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 signs are up, the uniformed security guards are ready for action, the new dress-code law in Dubrovnik is up and running. The Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Zeljko Raguz, held a press conference yesterday as the new signs were installed on the entrances into the historic Old City of Dubrovnik.
Photo - Zeljko Tutnjevic
If you are now caught “wearing swimwear or inappropriately uncovered” on the public streets of the city you will have to pay a fine of 1,000 Kunas, or around 134 Euros. This so called “bikini ban” will mean all visitors to the city centre will have to cover up or pay up. Bare-chested men and bikini clad women are a thing of the past as a total of fifteen security guards will patrol the streets looking for flesh-baring law breakers.
The new set of regulations also includes a ban on riding bikes, throwing cigarette butts, walking dogs without a leash and the use of sound amplifiers for music and entertainment programs. When asked at the press conference whether the new security guards had received any special training for spotting and fining offenders the guards replied that “no specific training was required.” The 1,000 Kuna fine will be reduced to 500 Kuna if paid on the spot. And in addition to the signs on the three main land entrances into the Old City signs have also been placed on the sea entrances.
And it seems that this new law will have plenty of “business” as our cameras caught potential offenders on the streets of Dubrovnik a few days ago. In only a few minutes at least ten dress-code violators were spotted.
It’s Italian Week in Dubrovnik with a celebration of top Italian cuisine. Italia Fest Dubrovnik 2016 opened today in the Lazareti complex by the east gate to the Old City. Every day from 9.00am to 9.00pm until the 28th of August food lovers will be able to purchase Italian favourites such as prosciutto, Mortadella, wild boar salami, salami with truffles, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella, goat’s cheese, anchovies, olives, dried tomatoes, spices, pasta, pastries, and many other delicacies that are normally only available at Italian markets.
The organisers of the event have just held an Italia Fest in Split and now they have moved south down the Croatian coastline to Dubrovnik. More than a hundred different products are on sale at the market and the organisers stated that it will “bring the atmosphere of an Italian market to Dubrovnik.” They added that all the market traders will be happy to explain the products that are on offer.
Six large stands have been installed in the Lazareti complex and among the many Italian delicacies you can find sausages from Montepulciano which are aged and preserved in a cave, a giant Mortadella produced in Bologna, Tuscan ham flavoured with hot peppers, garlic and basil aged in wheat flour, selected boar steaks, salamis and cheeses flavoured with truffles and high quality Parmesan which has been aged for 36 months.
The popular Croatian National Park Paklenica, apart from climbing and mountaineering has recently enriched its offer with walks through its tunnels which were excavated 60 years ago and shrouded in secrecy. At the foot of the neck-breakingly high Velebit cliffs there is an entrance to vast corridors of the tunnel complex which seems to be endless.
These underground tunnels from the past of Paklenica have been turned into the tunnels of the future. The armed forces led by Tito, the president of the former Balkan country of Yugoslavia, started to build the so called ''Bunkers'' in the early 1950s. The artificial cave complex was built during a tense political situation between the former Yugoslavia and USSR in the period from 1950 to 1953. According to information on the National Park's website, these bunkers were supposed to serve as a shelter for the state and military leadership.
The construction of the 'Bunkers' was highly confidential – a company of 500 soldiers and prisoners participated in its completion. The facility was first opened to the public in June of 1991, when the metal door was removed.
So far more than 1,000 square metres of the underground complex from the past have been converted into the centre project with a multipurpose hall, an artificial climbing wall, a gift shop and an information centre.
''This is a unique project which offers a completely new and unusual attraction and programs'', said Slaven Dobrovic, the Croatian Minister of the Environmental and Nature Protection.
The National Park Paklenica is a favourite destination of climbers from all around the world where the tourist season lasts from March to November, this year a record breaking 122,000 visitors are expected to visit the park.
Qatar Airways has recently announced plans to code share with Vueling, the Spanish airline carrier on 67 routes, some of which are in Croatia.
