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.
It was the one and only Groucho Marx who said “I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.” Apart from being asked “do you really all drink tea at five o’clock” or “can you explain the rules of cricket” and “is it true that all you English are unfriendly” the next question I always get asked is “does it always rain in London.” The answers to the first three are – yes, no chance and not really. The answer to the fourth one was a little harder. Whether it’s the power of the media or the press, I don’t know, but London has this image of rain, constant rain.
My mother-in-law still thinks that we have smog in the middle of London. But that's probably down to the amount of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie films she watches. For what is a good English drama without a murderer leaping from a foggy side street onto his next victim. Also the wet weather seems to hate tennis! I can’t really remember a Wimbledon tournament without a few drops of the wet stuff. I mean why do you think they built a roof on the centre court, it certainly wasn’t to keep the sun out! Although the one thing that you won’t see is many people cowering under an umbrella, at least the local Londoners.
The same as you don’t see a local in Dubrovnik wearing rubber sandals on the beach...you get acclimatised to the pebbles and we do to the rain. So yes, if you were to ask someone, well to be honest anyone, you’d get the reply that it rains more in London than Dubrovnik...I also wouldn’t argue with that. However it seems that you’d be wrong, believe it or not. If anyone knows the weather in Dubrovnik then it’s the guys at Dubrovnik Storm Chasers. I had the fortune to interview them once and anyone who literally chases storms, as their name suggests, is either mad or loves what they are doing.
So imagine my surprise when I read the headline “in Dubrovnik there is more rain on an annual basis than in London.” Were my eyes deceiving me! I read on...Dubrovnik is synonymous with sunny weather…London is synonymous with rain…tourists love the weather…London is a gloomy city.
And then a fact caught my eye, can that be true, listen if the Storm Chasers say it’s true then who am I to doubt them. This fact read, the annual rainfall in Dubrovnik is just over 1200mm whilst the average rainfall in London is a little under 600mm. Happy days! All those years of suffering the mocking and joking from friends and relatives in Dubrovnik that it rains every day in London and in reality the opposite is the case. Not only is the opposite true but there is twice as much rain here every year than in London.
So if you are looking for a break from the Dubrovnik rain might I suggest a long weekend in dry London? If the constant patter of raindrops on your window is getting you down, if trying to avoid the puddles or carrying an umbrella has you pulling your hair out in frustration then, again, may I suggest a short holiday in the capital of England to cheer you up. Let’s be honest compared to Dubrovnik the capital of England is like a desert. Oh, and if you are thinking of going to London you can leave your Dubrovnik umbrellas behind, you’ll just need a bottle of water to keep you hydrated and some sun cream and you’re good to go.
I read more of the article...maybe I should have stopped when I was ahead. It continued...rain is rarer in Dubrovnik than in London but it is heavier in Dubrovnik. Ah, that’s not such good news. What they were basically saying is that London has rain long and slow and in Dubrovnik it’s short and explosive.
I read on, London has 1500 hours of sunshine a year while Dubrovnik has 2500 hours annually. Ah, whoops, so when I said you need sun cream in London I was exaggerating a little. A thousand hours of sunshine a year is quite a difference. The article concluded...Dubrovnik is sunnier and has more rain than London every year. A little confusing, however I can still use this to my advantage. The statistics can be slightly bended to be on my side. “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital,” said the famous professor Aaron Levenstein.
I’ll just use the part of the statistics that suit me...and that is there is twice as much rain in Dubrovnik than London every year, full stop. When I meet tourists from the UK moaning about the weather back home I’ll remind them of this fact. And when I’m teased by a local about “rainy England” I’ll again pull this fact from my sleeve.
It is going to be a day of rain and thunderstorms in Dubrovnik. The south winds have picked up over night and the waves are lashing against the shoreline and the waves are picked up by the gale force winds.
However the forecast for next week in Dubrovnik looks much more promising. Sunday will be the height of the storm and then at the beginning of next week the winds will start to die out leaving scattered clouds and the occasional shower. Good news for the Star Wars crew who are planning to start filming on the 9th of March.
Temperatures next week will range between 14 and 19 degrees Celsius. The long range forecast for the rest of the month in Dubrovnik shows much calmer and more settled weather with mostly clear skies and temperatures in the high teens.
Check out our gallery of the heavy seas in Kupari, near Dubrovnik, today.
One of the most prominent guides for olive oil in the world, Flos Olei, has declared that the world's best olive this year is from the Croatian region of Istria.
This year’s guide included the top 500 olive growers from 59 countries, and featured 50 Istrian olive growers. This meant that there were more olive growers from Istria than the Italian region of Tuscany, which until this latest issue had been dominated the publication.
