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 Dubrovnik Tourist Board, with the aim of promoting tourism visits during the winter months, traditionally organizes "Winter Saturday Mornings in the City," which will begin this year on November 4th and run all the way through until March 30, 2024, featuring a performance by the folklore ensemble “Linđo” in front of the Church of St. Blaise in the very heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The specially themed city tours start on November 4th and will take place every Saturday, beginning at 9:30 am in front of Tourist Information Centre on Pile (directly outside of the Old City), in English, and at 12:30 pm in Croatian, guided by Lidija Begić and Vesna Barišić.
After the themed city tour with a professional guide, at 11:30 am in front of the Church of St. Blaise, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board offers all visitors the opportunity to watch a performance by the Linđo Folklore Ensemble. Please note - In case of bad weather these performances will not be held.
During the month of November, city tours will focus on the theme "Cosmopolitan Dubrovnik." While exploring the city, you will learn about the development of the most prominent European religions, their origins, and spread throughout Europe, as well as the religious groups that settled in the Dubrovnik area in past centuries. Using the example of a tiny historical town covering only 1.06 hectares, you will discover everything about religious tolerance, coexistence, and acceptance in Dubrovnik over the centuries.
During the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, from December 2, 2023, to January 6, 2024, the city tours will highlight the theme of "Dubrovnik Carols" and will continue in the same time slots on Saturdays. All visitors and fellow citizens will have the opportunity to learn more about carolling and the customs of the Dubrovnik region, a tradition that has existed in Dubrovnik for over 800 years. After the carolling story, carol songs will be sung by the Linđo Folklore ensemble and a performance of traditional dancing in front of the Church of St. Blaise.
During January, February, and March 2024, as part of the Winter Saturday Morning program, in addition to the Linđo Folklore Ensemble performance, themed city tours will rotate in the mentioned time slots on various topics: "Cosmopolitan Dubrovnik," "St. Blaise - in Honour of a Patron," "In the Footsteps of Love from Ancient Times," "The Scent of a Woman."
Announcements for the dates of specific themed tours within the Winter Saturday Morning program will be posted on the Facebook profile of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
Are you ready for a culinary journey that tantalizes your taste buds and ignites your senses? At Mea Culpa Pizzeria and Trattoria in the very heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik, you are sure of an unforgettable dining experience, offering a diverse menu filled with delectable dishes that cater to all preferences. But what's a superb meal without the perfect wine pairing? So just to help you along the way we'll explore some of our most popular menu items and help you select the ideal wine to complement them.
Pizza and Wine: A Match Made in Heaven
Let's start with the beloved classic – pizza. Whether you're a fan of the traditional Margherita or a more adventurous eater, there's a pizza for everyone. Pairing the right wine can elevate your pizza experience to a whole new level. Here are some of our favourite pizza options and the wines that best accompany them:
Margherita Pizza: This iconic pizza's simplicity calls for an equally elegant wine. Pair it with a crisp and light Chardonnay, allowing the tomato sauce and cheese to shine while complementing the subtle basil notes.
Pancerote: The folded goodness of Pancerote with ham and cheese needs a wine that balances the flavors. Opt for a Malvasija Dubrovačka, enhancing the experience with its fruitiness.
Funghi: When savouring the earthy flavours of mushrooms on a pizza, reach for a Merlot to enhance the experience. Its soft and velvety profile complements the dish perfectly.
Calzone: A folded delight like Calzone pairs well with a Žilavka Kvalitetna, balancing the ham, cheese, and mushrooms with its gentle acidity.
Mixed Pizza: A mix of ham, cheese, mushrooms, and olives harmonizes with a Malvasija Dubrovačka, creating a well-rounded experience.
Capricciosa: With its diverse toppings, including salami, ham, and mushrooms, this pizza thrives alongside a Saint Hills Black 2017, which complements the flavors with its fruitiness.
Tuna Pizza: The unique combination of capers and tuna calls for a wine with a fresh touch. Try a Žilavka Arterra Selection to enhance the maritime essence.
Quattro Formaggi: The abundance of cheese varieties on this pizza pairs beautifully with a classic Chardonnay, allowing the creamy flavours to shine.
Tartufo: The truffle-infused pizza comes to life when paired with a Žilavka Mala Nevina, enhancing the truffle's aroma and complexity.
