Saturday, 06 June 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

The Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia has published their regular daily report on the situation with the coronavirus epidemic in the country. The number of new cases in the Republic of Croatia in the past 24-hour period is zero, which means that the total number of patients who have contracted Covid-19 since the pandemic began remains at 2,247.

So far, 68,514 people have been tested, of which 247 were tested in the last 24 hours. There are currently 10 people in hospital. Out of that, there are 2 patients on a ventilator.

The total number of people who have made a full recovery is 2,121, of which 8 have recovered in the past 24 hours.

The total number of Covid-19 related deaths is 104.

In the past 24 hours another patient has passed away due to Covid-19. In the Clinic for Infectious Diseases "Dr. Fran Mihaljević” in Zagreb, one person, female, born in 1944, died on a ventilator.

 

There are numerous reasons why claiming a wristwatch is an extraordinary thought. On the off chance that you travel a great deal, this kind of watch is excellent. It's conservative; you wear it on your wrist, so it's a little thing to have. It's tranquil and can't wake individuals up in nearby lodging. A light alert is incredible assistance on the off-chance that you have to stay awake for clinical reasons or have an alternate work routine than your life partner. A watch like this is a stunning device that if you take medication throughout the day, nobody yet you realizes it's running out. Children who need a suggestion to utilize the washroom can likewise profit by possessing such a watch. If you need the iwcingenieur, then visit here and get all the options.

The most well-known element of an exceptional wristwatch is an alert that can be set at exact spans, for instance, like clockwork. They generally have an auto-reset that can be set to vibrate whenever stretch you pick. So on the off chance that you have to take medication at regular intervals; you can set the caution and approach your day, liberated from nervousness. Numerous individuals have an including a clock that restarts and restarts after the alert vibrates. These are notwithstanding the standard survey highlights.

What to do if you must need watches

1) Your life is disordered, and you don't have the opportunity to take a gander at the schedule
2) You take medication throughout the day
3) You travel a great deal and would prefer not to stress over awakening others
4) You have to wake up in the center of the night and would prefer not to awaken your life partner
5) Your youngster should be reminded to go to the washroom

Perhaps the best embellishment that can be added to the closet for the man is a watch. Regardless of whether you're grinding away or out around, this can assist you with making a style proclamation by going about as a reasonable device. You will need to recognize what your needs are on the off chance that you are searching for men's wristwatches. What to search for in an ideal fit.

Men's wristwatches style and features

The central arrangement of highlights for discovering men's wristwatches depends on your way of life. For instance, on the off chance that you are outside and like to accomplish progressively physical action, at that point, an extravagance watch won't work. In any case, on the off chance that you are in the workplace and need something that makes a style explanation, at that point seeing high heels will address your issues. When you realize what to remember for various circumstances, you can be given an adaptable look that addresses your concerns.

Another angle to consider men's wristwatches is the sort of armband you need to wear. As a rule, you will discover both hardened steel and cowhide materials for wristbands. Numerous individuals who look lavish will likewise think about gold to help with their necessities. On the off chance that you are ready to go, treated steel is regularly suggested for most style look.

 

excel to pdfUber has launched a new service in Croatia, Uber Connect. This new feature is a same day shipment service, and now you can send packages weighing up to 20 kg through the Uber app. Users in Zagreb and Split will now be able to send packets, that od course can fit into the boot of a car, up to a value of 750 Kuna.

Uber Connect is designed to help users quickly and easily organize the delivery of desired packages to friends and family, while at the same time opening up a new earning opportunity for drivers. Whether it’s a birthday cake, a forgotten jacket, a gift, urgently needed sports equipment or a book to kill boredom, users can now deliver it all via the new Uber Connect solution, reports novac.hr.

“During this crisis, we looked for new ways in which our platform could help deliver and transport the goods needed by companies and our consumers, while opening up new earning opportunities for drivers. Our primary focus at Uber Connect was to quickly adapt the technology to meet the growing needs of the community. While things around us are going extremely fast, we are focusing on fast Uber deliveries and are looking forward to the future,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO.