Many of the top olive oil producers in the world tussle to be included in the Flos Olei guide. In 2005 the region of Istria had only two olive producers in the guide, now eleven years later that number has grown to fifty.
The quality of Croatian olive oil has never been in doubt, however due to the relatively small quantities produced compared to other European countries Croatia has found it hard to break into foreign markets.
One of the most trusted travel guides in the world, Rough Guide, has published a list of the “10 most beautiful places in Europe,” and Croatia is number one! The popular website asked their readership, via their Facebook and Twitter accounts, to vote for the most beautiful place in Europe…and Croatia came in at the top spot.
“Consistently one of the most popular destinations on RoughGuides.com, it’s no surprise that Croatia featured heavily in our followers’ comments on the most beautiful places in Europe,” wrote Rough Guide.
The article even had a touch of Dubrovnik as a photo of the bay of Trsteno, along with the description, “From gorgeous islands like Hvar to little coves like this one below (Trsteno, Dubrovnik), Croatia has some serious Adriatic eye-candy.”
The full Rough Guide list was:
Darth Vader, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper in Dubrovnik...has filming already started for the eighth episode of Star Wars in Dubrovnik? No, although many tourists to the city believed they were watching the first scenes as characters from the film wandered around Dubrovnik.
Our man on the spot, tourist guide Ivan Vukovic, captured the opportunity to have his photo taken with these fans of the movie just outside of the Dubrovnik City Walls.
These members of the Croatian Star Wars Fan Club dressed in the outfits of their heroes and caused a stir as they walked around Dubrovnik.
Star Wars fans dress as their heroes in Dubrovnik
On the last weekend before filming of Star Wars VIII begins in Dubrovnik the final touches are being made to the set on the main street, the Stradun. The ancient stone facades of the city have been transformed into a sci-fi set complete with flashing buttons and droid control panels.
Filming is set to begin on the 9th of March; however we understand that the first two days will be used as a dress rehearsal, with the real filming beginning of the 11th of March.
Speculation is rife on who will be appearing “on stage” in Dubrovnik, with one name, Mark Hamill, repeatedly mentioned. There is also a rumour floating around that Oscar award winning actor Benicio del Toro will be filming in Star Wars in Dubrovnik, we hasten to add that these are all rumours and that as yet the production team are keeping tight-lipped.
Check out our video on the set of Star Wars episode eight in Dubrovnik
There could well be an invasion of Russian tourists into Croatia this summer season. According to reports on the Russian news website balkanpro.ru the number of Russian travel operators who are organising deals to Croatia has increased by nearly 300 percent on 2015!
Several major Russian tour operators have shown an interest in dealing with Croatia, including Coral Travel, Natali Tours, Spektrum and the PAC Group. There will be regular flight operations between many Croatian cities, including Dubrovnik, this year. The Russian national airline Aeroflot and S7 airlines will fly directly from Moscow to Dubrovnik for most of the summer. There are even negotiations from another Russian airline, Red Wings, to fly every day to Dubrovnik from the Russian capital.
Last year, Croatia was visited by 113,000 Russians and if the news that the number of Russian travel operators have increased drastically is any guide that number could be much more for 2016.
In the opinion of Mr. Ruzicka, tourists could be and more. In this season, says Rajko Ruzicka, due to the redistribution of tourist flows in Europe, in Croatia has increased the number of reservations from Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Italy and others.
With just a under a week left until the filming of Star Wars VIII in Dubrovnik the final touches are being made to the set. The historic old city of Dubrovnik has been transformed into scenes from a galaxy far away, the latest facade to get the Star Wars make-over is the Great Onofrio Fountain. The fountain, which has only recently been renovated, now has a rather futuristic look to it.
Many of the buildings on the Stradun, the main street that runs through the centre of Dubrovnik, have new facades and even now have new window decorations. Again today the Stradun will be closed from 8pm until midnight whilst the final technical rehearsals are carried out.
The only thing missing is the actors that will appear in Dubrovnik. It had been previously rumoured that Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker and Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey, will appear in Dubrovnik, although Ridley has said in an interview for the BBC that she will not be filming in Dubrovnik. A landspeeder on rails has been spotted on the Stradun by a local media outlet giving more weight to the rumour that Skywalker will arrive.
Many other public spaces around Dubrovnik have now been prepared for filming, including the Dominican Monastery and the interior of the Rectors Palace. The terrible weather in Dubrovnik at the moment is proving a challenge for the production crew, heavy rains and gale force southerly winds have been battering the region for the past week.
Photos - Star Wars Dubrovnik