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.
The Peljesac bridge is being built at full steam, and now the saga around who will construct the access roads has finally come to an end with work expected to start soon.
The Croatian government have announced that construction is moving fast and everything will be finished within the deadline. Construction of access roads for the new Peljesac Bridge by Greek company Avax should begin in a month.
The State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures rejected an appeal by the Austrian company Strabag. "After this, since the contract was an integral part of the competition, the contract will be signed very soon and start working" said Minister Oleg Butkovic.
The Greek company got a deal worth 511 million Kuna when it comes to access roads and the Ston bypass. And they have a 30-month deadline to complete the work.
The work on the bridge itself is progressing quickly and ahead of schedule and it seems that the bridge will completed before the access roads.
The adult entrance ticket price for the most iconic Dubrovnik attraction, the Dubrovnik City Walls, will remain unchanged for 2020. The price of 200 Kuna for one adult ticket to walk the 1.9 kilometres of the most visited tourist attraction in Dubrovnik, and indeed one of the most visited attractions in Croatia, will remain the same next year.
The walls have recently sold their one millionth entrance ticket and are well on course to reach the 1.3 million visitors that walked these unique walls last year.
“We expect excellent number of visits in the post-season, during October and November, and I believe that last year's figures of 1.3 million visitors will be repeated,” commented Maro Kapovic from the Association of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, the organisation that runs and looks after the walls.
“The walls of Dubrovnik deserve such a price and the figures show that we were right. We have pledged that we will not increase prices for the next two years, so there will be no change in price. We can see that such a decision resulted in the better flow of the walls. Tourists' visits are spread throughout the day, and we can be pleased with the investments that we will continue to make next year,” concluded Kapovic.
The Borough of Zupa has been dancing to the sounds of ballroom dancing this weekend as the international Adriatic Pearl dance competition came to the Sheraton Hotel. More than fifty dance couples from all over the world took are currently taking part in this colourful competition which started on Thursday and will finish today with a gala dinner in the Revelin Fortress.
This is the third year that Adriatic Pearl has been held in Dubrovnik and is organised by the National Dance Council of Croatia.
The competition is divided into professional and amateur categories, as well as into different styles of dance, including salsa, rumba and tango. In total nineteen different dance clubs with 430 dancers have entered the competition and dancers have also arrived from America and Canada to perform.
The short term pollution on the Mlini beach has now passed and the sea is clear for swimming.
During the ninth regular bathing water quality testing according to the program for determining the sea quality at the sea beaches of Dubrovnik-Neretva County in 2019, it was determined that the results of the analysis of sea bathing at Mlini beach in Župa dubrovačka sampled on 17th September did not meet the requirements of the Bathing Sea Quality Regulation.
Sampling continued on the 18th and 19th on September 2019 and the test results are in accordance with the conditions and quality control.
Two major earthquakes hit Albania yesterday afternoon and the tremors were felt in Dubrovnik.
According to reports the first earthquake measured 3.3 on the Richter scale. But that was clearly only the beginning because at 4.05pm the second earthquake hit and was much stronger, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale. And then ten minutes later another earthquake shook the ground at 5.7 degrees on the Richter scale.
Both earthquakes occurred just thirty kilometres from Tirana. The first seismological data indicate that the epicenter of the earthquake was at sea, at a depth of about ten kilometres. No human casualties have been reported so far.
It is stated that soil tremors were also felt in Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Greece, Kosovo, and even Italy, and less tremors were also felt in Croatia in the Dubrovnik area.
Dubrovnik has once again found itself on an international list, this time in the top fifty most beautiful world cities. The Canadian travel agency, Flight Network, has just released a list of the world’s 50 most beautiful cities and Dubrovnik is the only Croatian city on the list, and is placed in 41st position between Seoul and San Sebastian in Spain.
The create this list Flight Network collected the opinions of travel writers, travel bloggers, and travel agencies from around the world.
“This extensive collaboration produced the most thoughtful and definitive list of the World’s Best Cities — a guide that will inspire travellers not only in 2019 but for years to come,” said the website. “This unparalleled guide will both challenge you to take a fresh look at famous megacities like New York and dream of new destinations like chilly and charming Bergen, Norway.”
