested in partnership and creating new connections, which is also proven by the excellent relations that Dubrovnik maintains and develops with all city friends.
The capital’s airport, Frano Tuđman Airport, welcomed its millionth passenger of 2019 yesterday, the earliest the airport has achieved this landmark in its entire history. In the 57-year history of the airport in Zagreb this million passenger mark hasn’t been reached quicker, proving that the capital is becoming one of Europe’s hot destinations.
In a statement the airport commented that “Congratulations to this year’s millionth passenger at Franjo Tuđman Airport, Jela Ravnjak, who arrived from Dublin on a Croatia Airlines flight. We are celebrating our earliest millionth passenger in the history of Zagreb airport, which confirms the continuous growth of passenger traffic.”
The Zagreb airport reached the millionth passenger mark a full 5 days before last year and this year the airport expects a 5 percent growth in passenger numbers annually.
Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is breaking box-office records, from the highest opening weekend gross and the fastest cumulative grosses through $2 billion, but did you know that The Avengers actually have a Dubrovnik connection.
Costing an estimated $356 million to produce the latest Marvel superhero blockbuster draws to an end the battle between Ironman, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk and all the other superhero characters with the super villain Thanos. And one of these very superheroes has a Dubrovnik history.
The story of Captain America on the screen started back in 1944 with a black and white series and through the years this “all American” champion has appeared in many different guises, from cartoons to films.
In 1990 Marvel’s leading character flung his shield around the ancient stone walls of Dubrovnik as Captain America battled the villain Red Skull in Dubrovnik. Long before the Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Robin Hood used the stone façades as backdrops for blockbusters one of the Avengers was fighting evil on those same streets. Interestingly the final battle was recorded on the Lovrijenac Fortress, the same fort that acted as the Red Keep in Game of Thrones.
Captain America in Dubrovnik
Whereas the latest hit, Endgame cost $356 million the 1990 version of Captain America was considerably lighter with its budget, costing an estimated $10 million. And it isn’t only the budget that differs, the Dubrovnik Captain America was an absolute flop at the box-office, as opposed to the billions that Endgame is earning the 1990 flick saw a massive loss and only earned just over $10,000.
And the critics also panned it with the popular critic stating that “Lacking a script, budget, direction, or star capable of doing justice to its source material, this Captain America should have been left under the ice."
Whereas Chris Evans has brought millions to watch the adventures of Steve Rogers, the 1990 version starred Matt Salinger, and also starred Ronny Cox, more famous for his roles in Total Recall, Beverley Hills Cop and Deliverance, as the American President.
Captain America (Matt Salinger) and the American President (Ronny Cox) in Dubrovnik
The Dubrovnik based superhero movie was a co-production between the Marvel Entertainment Group, Jadran Film and 21st Century Film Corporation.
Legendary British DJ Fatboy Slim had confirmed that he will perform in Dubrovnik this summer. Fatboy Slim, or Norman Quentin Cook, will perform in the iconic Dubrovnik club Culture Club Revelin on Tuesday the 23rd of July in what should be a spectacular gig. This isn’t the first time that this popular British DJ, who played at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, has performed in Dubrovnik and the last time he was in the city he commented that “Dubrovnik is a fantastic place.”
Interestingly Fatboy Slim holds the Guinness World Record for the most top 40 hits under different names. He started his musical career as a bass player with “The Housemartins” and then went onto perform in various bands before going solo as Fatboy Slim.
The City of Dubrovnik as an investor has obtained the first building permit for the reconstruction and expansion of the Lapad coast. The investment is estimated at around 40 million Kuna, covering the area from the port of Batala to the Faculty of Economics.
The project ultimately foresees a two-way road on the Lapad coast, as opposed to the current one-way road. In addition to the reconstruction and extension of the road the project also includes a whole new drainage system as well as a new public lighting system and telecommunication network. Along the entire length of the road, on the left hand side, a new footpath will be installed, while the right hand side there will be a “green belt” and parking spaces.
