Monday, 16 September 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

As Dubrovnik’s endless summer continues in fine form you might to seek some respite from the soaring temperatures in the Adriatic Sea. The sea water quality of the beaches up and down the coast of the Dubrovnik – Neretva County are regularly checked throughout the summer months to make sure that the water is fit for swimming.

And the latest testings show that out of the 117 beaches in the county, 113 passed the latest test with the highest rating of “excellent.”

The seventh regular sea water quality survey was conducted by the Institute for Public Health of Dubrovnik-Neretva County from the 12th to the 23rd of August.

After some pollution to the beach in front of Hotel Poseidon in Vela Luka extra tests were ordered and these showed that the short term pollution had passed.

The sea at the beaches of Hotel Plat and Kupari in Župa dubrovačka, VK Cavtat in Konavle and Portina in Ploče were rated as good.

 

If there was an award for the cutest postal service ever then this brilliant yellow van should be up near the top of the list. We spotted it today in the bay of Zaton, around 15 minutes from the centre of Dubrovnik, and it certainly brought a smile to our faces.

Probably ideal for getting to the more out of the way places in the Dubrovnik countryside although we can’t imagine that it is the quickest vehicle on the road, still must be an absolute blast to drive. Well done to the Croatian Postal Service for some ingenuity.

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Normally I don’t need much of an excuse to visit the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik. It is the lap of luxury literally on the doorstep of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, one of the gems of Dubrovnik’s tourism offer.

This time the reason for visiting the luxurious hotel was as part of the hotel’s rather creative Summer Promotions. Every Monday the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik serves a themed menu in their Porat Restaurant, the Dubrovnik Republic Menu. I already love the title, or as Renee Zellweger would say “you had me at hello.”

A three-course meal in a five-star hotel with a Dubrovnik theme, the stars had aligned. We opened with a real beauty of a starter, soup from Ston oysters. Creamy and filling, yummy! I am a lover of oysters and Ston oysters are the Rolls Royce of oysters.

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Oyster soup - Photo Mark Thomas 

Themed around the meals that were served on the tables of the nobility in the times of the Dubrovnik Republic the main course is a classic. Capon stuffed with sausage and herbs and served with rosemary roasted potatoes. A real winner and a dish with a strong Dubrovnik history.

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Capon with a Dubrovnik twist - Photo Mark Thomas 

 The capon was light and full of flavour and the potatoes were fresh and crunchy and with that rosemary twist they had a summer feel. And no Dubrovnik menu would be complete without the king of Dubrovnik desserts – Rozata. Now I have to admit that I am not a great fan of Rozata, too often it’s like eating a jelly. But this one is a real winner. Light and almost fluffy, which is unusual for this Dubrovnik sweet dessert and served with St. Blaise biscuits it was probably one of the best Rozatas I had ever tried.

dessert hilton imperial dubrovnik

A dessert with a Dubrovnik history - Photo Mark Thomas 

This Dubrovnik Republic Menu is served every Monday from 7:00pm to 10:00pm in the Porat Restaurant in Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and at only 260.00 Kuna per person it is also great value.

It is also important to mention that all these promotional events are open to non-residents of the hotel. Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to be actually staying at the hotel to enjoy all the goodies on offer in this five-star hotel. Go on treat yourselves. Ten out of ten to the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik for not only respecting Dubrovnik traditions but promoting them. I loved the menu!

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The 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival is coming to an end and it has been another superb season of culture in the city. Almost 2,000 artists from nearly twenty countries appeared on twenty stage venues all over the city.

A total of 80 various cultural events were held through the duration of the most important festival on Dubrovnik’s cultural calendar, including 30 dramatic performances, 16 musical performances, 5 folklore performances and 9 movie screenings.

Ticket prices for the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival ranged from 80 to 600 Kuna and approximately 60,000 visitors watched the events this year.

The programs of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Games were attended by approximately 60,000 visitors.

