Sunday, 23 September 2018
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

Croatian skier Ivica Kostelic has spend his vacation in Croatia with his ''skiing buddies'' Mitja Dragšič, Mitja Valenčič, Christof Innerhofer, Cristian Deville, Manfred Mölgg, Jeffrey Frisch, Warner Nickerson, Petter Robertsson and Magnus Andersson.

Some of them had to leave early, but all of them enjoyed their special vacation! Especially Warner Nickerson, who captured everything with his camera and made couple of videos from Mljet and finally – Dubrovnik. He has published his videos last week.
Dubrovnik was reserved for day six.

- It was an amazing week and this was the final day checking out Dubrovnik. What a beautiful city it is with so much rich history. Yes they were very very rich in the past and had a very powerful value system based on freedom - wish we could have talked about that more, but I didn't totally dominate taking video of everything – wrote Nickerson.

Check out the video about Dubrovnik and visit Nickerson's Youtube channel for the other five days.

Dubrovnik is constantly having great results in tourist traffic and July didn't disappoint either – record breaking tourist resluts were achieved in July and in the first seven months of the year.
According to the program eVisitor, made for registration of tourists, 179.642 tourists have visited Dubrovnik in July, which is 12 percent more than in July last year and had 688.138 night stays, 14 percent more than last year. Last month, most of the tourists were from United Kingdom, France, USA, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Australia, Finland and Belgium.

According to available data from the system eVisitor, Dubrovnik achieved record-breaking results in all types of accommodation in the first seven months of 2016.
From 1 January to 31 July 2016 in Dubrovnik generated 547.248 arrivals, for a total of 10 percent more arrivals than in the same period last year. During the first seven months 1.824.702 overnight stays were recorded, which is an increase of 10 percent compared to 2015.

Top-list of countries from which Dubrovnik tourists came in the first seven months of 2016 are: United Kingdom, United States, Germany, France, Croatia, Sweden, Spain, Finland, Norway, Australia.

When it comes to nautical tourism, from the beginning of the year to the end of July 12.911 arrivals were recorded and 108.920 overnight stays, which is an increase of two percent compared to the same period last year.

Every weekend our resident "Style Guru" will be scanning the streets of Dubrovnik for the latest and greatest in fashion.

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On the Puca Street in the heart of the Old City is a store that is well known by all citizens of Dubrovnik. It is affectionately known as “the fishing supplies shop,” and “Kate’s,” although these aren’t the official names.

The owner, Katarina Dadic, known as Kate started working in the shop in 1985, this a love story between Kate and fishing that has been going on for three decades. If you are looking for filling up on fishing supplies whilst in the city pay a visit to Kate.

“I have been here for thirty years and at times I feel like a mascot for the city. In the winter the boutique almost gets converted into a living room, we get out the coffee machine and the debates begin. In the summer the whole face of the shop changes and we have plenty of interest from tourists,” explained Kate.

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The shop is a treasure trove of fishing supplies, beach wear, snorkels; flippers...pretty much everything you need to be in or near the sea. The Puca Street, which runs parallel with the main street the Stradun, is a lively mix of small shops and local trades. It is a busy and atmospheric journey.

“If someone asked me to move my shop to make way for a souvenir shop I would tell them no way, before you used to be able to buy everything you wanted inside the walls, those days have long gone,” adds Kate. “People drop by just to pass the time of day, from all over the region; we have become a soul of the city, some drop by just for a coffee. I think the tourists appreciate the heart that the shop has,” smiles Kate.

She adds that she isn’t really a keen fisher, although of course she is well versed in all the necessary vocabulary. Drop by to Kate’s, pick up a new swimming costume or just catch up on the news around the city.

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Game of Thrones will finish with season eight! The producers of the globally popular series have confirmed for the Rolling Stone magazine that season eight will be the final season.

HBO programming president, Casey Bloys, stated for Rolling Stone magazine the shows executive producers have already made up their minds, “Benioff and Weiss have a very specific plan about the number of seasons they want to do.” And with season seven due to be filmed this winter, and quite probably not in Dubrovnik, it will leave final season showdown as Dubrovnik’s farewell to the series.

Dubrovnik, which acts as King’s Landing in the serial, has featured as a location since season two of the show after problems in Malta. Since those early days the city has been in the limelight of the world’s media and huge fan base. Last year the second most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik were from the USA, and bearing in mind that there are no direct flights from the States to Croatia this is quite a feat. The pull of the Game of Thrones has been a massive boost for the tourism industry, with a whole host of spin-off business opening up in Dubrovnik. One of the most popular tours in Dubrovnik is the Game of Thrones themed tour which highlights the locations used in the historic walled city. And with the series coming to an end we can expect that the finale will be largely based in Dubrovnik.

The show’s producers have already stated that season seven requires colder and darker locations and that it will be largely filmed during the winter months. Although Dubrovnik has yet to be officially ruled out as a location for the upcoming season it seems unlikely, Northern Ireland, Iceland and Spain have all been confirmed. However it can be presumed that the grand finale, as season eight will be, will be coming back to Dubrovnik. King’s Landing is the capital of the seven kingdoms in the series and we can only hope that this means a big finish in the capital.

 

Dubrovnik, with its unique historic walled-city, has inspired many an author, painter and poet over the centuries. But now it is also enthused a range of furniture. A stone coffee table that takes its origins from the stone city walls, a lantern and a Adriatic coloured couch.

“Add a Touch of Croatia to Your Abode,” is the title of an article that was recently published on the American website laduenews.com, although it could have been titled add a touch of Dubrovnik.

