Saturday, 01 October 2022
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.


We walk, and we walk. Every day another 10 miles pass under our feet. We have managed to walk the whole of the north coast of the county of Devon and pass into the most south westerly county in England, Cornwall. Our legs have walked over 150 miles. And the path before us still holds 500 miles.

This is an adventure. Every day a new challenge and a fresh opportunity.

Now the people of the coast of Cornwall, and to a certain extent Devon, are, well, let’s just say arty. There is a freedom, or liberty, that they cherish. This can be seen in every walk of life. “Why would we need your ID or passport, or even address,” said the lady at the first camp site we stayed in. “Your name is enough,” she replied. “But I could give you any name, I could say Elton John,” I replied. “You could, do you want me to write Elton John then;” she smiled.

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This has been a pattern that has continued in every form of accommodation, from camp sites to hotels. And not only has nobody asked for my ID nobody has even given me a receipt after I paid them. And I’m not just talking about camp sites. “Would you like a copy of your receipt?” Is a question that echos after you make any purchase, whether in a supermarket or pub. And I haven’t seen anyone yet take the receipt. “If you did that in my country you’d be breaking the law,” said my wife to now shop assistant. “That seems a little strict,” smiled the assistant.

Cornwall has this mystical feel. It always has had for me. The long Celtic roots, the isolation from the rest of the country, the dramatic coastline, the traditions that live on to this day, the Cornish language (yes, they have their own language although not so many people use it) and the fact that they believe in fairies. OK, that last one might be a slight exaggeration, but there is certainly a love for the mythical. Allegedly the home of King Arthur and Merlin, and by the time you read this text I will have passed Merlin’s cave and the site of the round table. And you can see that this “final county” of the UK and its people are almost like island people, living on an island on an island.

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There are of course similarities with Dalmatia. Firstly, it’s a region that relies largely on tourism. And every camp site or pub or restaurant that we have been in has been packed mostly with tourists. There are quite a few Americans. Which isn’t a huge surprise as just as Dalmatia a large section of the population moved abroad looking for a better way of life, and the promise of the New World was just as bright for the Cornish as the Dalmatians. Just over half a million people live in Cornwall and around 2 million live in the US, a further million in Australia, all sounds rather familiar doesn’t it.

These are proud people. They are tough. Most work on the land, either on farms or forestry or fishing. It is a county without one mile of motorway. Without one football club in any of the major leagues. A county that traditionally votes Liberal. And a county that has its own political party that are fighting for independence. It has that “don’t touch us and we we won’t touch you feel.”

And it is beautiful on a biblical scale. The coastline is monumental. And the paths that we are walking go from treacherous to down right punishing.

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“How many long distance walks have you done before,” asked one clearly experienced walker with legs like an oak tree. “Have you done Scotland or the Alps? I did the Camino de Santiago just a few months ago and it was much, much easier than this,” he continued. “This is our first walk really,” I sheepishly replied. He laughed, a thunderous laugh.

“So you mean that the first ever long distance walk that you ever done is the longest in the UK, in the top five hardest in Europe and one if the most challenging I have done in my 30 years of walking,” he looked a little shocked. 

We aren’t athletes, to be honest before I started this I wasn't even that fit, and we are both a long way from being long distance walkers. But somehow we are. We keep going. We keep surprising ourselves, believe me nobody is more shocked than me that I have gone so far. We have walked over 200 kilometres so far, and we were doing it with a dog.

Now, walking with a dog is around 20 percent harder than walking on your own. They run off after sheep and birds (Toto’s new love is pheasants) they need food and water, you have to make sure that accommodation is pet-friendly, they poop, they bark and they need looking after. 20 percent harder but 100 percent more enjoyable. Toto is the leader of our pack. He cuddles with everyone. And it makes talking to people much easier, as they all want to know what breed he is. “Oh, where can I buy one like him,” is a question we often hear.

And the simplicity of life is being highlighted to us in full focus. We have been on the road for over two weeks, and in that time we have both been using clothes in threes, three pairs of socks, three pairs of underwear, three T-Shirts, you get the idea. Basically everything that we need to live with is on our backs, we are like two human snails. And are we missing anything? No! Life is as complicated or as simple as you make it. And believe me it can be very, very simple. 

Follow out travels on - Travels With Toto 2022 

And you can donate to our good causes here -

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to




As of October 1, Croatian Post is increasing the prices of its postal services, so sending a letter of up to 50 grams as well as postcards and greeting cards will cost 3.55 Kuna or 0.47 Euro according to the fixed conversion rate, which is an increase of 25 Lipa or 3 cents.

