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.
One half of the popular duo 2Cellos, Stjepan Hauser, is rumoured to have found his other half in the stunning Croatia presenter and model Fani Stipkovic. According to reports the pair have become more than friends and have been spotted together on numerous occasions.
The heartthrob Croatian cello player and the blonde bombshell arrived together for the funeral of Oliver Dragojevic in Vela Luka and since then have been seeing more and more of each other.
A few days ago, the duo also spent a night at a restaurant in the centre of Pula in Istria, and the photograph was published on an official profile of the restaurant whose staff wanted to boast of hosting two well-known media personalities.
Is Fani the new love of Stjepan's life? - Photo Instagram
The popular phrase “There is no business like show business” could quite easily in Croatia be transformed into “there is now business like football.” The Croatian national football team and their stunning exploits at the 2018 World Cup in Russia won the country millions upon millions of new fans and admirers. The promotion for the country, especially as a destination for tourism, was priceless.
And the Dubrovnik Tourist Board have been quick to jump on the back of this wave of positivity and have presented the Dubrovnik tourism offer in Moscow. During the World Cup the tourist board ran a series of online campaigns to raise awareness of the city and to connect with the football team. And they have now taken it one stage further and have organised a presentation in the Russian capital.
Dubrovnik presnted in Moscow - Photo Dubrovnik Tourist Board
Organized by the Croatian Tourist Board's representative office in Moscow, the Croatian Embassy in Moscow and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Dubrovnik's presentation was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Moscow on Tuesday, August 21.
Sandra Milovčević, from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, met with Russian travel agents and journalists and highlighted the tourist offer of Dubrovnik as well as events throughout the year, with a special emphasis on the Good Food Festival at the end of October and the Dubrovnik Winter Festival in December. The workshop was attended by 40 Russian travel agents and representatives of the Russian media. As part of the presentation, there was also a prize game for participants, for which the Dubrovnik Sun Gardens provided a free three-day stay for two persons. The lucky winner was Russian travel journalist Olga Grišina.
In 2017, Dubrovnik visited 9,336 tourists, who achieved 47,754 overnight stays. From the beginning of this year to mid-August, Dubrovnik was visited by 5,499 Russian tourists, who realized 25,968 overnight stays.
And the Dubrovnik Tourist Board commented that “After the fantastic success of the Croatian football team and the presentation of Dubrovnik in Moscow, we expect a significant increase in the arrival of Russian tourists to Dubrovnik and Croatia.”
However, the one rather large fly in the ointment is that Russia tourists still require a visa to visit Croatia. And as the process for taking a Croatian visa in Russia is still rather complicated and slow many potential tourists obtain a Schengen visa from another European Union country. This, of course, is a missed opportunity for Croatia to earn extra finances from the cost of visas.
Proof that the Croatian coastline doesn’t offer guests only sun, sea and sand was highlighted on the Instagram profile of the iconic fashion designer Diane Von Fürstenberg, who has been sailing the Adriatic in the company of friends, including Oprah Winfrey, these days.
In the company of these “cruise” friends the designer has been enjoying mountain hiking on one Croatian island and has been sharing with enthusiasm photos of the pristine Croatian nature and landscapes. She also shared a photo of the turquoise Adriatic Sea and marvelled at how crystal clear it is.
Climb every mountain - Photo Instagram
Diane Von Fürstenberg (71) is a fashion designer who was celebrated in the 70s with the so-called wrap dress. This now cult dress hangs in every women’s wardrobe and has keep its trendy status over the years, and has made Diane Von Fürstenberg one of the most influential creators of the last century.
These days, in Los Angeles, an exhibition entitled 'Journey of a Dress' will open, which will showcase the development of a piece of clothing with pictures of the most significant moments, including a legendary dress that appeared on the front page of Newsweek in 1976.
The clothes from her DVF line are worn by well-known women all over the world - from the Duchess of Cambridge, to American actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Albea to singer Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.
It's a wrap
On this day, the 21st of August, 2003 one of the greatest international friends and supporters of Dubrovnik sadly died. Kathy Wilkes, who was described by The Guardian as a “bold academic forging philosophical links with eastern Europe,” was an English philosopher and academic who played an important part in rebuilding the education systems of former Communist countries after 1990.
Wilkes dedicated part of her life to helping Dubrovnik in its darkest days during the bombardment in the Homeland War in the early 1990s. Her love affair with the city started back in the 1980s when she attended academic meetings at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik. She later went on to become one of the chairs of the IUC executive committee, and ran a series of economics and political science seminars.
