Tuesday, 04 August 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

Five days of non-stop movement, events and impressive sights – Pink Wing 2017 will take place in Croatia from the 14th to the 18th of June this year.

Pink Wing is a unique lifestyle, gastronomic and driving event which gathers together high-level business people, company owners, managers and athletes and provides them with exclusive treatment, top entertainment, extraordinary driving experience and a vacation through socializing and enjoying their cars.

For the second year in a row, a caravan of 65 luxury vehicles such as Rolls Royce, McLaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari worth around 20 million Euros, will bring a unique, direct experience of sights and tastes of Croatia.

The most prestigious car in the caravan so far is Lamborghini Aventador worth almost 3 million Kunas, but the organizers expect even more exclusive surprises. This year Pink Wing will change its route; even though the start will be in Zagreb and the finishing line in Sibenik as in the previous year, this year the caravan will turn to Opatija in Istria and then drive towards Senj and Karlobag to, as they say, ''the most beautiful road in Europe''. The caravan will also visit the Plitvice Lakes.

''This year we will gather around 130 participants, mainly Croats from the business world as well as foreign drivers from Kenya, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and countries in the region. After very successful Pink Wing last year, we have elevated this tourist and gastronomic event to a higher level. The reactions of our participants were surprising because all of themcommented that ''these are the most beautiful roads in Europe'', so we listened to them'', said Robert Bajs, one of the organizers.

Bajs also added that the caravan of supersport and luxury cars would drive under a strictly controlled police escort in order not to cause any traffic jams. ''The city of Zagreb will allocate part of the funds for support our project for humanitarian purposes, whilst participants and partners of the project will donate funds to finance the persons in need in Sibenik'', concluded Bajs.

Last night at 9.20pm a tragedy occurred in the seas around Dubrovnik when a fast response boat from the Dubrovnik harbour master struck a smaller speedboat in the area of the Kolocep Channel. Reports directly after the incident revealed that nine people were onboard the smaller speedboat, two were killed at the scene, two injured and five lost at sea. Since then, at around 2.00pm this afternoon another body was discovered bringing the death toll to three, with four people still remaining lost at sea.

The search and rescue boat from the Dubrovnik harbour master “Dance” was responding to an urgent medical evacuation on the island of Mljet, transporting a patient to Dubrovnik, whilst the smaller rubber speedboat was travelling a short distance across the channel to the mainland from the island of Sipan. Two police vessels, helicopters, divers and even a ferry were called to the scene to search for survivors.

The group of nine people in the rubber speedboat were the management and staff of the restaurant Bowa on the island of Sipan who had travelled to the island to prepare for the upcoming season.

The Municipal State Attorney's Office in Dubrovnik, in cooperation with the police officers of the Dubrovnik Maritime Police Station and the Criminal Police Service, started investigating the accident immediately upon receipt of the accident notice.

“We are still looking for the missing persons after the accident which occurred at 21:20 in the Koločep Channel. The cause of the incident has not yet been established, but it is known that the ship Dance was sailing in the middle of the canal, and the dinghy that was not marked by navigation lights,” commented the Dubrovnik harbour master, Mato Kekez.

The EU Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) has made a directive on geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination against consumers based on their nationality, place of residence or even their temporary location. The Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan also participated in the directive making process.

''This regulation is of an utmost importance for Croatian consumers because we are, as citizens of a smaller and newer EU member country, often being discriminated during online purchases. Most often a web store refuses to sell or deliver items, whilst in some cases buyers are automatically redirected to a local website with other products and prices. Sometimes we are even charged at higher prices than consumers from some other EU member countries'', explained Biljana Borzan.

Borzan's amendments on banning the automatic redirection of customers to websites with different offers and prices were accepted by the EU Committee, except in cases when a buyer explicitly accepts this option.

The Croatian MEP is also the EU's Rapporteur for the Regulation on Cross-Border Delivery, thus she suggested that the delivery must be enabled to a wider number of consumers on the market. All her amendments were adopted.

''Consumers associations estimate that the delivery to smaller EU member countries is twice as expensive as to bigger EU member countries. Our citizens complain that in some cases there is no delivery to Croatia at all, thus they have to go across the border to collect their shipments. At the EU level almost 25 percent of consumers complain that they cannot shop online in another country. This directive, as well as my cross-border regulation, are a big step forward for these consumers'', commented Borzan.

