Friday, 28 February 2020
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

With a holy mass in the St. Blaise Church on Gorica and the lowering of the patron saint’s flag in front of the St. Blaise Church in the heart of the Old City the 1048th Festivity of St. Blaise ended today.

The ceremony began this morning when the flags and banners of St. Blaise were taken from the town to the church on Gorica, where a holy mass was held.

At exactly midday in front of the church of St. Blaise in the Old City the priest, Tomo Lucic, held a mass and the official flag of St. Blaise was lowered by this year’s masters of ceremonies. As the hymn of St. Blaise echoed around the stone facades of Dubrovnik the 1048th festivity for the patron saint of Dubrovnik came to an end.

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The Dubrovnik region has once again been shaken by an earthquake. Last night, at around 10 minutes past twelve, an earthquake shook the city.

The epicentre was 60 kilometres north of Dubrovnik in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre have reported that the earthquake was at a depth of 2 kilometres and measured 3.2 on the Richter Scale.

The seismic activity around the region has been markedly high over the past few months, starting with the November earthquake that struck Albania. That fatal earthquake measured 6.4 on the Richter Scale and was the world's deadliest earthquake in 2019.

Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina have regularly been struck by earthquakes over the past months and this latest one was the third to be felt in Dubrovnik this year.

 

Five little letters to say I love you. No, not adore, but prsut. I love prsut! Yes, I will admit it, my name is Mark Thomas and I am a prsut addict. Just the look of it drives me crazy. It probably drives my arteries crazy as well, but no pain no gain. The deep red colour, the salty aroma and the taste, oh my mouth is watering just writing this sentence. In a sandwich, with bread and cheese, in a salad or even just on its own, prsut is a gift from the Gods.

If I were ever to leave these lands then the one food I would miss, no miss is too small a word, is the Dalmatian delicacy. And it has to be Dalmatian. I have tried Spanish and Italian but they don’t have the strength or the intense flavour of prsut dried in that biting bura.

I don’t really have a sweet tooth. I’d quite happily skip the dessert in a restaurant to replay the starter. Recently I ordered a cake for a special occasion. “Would you like a fruit cake, chocolate or maybe Nutella?” the cake maker asked. “Do you make a prsut and cheese flavoured one,” I answered with a grin. They didn’t, unfortunately.

“Am I dreaming or can I smell prsut,” I whispered to my wife as we were almost falling asleep. Maybe it was a prsut inspired dream, and probably not the first, but the delicious aroma of smoked meat was filling our bedroom. Strange, but true. I got up, curious. The more I moved away from the bedroom the less the smoky smell faded. And as I got back to the bedroom my wife was already in REM. Trying to sleep with the mouth-watering prsut aroma was challenging. I even got up and made myself a cheese sandwich (I didn’t have any prsut in the fridge).

A few days passed and the aroma had long since disappeared. But then. “Oh, something smells nice,” I said to my neighbour as we bumped into each other in our gardens. “I’m pretty sure it isn’t coming from my kitchen,” I added with a smile as the smoked meat scent wafted over us. She jiggled and added “Unless an oil covered tea towel has caught fire on my stove it isn’t coming from my kitchen either.”

The Zupa prsut mystery continued. I found myself eating more and more just to fight the hunger pangs that this prsut perfume was giving me. And while we are on the subject of perfume, why do Chanel and Christian Dior waste time creating fruity smelling products when surely the most attractive smell for men would be the aroma of prsut. Chanel No.6 = prsut! A sure winner. Again nothing for a few days. No wafts of dried meat. But as sure as the sun sets in the west the aroma came back.

I had noticed a pattern. Like Poirot I was starting to detect evidence. Every time that my nostrils were filled with prsut the bura was blowing. My culprit must be somewhere south of my location.

A few months previous I had heard the neighbours behind me banging around as if they were constructing something. A large wall divides our homes and therefore observing what they were building was impossible. And after a few days it stopped anyway, so I guessed it was probably just a minor alteration.

So I waited. I waited patiently for the next bura. It came. And so did the prsut. Following my nose, like a bloodhound on the trail of its prey, I darted around for the source of my hunger torture. Jumping onto a small wall I peered on tiptoes over the back wall. I was a prsut voyeur. Was that smoke? And what is that tower? A very gentle wisp of smoke was slowly raising from the top of the tower. As I was peeping I heard “Need some smoked meat for your goulash neighbour,” and a beaming smile across my neighbour’s face. Prsut Poirot had solved the mystery.