"The price of postal services in Croatia is still among the lowest in the EU, because the average price of sending the cheapest letter parcel in EU countries is 0.93 Euro, and only three countries offer a cheaper service than Croatia - Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta", pointed out Croatian Post.

They say that the new price increase is mostly related to the increase in energy prices, which directly affects the growth of the company's operating costs.

Fuel costs make up a significant part of the costs of performing their basic activities, and they have increased by as much as 40 percent, and in order to maintain the existing high quality of service in such conditions, they say that they had to correct the prices of services.


The real estate market in Croatia in 2021 saw a massive bounce back from the year before with almost 134,000 purchases completed, which represents a jump of 30 percent compared to 2020. And the total value of real estate sold in Croatia last year was just over 60 billion Euro.


Last year, the largest number of purchases and sales on the real estate market related to agricultural land, 43,846, which was 32.7 percent of the total number. This was followed by the purchase and sale of apartments/apartments, of which 29,605 were realised, followed by construction land, 23,633, and family houses, 16,976.


The City of Zagreb lead the way in terms of the number of sales transactions, followed by Zadar, Split and Rijeka.


The highest average price of a flat/apartment per square metre was in Dubrovnik, where the average price was 18,610 Kuna, followed by Rovinj with 17,045 Kuna, Split with 16,682 Kuna and Opatija with 15,390 Kuna. The prices in Zagreb also rise drastically with the average price per square metre of an apartment just over 12,000 Kuna.



Are you thinking about how to forget the past and move on?

If the answer is yes, then you are here at the right place. Here are some essential tips to follow for a better future – and, of course, for forgetting the things that happened in the past and moving on.

Read on to learn more!

Understand the Importance of Letting go!

Start by understanding the importance of letting go of the past. In other words, you will need to forget the past and stop beating yourself up. You must let go of the emotions associated with the past – guilt, regret, and all other negative feelings.

Focus on the present and think of the present as your time to make your life what you want it to be. This is your time to finally get to the point of happiness. Think about all the things that could make you happy. You might as well make a bucket list and start ticking off one thing after the other.

Move to a Different Place

Sometimes, you have to move places in order to forget the past. For instance, you might have lived with your previous partner, but things didn’t work out. The relationship ended, and now you cannot go back as you cannot face the emptiness.

Your best option would be to move on from the emotions by moving to a different place. Click here to find out more about how to move to Europe. Sometimes, moving to a different place or country is the best way to start a new life and forget the past altogether.

Understanding the Past Doesn’t Define You!

You will want to move on – emotionally, mentally, and physically by getting over the things that happened in the past. Remember that the past doesn’t define you – it only shapes you and your experiences, but your reaction to the past and your focus on the future will allow you to become a better version of yourself and have a fresh start in life.

That said, the things that happened in the past taught you something about yourself and about your life. Your past is a strong factor that enables you to see all the things that you are capable of – you never know your strengths and your true caliber unless you are placed in a difficult situation.

So, the best way to move on from your past is to see it as a learning source. You surely learned something new, and now you are wiser and stronger.

Remember - You Survived the Worst!

In the past, you might have gone through trials that must have felt like the darkest places to exist. But, look at the bright side – you survived, and you survived potentially the worst things out there and ultimately came out on the other side.

If you must really think about the past, you can use it as a reference – as a way to reflect on how it was when you went through those times and what you learned about yourself. This way, you can turn any past regrets into gratefulness because you learned so much from them.

You come to know everything that you are capable of once you start to focus on this aspect, it will really help you to move on.

Start to Focus on the Future

You will want to forget your past by focusing on the future that you want. And the only way you can successfully focus on a better future is by setting goals, having big dreams, and putting in the work to make your dreams your ultimate reality.

So – start from today and focus on what you want your future to be like and how you can make it different from the past.

Once you start focusing on the future, you will understand the changes that you need to make to meet those goals. Believe us – you cannot live life to the fullest without having goals. And you cannot reach your goals if you keep dwelling on the past.

So, you make a mental shift first before you start working on the goals. Rest assured, make sure that the goal aligns with your strengths and weaknesses. Also, keep your finances, emotions, and mental state in check so you can truly reach your goals and move on to a better future.

The first step in setting up SMS for your business is choosing an SMS service provider. If you select the right SMS service provider, it makes it much easier to accomplish your goals with SMS.