The 50 most beautiful cities in the world, at least according to Flight Network, are:
1. Paris, France
2. New York, USA
3. London, England, UK
4. Venice, Italy
5. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
6. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
7. Cape Town, South Africa
8. San Francisco, California, USA
9. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
10. Rome, Italy
11. Singapore, Singapore
12. Lisbon, Portugal
13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
14. Prague, Czech Republic
15. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16. Budapest, Hungary
17. Istanbul, Turkey
18. Tokyo, Japan
19. Vienna, Austria
20. Buenos Aires, Argentina
21. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
22. San Diego, California, USA
23. Quebec City, Canada
24. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
25. Chicago, Illinois, USA
26. Bruges, Belgium
27. Madrid, Spain
28. Havana, Cuba
29. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
30. Jerusalem, Israel
31. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
32. Quito, Ecuador
33. Zurich, Switzerland
34. Cusco, Peru
35. St. Petersburg, Russia
36. Berlin, Germany
37. Hanoi, Vietnam
38. Queenstown, New Zealand
39. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
40. Seoul, South Korea
41. Dubrovnik, Croatia
42. San Sebastian, Spain
43. Bangkok, Thailand
44. Cartagena, Colombia
45. Dublin, Ireland
46. Marrakesh, Morocco
47. Bergen, Norway
48. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
49. Beijing, China
50. Athens, Greece
2019 looks like being a record breaking year for Croatia’s airports with eleven million passengers expected to pass through them. In 2018 a grand total 10.5 million passengers travelled through the country’s airports but this year an extra half a million passengers are predicted.
In fact, according to data from the website EX-YU Aviation, Croatian airports have seen the seventh largest increase in passengers throughout the whole of the European Union this year. With only Austria, Latvia, Finland, Portugal, Malta and Hungary recording a bigger increase in guest numbers than Croatia this year.
From the beginning of the year and up to the end of August Croatian airports had handled 8.2 million passengers.
“Are there any clothing optional beaches in Dubrovnik?” asked a reader to my newspaper, it certainly isn’t the most unusual question I’ve ever had, “You mean nudist beaches,” I replied. There is of course a whole range of nudist beaches, or as the Germans call them FKK beaches, up and down the coastline, Dubrovnik included.
Ever since an English King and his American bride-to-be brought nudist tourism to Croatia, well allegedly. The famous couple cruised Croatia in 1936 on the yacht Nahlin, yes celebrities cruising the Adriatic is nothing new. During their cruise they stopped at the island of Rab where King Edward VIII obtained a special permission from the local government to swim without clothes, skinny dipping as we call it now. The permission was granted and hence nudist tourism was born in Croatia, at least that is the legend.
Not being a nudist I tend to avoid the known naked beaches. I have nothing against people getting free and liberated by taking their clothes off, but I really just don’t know where to look when everyone around me is naked. On the other hand my wife has a favourite beach in Zupa that just happens to be a nudist beach. Normally this beach is empty, especially as my wife goes swimming at the crack of dawn. However recently she had a rather crowded experience. My wife had found here early morning spot on the rocks, the dogs were hiding in the shade, and as the sun rose she dived into the August Adriatic.
Only a few minutes had passed when a group of German tourists, all aged in their late-forties, came wandering down to the beach, one lady and three men. She presumed they had just finished breakfast and fancied a swim. In a flash all their clothes fell to the ground. But swimming in the Adriatic was the last thing on their minds. “Ja! Ja! Ja!” alerted my wife to the unfolding scene on this Zupa beach, as Helga found herself rather busy with her three male companions. By the way - I used the name Helga as her stage name, it was the first name that popped into my head from that wonderful series Allo, Allo.
Seeing the unfolding 1970’s porn movie scene in Zupa my wife swum back to the shoreline a safe distance from the group entertainment. I have always had my suspicions that nudism was just a smokescreen for sex parties, and now that suspicion was being confirmed. Jumping out of sea to the echoes of “Ja! Ja! Ja!” and Helga twisting into ever stranger angles my wife decided enough was enough.
She has never really been shy, that’s just not in her nature. Wrapping herself in her towel, presumably to prove that she definitely wasn’t a nudist, she stormed over to the Zupa seaside orgy. “Stop, stop,” she cried. Although it would have been much more hilarious if she has shouted “Halt! Halt!” but that my twisted English humour. Four pairs of eyes now looked up at her. “Stop, what do you think you are doing?” she continued.
Again with my sarcastic wit I am pretty sure it was quite obvious what they were doing. And then one male German voice replied, a little sheepishly as he was caught in a compromising position, “But this is a nudist beach.” It was the that my wife made up for all the past errors at the beginning of this encounter when she replied “Yes, but it isn’t a f***ing beach!” She was correct, if a little blunt. What they were doing was not only never mentioned in the Karma Sutra, but it was also illegal, and quite frankly a little painful for Helga (although she wasn’t complaining.) And with that one line from my wife the German men lost their will to continue and in fact the means with which to continue and their manhood retreated.
As they wandered back to the safety, and indeed privacy of their hotel room, my wife was cursing herself for not phoning the police first. Helga and the three Musketeers will probably do the same thing again; in fact, they probably did the same thing on that same beach the next day. And one day a group of children will be walking past. If you want to get nude, no worries. If you want to do the mattress mambo then get a room.