Construction works are planned to start at the end of this year, and the whole project will be funded by the City of Dubrovnik and EU funds.
Finishing a construction project on time in Croatia is rare, finishing it ahead of time is almost unheard of. However, that is exactly what has happened with the first stage of the new Peljesac Bridge. The last of a total of 148 permanent pilots on the construction site of the Peljesac bridge was completed on Thursday night, ending the job a full 12 days ahead of schedule.
The last pilot was 126.6 meters long and one of the most critical for the bridge’s foundation.
According to the plan of construction the last pilot had to be in place by the 12th of May. The original plan was to install one pilot per day, however the Chinese construction company managed to install two a day, and sometimes three a day depending on the weather conditions.
I was gazing through my window onto yet another grey and cold May day in Dubrovnik when every electronic communication device in my house lit up like the fireworks display for the opening of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. “It’s a boy!” Finally, there was an answer to the question that I had been constantly asked (mainly with my female friends) for the last two weeks. Meghan was a mum! And Harry a dad! A nation celebrated. A nation had a new prince. Although by the time you read this the name of the new Prince will have been announced I am writing in the dark as deadlines loom.
I am not a betting man but I have a feeling he will be an A – Arthur, Albert or Alexander. How cool will it be if we had another King Arthur. Of course due to traditions the baby already has an official royal title before he has name, yes say hello to the Earl of Dumbarton. So far traditions have been respected, modern technology used and the couple have shown a new face of the Royal family.
The birth was formally announced on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace on an easel, carried by two butlers which relayed the fact that “the Queen and the Royal Family are delighted”. And then much more casually Prince Harry used Instagram to announce the news personally. Of course he doesn’t have his own social media account, none of the Royals do, but the official account of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Yes, one of the things that the new-born will have to get used to is a life lived in the spotlight of the world’s media. From the day he was born to the day he dies this latest member of the British Royal family will be in the public eye. This little soul is blissfully unaware that he is a Royal and that the world is watching me, or even the future that lies before him.
I am not going to lie the birth of a Royal baby is huge news in the UK, it has firmly swept Brexit under the carpet (at least for now) and brought a smile to the faces of millions. Harry and Meghan are like the UK version of Angelina and Brad Pitt. And not just on the island that is Great Britain, but also around the world. Figures show that the birth was the most covered birth, in terms of international news coverage, since Prince Louis in April 2018. So far Meghan and Harry have been able to keep the location of the hospital a secret from the UK press, that is quite an impressive feat as the British press are probably the most aggressive in the world. I am hoping that they followed the tradition that his brother and Kate followed by having their baby at the St. Mary’s Hospital in London. Simply because they always use a wing of the hospital that has a slight touch of Dubrovnik, yes it’s called the Lindo wing, just a Đ away from being connected to our folklore guys.
So they have followed tradition, added some modern flavour, but hoiw have they shown that new Royal face. Harry has always had this reputation as a “lovable rouge.” Whilst William has been the serious, family man, Harry was viewed more of a playboy. In Star Wars terms Prince William in Luke Skywalker and Harry takes the role of Hans Solo.
The introduction of Meghan has certainly brought a newer, calmer version of the young Prince. And the couple showed their humanitarian side by announcing that instead of the public sending gifts to the new-born they donate to charity. Harry and Meghan asked the public to donate to four children's charities, instead of sending presents for the royal baby. And the latest news shows that these four charities have been absolutely bombarded with gifts of all shapes and sizes. One of them, “Little Village”, a clothes, toys and equipment bank for young children, has received donations from around the world and had a surge in volunteer applications. It is a wild time in the UK, a time of celebration, and I think they really need a celebration on the island at the moment.
I’ll leave the last word to Prince Harry "How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension, but we're both absolutely thrilled and so grateful to all the love and support from everybody out there. It's been amazing, so we just wanted to share this with everybody."