Friday, 04 December 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.


A Croatia Airlines Airbus flying from London to Zagreb landed at the capital’s airport on only one engine last night. The flight, OU491, was on its way into land at the Zagreb Airport when a vibration indicator lit up and the pilot shut down the engine as a precautionary measure, meaning that the Croatia Airlines plane landed with only one engine.

According to reports the passengers were informed on the event and knew what was happening and the airline announced that the safety of the passengers wasn’t compromised at any time as the Airbus 320 is able to land with only one working engine.

After landing at 8.30 pm the plane was sent for a technical inspection to discover why the vibration indicator had been tripped.

An All Nippon Airways airplane certainly caught the eye tonight as it landed at Dubrovnik Airport, a Star Wars decorated plane. ANA started the Star Wars themed planes back in 2015 and they have proved to be a hit.

The R2-D2 planes aren’t only cool from the outside they also continue the theme in the interior.

Check out this great video from the Facebook page of Dino Alberini

Is Dubrovnik packed in the height of summer, yes. Is the city fighting with problems of overcrowding and a breakdown of infrastructure in the main tourist season, again yes. Is this Adriatic gem a unique world city, third time lucky, yes. Is Dubrovnik a cheap destination? If you have just answered yes then you would disagree with the latest promotion by an international publication which lists Dubrovnik as one of the fourth cheapest destinations in Europe.


Millions pound the stone streets of Dubrovnik every year 

“Europe is a bucket-list chart topper, to say the least. The romance, the food, the adventure, the culture - it's all simply intoxicating. Unfortunately for those of us ballin’ on a budget, visiting may seem like little more than a dream. What’s unfortunate that you’re missing out on a trip that may be way more accessible than you could have imagined. Check out our breakdown of the cheapest airports to fly in/out of, and the most affordable places to crash - then put some of that paid time off to good use,” opens the article entitled “4 Cheap European Destinations To Visit This Summer” on the popular website The Discoverer.

Along with the cruise ship situation one of the most debated topics in the city’s tourism industry is the pricing structure, or more precisely the lack of a pricing structure. In many ways Dubrovnik and Croatia in general have been caught in the perfect storm. As more established tourist countries have been fighting their own battles and bad publicity Croatia has been sailing on much calmer waters. Turkey has had political unrest, many countries in North Africa have seen terrorist attacks, Greece is still recovering from economic turmoil and Spain and Portugal are in need of reinvention, in all of this Croatia has been flying under the radar. And Dubrovnik in particular, the Pearl of the Adriatic, has been basking in the spotlight, or rather limelight, of international film productions. The demand has been constantly rising, far outweighing the supply for hotel rooms overlooking the Adriatic. Almost every hotel in the city and wider region is working at 90 to 100 percent of capacity for six months of the year.

And this “perfect storm” has led to unprecedented interest in the city. Dubrovnik is often described as a victim of its own success, however a victim of bad organisation and planning would be closer to the truth.

Prices of accommodation range hugely, excursion prices, restaurant prices and even the price of a ball of ice-cream can have a 100 percent swing. From 39 Kunas in a popular Konavle restaurant to 5 Kunas in a beach bar in Mlini, the price of a ball of ice-cream shows the wide price fluctuations throughout Dubrovnik. If you wish to sip your cappuccino on the Stradun in the centre of the Old City then expect to pay twice as much as the same coffee would cost you away from the historic core. It’s not rocket science.

lavender dubrovnik price

Prices can vary hugely from shop to shop and city to city 

Clearly one man’s Monaco is another man’s Manchester and for the folk at the America website The Discoverer Dubrovnik is very affordable. “We’re all suckers for a city by the sea, and Dubrovnik’s weather-worn walls seem as if they’ve spent their whole lives patiently waiting to give you the experience of your dreams. Share in the stories of hundreds of years of lovers and adventurers that have walked the bright white limestone streets before you. This hotspot tourist destination goes wild in the summer, especially for the cruise crowd. Tourist prices can get a little high, but if you search for lodging outside the Old City, prices drop drastically,” writes the website.

The three other destinations on the list are Berlin, Prague and Brussels.

Every month of 2018 has seen an increase in passengers through the Croatian capital’s airport and July was no different. Zagreb airport had its busiest July on record and handled a massive 379,193 passengers a solid increase of almost 8 percent compared to the same month from last year.

In July alone the number of aircraft landing and taking off at Zagreb airport was 4,461 which again was an increase over last year this time by 7.2 percent. From the beginning of this year until the end of July the airport greeted 1.85 million passengers, a whopping 9.7 percent increase over the first seven months of the year from 2017. And the indicators for the rest of the year are just as positive.

Zagreb has rapidly become a tourist hotspot in the region, attracting tourists on weekend breaks and during the city’s winter festival. The airport is the busiest in the country, with Split the second busiest, and 2018 could well be the best ever year in terms of passenger numbers.