 

From the green rolling hills and wild moors of Devon in England to the southernmost village on the Adriatic in Croatia, now that’s quite a journey. We caught up with Gillie Sutherland in new Croatian base this week to discover why she now calls Molunat home. “My journey to Molunat has been quite the adventure, to put it mildly,” said Gillie with a broad smile, clearly content in her new Konavle surroundings.

So how did you end up in the last village in Croatia?

I had travelled from Split, where I had run a yoga and sailing trip, and I took a ferry down to Dubrovnik to spend some time in Mlini before my next retreat in Cavtat. I camped for a week in Mlini and thought about where I might go next. I read an article about Molunat; I was intrigued that it was “ecologically preserved”, so I decided to go and check it out. I’m always looking for places that have a strong natural energy, for myself, and also to run retreats from. Within two days of being in Molunat, I felt different, in a good way. The smell of the wild herbs, that crystal clear water for wild swimming, and the lush vegetation in the hills behind – I was in love. I felt healthy and happy, and every time I left, I just wanted to come back. The UK was becoming less and less appealing by this time, and when I returned to Molunat in October, I knew I wanted to stay.

gillie sutherland molunat 2020

I want to make Molunat (and Konavle) a destination for health and wellbeing - Photo Mark Thomas

How was your journey from Devon to Molunat?

I’ve been running yoga retreats in Croatia for the last four years, on average bringing guests from the UK six times a year, and last year, I was so busy out here, I stopped going home between retreats. In December 2019, I went back to the UK, to sort out my affairs, and to vote. On December 13th it was sealed in my mind it was the right thing to do. I had a feeling that it was time to get out of the country. I had no faith in this new government. I had planned to come to Molunat in the Spring before the season began, but when the vet told me it may be more difficult to get my cat out of the country after 31st January (Brexit!), I realised it had to be sooner. I bought a car for less than £1000, just a little yellow Peugeot 107, I sold everything apart from what I needed to bring here, I worked relentlessly for a few weeks, and on January 24th 2020 (with just a week to spare), I set off from Devon with my cat and his shiny new EU passport. The challenge was that I’m not that keen on driving, it was the middle of winter, and to be honest, if I’d realised how hard it was going to be, I’m not sure I would have done it.

It took us two weeks, through France, across the Black Forest mountains into Germany, where I was snowed in for three days. Through the Austrian Alps, I nearly gave up, but we pushed on through to Slovenia and rested a few days in Ljubjana, a place I will never forget. I hooked up with a local yoga place there, got my strength back and realised I could do it.

Including Bosnia, we went through six countries to get here, but when I drove down the Adriatic highway and over the iconic bridge into Dubrovnik, I cried with relief

My cat had been the master of Zen throughout the journey, and I had to use every yoga technique I had ever learned, as well as adopting a few new practices like praying and trusting in my lucky Ljubjana dragon. Now we are here, myself and my cat are happier than ever. As they say, you must climb the mountain to get the view!

Yoga clearly plays a big part in your life. How did you start?

Yoga has been a lifelong calling for me, I started studying when I was 18, as I embarked on healing my broken spine. I went on to do a degree in Physical Education, and it was here I came across mind/body medicine. I studied everything there was to know about the body and about healing, and this learning continues today. As well as doing yoga training in the UK, I studied and lived in India for a year, and for the past 10 years, I have been running “retreats” - week-long breaks where people can immerse themselves in their own wellbeing, and kickstart a new healthy lifestyle. I find this so rewarding, as I literally see people come alive throughout the week. I have a business which still runs back at home, assisted by other teachers, called Flow Yoga Devon, and I run wellbeing events at Powderham Castle in Devon, as well as a venture called Yoga On The Beach, which ran on Exmouth beach and supports various local charities. I’m now long enough in the tooth, at 47, and with many years of practising under my belt, to train other teachers, and part of my aim here in Croatia is to help other teachers run their own retreats here and perhaps train someone local to help me. For the past seven years, I have written a weekly column in the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo, and although they know I’m here based in Croatia now, they have kept me on, as apparently people like to hear about my new adventures!

yoga dubrovnik croatia

Yoga in Molunat - Photo Mark Thomas 

How have you survived Covid-19 lock down in Croatia, or rather in the wilds of Molunat?