There were five press conferences held over the festival and 115 press releases were sent out. 195 media representatives were accredited to monitor the festival, of which 117 were Croatian journalists, 67 photographers and cameramen, and 11 journalists and cameramen from foreign newsrooms.

The festival was monitored by numerous media and in July and August more than 500 articles were published and more than 3,500 were articles were published on internet portals and social networks.

This August has certainly been one to remember in Dubrovnik with temperatures every day in the thirties, clouds few and far between and the Adriatic Sea reaching bath like temperatures.

And today was just as glorious with highs touching 32 degrees as the historic Old City was a magnet for tourists. And as tonight will see the end of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival there was also a special end of festival feeling.

Check out this photo gallery by Branka Mumalo today

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Without doubt some of the reasons why tourists flood to Croatia every summer are the unspoilt nature, the clean blue seas, the guaranteed sunshine and the historic and cultural attractions, but they are also assured by the safety of the country. And according to a survey by one of the largest statistical organisations in the world Croatia is indeed an extremely safe country.

The data shows that out of the 33 countries in Europe, Croatia has the seventh lowest rate of crime. The “Crime Index by Country 2019 Mid-Year” data shows that the safest country in Europe is Switzerland with a rating of 78.82. Switzerland is followed by Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, Iceland and Austria, and Croatia comes in seventh place, one place ahead of Denmark.

At the other end of the rankings sees Ukraine, Sweden, France and Ireland as the least safe countries in Europe.

Across the whole of the country each Croatia city has a good safety ranking, with even the capital and by far most populated city Zagreb having a good rating. The figures for Dubrovnik make for interesting reading as pretty much every category shows the city to have a very low level of crime, from murder to petty crime, but the one category that differs is “corruption and bribery” which has a high rating. Although Dubrovnik is far from alone in this ranking with almost every other city showing the exact same reading.

 

The beaches of Zupa certainly aren’t as busy as they normally are, especially the Kupari beach, and one of the main reasons is the lack of visitors from neighbouring Trebinje. Traditionally Kupari and the beach are a destination that is popular for guests from neighbouring countries, the ease of parking, beach bar and relatively long beach area have made this Zupa beach a magnet for day tourists from Trebinje and neighbouring towns.

However, with the construction of a new border crossing on the Croatian side of the border and seemingly tighter controls have meant that the delays at the border are up to 2 hours. In fact, just a few weeks ago the whole computer system failed at the border and lead to delays of 8 kilometres which took hours to clear. These delays, combined with the opening of a new water park in Trebinje, have meant that many of the visitors have decided to stay at home rather than visit the beaches of Zupa.

According to information the longest delays are in the morning until 10.00am and then from 6.00pm till late in the evening. One reason for these “peak time” delays are the large number of people who cross the border on foot. The large demand for seasonal workers in Dubrovnik has meant that hundreds and hundreds of employees come from Trebinje at the beginning of the week and then go home on Friday evening.

There are also a great number of seasonal workers, from all parts of Croatia, who decide to pay the considerably cheaper rents across the border and then commute to Dubrovnik on a daily and weekly basis. And of course this flow of workers, who mostly walk across the border, has led to even longer queues at the border.

With the landmark two-millionth passenger landing yesterday at Dubrovnik Airport the airport is going from strength to strength and is, according to a report on EX-YU Aviation, the fastest growing airport in the whole region.

From the beginning of the year until the end of June the airport saw an extra 157,000 passengers use their services compared to the same period from last year. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation the director of the airport, Frano Luetic, reported that “The reconstruction and development of the airport contributed to the increase in traffic. During the first eight and a half months of this year, passenger numbers have increased 14 percent. On August 3 we set our 24-hour record, during which we handled over 24.000 travellers."

And whilst the summer months are always busy at the airport the winter period has traditionally proved more difficult to attract flights. However, this year, this winter, the situation looks decidedly more promising. "This winter we expect to see British Airways, Aegean Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Trade Air, Turkish Airlines, Vueling and Croatia Airlines maintain flights to Dubrovnik," added Luetic.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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