Dubrovnik rocked this afternoon as an earthquake rumbled through the city. The epicentre of the earthquake was in Albania and it measured 5.3 on the Mercalli scale.

According to official information the quake was centred at a depth of 10 kilometres and was based 38 kilometres northeast of the capital Tirana.

The earthquake was certainly felt in Dubrovnik and another quake, earlier in the afternoon at 2.30pm, was felt in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

With temperatures touching 37 degrees in Metković yesterday it was important to keep cool. People sat on shady benches in the park, hid under sun umbrellas in the café bars, but some took more drastic measures to fight the heat wave.

With the temperature of the Neretva River only around 14 degrees these children found an instant cure to the rising temperatures. Jumping from platforms and even from the main bridge in Metković it certainly looked like fun and as these children explained “We do it every day in the summer…we don’t feel the cold.”

Check out the video

I think I might be turning into a nudist. It is ever so liberating. The cool air rushing over every part of your body. Uninhibited by clothes. As naked as the day I was born.

Yes, August is upon us and I am melting. This has to be my least favourite month in the year. The sun is just punishing, the crowds frustrating, the traffic disastrous and the heat at night unbearable. Who would go on holiday in August? Maybe only to Finland or Siberia.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it, once said the writer Russell Baker. Well Mr. Baker I am not really liking it at the moment. It seems strange an Englishman moaning about having too much good weather but I am really missing rain. I have never been one for lying on the beach. It seems a wholly pointless exercise. Maybe I have some Asian blood in my family tree. For the Japanese rubbing your body with sun cream and then frying in the sun is simply off limits. They hide, rather sensibly, behind umbrellas and flowing white clothes and do their best to stay in the shade. Now that is a clever nation. I would prefer to spend a day under the air-conditioning than a day under the sun on the beach. And there lies the problem.

We are currently in our summer residence, yes like the rest of the city we rent out our apartment in the summer and move. Now whilst our summer residence is charming and spacious it lacks one vital ingredient – air conditioning. Our only form of cooling is a fan that blows constantly. In fact, it is just circulating the warm air around and around in circles, so far from cooling it is really a free-standing hairdryer. This means that we aren’t spending too much time in the apartment, or as my wife says “our oven”, but living an al fresco lifestyle.

And that got me thinking. The air-conditioning, although it has its obvious advantages, has killed some of our social interaction. Whereas before, especially in the Old City, families and neighbours would gather outside their homes on summer evenings, now they are locked in their homes with the doors and windows firmly shut. It would seem that many life’s modern technologies are forcing people apart. The mobile being thee absolute worst example.

So with a lack of air-conditioning I had to invent a way of helping us sleep at night. It involved a hose pipe, a sun umbrella and a pallet. I fixed the hose to the tap of the shower in our bathroom, ran it out through the front door and then I needed some height. So the sun umbrella had more than one use for keeping us cool. I wound the head of the hose over one of the arms of the sun umbrella and then took an attachment for the hose which would normally be used for watering the grass and “hey presto” we had an outside shower. The temperature of the water could be controlled from inside and the shower head could be twisted to turn it off. This was showering “au naturel” as the French would say. We stand of the pallet so that the water from the shower runs away into the grass. We even hang the shower gel and shampoo from hooks on the umbrella. And I have to tell you it is bloody lovely, truly refreshing.

Of course the advantage that we have is that nobody looks directly into out garden. Otherwise they would think that a nudist camp, or a swinger party was being held in Zupa. At least I hope that nobody looks directly into our garden. And if they do please remember that the water is normally quite cold (if you know what I mean.) And yes I sing under the outside shower. Covered in bubbles from head to toe and completely naked I often spark up a tune. This could all prove rather embarrassing if a visitor turned up unannounced.

But I must say that being a nudist, well a nudist in my own garden, is therapeutic. And when the water stops and the cool air whistles around the cooling effect is better than any air-conditioning. And yes the whole family is enjoying the shower, even the dogs. No more sleepless nights. I am now a night-time nudist and I love it.       

Zlatko Dalić will continue is his role as the coach of the Croatian national football team. There had been some speculation that Dalić (51) would walk away from the role after taking Croatia to the silver medal in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, after meeting with the president of the Croatian Football Association, Davor Šuker, this week in Novi Vindolski he has decided to continue in the position.

“It was nice to remember all those beautiful moments from the World Cup with Zlatko, and the silver medal was proof that everyone who was involved done a top job. I am glad we openly discussed what could be better in the future and that together we will fight for new victories,” commented Suker after the meeting.

And it was clear that Dalić had had some reservations about his relationship with the president in the past. “It was important to talk openly with the president about topics and I thank Davor for understanding what I thought were not correct. I hope that we have sorted all those things out and I look forward to the new challenges ahead,” concluded Dalić.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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