Saturday, 24 September 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

The trend of a large number of passengers and aircraft continued at Split airport this weekend, and the second millionth passenger is expected at the end of the month.

Over 200 planes are expected to land at the airport this weekend and a total of 55,000 passengers will pass through the airport.

Mate Melvan from Split airport told Hina, “These numbers have been constantly circulating for three weekends in a row, so we can expect such numbers next weekend as well, given that we have good indicators. We can say that the season at the airport is going well. Our results are really excellent, we ended July with 641,626 passengers, and August is expected to be close to those numbers. At the end of August or September 1st, we will probably reach the second millionth passenger mark," said Melvan.

 

The popular website Big 7 Travel have released their list of the top 50 best rooftop bars in Europe and one iconic Dubrovnik bar has found a place on the list.

Summer is in full swing and sipping a cappuccino or a cocktail in the sunshine is a must. Al fresco is the way to go, and the Big 7 team have published a list of their top rooftop bars.

Coming in at 34th position on the list is the Buža Bar in Dubrovnik! The only bar in the whole of Croatia to feature on the list.

“This is a rooftop bar taken to the next level: a bar on a cliff! Buža Bar lies just outside Dubrovnik’s city walls and because of its popularity, you’ll often find many tourists here. The best time to come here is right before sunset. Enjoy a drink of your choice as you watch the beautiful sunset at Buža Bar,” writes Big 7 Travel on Dubrovnik’s Buža Bar.

 

Seven city-suburban semi-low-floor buses, financed through European Union funds, were presented yesterday at the headquarters of Dubrovnik public bus company, Libertas Dubrovnik.

These vehicles are 12 meters long, with a capacity of 76 passengers, with 44 seats.

This first delivery is part of a total of 18 new buses that Libertas Dubrovnik and the City of Dubrovnik procured through structural funds of the European Union through the Operational Program "Competitiveness and Cohesion" with co-financing of 85 percent.

"At the beginning of the first mandate, I said that the goal of this city administration in the segment of public city transport is to procure most of the buses using available funds from the European Union funds or other non-budgetary sources. In total, 35 new vehicles were acquired in these five years, which significantly increased the driving standard in public city transport," said Mayor Mato Franković.

The Mayor also said that despite the enormous increase in energy prices, especially fuel, the price of bus tickets would remain unchanged.

 

During the week to the weekend, the first week of August, there were around 25,500 tourists in Dubrovnik, which is 18 percent more than at this time last summer, and 92 percent of their number from the same period in the record breaking tourism year of 2019.

The most numerous guests were from Great Britain, France, Germany, the USA, the Netherlands, Croatia, Norway, Ireland, Spain and Italy.

 

This summer is once again a chaotic one in the Thomas house. I already wrote that we don't need an entrance door at our house, but a revolving one like at a department store. Sometimes when I see the flow through the house, I think "do we even need a door?" Let them in!

This summer, my mother and niece and, as usual, my wife's sister came to visit me. With so many women in the house, it goes without saying that Toto (our dog) and I are an endangered species. Along with the other dogs and cats, and with the temporarily housed puppies (we adopted three little ones), the flow was the same as it used to be in Neum.

The rhythms of life are different, so while some are sleeping, others are swimming, while others are washing, others are working, while others are working, some others are cooking, but despite everything, life runs smoothly. The only ones that are constantly moaning are the household appliances, the fridge that is bursting at the seams. Someone is always buying something, and the fridge suffers from it, when I open it, I'm afraid that it will throw up all that huge food on me.

"Has anyone seen my white trousers?" was the question of a family member. "I'm looking for my black ones too," replied the other. The search for clothes is constant and somewhat utopian. Clothes have been swapped around, my mother in my T-shirt and my wife wearing what I think was my niece's shirt, sunglasses rotating from face to face, "are those my...?" has been a theme this sunny season.

The amount of towels drying on the line gives you the impression that we are indeed a hotel complex.