Vegetariana: This vegetable-loaded delight flourishes alongside a crisp and refreshing Malvasija Dubrovačka, offering a harmonious balance.
Diablo: To offset the spicy elements of kulen and chili peppers, a Žilavka Žilavka Arterra Selection is your go-to, with its gentle spice and citrusy notes.
Pairing wine and food is essential to elevate the dining experience. The right combination can transform a meal into a symphony of flavors, enhancing both the dish and the wine. It's about finding harmonious elements, where the wine complements the food, and vice versa, creating a perfect balance. The acidity, sweetness, and tannins of the wine can either enhance or contrast with the flavors in your dish, bringing out hidden nuances and creating a memorable sensory experience. From the refreshing crispness of white wine to the rich depth of red wine the right pairing adds an extra layer of enjoyment to every bite and sip.
Arugula Pizza: The fresh arugula pairs excellently with a White wine, such as the Saints Hills St. Hills Rosé Štikla, bringing out the greens' crispness.
Hawaii Pizza: To balance the sweetness of pineapple, choose a Merlot, which complements the ham and cheese and creates a well-rounded experience.
Dalmatia Pizza: A pizza with prosciutto and egg requires a bold wine like Dingač to elevate the dish with its intense flavors.
Mea Culpa Pizza: For the exquisite blend of ham, gorgonzola, and bacon, a Saint Hills Black 2017 brings out the dish's bold character.
Kebab Pizza: The diverse ingredients of this pizza, including bell peppers and chicken kebab, come to life with a Syrah wine, enriching the experience with its robust flavours.
Royal Pizza: This indulgent pizza, featuring beefsteak and porcini, pairs wonderfully with a Rubis, adding an elegant touch to your meal.
Now that we've explored the perfect wine pairings for our diverse range of pizzas, let's venture further into our menu.
As you step through the doors, you're not just a guest; you become part of the Mea Culpa family. The dedicated staff is committed to ensuring your visit is nothing short of exceptional, providing impeccable service that complements the culinary delights.
Mea Culpa Pizzeria and Trattoria is not just a restaurant; it's a culinary journey. So, come join us as we embark on an exploration of flavours, a celebration of tradition, and an experience that will leave you saying, "Mea Culpa" – my fault – for not discovering this culinary gem sooner.
Address – Za Rokom 3 - Old Town - Dubrovnik
Telephone - +385 0/20 323 430
"What's your favourite restaurant in Dubrovnik?" asked the two friendly American ladies on the table next to me. "I think I have a new one," I smiled. First impressions count and at Nebula Restaurant the first impression will absolutely blow you away! Location, location, location. Incredible views with a capital V. It feels intimate, luxurious and yet at the same time welcoming and friendly. A concept that is extremely agreeable. So the name Nebula comes basically from star dust, and I would have to say that star dust has been sprinkled in good measure all over the restaurant.
Let's get down to business and the food. Starting at the beginning the menu is short. Which is always a good sigh at any restaurant as it means that the chef has thought considerably about what to include and more importantly what not. I left my choices in the sage hands of the chef and the restaurant manager. But to kick off I tried the Nebula Cocktail. An explosion of blues with a large helping of lavender. This was my opening into the fact that Restaurant Nebula not only respects the traditions of the region is highlights them. A great start. "So we'd like to present two starters, the first is Grilled Prawns in a garlic sauce with flambéed cherry tomatoes and spicy celery chips. And the other is Stuffed Bell Pepper," smiled the chef.
Perfect harmony under a starlit sky
The balance of flavours was incredible. A combination of differing tastes with an end result of a perfect harmony. And I must say the Stuffed Bell Pepper is a must order! A celebration of a long forgotten locally prepared dish that in this Nebula-style is beyond excellent. Hats off to the chef. He has managed to present what some would describe as an old-fashioned meal in a new and funky manner. A real treat. And the preparation is just as impressive as the peppers are slowly cooked for over 8 hours. It's that attention to detail that just pops at every turn. The professional staff are a credit to the restaurant and whilst being super attentive aren't overbearing. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes and it seems to be paying off.