The Qatari carrier, which owns a 20 percent share of International Airlines Group (IAG), will add its flight numbers and designator code onto services from both Barcelona and Rome to Dubrovnik and Split operated by the group's low cost carrier from Spain. In the upcoming winter season Vueling, which has previously operated only seasonal flights to Croatia, will maintain flights from Rome to Dubrovnik. On the other hand, Qatar Airways will continue to maintain ten weekly flights from Doha to Zagreb.
The new code share agreement, which builds upon the interline agreement signed between the two carriers in October 2014, is already effective and bookings can be made via Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Our new code share agreement with Vueling Airlines will allow even greater opportunities for passengers across Europe to connect to the global Qatar Airways network''.
Many towns in the world have the same tradition: ''locking'' your love with a lock at the public place, putting your names on it with a date and throwing the key away to show that your love will last forever. Even Dubrovnik has a special spot for lovers! At Boninovo, few minutes away from Dubrovnik, there is a fence that became a romantic place quite late. Somebody has put a first lock on it just a couple of years ago and now it's covered with those little signs of affection.
But, of course, there are always unique ways to say 'I love you' and to be special. We bumped at one just walking by the fence. There they were, screaming to be seen: two bras, brassieres, however you want to call them.
- Look at this sweetheart! – yelled one tourist to her loved one laughing. He seemed to be more interested in the bras than all the other locks out there.
- Lesbians – he concluded and they went straight ahead without putting a lock. Well, that really could be a sign of love of the same sex couple. Or it was a challenge or a way to remember a great night out. Or... Who knows. We would love to hear the story!
We found some interesting locks too, because not all of them are just names and numbers. Sadly, we couldn’t find the one that was there a year ago. It just said, shortly: ‘’Die of cholera’’. And they say the romance is dead...
In spite of the thunder and lightning today in Dubrovnik with the occasional downpour the weather forecast for the rest of the week is for sunshine and temperatures in the low thirties.
The early morning and rain and thunderstorms in Dubrovnik today will be the last rain we will see in the region for the next seven days. According to the mid-term weather forecast Dubrovnik can expect a stabilisation of weather and clear blue skies.
Temperatures tomorrow will again be in the low thirties with 31 degrees predicted and that pattern will continue until at least Saturday.
And according to the specialised website AccuWeather.com Dubrovnik could well be in for an Indian Summer. “Surges of warmth from Africa and the Mediterranean will be frequent throughout the autumn season, leading to above-normal temperatures across southern Spain, southern and central Italy and the southern Balkans,” states the website. They add that northern Europe will be wet and windy in autumn.
Temperatures in Dubrovnik are expected to remain stable, at around 30 degrees, until the middle of September.
In its five years of existence on the world festival scene the Dimensions Festival in Pula has become an ultimate destination for insightful music lovers from all around the world. Uncompromising selection of performers, stunning Adriatic scenery and friendly atmosphere make this festival known as one of the most influential electro-funk music events in the world.
This year the British trip hop cult group Massive Attack will open the 5th Dimensions Festival on one of the most beautiful world stages in the open - Pula Arena - on the 24th of August.
After five years of a 'discographic silence', this year the musicians from Bristol have been pretty active in the musical and visual field. At the beginning of the year they released the EP Ritual Spirit which gathered a large number of former associates led by Tricky, whilst by the end of July they released three new songs as an announcement for their new album. Almost all songs are accompanied by exceptional video works produced by eminent producers featuring the Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett, Rosamund Pike, the supermodel Kate Moss etc.
As the group is well known for its performances that are both visual spectacles and politically and socially conscious events, Massive Attack will arrive in Pula with their own large production support, an impressive video wall and visual effects. Around 27 technicians and managers will accompany nine musicians of the world famous British group.
The festival will also feature some of the biggest names as well as young talented performers of the international techno, house, disco, bass, jazz, funk and soul music scene.
After the opening the Dimensions festival will take place at the Monte Christo fortress and will last until the 28th of August.
These British tourists to Dubrovnik proved that Brexit and political correctness come a poor second to humour, well poking fun at the Germans to be more precise.
This painted van was seen parked in Lapad after having been driven from England; we can only presume that their journey took them through Germany as well! The camper van also advertises camping with a website address, but again we presume that the German market isn’t their main point of call.
The message on the back of the van “Where would we be without a sense of humour? – Germany.