Wednesday, 21 August 2019
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

 

Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have a concert 'Classical Vs. Film Music' on Tuesday, 11th of October in the Rector's Palace, starting at 9 pm. 

In the first, classical part of the concert cellist Vid Veljak will be presented and the concert will be conducted by Veton Marevci.The audience will have the opportunity to listen Divertmento in D major, KV 136 W. A. Mozart and Concerto for cello and orchestra no. 2 in D major, Hob VIIb / 2 J. Haydn.

Although young, cellist Vid Veljak is the winner of numerous competitions including international competitions Antonio Janigro in Porec and Distant Chords in Split, and in 2015 he was a finalist of the prestigious Cello Competition "Guilhermina Suggia" (Porto, Portugal). As a soloist he has performed accompanied by the famous the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Zagreb Soloists, Rijeka Chamber Orchestra, HRT Symphony Orchestra and the Zagreb Philharmonic. At the concert on Tuesday he will perfome with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra for the first time.
In year 2010/2011 Veton Marevci enrolled in orchestra conducting at the Music Academy in Zagreb, in the class of maestro Uros Lajovic. In seasons 2011 to 2013 he was one of the conductors of the Zagreb Youth Orchestra. In early 2015, he conducts Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time, followed by a year perform duties of assistant conductor of the same orchestra, performing two versions of Orff's Carmina Burana.

In the second part of the concert Orchestra will perform the popular film music, more precisely theme songs of some of the most popular films and TV series such as Titanic, The Godfather, Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond, Game of Thrones, the famous works of H. Mancini, C. Santana and others. This program by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra began to run over the past year and it gathers and inspires many visitors.

European Coastal Airlines, a scheduled seaplane service that was launched in Croatia two years ago, has suspended all operations until the business environment becomes “trustworthy.” All flights from ECA were halted in August this year after the company’s Air Operators Certificate was revoked after an audit into the safety procedures of the German owned airline. A statement from ECA read that “we will no longer invest any funds into the Croatian seaplane project until the administrational situation has been resolved, giving us the opportunity to operate in a safe and trustworthy marketplace.”

According to reports on the specialised website EX-Yu Aviation the seaplane company has tried on several occasions to solve the problem with the Croatian government and other authorities but had become caught in the complicated red tape and bureaucracy. “The shareholders of European Coastal Airlines do not see any alternative than to suspend operations for the time being. This comes at a high cost of almost every operational job within our company, however, we have been left with no other choice to protect the investments implemented until today,” added ECA.

The launch of ECA was generally greeted with enthusiasm, the seaplanes connected islands and coastal destinations with regular flights at affordable prices. The company invested into seaports and infrastructure in Croatia, a total of around 22 million Euros, and had plans to expand the service all along the Croatia coastline. This year ECA had even started international flights to Italy and Montenegro. Getting the business off the ground in Croatia was a mammoth task and took ECA around 14 years to get up and running, further proof of the ultra-complicated paperwork. "It comes with the greatest regret to inform the public about these developments, nevertheless we feel the necessity to make everyone understand the situation we are in", concluded ECA.

At the beginning of October the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) launched an autumn promotional campaign ''Croatia Feeds'' on six European markets. By mid-November the HTZ will be inviting and motivating potential tourists with short and innovative descriptions of Croatian destinations to opt for Croatia for their next holiday.

This campaign includes the European markets of Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland with so called native advertising, display and advertising on social media.

The “Croatia Feeds” campaign was designed as ''story telling'' i.e. telling interesting stories about Croatia but in an intriguing and slightly different way in order to attract users' attention. The stories were selected depending on the preferences of each market'', reported from the HTZ Central Office.

The Croatian Tourist Board already tested its campaign on three markets (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) in the period from the end of August to mid-September. As reactions and market response were pretty successful, the HTZ decided to go on with the campaign this autumn on several foreign markets but for a longer period of time.

Apart from the Croatian Tourist Board, in the creation of the campaign and its special website with imaginative titles and numerous attractive photos also participated members of the Google creative team ''The ZOO'' which cooperates with numerous world brands and agencies. The main partner of this campaign is one of the leading international marketing agencies – BBDO.

The ‘’Croatia Feeds’’ campaign can be found on Google browser and on Google Display Network.

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Croatia's independence (8th October 1991 – 8th October 2016) the Croatian National Bank (HNB) issued and put into circulation the new commemorative 25 Kunas coin.

Earlier this summer the HNB published a public-opinion poll on its website in order to invite all interested parties to include in the poll and upon their own personal criteria select the coin design which they consider to be the best.

Based on the works of the Croatian sculptor Damir Matausic, the Croatian Monetary Institute designed three different 25 Kunas coins.

More than 10,000 people participated in the poll. In addition to citizens living in Croatia, Croatian citizens living abroad, as well as tourists who happened to be in Croatia during the survey, also had the opportunity to express their opinion. Around 50 percent of the respondents voted for the first proposed coin design submitted by the HNB after which 50,000 new coins were put into production at the Croatian Monetary Institute.

On the commemorative coin ‘’The 25th anniversary of Croatian Independence’’ were also inscribed years which symbolize a quarter century of the country’s independence – the 8th October 1991 – the 8th October 2016.

The Croatian National Bank has issued 11 series of the 25 Kunas commemorative coin so far which has numismatic value. Even though it is a commemorative coin it can also be used as means of payment.