According to some figures, cross-border online shopping in the European Union accounts for only 14 percent of the total online shopping.

''The online market has a great potential that would be useful to Croatian traders and consumers as well. It is estimated that an increase in online shopping from the current 5 percent to 15 percent would mean a steady growth of GDP at the EU level by 1,7 percent'', concluded Biljana Borzan.

Slovenian folk songs and dances in traditional costumes will be presented on Saturday, April 29, at 6 pm in front of St. Blaise Church. This event is organized by Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Slovenian Cultural Society Lipa, which operates in Dubrovnik. Slovenian home – Cultural Education Society ''Bazovica'' from Rijeka will do the performance.

''Bazovica'' works for 70 years, and their work is divided into a dozen of different sections – drama, dance, singing, folklore and others, including supplementary classes in Slovenian language and culture. After many years of stagnation, folklore group started working again in 2007 and continues with the tradition of Slovenian dances and Croatian dances as well. They perform in the magnificent costumes made by the members of this society.

The group now has 24 members and is led by Natasa Grlica with the musical accompaniment of Ivan Simic on accordion and Ivan Hareja on double bass.

The summer is slowly approaching and the beaches in the Dubrovnik region are preparing for another busy season. The Copacabana Beach in the Babin Kuk suburb of Dubrovnik has announced that their access lift for people with disabilities is now up and running and ready for the 2017 season.

“We would like to inform our fellow citizens and guests that today the disabled lift has been set up and is in function” commented the Copacabana Beach Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik is well-known throughout the world as a summer destination, but have you ever thought about visiting in the winter. The Jetsetting Fools did and we caught up with them to find out why Dubrovnik is a city for all seasons.

Tell me a little about the Jetsetting Fools. Are you professional travel bloggers, writers and journalists? Why did you decide to make this life choice?
We are Sarah and Kris – better known as JetSetting Fools. We became full-time travel bloggers in April 2014 and we have no plans of stopping any time soon! We are intent on navigating the corners of the earth to discover places we never knew existed, interact with fascinating cultures and meet extraordinary people. For our readers, we provide travel stories, information, advice and tips on sights and walking tours, but include off-the-beaten-path adventures, history and culture along the way.

How did you start this journey and became the JetSetting Fools?
We both have long had a passion for travel and travelled extensively together, but our travelling was limited to weekends and short vacations. Like most of our off-the-wall (yet fabulous) ideas, we hatched our plan to travel the world over a pitcher of beer. It was 4th of July weekend 2011 and we were escaping the oppressive Phoenix summer heat with a quick trip to the California coast. At the time, we were travelling as often as our schedules would allow us and with Kris’s job with the airline, free flights made travelling easy. We both have a passion for discovering new places and meeting new people. And, while Kris loved his industry and I loved my job, we were both running ragged. With my job, I was on 24/7, focusing the majority of my attention on work, rather than on living life. That day, sitting in a tavern in Manhattan Beach, we drained one pitcher and ordered up another and started playing the ‘What if’ game. What if we could go anywhere, where would we go? What if we had more vacation time? What if we didn’t have jobs? What if we saved money and budgeted our travel? If we did, how much could we save and how long could we travel on it? I grabbed a cocktail napkin and we ran the numbers. If we continued to save money for two years and remain in our situation (no kids, no debt and a fairly inexpensive lifestyle) the dream of travelling the world for 3-5 years was actually attainable. When we walked out of the bar, I walked away with a plan; Kris still called it a dream. As the weeks and months rolled by, the plan stayed intact. Rather than going shopping for new clothes that I didn’t really need, I would put the money into my savings account. We started doing research, seeking out other people who quit their jobs to travel the world. In April 2014, my plan and Kris’s dream became a reality. We left our jobs (Kris took early retirement, thus keeping his coveted travel benefits) and set out on our journey.

dubrovnik jetsetting fools

I believe you have been to Dubrovnik before, how has the city changed, if at all. Did you visit before in the summer season?
Since our first visit to Dubrovnik in October 2011, we have returned three times…but never in the summer. We have noticed a few changes in the city – like the popularity of Game of Thrones tours – but, we’ve noticed the biggest change between seasons. When we have visited in the spring or fall, the city is full of tourists, but not crowded. During the winter, the city is vacant of tourists…and many restaurants and shops are closed because of that. On the other hand, the winter is when locals return to the Old Town, which is a nice change of perspective from our point of view.