Every day, I consider myself blessed to be here in Croatia. When I arrived here in February, I had no idea we were about to be hit by a global pandemic, and yet, not once have I regretted being here. In fact, it has made me want to stay for good. Molunat, in particular, has been the best place I could have spent this time. There is a strong sense of community here, and people seem to pull together in a crisis.

In contrast to the UK, where people were panic-buying toilet paper, here the only rush was to get out on the boats - panic-fishing!

Everyone was out on the water, or out in the gardens, making sure they were stocked up with the sensible stuff. Life is quite simple here and that’s what I love about it. People have a respect for nature and the peace and tranquillity suits me down to the ground. I have still been able to do my yoga outside, take walks, swim in the sea every day and get the food I need to survive. This is all I need, and for this I am grateful. In fact, each night, when I sit out on my roof terrace, I look across the bay and up to the stars and I say “thank you”.

How has your business been affected by the shutdown and travel ban? Are you hopeful that the end of the season will be busy?

This had been the most difficult part for me; it was a case of “adjusting my sails” and trying to keep the faith that there was a reason I was here and that it would all work out. My plan had been to run yoga holidays throughout the season and this was the main part of my business and my original reason for coming here. I had intended to return to the UK every 3 months to do some work but that’s just not feasible at the moment. There is a saying: “God laughs when we make plans”, and I had these words in my head as I realised the implications of CO-VID 19 and all that meant for me. I realised that I had to cancel at least the first three of my scheduled retreats, that people would not be coming out here from the UK and I also realised that I would not be returning to the UK in the foreseeable future. I knew that I would have to change course, and this was challenging at first, as I feared my business may not survive, and I had no idea what to do. This was when my yoga came in handy. I knew that if I just kept my head, did what I could to keep myself in a healthy and positive state, the path would appear. It helped that I found a kindred spirit and partner-in-crime, James, who is also from the UK and a lover of nature and the wild. He came to stay with me during lockdown and I think our shared sense of humour and love of the area carried us through it all with relative ease. There was much dancing on the terrace at sunset, my favourite pastime here!

yoga gilie 2020

God laughs when we make plans - Photo Mark Thomas 

The more time I spent in Molunat, the more it became clear what I could achieve. All my students back in the UK had been following my journey, and my new life here, so I took my classes online. I offered donation-based yoga via YouTube and Facebook Live (it was needed more than ever at this point!), and offered courses to help people handle the stress and anxiety of lockdown and self-isolation. This kept me going, and I am lucky to have had such loyal and understanding students whilst I got to grips with new technology like Zoom, as well as Wi-Fi going down on a regular basis here! I also started to see the potential in the area, not just for me, but for the community. Molunat, like much of Croatia, has been hit hard by all of this, but I feel there is also huge potential here for Wellness Tourism. It’s a growing trend, and I predict a real boom post-Covid 19. My philosophy is that “the closer you are to nature, the healthier you are”, and being ecologically preserved, Molunat is ideal for this.

I’ve never felt so healthy before as I feel here, and it’s because of its location, the healing power of the sea, and that it’s such a stress-free way of living

I could never understand why the seasons were so short here. I was here until December last year, and it was still warm, and I would have thought it still a fantastic holiday destination even then. The locals thought I was mad but I was swimming in the sea all through winter. Eventually I started to re-think things.

I want to make Molunat (and Konavle) a destination for health and wellbeing, and I want to appeal to tourists from further afield than just the UK. At the moment, the UK is one of the unlikeliest countries to come here on holiday, I have no desire whatsoever to go back there right now, and there’s no way I’m going to sit here twiddling my thumbs waiting for something to change. I have this time as a gift, and I want to put it to good use. Of the guests that were due this year, most are re-booking for next year, but a few are hopeful for the end of the season. I’ve decided to “let go”. I have no control over what is happening back in the UK, except for continuing to try to share some of my energy from here by offering what I can online. In the past week, as restrictions lifted, I started teaching yoga classes here in Molunat, which I am offering for free to the locals. It feels like giving something back to a community that have welcomed me here, but I hope it also helps put Molunat on the map as a destination for those seeking rest and recuperation post-pandemic. With the help of a couple of friends here, I am building a website promoting health and wellbeing in the area, to help attract tourists here, not just for the summer months. It has given me a real sense of purpose, and I feel luckier than most to be here in Croatia.