Record number of passengers have passed Croatia's three busiest airports, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik – reports the website EX-YU Aviation News

Dubrovnik has an increase of 20,5 percent by handling 305.895 travellers. It has also surpassed last year's figures in the period from January to September. With the 1.743.972 passengers it hits an increase of 15,8 percent.

- Dubrovnik Airport is gearing up for what is likely to be its busiest winter season on record – writes EX-YU Aviation News, adding more information about the flights.

Croatia Airlines will extend its summer service to Frankfurt, while Trade Air will continue operating to Rijeka during the winter and Turkish Airlines will maintain its new flights from Istanbul throughout the year. British Airways will continue flying from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik during the winter, with a partial stoppage in service in November, as well from mid-January until mid-February.
Hovever, Croatia Airlines stopped its flights from Dubrovnik to Rome for the first time since 1994. Vueling took over the route, but no flights have been scheduled yet.

The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale was a record breaking one. With the help of the locals and tourists 44 thousand kuna was collected. 

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC successfully raised funds for an outdoor wheelchair swing that will come from Denmark.

Facebook group Pomoc za Dubrovcane (Help for people from Dubrovnik), a shelter for abandoned animals at Zarkovica and Caritas have also received assistance. Europe House Dubrovnik got the chance to pick books for their library. DFC wants to thank the local community for all the support they've given them, either by donating or by purchasing. Without them, this action wouldn't have been successful.

There is no better way to experience the surroundings than to walk around and breath in the nature! The perfect opportunity for that in Dubrovnik area is Dubrovnik & Konavle walking festival. This new festival will give you a chance to explore natural, cultural and historical heritage of south Croatia on foot. Hiking trails will take you to amazing photo stops overviewing Adriatic sea, guarding mountain range, Konavle Valley, ancient cities of Cavtat and Dubrovnik.

There are four walking tours that are offered to enjoy: Stone crosses walking tour, Old railway road, Following Napoleon steps and Old Dubrovnik aqueduct. On the official website you can find more details about the tours such as distance, level and route. The highlights of every trip are tasting local food and wine, spending a day in nature, accompanied by astonishing viewpoints. First two tours will take place on 14th of October and second two on 15th. You can apply on the website.

“Marky how nice to see you after such long time,” said my auntie as she enveloped me in a warm hug. And it had been a long time, eleven years to be precise. Here they were in Dubrovnik for the first time along with my mum, a family gathering. “Oh, you look well and we hear you are keeping very busy,” she added with a kiss. “Marky, I hope you aren’t too busy though and that you are eating and looking after yourself,” came the next comment as if she were talking to a ten-year-old boy.

I guess that I will always be a ten-year-old boy to her. So a week of sightseeing, meeting friends, eating out, visiting beaches and general being a good host began. And it seemed that every time we had time to chat, over a meal, with a coffee or just enjoying a nice view, stories and anecdotes of my childhood would star to flow. As embarrassing as it was at the start, and believe me I was left a little red-faced at times, I then began to enjoy remembering those distant times.

“I remember Marky dancing on the table with those horrible red trousers on, he was giggly and wiggling to rock and roll, in fact he was rocking so much that he fell off and burst into tears,” smiled my aunt. “He always thought he was a great dancer,” she added shaking her legs as I once had. It also appears that I had bladder problems as a child, because many of the stories ended with me peeing myself, either through laughing too much or forgetting I needed to go. I only hope they were talking about when I was really young and not in my teens.

I was on a trip down memory lane, and was enjoying the ride. At the same time I was showing them the delights of Dubrovnik, a combination of my “old life” and “new life.” Lamb under the bell in Konavle, cheese from oil, fish and seafood straight from the Adriatic, traditional home cooked meals (thanks to my wife) and lots of local wines…in fact one of the first phrases they picked up was “Posip Cara molim.” And once again the little things that I now take for granted living here were a shock, positive shock, for my aunt and uncle. The safety, the sunshine, the warm seas, the bad driving, the loud speaking, the cruise ship queues, the parking, and the ease of life…they took it all in the stride. Coffee on the Stradun was a big event for them, they soon got used to the people watching part of life, to see and be seen.

In fact by the end of the week they were running into people that they had meet before, I ever heard my aunt wave “adio” to one of my friends. I hadn’t taken her long to fit in; she had even started saying “fala” instead of “hvala.” Another two weeks and I have a feeling my aunt would have been fluent. It was nice being surrounded by family again; it’s been a long time. They say you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, it’s true, but I wouldn’t have chosen a different family to the one I have. “I remember when Marky had his first girlfriend,” said my uncle. My wife’s ears pricked up, I waited for the embarrassment. “He just used to walk around with this stupid grin on his face…although he was only 12 years old,” added my uncle with his usual touch of sarcasm. We even had a picnic on the beach one day, another interesting experience.

We decided to order some cocktails. “Have you ever tried Sex on the Beach,” my wife asked my mother. Of course she meant the cocktail but by the look on my mother’s face she had understood something else. “No, of course not Boba!” answered my mother. “Oh, I have I was great,” shouted my sunbathing aunt. It was getting confused now. “Do you want me to order you one Margaret,” my wife asked my aunt. “One what…” came the reply. “Sex on the Beach,” said my wife. Then a scream of laughter filled the air. “I didn’t know you were talking about the cocktail,” giggled my aunt. Then in a dry tone my uncle added “Who did you have sex on the beach with then…” Another scream of laughter, the rest of the people on the beach must have thought we were mad, we didn’t care.

George Bernard Shaw might have written one of the most recognizable quotes about Dubrovnik of all time but he also had some wise words about families. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven,” well said Mr Shaw.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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