How difficult was it for you to actually get to Dubrovnik at this time of the year?
We travelled to Dubrovnik from Kotor, Montenegro by bus and it was our easiest travel day to date. The bus travels between the two cities twice a day (morning and afternoon). It was affordable, spacious and comfortable – and the views throughout the trip were amazing. We were glued to the window the entire trip. We travelled on a Friday afternoon and feared a bit of a delay at the border crossing, but had absolutely no wait. The process was seamless. We had done just a bit of research prior to arriving, and were able to easily locate the local bus stop, purchase tickets in advance and hop on one of the several buses to the Pile Gate.

fools dubrovnik

What were your first impressions as you arrived in a wintery Dubrovnik?
We arrived during a glorious sunset and the entire city was cast in an orange hue. We thought, “This is winter? It’s beautiful.” We were slightly surprised at the number of eating establishments that were closed for the off-season, but understandably so as the lack of tourists is quite noticeable. On the other hand, strolling down the Stradun amongst locals, rather than in a herd of hurried tourists has been wonderful. The weather is about what we expected: mostly sunny with a few periods of rain. It is too cool to hop in the sea for a swim, but it’s also not dreadfully hot and humid which make other outdoor activities (like hiking or even just visiting the sights) much more enjoyable. In our nine months of travels, we have intentionally visited cities in the off-season, so we’ve become accustomed to less activity. We actually prefer it. It gives us an opportunity to better understand the daily lives of the people and places we are visiting. Restaurants and bars are filled with locals instead of other tourists. We are able to interact more with the people who are actually from the city ~ learning about the customs and culture from them rather than from a book.

How have you found the tourist offer in the close season? Was there something that you would like to see that you think would improve our winter offer.
As far as we can tell, the same offerings are available now as in the high season regarding sights. We’ve even taken note of the effort made to engage more winter travellers. We, unfortunately, discovered the free tour a day too late (our own fault for not doing research ahead of time!), but that is something we definitely would have participated in. As long-term budget travellers, we are not able to partake in as many for-pay activities as the short-term tourist. Seeing that many budget conscious people purposely travel in the off-season, having a more deeply discounted Dubrovnik Card or free admission days/times to specific sights might be a way of enticing more people to come during the lesser-visited months.

Would you recommend potential tourists to come to Dubrovnik out of season?
Definitely. For people who like less crowds, the ability to experience the same offerings as the high-season and cooler, but still beautiful, weather, this is an ideal city to travel to in the off-season.

You can keep in contact with Sarah and Kris at these points
Twitter: @jetsettingfools
Facebook Page: JetsettingFools
Instagram: JSFtravel

boats in dubrovnik harbour

Croatian Kennel Club in cooperation with the Kennel Association Libertas Dubrovnik opened international dog show CACIB Dubrovnik 2017 today in Solitudo autocamp.

Exhibitors come from 31 countries and 3 different continents. In two days, around 800 dogs will be shown, and will be evaluated by international experts.

Program of the show:
Tuesday, 25 April
 09.45 Opening of the show
 10.00 Evaluation of dogs
15.00 - 16.30 Selection of the most beautiful dog
Wednesday, 26 April
10.00 Evaluation of dogs
15.00 - 16.30 Selection of the most beautiful dog

This could quite easily be a section “strange but true.” For a four metre squared souvenir stand in the heart of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik a company will pay 319,990 Kuna or around 43,000 Euros or $47,000 a year in annual rent!

The outdoor space, which is directly opposite the Rector’s Palace in the centre of the city, achieved this monumental price at public tender and is the highest rent being paid to the City of Dubrovnik for a stand this year. The starting price at public tender was 180,000 Kuna, or around 24,000 Euros, but quite clearly the position is considered worth a lot more. Imagine the amount of magnets, cups and other souvenirs you have to see just to pay the rent, let alone the salaries, costs and goods.

In total twelve different stand positions were available for rent in the public tender held by the City of Dubrovnik and prices ranged from 22,000 Kuna to 180,000 Kuna. The final result means that the City of Dubrovnik will collect over a million Kuna from the annual rent of these small stands.

And if you thought that was expensive there was another public tender that was even more shocking. For those tiny stands on the Pile entrance into the Old City of Dubrovnik that offer walking tours, kayaking and Game of Thrones tours the starting price was 80,000 Kuna or 10,700 Euros. These small desks are only 1 metre squared making them the most expensive real estate rental in Dubrovnik.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


Find us on Facebook