Throughout the terrible bombings of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik by Yugoslav forces in 1991 she remained in the city. She helped organise medical supplies for the sieged city and did her upmost to spread the world to the world of the human suffering that was occurring in Dubrovnik. Kathy Wilkes was made an honorary citizen of Dubrovnik as a mark of respect for her courage. She was also made an honorary member of the Croatian army.
Kathleen Vaughan Wilkes, philosopher, born June 23 1946; died August 21 2003
A freelance journalist threw a bucket load of faeces at the entrance of the government building in the centre of the Croatian capital Zagreb today. The journalist, Iva Anzulovic, was apparently protesting against a lack of real fight against crime and corruption in the country, according to a post on her Facebook page.
Anzulovic was escorted from the scene by the police. And it turns out that this isn’t the first time that she has carried out this kind of protest. On the 8th of August she did exactly the same thing in front of the building of the State Prosecutor, as act that was reported as a misdemeanour.
"I will throw faeces at anyone who has been proven a criminal in journalists' articles. Starting today, nobody that has been proven to have behaved criminally by a reporter will feel safe in public - and this goes for institutions as well - because they will never know when, where, or how I might throw faeces at them," she said.
The forest fires that burned above Dubrovnik have once again started this afternoon. The fires, covering a large area of land above the town of Ivanica, are on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Dubrovnik fire brigade were on the scene last night as smoke filled the air and flames raged through the grasslands. It was believed that the fires were started by lightning and they were thought to have been extinguished at 5.00 am this morning. However, these latest photos, sent to us by readers of The Dubrovnik Times, clearly show that they are back and once again sending clouds of thick smoke in the sky.
Photo by Russel Gardner
“Coming into Dubrovnik and can see the forest fires @DubrovnikTimes,” commented Richard McKelvey and sent us exclusive photos as he was coming into land at Dubrovnik Airport.
One other eye witness, Russel Gardner, also took some amazing photos of the plumes of smoke and added “The fires didn’t really go out and they have flared up again. I can’t see flames only smoke. Will wait till it goes dark to see if there are any flames.”
American Airlines have confirmed that a direct connection between America and Dubrovnik will be operated in the 2019 summer season. According to information from the company the new flights will operate three times a week with the first flight starting on the 7th of June.
America Airlines, the world’s largest airline, will fly direct from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik and this will be the first direct scheduled connection since the early 1990s.
The flights, which will be operated until the 27th of September, will operate using Boeing 767s.
“By providing the only nonstop service from North America to Dubrovnik and adding Berlin to our international footprint, American is making it easier to see the world,” said Vasu Raja, Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning. “Through our Atlantic Joint Business, we have seen increased interest to these markets from the U.S., and adjusting our network to introduce these destinations will provide more choices for customers on both sides of the Atlantic.”
These seasonal flights will be operated June through September on Boeing 767 aircraft, featuring lie-flat business class seats, Cole Haan amenity kits and chef-designed meals with award-winning wines. American’s new flights will be available for sale from the 27th of August this year.
Dubrovnik is certainly on the radar for American tourists, fuelled to a certain extent by the popularity of the serial Game of Thrones which was largely filmed in the city. With the introduction of these new lines even more American guests will be able to visit the city. Until now there have been no direct flights between Croatia and the US so the news that flights will be opened for next season is sure to be welcomed.
In Dubrovnik, the end of August and almost all of September are reserved for top classical music concerts. For the sixth year in a row, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has organised the Dubrovnik Late Summer International Music Festival, bringing together many national and internationally acclaimed artists.
The music director of the festival is the Austrian conductor Christoph Campestrini, and this year's festival will run from August 28th to September 21st. Over the course of 13 festival concerts, the orchestra will host many internationally acclaimed conductors, such as Nicholas Milton, Christoph Koenig, Darrell Ang, TaeJung Lee, and Tomislav Fačini, and of course, the music director of the festival, Christoph Campestini.
Many renowned Croatian and international musicians will perform during the festival: Ukrainian violinist Aleksay Semenenko, Bulgarian pianist Plamena Mangova, one of the best and most sought after Croatian musicians abroad – pianist Martina Filjak, clarinet player Marija Pavlović and cellist Monika Leskovar, Russian violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky, violinist Đana Kahriman, cellist Smiljan Mrčela, pianists Marija Grazio and Aljoša Lečić, mezzo-soprano Dubravka Šeparović Mušović and others.