Onwards and upwards. Time for the main course. And time for Beef Steak served with pumpkin cream, potato dumplings with prosciutto and truffles, sautéed green asparagus and a demi-glace sauce. And right off the bat the sauce is the key. It is intensive so a small amount is just enough, don't drown the meat. "How is your steak?" asked my new US friends. "Melting like butter in my mouth," I answered. One of the keys is the locally sourced ingredients, the freshness just explodes in your mouth.
With the gentle whisper of the Adriatic in the background, the picture-perfect dishes and the mouth-watering tastes my visit to Restaurant Nebula was beyond a dining experience. Yes, ladies I have a new favourite restaurant in Dubrovnik, and be the looks of their smiles they do to.
According to an analysis by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), citizens in coastal counties are the most prolific savers after the city of Zagreb. Zagreb leads with 10.6 billion euros in citizens' deposits, followed by the Split-Dalmatia County with 4.6 billion, and then the Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties. The smallest savings among households are in the Virovitica-Podravina County, with only 315 million euros.
Istria is in the lead with around 15,000 euros in savings per resident, followed by Zagreb, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Dubrovnik-Neretva County, each with just over 13,000 euros. The lowest savings per resident, less than 4,500 euros, are found in Vukovar-Syrmia County.
Citizens' savings are increasing in almost all regions of Croatia. Residents of the capital and the economically strongest city are leading the way, but successful tourist seasons significantly boost savings accounts along the Adriatic coast.
"42 percent of savings come from the Adriatic region, which means that tourism is the main driver. The key point is that tourism is the first economic activity that enables a broader section of the population to build capital," emphasizes Goran Šaravanja, the chief economist of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
The largest part of citizens' assets consists of savings deposits, real estate, and this year, notably, government bonds. It's also worth noting that there's around 20 billion euros in citizens' pension savings.
"In terms of investment funds, we can see a great deal of caution among Croatian citizens. Currently, there are around 2 billion euros in investment funds. However, it should be noted that investment funds had a very good performance this year, with equity funds growing by 16 percent in the first 9 months of this year," highlights Ante Žigman, the President of the HANFA Management Board.
After a long period of zero interest rates on bank savings, interest rates have recently started to rise to one, two, and in some cases, three percent. However, the European Central Bank is now ending the trend of increasing key interest rates.
"It's difficult to say whether the halt in the increase of key interest rates will stop further increases, for example, in deposit interest rates, which have so far been rising very slowly, and only in the last few months have we seen banks more actively offering higher interest rates," says Maja Bukovšak, the Director of the Directorate for Macroprudential Policy and Financial Stability of the Croatian National Bank (HNB).
Although everyone saves as much as they can, depending on their income, financial experts emphasize the importance of financial education and savings habits. According to some studies, on average, people save around 73 euros per month. This is less than in some other countries but still more than last year, an increase of three euros per month.
The public institution Reserve Lokrum has announced a new sailing schedule in accordance with the winter time calculation. Starting today, October 29, the Skala and Zrinski boats will operate according to the new schedule.
The first departure from the Old City harbour is at 9 o'clock, and from 10 o'clock onwards, the boats will depart for Lokrum every half an hour. The last boat from Lokrum is at 5 o'clock.
In case of bad weather, the boats will not sail.
Programs for employee growth and development have become crucial components in modern businesses. The purpose of these programs is to increase employees' knowledge, talents, and skills in order to boost their job performance, productivity, and job happiness. They can be provided in a variety of ways, including work rotations, coaching, mentoring, and e-learning.
E-learning can play a vital role in companies like creating training videos and programs for the employees to nurture their skills and for the development of the businesses. These training videos and programs can be easily created and can share in any video format with the help of free video converter via email to all the employee, which will help the employee to learn and sharpen their skills and working abilities.
To guarantee that they are successful in attaining their goals, organizations must spend on staff training and development programs, yet doing so can be expensive. To ensure that these programs give the organization a return on its investment, it is essential to measure its performance.
Determining how well staff training and development programs work is essential for understanding how they affect organizational performance. To quantify a program's performance, though, we must first define what "effectiveness" in the context of training and development programs means.
In employee training and development programs, effectiveness refers to how well the program completes its goals. The goals might be raising productivity, strengthening work performance, lowering staff turnover, and raising employee happiness among other things. As a result, evaluating the degree to which these goals are achieved is necessary to determine how effective a program is.