In order to spend as much time as possible with my English family, we spent a lot of time outside. We went swimming, to the pool, to coffee shops, to restaurants and, of course, to the City. But with a boat. I don't need to explain to you that those 8 kilometres from the Župa to the City are pure horror. I don't know if it's worse to sit in a car at a standstill or to die of winter in a bus-refrigerator for which you waited 40 minutes in the middle of nowhere.

"Oh, your mother is here, how are you"? I'm used to people shouting after me, I’m used to be asked about my columns, so it was a refreshing change to see my mother the centre of attention.

And the places and faces that she remembers is just as impressive. And as she recounts stories of restaurants where we've eaten in the past, or souvenir shops that had smiling faces, it is always a reminder of what we do and say, and how we behave, really matters. Tourists remember you. Yes, they now have the ability to instantaneously judge you by using social media, but much more importantly is that years and years later I found myself avoiding restaurants with my mother as she “had terrible service” there 20 years ago.

Yes, it has been the usual chaotic summer in our household. But just as the swallows fly south so September will come and the sound of silence will reign. So I’m going with the flow. Enjoying the social madness. Embracing the chaos.

For by the time you read this I will in fact be home alone again. My mother will have flown home and my wife will be accompanying her. The Croatian side of the family will largely be back in the metropole. The friends back home.

It will be like going from the crescendo of an AC/DC concert to a pianissimo recital.

But I will miss the madness. “Who’s this now?” said my mother as yet another car pulled up. “I think we’ll need more chairs,” I joked. My dog has basically given up barking at new arrivals, clearly deciding that “I can’t keep up with this, I’m going to lose my voice.” At one point I had over a dozen people connected to my WI-FI. I half expected a message from T-Com telling me to update my service to a commercial one.

However, the winter is long and dark so why not have some light and sunshine in the summer. And especially after the last two years. We’ve been encouraged not to mingle, not to gather, so now we are just compensating for the lost time. Although this summer we may have just over compensated a touch.

But that’s why we love summer in Dubrovnik, at least why I love it. The al fresco lifestyle combined with social interaction. Who needs social media when you have summer in Dubrovnik?

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

The Croatian Tourist Board is also organizing this year, in the middle of the main part of the tourist season, the distribution of branded spring water with the inscription "Welcome to Croatia". After the free water was distributed last Saturday at the Rupa, Bregana, Macelj and Plovanija border crossings, this Saturday bottles of refreshment and welcome are intended for numerous travellers and tourists at the ferry ports of Stinica and Split.

"In Croatia, the very peak of the tourist season is underway, when more than a million guests are continuously staying in Croatian destinations on a daily basis. This is a large number that confirms that our country is very well positioned on the tourist market, which is why many foreign travel enthusiasts have put their trust in us. Through this action, we want to thank them in a symbolic way, and since there are big crowds and heat, we want to make the waiting time easier for our guests and give them a feeling of welcome", said the Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, adding that 30,000 bottles of water will be distributed in these two ferry ports.

There are currently 1.1 million tourists in the country, of which around 942,000 are foreign. Currently, the most guests are from Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and the Netherlands.

Trajektna luka ST 1

It is proving a busy season for nautical tourists in Dubrovnik. Latest figures show that in July 8,731 arrivals of nautical tourists were recorded, or a 175 percent increase over the same month from last year. And a total of 54,655 overnight stays were achieved in July.

The largest number of boaters came from the USA, followed by the United Kingdom, Croatia, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, the Republic of South Africa, and Belgium, according to the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

From the beginning of the year to the end of July, a total of 18,217 arrivals and 118,423 overnight stays were achieved.

 

The famous German actress and supermodel, Claudia Schiffer, is enjoying her vacation in Dubrovnik. On her Instagram profile, she posted a photo with the Dubrovnik in the background as she sailed in the Adriatic.

“Nothing quite like a sunset boat ride,” commented Schiffer under the photo that she posted to her 1.7 million followers on Instagram.

In her long career she has appeared on more than 1000 magazine covers and holds the record for the model with the most magazine covers, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

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