The article features three Dubrovnik inspired household accessories each with a short description as to why they are reminiscent of the pearl of the Adriatic. “The stone veneer and hand-forged iron base of this coffee table reflect the powerful, historical walls that once protected the city of Dubrovnik,” is the description of a charming table that will set you back $1,299.

Whilst the furniture descriptions have some sense the opening paragraph leaves a lot to be desired, as it notes that Dubrovnik was “the birthplace of Marco Polo.”

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This Adriatic themed couch will cost you just over $3,000

Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user contributed data about the quality of life in cities and countries worldwide, has published a price comparison for July 2016 between the four largest cities in Croatia – Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek and Split. And according to their findings Rijeka is the most expensive city among the four largest Croatian cities.

Its citizens have to spend most of their money on groceries thus the groceries index of this city is 42.38. In terms of the apartment rent, the rent index is 11.27 which is slightly lower in comparison to Zagreb's rent index of 12.84 which is the most expensive in Croatia. Food in restaurants is the most expensive in Split with 48.64 restaurant price index. Among these four cities the lowest cost of living is, as expected, in Osijek with the rent index of 6.99 and the groceries index of 37.01.

For an apartment of 85 sqm Croats pay 1,200 Kunas worth of household bills monthly whilst the rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre amounts to around 2,100 Kunas. The average net salary in Croatia is around 5000 Kunas.

The cost of living in Croatia is 32.78 per cent lower than in the United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Whilst the rent in Croatia is 73.66 percent lower than in the United States (average data for all cities).

Even though Numbeo didn't include Dubrovnik in its cost of living comparison survey among the four largest Croatian cities, it should be noted that the cost of living index (excluding rent) of Dubrovnik is 57.32, which is significantly higher in comparison to Rijeka (50.77), Split (50.70), Zagreb (49.87) and Osijek (45.13). Making Dubrovnik the most expensive city to live in Croatia.
The cost of living in Dubrovnik is 16.8 percent more expensive than Zagreb, 19 per cent more expensive than Rijeka and 16.7 per cent more expensive than Split. The biggest difference in the cost of living is in comparison to Osijek i.e. Dubrovnik is 49.2 per cent more expensive than Osijek.

I have to admit that I am in a dilemma. I really don’t know which way to turn, both sides have their arguments. On the one hand it seems like an invasion of civil rights and on the other respecting the culture of the city. What am I talking about, the decision of the city to punish people for dressing inappropriately on the Stradun. Well, presumably not just on the Stradun but on all the hollowed stone streets of the Old City.

No, I am still not decided. Walk through the gates of the city and face a fine of 1,000 Kuna if you are dressed in a bikini, bare-chested or completely naked. Of course, if you are completely naked then you deserve everything you get, remember those crazy German guys who wandered around in the “birthday suits.” Apparently signs are going to be placed on the three main entrances into the Old City with signs explaining what not to wear. I guess a “no bikini” sign. What happens if the offender gets stopped on the gate, then fined, but doesn’t have any clothes to cover up. Are they then going to be banned from entering the city?

Enforcing this law is the first problem I foresee. Making law is child’s play, enforcing them is a different story. Will there be security guards on the gates scanning people for the hint of bare skin? Even better, will there be security guards scouring the streets looking for offenders.

I would like to publically put myself forward for that job! I will need a few pieces of equipment of course. Firstly some super strong binoculars so I can spot the thong bikinis from a distance. Secondly a camera so that I can photo the sexy offenders, just for the purposes of evidence you understand. Then I am going to need some kind of uniform, I don’t want to get confused with a pervert or a stalker. I know just the uniform, I bought one when I went to Tenerife in my youth, if I remember correctly it said “Licensed Bikini Inspector” I am sure that you can still buy them online. Or maybe F.B.I - “Female Body Inspector.” Of course the flipside, or the downside, of being a Dubrovnik FBI is that I would also have to search for male offenders. OK, note to self. When applying for the position of security guard I need to emphasise that I will only be arresting female lawbreakers. I wonder who will set out the standards; I mean what is conservative for one might be slutty for the next.

Will the bikini brigade get special training? Imagine that – “OK now look at this photo, is this distasteful or not.” I guess that rules out filming an episode of Baywatch in Dubrovnik? Poor Pamela would break so many laws she would have to divorce again just to pay the bills. That’s a point; the fine is 1,000 Kuna or 500 Kuna if you pay on the spot. If someone is wearing a micro bikini where would they be keeping 500 Kunas to pay on the spot? Like I said I am in a dilemma. Telling people what they can and can’t wear goes totally against my liberal beliefs. It is a short jump to telling people that they can’t do many other things. It’s the Erdogan form of politics, my way or the highway. But then again there is a part of me that wants people, visitors, to respect the pearl of the Adriatic.

Of course I would never dream of walking along the Stradun dressed like Borat. It just seems a little bit bad taste, but should it be illegal...well probably not. If you want to enter a museum, church, restaurant, etc then yes you need a little dress sense, well more common sense really. But fining someone for walking down a public street because they are showing too much skin, well that is a little harsh. I am guessing that it will be a storm in a teacup, just another one of those laws that will be forgotten in time.

We have had so many new regulations that were introduced with a bang, like a firework, and then were swept under the carpet. The fun thing will be watching how it is enforced. The Stradun is almost bulging with potential 1,000 Kuna fine payers. I can’t wait to see the “bikini brigade” stop a group of drunk Australians stripped down to their waists at 3 o’clock in the morning and tell them that they are violating the dress code. They are probably violating many things; good taste will probably be their biggest violation.

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Dubrovnik

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Humidity: 85%
Wind: NE at 17.70 km/h
Monday
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Tuesday
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Wednesday
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Thursday
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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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