Your SMS service provider impacts everything from compliance to CRM integration. Even small inconveniences add up to a lot of burned time and money, so nailing your SMS service provider selection is vital for any business looking to implement text communication.

Now, there are a lot of SMS service providers out there. On one hand, this gives you plenty of options, which is good. On the other hand, more options complicates the selection process.

Therefore, it’s critical to understand how to select the right SMS service provider, based on critical features and capabilities.

This article will give you a checklist of things to look for as you evaluate SMS service providers, starting with the most important stuff.

Here’s what to look for in an SMS service provider…

1. Network Ownership

The first thing to evaluate is how your SMS service provider is going to transmit your messages and how much control you get over the network infrastructure that’s carrying your messages.

It might seem like all SMS providers would be pretty much the same in this regard. After all, all of them use similar wires and cell towers in their network. How much difference could there be?

There’s one big differentiator between SMS service providers: who owns and operates their network.

Many SMS providers do not own their network. They work with contractors to provision network connectivity and essentially send your text messages over someone else’s network.

The best SMS providers own and operate their own network. This gives the provider much more control over how their network transmits your messages.

This control makes it easier for your SMS provider to optimize message delivery and ensure compliance.

It also improves customer service. Your provider can quickly troubleshoot issues if they can simply look at their network and see what’s going on. A provider that contracts out their connectivity must contact the third-party network operator and investigate to identify issues.

All this information points to one thing: an SMS service provider that owns and operates its own network is better than a provider that relies on third-party network operators.

2. API Support

This might seem obvious, but it’s important that your SMS provider offers a fully supported SMS API, in addition to owning and operating their own network

For reference, an API is an Application Programming Interface that enables you to use computers to connect to your SMS provider’s network and send messages.

The good news is that most SMS service providers have their own SMS API.

However, some SMS providers offer a pretty bare bones API that gives you a connection to the provider’s network and not much else. You’re left to get additional functionality—analytics, data reporting, message delivery tracking, etc.—from third-party software providers or build these functionalities yourself.

Ideally, your SMS provider should have an API that enables you to not only connect to your provider network, but also gives you enough control over the platform to easily implement features that make SMS marketing and communication as efficient as possible.

For instance, the Telnyx SMS API offers features like number lookup, opt-out management, message queuing, and other capabilities right out of the box. You don’t have to build anything yourself.

Bottom line, when you’re checking out SMS service providers, kick the tires on their SMS API, and make sure it does everything you need.

3. Message Delivery

Obviously, you want your SMS service provider to reliably deliver messages.

It’s very bad if messages get lost in transit or are sent to the wrong phone numbers. That’s why most SMS service providers give some message delivery metrics in their marketing or support documentation.

You’re looking for 98% or 99% message delivery rates. It’s pretty much impossible to get any higher than that.

If you’re checking out an SMS service provider, and you can’t find any delivery rates anywhere, either contact their sales team and ask about it or move on to another provider.

4. Scalability

One of the primary reasons you should use an SMS API is to make it simple and easy to send a lot of text messages.

However, another big benefit of using an SMS API is that the API makes it much easier and cost-efficient to expand your SMS operations, or it should.

Your SMS service provider should let you pay only for what you need. Beware any SMS service provider that forces you to pay for large packages or service tiers that leave you with a lot of unused bandwidth and excess costs.

It should be simple to pay for as many SMS short codes and as much message volume as you need, and no more. When you need more, there shouldn’t be any penalty for ramping up your message volume or adding short codes. That’s true scalability.

5. Ease of Integration

You probably already have some communication tools in place. Most businesses have at least a CRM system.

It should be easy to integrate your SMS service with your existing tools. That way you can leverage the data you already have (primarily phone numbers) in your SMS program.

This means your SMS service provider must offer direct integration with your existing systems. The key here is that the integration is direct. If you have to add an external integration tool to achieve integration, that’s going to cost you a lot of efficiency.

Look for simple, direct integration.

6. Compliance Automation

Compliance is a huge deal in SMS marketing.

You must get permission from customers before you text them. You must provide clear instructions and a simple opt-out procedure. These and other requirements are mandated by the FCC.

Automation is the best way to deal with compliance, and your SMS provider should offer compliance automation. That way you don’t get slapped with fines because of an honest oversight.

Working with an SMS provider that offers compliance automation tools is the best way to automate compliance. It’s unwise to attempt DIY compliance automation. Stick with pre-built automations from your service provider.

7. Robust Analytics and Reporting

Data is crucial for optimizing your SMS program and getting maximum ROI. Your SMS provider has access to all the data you need, because they handle all the messages.