How safe have you felt in Konavle? Especially as the first case of Covid-19 was in Konavle.

I’ve felt incredibly safe here. I have not at any point felt scared by the virus itself. I did not think I was immune to it, of course and I was careful to follow the guidelines, but I wasn’t scared. I knew I was in the best place I could be for it, and I was mindful to keep myself as healthy as I could. For me, I thought I’d overcome worse in my life than this, even if I got the virus and I also knew that fear has a negative impact on the immune system, so I thought to myself “control the controllables”, and I tried to stay as positive as I could.

sutherland yoga class 2molunat

I've fel incredibly safe here - Photo Mark Thomas 

In your opinion how has Croatia handled the pandemic?

I have been extremely impressed by how Croatia has handled the pandemic. Largely because I think the messages were clear, decisive action was taken early on, and the public were respectful of the guidelines.

I can’t help but compare how Croatia has handled it with the UK’s response. Clarity of message is so important throughout a crisis, as is strong leadership

I am dismayed by the British government, and its handling of everything. It was an outrageous show of arrogance to not take the virus seriously, and to delay so much on lockdown measures or getting the right equipment. The numbers speak for themselves. Not only did Croatia have a low rate of cases, but more importantly, the percentage of people who died against number of cases was also incredibly low compared to other countries. This was down to strong leadership, and for this reason, I think Croatia has done a great job.

Have you been doing Yoga everyday through the lock-down? And is Molunat a good location for Yoga?

Not for the first time, yoga has been my saviour. It has helped me manage my emotions throughout this time, and yes, I do it every day. Throughout lockdown, it was more important than ever. It is my morning ritual, and to do it outside now is such a treat. I’ve even hung my aerial yoga hammock up on my roof terrace so I can hang upside down each day. This helps decompress the spine, get my energy flowing, and give me a new perspective on things! Which is just what I needed throughout lockdown. One of the reasons I chose to come to Molunat was how perfect it is for yoga. Many people think that yoga is about being bendy and making funny shapes. It is actually all about “prana” or “energy”. The aim is raising our vibrational frequency and returning to a state of harmony and balance with our environment. Essentially, aligning ourselves with nature. It is really the same concept that Nikola Tesla (a Croatian!) discovered.

“If you want to understand the Universe, think in terms of energy, vibration and frequency”.

We are electrical beings, there is an electric current in us, and around us. In nature, the frequency is high. When we are healthy, our vibrational frequency is high, but it is low when we become stressed, ill or grumpy. Spending time in nature helps us raise our frequency, our “prana”, and therefore we have a greater sense of wellbeing. This is what yoga is really about, so being close to nature and in particular the energy of the sea, is incredible for our health, and thanks to Tesla, we can now prove it.

When the tourists return I guess you will be busy, especially as Yoga is a good form of exercise and relaxation. have you seen any upturn in bookings? And where do your guests mainly come from?

Yes, I think it is going to get very busy for me this season, in particular with tourists who are coming from places they’ve really felt locked up. I’m not sure about the UK, but I think there will be other European countries coming here for a big dose of wellbeing! I’ve most certainly seen a rise in the number of people turning to practices like yoga and meditation to help them cope through these times.

People want to come on holiday to do something more than just lie on a beach

They’ve had enough time all cooped up, they want to get out and make the most of things again. I think we will see an increase this year in the number of people looking for activities and adventures, as well as health and wellbeing, as people have been reminded how precious and potentially short life can be.

My website is www.behappyfit.co.uk but I have a new website launching here in a couple of weeks www.lovemolunat.com , which I created with James Manning and local web designer Emilio Primić during the Coronavirus, to help promote Molunat as a destination for health and wellbeing.

