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 week of unsettled weather in Dubrovnik continued today when a torrential downpour flooded the streets of the city. Although the forecast indicated an unstable day with overcast skies and even storms the beaches of the city were full with tourists enjoying the Adriatic.
And then the skies turned from blue to black and the heavens opened. The downpour only lasted for around 45 minutes but it was enough to flood many of the city’s streets and send the sunbathers running for cover.
Check out our video from the middle of the storm
According to a specialised website the carrier American Airlines is seriously considering opening direct flights from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik as a summer season link.
It is believed that a decision will be made as to whether this new American Airline flights will be introduced inside the next month. And presumably these new flights would start in the summer of 2019.
Dubrovnik has long been searching for an American airline to operate direct flights. In fact, last year tourists from the US were in the top five in the city and this is without any flights. Many American tourists currently use either London or Frankfurt as a hub before flying off to the States, however this also often involves another flight to Zagreb from Dubrovnik. Meaning a flight from Dubrovnik to the US can mean at least two stops.
American Airlines have been growing consistently out of Philadelphia, and have introduced new flights to many European destinations. It is rumoured that both Dubrovnik and Zagreb are on the radar for American Airlines, however the airline has still yet to make an official statement.
In spite of the changeable weather in Dubrovnik which saw blue skies one minute and rain the next the iconic Banje Beach, just a stone’s throw from the walls of the Old City, was busy today with swimmers and sunbathers.
The actual sea temperature in Dubrovnik is around 24 degrees, so jumping in the Adriatic is far from chilly. Many tourists rolled out their towels today, although the presumably had umbrellas handy just in case, and made the most of the weekend.
The unstable weather is predicted to last for most of next week, although temperatures will not drop below 25 degrees, there is a chance of a few spots of rain all week.
The latest example of crazy coach driving comes from this bus driver who tried to make a three-point turn on a narrow Dubrovnik road. This “professional” driver surely must have known better that to attempt to turn around on such a narrow spot and in doing so he completely blocked both lanes of traffic.
An astonished eye witness took this photo as the coach made not a three-point turn but a thirty-three point turn on the only road out of the Old City of Dubrovnik from Pile. This road is extremely busy and used by both taxi drivers and public bus drivers as the main link into Dubrovnik. However, yesterday it all took longer than usual as this bus driver backed up traffic while he tried to turn round.
The Netherlands has become the latest European Union country to lift work restrictions on Croatian workers.
After the United Kingdom announced that from the 1st of July Croatian workers would no longer require a work permit the Netherlands has become the next open country for Croatians. The government of the Netherlands announced on Friday that they would instruct the European Commission that they would not extend the ban on Croatian workers for a further two years.
Croatian become a full member of the European Union in 2013 and the Netherlands, along with the UK, applied a five-year restriction on Croatians coming for work purposes. Immediately after receiving the news the Croatian government responded in kind and lifted any work restrictions on Dutch citizens in Croatia.
Dubrovnik has once again been included on a top ten travel list, and this time it comes from Italy. The Italian monthly travel magazine “Caravan e Camper” has not only published a travel report on Dubrovnik but also featured the city on the cover page of this popular magazine.
This latest travel report is the result of a study tour organized by the Croatian Tourist Board's representative offices in Italy, the Tourist Board of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik.
The comprehensive six-page report in the magazine includes information on where to camp in Dubrovnik, but also reports on the Elaphite islands, the Dubrovnik City Walls and upcoming events in the city. And of course includes details on how Dubrovnik played a role in the filming of Game of Thrones, Star Wars and Robin Hood. Great publicity for Dubrovnik on the Italian camping market.
An Albanian family was stopped late last night on the border from Montenegro into Croatia and border security found 53 packages of marijuana stashed in the car. The 41-year-old driver, his wife and two young children, all from Albania were attempting to enter the country with 53 packages containing 23 kg of marijuana and a further 8 packages with 5 kg of marijuana.
The border security stopped the car after becoming suspicious due to a strong smell coming from the car. They then carried out a detailed search and found the drugs hidden under the driver and passenger seats.
Even though Croatia became a full member of the European Union in 2013 it is still not part of the Schengen border-free zone. Along with Romania and Bulgaria, which both joined in 2007, and Cyprus, which joined in 2004, Croatia is legally bound by the terms of the EU accession treaty to join the EU border-free zone.
The Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula, recently organised a conference in Dubrovnik to discuss the preparation for Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area and the importance of security was stressed.
“That would make our EU membership complete and enable us to make the most of it. This is a time of extreme pressure on the Schengen area, and due to incoming migration and terrorism many are questioning if the area can be maintained at all. Croatia must meet the technical standards, as well as politically convince the European Council that it should be admitted as soon as possible,” said Picula.
"We have to meet 96 recommendations by the end of this European Commission's term (in 2019) because its President (Jean-Claude) Juncker has stated clearly that Croatia should be admitted as soon as it meets the technical criteria. It will also be necessary to convince those who have political or even bilateral reservations to our accession, however, this must not be a bilateral issue, but a joint European decision,” concluded the Croatian MEP.