Your provider needs to give you access to this data, along with at least some basic analytics tools to help you make sense of all the information. Delivery rates, click-through rates, and open rates are some of the key metrics you need.

Make sure your SMS provider offers some sort of dashboard or analytics tools to give you the information you need to get the most from your SMS program.

8. User Reviews

You’re probably familiar with doing this already. There are tons of review platforms out there, and they’re an excellent resource for verifying that an SMS provider does what they claim.

It’s always a good last step to check and see how other customers feel about an SMS service provider.

Now that You Know How to Select the Right SMS Service Provider…

Now that you know, get out there and check out some SMS service providers.

Feel free to bookmark this article, and use the headings as your checklist. That way you can be confident you’re making the right choice.

European Commission Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and Croatian Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak signed the Partnership Agreement between the European Commission and the Republic of Croatia at a special government session on Thursday, which enables Croatia to use nine billion euros from non-refundable EU funds until 2027.

Within the framework of the partnership agreement with the Commission, Croatia will receive a total of 9 billion euros of cohesion policy funds for the period from 2021 to 2027, in order to promote the economic, social and territorial cohesion of its regions and the green and digital transition.

These investments are expected to help reduce regional economic disparities and improve skills, training and employment opportunities. EU funds will also encourage the development of a competitive and innovative export-oriented Croatian economy.

Of the nine billion euros, 2.56 billion euros are intended for "climate change mitigation", 2.5 billion for "jobs and equality", 1.74 billion will be invested in the "innovative and smart economy", and 1.34 billion euros is for "traffic".

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in the introduction of the government session that the value of the agreement of nine billion euros represents 17 percent of Croatian GDP, and that together with other sources of financing, Croatia has 25 billion euros available for development in the next decade.

Commissioner Ferreira assessed that the EC-Croatia agreement is "much more than just money" and represents what Croatia wants to be and is a positive moment in Croatia's life, a path for investments and balanced development.

According to her, the agreement has three ambitions. The first is the work to create a "smarter and more competitive Croatia" with the diversification of the economy and its digitalization, where she emphasized the need to expand the economic base beyond tourism.

The second is to make Croatia "greener" and direct it towards a "net zero" economy, and the third is to support Croatian society and population so that it is more employable, with competitive skills and abilities.

Samantha Cristoforetti posted photos of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Vukovar and the Croatian coast from space on Twitter and said: "Hi Croatia! A view from space of the capital Zagreb, as well as Vukovar, Dubrovnik and the beautiful coast!".

Cristoforetti is an astronaut of the European Space Agency, otherwise the first Italian astronaut who holds the record for the longest continuous space flight and the first Italian woman in space. Before ESA, Samatha Cristoforetti was a pilot and engineer of the Italian military fleet.

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In Croatia, cardiovascular diseases are the first cause of death, and the latest data shows that 22,958 people died from these diseases in 2021, or 36.6 percent of all deaths, Dr. Verica Kralj from the Croatian Institute of Public Health said on Thursday on the occasion of the World Heart Day.


Analysis by gender showed that cardiovascular diseases were the cause of death for 41.6 percent of women (13,126) and 31.6 percent of men (9,832).


The most common causes of death are ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, which are diseases underlying atherosclerosis, which are largely caused by bad and harmful lifestyle habits that can be prevented in 80 percent of cases, said the head of the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases of the HZJZ -a Verica Kralj at a press conference in the Zagreb City Administration.


Kralj says that men are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, from 45 to 50 years old, while in women this risk is higher after menopause, and they have worse outcomes of this disease.


She called on citizens to eat healthier, eat at least four to five portions of fruits and vegetables, fish and chicken, use olive oil, drink enough fluids, consume whole grains, and avoid white bread, red fatty meat and processed processed foods that are full of salt. She also emphasised the importance of regular physical activity.


She emphasised that smoking is a very big risk for cardiovascular diseases, and exposure to passive smoking should be avoided.


Kralj says that compared to EU countries, Croatia with a standardised mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases of 572.8 people per 100,000 and is among the countries that have higher mortality rates than the EU average, which is 367.6. The range of rates for EU countries ranges from 190.4, which is in France, to 1051.8, which is in Bulgaria.


"For the last almost 20 years, there has been a trend of decreasing mortality from cardiovascular diseases in Croatia, but they are still the leading cause of mortality and morbidity," warned Kralj.


World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29 with the aim of raising awareness among citizens about the frequency of getting sick and dying from cardiovascular diseases in the world.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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