 

"The stable outlook reflects confidence in the government that medium-term fiscal stability will be maintained while short-term measures are taken to recover the economy from the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, as well as the continuation of the gradual Euro changeover process," commented the rating agency Fitch.

Fitch forecasts a decline in GDP of 8.4 percent in 2020, which is more optimistic than the government’s estimate, which was 9.4 percent, primarily due to the negative effects of Covid-19 on tourism. The forecast is that Croatia’s tourism will fall by at least 50 percent.

"The specificity of the Croatian tourism industry (mainly based on private accommodation and accessibility by land transport) could still show some resilience at a time when European governments are easing travel restrictions," commented Fitch.

 

The European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday published a comprehensive assessment of five Croatian banks (Zagrebačka banka, Privredna banka Zagreb, Erste & Steirmarkische Bank, OTP banka Hrvatska and Hrvatska poštanska banka), which make up 79 percent of the total assets of all Croatian banks. The assessment was carried out at the request of the Croatian National Bank in order to establish close cooperation with the ECB, and in the process of Croatia's accession to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II). In the assessment of these Croatian banks, which included an asset quality review and stress testing, the ECB found that none of these banks had capital deficiencies, the Croatian National Bank announced yesterday.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce recalled that the Croatian Government and the Croatian National Bank sent a letter of intent to the European Central Bank on July 4 last year, expressing "firm intention to join ERM II, and finally the introduction of the Euro when the convergence criteria are assessed in accordance with Article 140.”

At the same time, an obligation was made to implement a number of previously made commitments in the policy areas that are of high importance for a smooth transition and participation in the ERM II mechanism before joining ERM II. Among other things, one of the obligations was to "further strengthen the supervision of banks by establishing close cooperation with the ECB and carrying out the necessary preparations in accordance with the prescribed procedures."

Yesterday’s announcement from the ECB means Croatia is a step closer to entry into the Banking Union and ERM II, but also a confirmation of the stability and quality of the Croatian banking system. It also means that the current process of joining the Eurozone is proceeding according to the government’s plan and that we can expect to adopt the Euro as the official currency soon, maybe even by 2023.

 

Emirates have announced that they will further postpone their flights between Zagreb and Dubai this year. This is the third time that the airline has pushed back flights this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, firstly to July, then back to August and now they have stated that flights will resume in September, reports Croatian Aviation.

This is yet another blow for Croatia’s tourism industry and especially the capital that had built up a head of steam as a rising tourist destination. According to the airline’s website tickets are available for the Dubai to Zagreb route and connections will be four times a week from the 1st of September, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Although there is also speculation that Emirates will avoid Croatia altogether this summer. As Croatian Aviation states “Considering that Emirates turned the Zagreb route into a seasonal one earlier, and that the partner FlyDubai operates between Dubai and Zagreb in the winter flight schedule, the chance that Emirates will return to Zagreb this summer are small. According to the plan, the already mentioned FlyDubai should take over this route from the end of October.”

 

MSC Cruises has decided to further extend the temporary suspension of the cruise until the 31st of July this year, as the world continues to face the challenges of the pandemic, and travel restrictions are still present in many regions.

Guests whose cruises have been cancelled due to this decision will have the option to transfer the entire amount paid for the cancelled cruise to a new one of their choice - choosing between any ship and any itinerary - by the end of 2021.

Additionally, all guests who currently have a cruise booked between the 1st of August and the 31st of October can take advantage of the "Flexible Cruise Program" which allows passengers to change the cruise to another date until the end of 2021.

The company today confirmed a summer program for 2021 starting in March, which will include two new ships currently under construction as well as a range of new or enriched itineraries and ports.

Gianni Onorato, the CEO of MSC Cruises, said: “Although we made a difficult decision today to extend the suspension of all our ships it is important to look ahead because we know our passengers dream of a voyage and want to plan their vacation next year. That is why we have confirmed our summer program for 2021 so that all our guests, can take advantage of our "Flexible Cruise Program", and can make a reservation with full confidence."

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


Find us on Facebook