It is impossible to overrate the value of evaluation in determining a program's effectiveness. In order to ascertain if the program is accomplishing its goals, pinpoint areas for development, and make wise investment decisions in the future, evaluation offers a planned and careful technique. Evaluation helps organizations determine the worth of their training and development initiatives and communicate to stakeholders how they affect them.
The success of training and development programs is evaluated using a variety of models and techniques. The Kirkpatrick paradigm, which has four levels of evaluation (response, learning, behavior, and results), is one popular model. The approach helps in determining how the program affects participants' responses, learning, behavior changes, and business outcomes.
The success of staff training and development programs could differ, depending on a number of factors. For programs to be designed and delivered that fulfill their intended goals, these criteria must be identified. The elements that may have a positive or negative impact on the effectiveness of a program are covered in this section.
Program Relevance: A program is more likely to be successful if it is relevant and meets the unique needs of the employees and work requirements. The success of programs is also increased when they are in line with the objectives and targets of the organization.
Program design and delivery: An adult learning program that is well-designed, presented, and offers opportunities for practice and feedback is more likely to be successful.
Program duration: Programs are more likely to be successful if they last long enough to allow for significant learning and practice.
Trainer quality: Effective program delivery may be enhanced by informed, talented, and engaging instructors.
Lack of support: Employees might not have the resources and assistance needed to put what they have learned to use. Employees could not have access to the resources they need to put what they have learned into practice, for example, if a training program promotes new technologies.
Resistance to change: Applying new skills and information learned during training may be difficult because employees may reject changes to established work practices.
Poor program design and delivery: The effectiveness of a program might be negatively impacted by insufficient program design or delivery.
Lack of follow-up and reinforcement: After the training, employees could not get the chance to put what they learned into practice, which would result in a loss of reinforcement and lower efficacy.
In conclusion, a number of factors affect how successful staff training and development programs are. The effectiveness of programs and the accomplishment of organizational objectives may both be favorably impacted by recognizing and addressing these variables. We'll talk about the tools used to measure program effectiveness in the section after this.
For staff training and development programs to have an influence on organizational performance, their success must be measured. This section will go through several techniques for measuring the success of programs, their benefits and drawbacks, and real-world applications.
1. Surveys:Surveys are frequently used to obtain information on how participants felt about the training, how satisfied they were with it, and how valuable they thought it was. Surveys are simple to perform and can offer insightful information about the effectiveness of the program. Since they don't track real behavior change or business results, they might not give a complete picture of the program's efficiency.
Pre- and post-training surveys to evaluate knowledge changes, follow-up surveys to measure the program's effects on work performance, and post-training surveys to measure participant satisfaction are a few examples of how surveys have been used in practice.
2. Interviews: In-depth information on participants' experiences with the program, opinions on its value, and effects on their job are gathered through interviews. Interviews take more time than surveys, but they can reveal important information about how well the program is working.
In-depth interviews with participants to obtain input on the program's design and delivery and focus group interviews to measure the program's effect on cooperation and collaboration are two examples of how interviews have been utilized in practice.
3. Performance Assessments: Performance evaluations are used to see how the program has affected participants' ability to do their jobs. They involve measuring any improvements by comparing participant performance before and after the program using objective criteria. Performance evaluations can offer insightful information about the program's influence on actual behavior change. They could be more difficult to administer, though, and they might not fully reflect the program's effects.
Before-and-after evaluations of participants' work performance as well as evaluations of the effect of training on business objectives, such as productivity, quality, and customer happiness, are examples of how performance assessments have been utilized in practice.
4. ROI Analysis: The expenses of the program and the benefits it produces are compared as part of an ROI (Return on Investment) study. This study can give organizations important information on how the program affects financial results and help in the selection of future investments. However, performing an appropriate ROI study might take a lot of time.
Calculating the financial effect of training on company outcomes, such as decreased turnover and higher productivity, and utilizing the ROI results to support future training investments are examples of how ROI analysis has been utilized in practice.
In conclusion, monitoring the performance of staff development and training programs is essential for the success of an organization. Organizations may use the ranking to pinpoint areas for improvement, evaluate the effect of training on employee performance, and decide whether to continue investing in training in the future.