The construction work I had heard was indeed a meat smoker and drier. “We have sausages, budola and prsut, you can try them when we’ve finished,” he added still grinning. I felt like I had tasted them all already with just their tempting aroma wafting over my back wall. My dream had come true. I was living in prsut heaven. It’s time to invest in trousers with a more generous waist line. Long live prsut!

 

On February 1, the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Croatia issued a call for funding for the project “Reconstruction and Extension of the Lapad Coast, II, III and IV. construction phase.” The financing for this key capital project will be 85 percent covered from funds from the European Union and 15 percent from the state budget.

In view of the fact that building permits were obtained for the first and second phases of works, the actual works on the reconstruction of the Lapad coast is planned as early as October this year.

batala new road project 2020

The Lapad Coast Reconstruction and Extension Project was developed by Geoproming d.o.o. from Metkovic and is divided into four phases, with Phase I referring to the Port of Batala. The Administrative Department for Construction and Project Management of the City of Dubrovnik is responsible for II, III. and IV. phase related to the road from Port Batala to the INA petrol station and include the reconstruction and extension of the pavement, parking and greenery.

lapad new road 2020

The project documentation includes construction and traffic solutions, storm water drainage with rainwater treatment, a project of a new water supply system, electric power system with public lighting and telecommunication system.

And the Croatian government is fully behind the Lapad project. At the recent government session held in the City of Dubrovnik support was shown for the reconstruction project.

 

Creativity is the key to marketing and this billboard advert in Zagreb certainly shows some thinking outside of the box. Croatia’s last message to Britain on leaving the European Union with Brexit was indeed “Good Riddance,” however it was a little bit lost in translation and context.

Irena Andrassy, the Croatian EU Ambassador, told her British counterpart, Sir Tim Barrow, “Thank you, goodbye and good riddance.” The message was allegedly made as a joke, and lost a little in translation, was the final message from the EU to the UK as Brexit came into force and the UK left the union after with 27 members.

Sir Tim, at least according to reports, took the remark in good humour and the Finacial Times reported that “The Brits saw the funny side and understood how it was meant.”

And now one institution has taken this gaffe to a new level by making a billboard advert from the line “Good Riddance.” The American Institute in Zagreb are the culprits of the humorous marketing idea which features not only the infamous quote but also a rather unflattering photo of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the line “Rid yourself of bad English,” as an advert for their English language courses.

The Croatian capital’s airport, and the busiest airport in the country, has started 2020 in fine style with a solid increase in passenger numbers. In January this year just over 203,000 passengers travelled through Zagreb Airport, representing a 6.2 percent increase over the same month from last year.

One of the major factors of this boost in passenger numbers was the fact that Croatia is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Meaning a large number of politicians and their staff have been flying in and out of Zagreb to attend meetings and conferences. And indeed this will no doubt led to an increase in passenger numbers over the coming months.

Speaking to “Future Airport” magazine the general manager of Zagreb Airport, Huseying Bahadir Bedir, commented that “We expect this trend to continue in 2020. Since the opening of the new passenger terminal, we have achieved significant results in overall traffic, such as an increase in passenger numbers, the number of destinations, new carrier, cargo traffic, an increase in the number of employees, as well as new shops and sales outlets that have been opened. With our strategies and strong focus on future development, we expect even better results in the years to come.”

 

A strong storm with gale force northerly winds that has swept across the whole of Dalmatia is creating traffic problems. The afternoon flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb has been cancelled, and according to the first forecasts, the evening flight from Zagreb will not land at Dubrovnik Airport.

Tomorrow the storm is expected to weaken and thus normalize air, sea and road traffic.

For passengers who were scheduled to depart for Zagreb in the afternoon, a bus transfer to Split was organized from where they should continue their flight to Zagreb.

 

Thanks to the humanitarian action “Un toit par toi” (One Roof Thanks to You) which was organised in 1994 by the Jesuit priest Xavier Griffe of the Belgian city of Liège, thirty thousand roof tiles were procured to cover several single-family homes in the village of Gruda in the middle of Konavle. These roofs, and family homes, were destroyed or badly damaged during the Homeland War.

On that occasion, a team from Belgium also filmed documentary material of all the houses burning and destroyed in Gruda.

“We once again thank priest Griffe for his humanitarian and moral assistance and video,” commented the Municipality of Konavle today and uploaded the video of the damage to homes in Konavle.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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