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 extreme cold weather that has hit Croatia has forced many roads to close, close schools and generally completely disrupt normal life. It has also given some unique views of the country’s nature, with the spectacular National Park of Plitvice looking even more incredible.
Snow, ice and sleet have brought a winter face to the most popular National Park in Croatia and we have chosen just a few of the hundreds of “snowy” Plitvice photos that have been published on Instagram.
The winter wonderland of Plitvice Lakes
Photo by - Ali Xanat
Photo by - mi104
Photo by - Riva Travel
Photo by - Passport Images
At today's session of the Civil Protection Headquarters of the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva discussions were carried out about the actions taken before and during the arctic cold wave that affected the entire Dubrovnik-Neretva County over the past few days.
Head of Civil Protection, Joško Cebalo, noted that he was satisfied with the preparation and reaction of the services during this testing time.
"I think it was a job well done. The services performed very well. Communication between all the services was also good as well as reporting to the general public about the changes and the current state," added Cebalo.
At the session it was emphasized that in the last few days the Mountain Rescue Services and the Dubrovnik General Hospital had several interventions caused by the snow and ice, and there was only one road traffic accident in the county area as a direct consequence of the winter conditions. It is estimated that around 200 tons of salt was used on the 1,050 kilometres of state, county and local roads during the extreme conditions.
“I have organised a 5 mile sponsored dog walk to help raise money and awareness for the Žarkovica Animal Shelter in Croatia,” writes Ellie Brian from Coventry, England as she aims to raise £500 for the Dubrovnik animal shelter.
With over 350 dogs in the shelter the committed staff are fighting a constant battle with the local authorities to fund food, shelter and staff. The shelter is run by Sandra Sambrailo, who has dedicated her life to the care of stray animals in the region, and a small group of volunteers. In challenging conditions, to say the least, the shelter cares for abandoned dogs and attempts to find them a new home. The new Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, made the animal shelter one of his top priorities but he still has yet to find them a new, more suitable, location. Although he has secured 100 new kennels for the shelter amongst other things. The Dubrovnik animal shelter depends on donations and the commitment of its small staff to survive.
Ellie Brian spent two months volunteering at the shelter and was so touched that she decided to raise money through a sponsored dog walk. “Last year I volunteered at an animal shelter in Dubrovnik that is home to over 350 dogs and one lady who cares for all of them with the help one worker and one regular volunteer. There is no shelter, electricity or running water supply. After seeing the conditions and getting to know all of these wonderful dogs I stayed there in my motorhome for 2 months and wish I had stayed longer,” commented Brian.
The sponsored five-mile dog walk to raise money for the Dubrovnik shelter will take place at Hartshill Haze Country Park in Warwickshire, England on Sunday the 25th of March.
And to sponsor Ellie all you have to do is follow this link. She is hoping to raise £500 for the Dubrovnik animal shelter.
The former military resort of Kupari could well become the location of a Four Seasons hotel. The State Property Minister, Goran Marić, commented the investor in the new development, Avenue Group, would be offered a new set of conditions and that Four Seasons could well be involved with a management contract.
The Minister met with representatives of the investors at the beginning of this week and commented that the meeting was extremely constructive and emphasized that the realisation of the project will begin soon.
"We will offer the investor some new terms and we will propose a contract with the operator and the deadlines in which the investor must submit the contract, “said Marić. It was originally speculated that Marriott would manage the hotels on the future resort but it appears that Four Seasons are now in the driving seat.
The contract with Avenue Group for the realization of the Kupari project was signed at the end of March 2016.
Snow, snow go away come again another day. The historic Old City had a sprinkling of snow, almost like icing sugar over a cake, this morning making it look even more picturesque. The winter scene looked idyllic and was caught by Tonci Plazibat.
In the meantime, the weather conditions have stabilised a little and the vast majority of the snow, apart from on the higher grounds, has melted.
The forecast suggests that more snow will fall tomorrow but then by the end of the week the weather conditions will change and a south wind will bring rain and warmer temperatures.
The Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, and the President of the City Council, Marko Potrebica, are currently on an official visit to the United States.
On the first day of his official visit to the United States Mayor Franković met with the Mayor of Monterey, Clyde Roberson. This Californian city is a sister city of Dubrovnik and the two mayors talked about the continuation of ten years of friendship and future joint projects.
As an internationally recognized example of good co-operation, the Dubrovnik Half-Marathon was highlighted, as this event in Dubrovnik is greatly assisted by the City of Monterey.
During the meeting ideas for new cultural and sporting events were developed, institutional co-operation through the exchange of employees as well as a student exchange program between the two sister cities in cooperation with the Slavic American Cultural Organization (SACO) from nearby Watsonville.
Mayor Frankovic also addressed representatives of the Croatian community, with significant numbers coming from the area of Dubrovnik and its surroundings, at the annual charity dinner organized by the Slavic American Cultural Organization.
Economic reasons and not security concerns are the main obstacles for the lifting of visas for Croatian citizens wishing to travel to the United States. Croatian citizens who have their travel visa application rejected are finding that it has nothing to do with being a threat to security but rather because they don’t have enough financial support, a job or a housing solution, and there is risk that they could turn their vacation into illegal immigration, reports the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List.
Around 400 Croatian visa applications are refused every year, with a large proportion of these actually Croatians living in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. This is around a 5 percent rejection rate, but one of the rules laid out by the US Government for visa free travel is that the country has an annual rejection rate of less than 3 percent.
Although the rejection rate has been slowly reduced over the past few years, in 2016 it was 6.78 percent, it is still too high for American standards.
The number of travel visas issues to Croatian citizens for the US has been stable for the past few years, between 16,000 and 17,000 a year, in 2017 16,440 such visas were issued. However, on the flip side, the number of immigration visas is relatively small. Last year only 104 Croatian citizens received a visa to live in the US and in 2016 there were 129 such visas. The vast majority of these visas were issued for the purpose of family reunification, the actual number of full working visas is extremely small. Last year only 8 Croatian citizens actually received a full working visa.
The whole of the Dubrovnik region was hit by a snow blizzard last night as temperatures dipped and a gale force north wind made driving conditions hazardous. Snow fell for most of the evening and in the higher grounds even laid on the roads.
The islands were of course not immune to the freezing weather and these photos of the “white out” on the island of Sipan were sent to us this morning by a reader and really catch the freezing feeling.
Check out the gallery from Sipan last night