The tourist boards of the cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb participated in the prestigious Tourism Expo Japan in Osaka.
Tourism Expo Japan, organized by the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), is one of the most important international events in the tourism industry, bringing together tourism entities from around the world.
JATA, as the leading tourism organization in Japan, sets high standards for the promotion and development of international travel. The expo in Osaka featured around 70 countries with over 1000 exhibitors.
The tourist boards of the cities of Dubrovnik and Zagreb presented their tourism offerings to representatives of the tourism industry from Japan, as well as showcasing their rich cultural heritage, impressive historical landmarks, and natural beauty.
The Japanese market is of exceptional importance for both Dubrovnik and Zagreb, as well as for Croatia, and this participation continues the efforts aimed at Asian markets, particularly targeting tourists traveling in the pre and post-seasons, who have a significant impact on positioning Dubrovnik and Zagreb as year-round destinations.
The most popular destinations in Croatia to visit are Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes, and the most common reasons for travel are cultural factors such as landmarks, museums, as well as natural heritage, especially those protected by UNESCO.
Is Dubrovnik pet friendly? No, if you are a foreign tourist with a pet please don't come to Dubrovnik, or to the south of Croatia at all! Sorry, but we aren’t.
I have written countless times about this subject but every now and again some situation rears its ugly head and I find myself banging away at the keyboard again.
“This is incredible; what century are you living in?” commented a German tourist.
Let’s start at the beginning.
So although Župa Dubrovačka boasts of having the best beaches in the region, the slogan says “Beach Paradise”, there isn’t one that is a pet friendly beach. You might think that odd, well if you live in Berlin, London or Barcelona, if you live in the south of Croatia then that is perfectly normal.
So some good friends of mine from the UK where on one of these beaches with their dog. They almost had the beach to themselves. The long beach had one other couple and one couple from Germany with their dog. They pretty much had the beach to themselves. They walked on the sand, threw balls for the dogs and generally relaxed. Until! “Excuse me but you’ll have to leave the beach with your dogs,” ordered a policeman.
Yes, two police officers were standing on the beach wall and telling them to vacate the beach because the beach wasn’t pet friendly.
My first thought when I heard this story was what a waste of public money sending the police out on this matter. The second thought, who called the police? The answer seemed obvious, the German tourists also had a dog, so the local couple who were 200 metres away were the likely complainers.
I don’t really blame them. Would I do that? No!
However, the beach is marked as not for dogs, even though it was almost empty. The problem is not with this couple but with the fact that the local borough council haven’t already designated a pet friendly beach.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dubrovnik, with many (many) more tourists only has one pet friendly beach. And every time I say that sentence to my friends in the UK they look at me in shock. The German tourists on the beach were just as responsible dog owners as my friends, but were told to leave.
“Being told to leave a beach by a police officer because I have a dog…that is just…well, I am lost for words,” he uttered. There isn’t such a thing as a bad dog, just bad owners. Or rather irresponsible owners.
It isn’t only dog friendly beaches were we are lacking behind. Finding accommodation for your pet in Dubrovnik is, to say the least, challenging.
I did some research.
On one of the most popular accommodation platforms, booking.com, only 13 percent of the listed accommodation units in the city are pet friendly. In fact, that was more than I imagined. I then went to more civilised German destinations. Berlin, a massive 44 percent is dog friendly, Frankfurt an amazing 60 percent and the winner Munich with 61 percent. That probably gives you some insight as the why the German tourists had travelled back in time to the Middle Ages.
Even our biggest competitors on the Mediterranean have a better percentage than us.
22 percent of accommodation on booking.com in Barcelona allows pets, while 28 percent of Venice is open to our furry friends. Even one of the countries with the worst record on animal rights in Europe has a more pet friendly approach than us. 18 percent of hotels in Tirana welcome pets.
Here is the comment of one tourists that hits the nail on the head “Dubrovnik is definitively not pet friendly. The beaches where pets are allowed are small, dirty and without sunshade. In the hotels you pay for dogs but you can only leave them in the room. Inside restaurants or bars they are not allowed. When you travel with a dog it's better to go to Italy or Greece.” I agree.
If I didn’t live here I would never in a million years bring a dog on holiday here. And I doubt this German dog loving couple will be coming back any time soon.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik