Wednesday, 18 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.


Dubrovnik was awash with strawberries yesterday as the “Day of Ston Strawberries” brought thousands of strawberries into the historic city centre. Punnets of ruby red strawberries were available for the promotional price of 10 Kuna and long queues formed as locals and tourists took advantage.

This traditional event was organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and local strawberry growers from Ston, which is regarded as one of the best locations for strawberry cultivation in the region.

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''The whole of Croatia is beautiful'', commented Ashley Colburn during her visit to the town of Cakovec in the Medjimurje Countya few days ago.

The popular American video blogger and producer, the winner of two Emmy awards and travel specialist Ashley Colburn is currently filming a new film about the most beautiful tourist cities in Croatia.

Among continental cities, including the Croatian capital of Zagreb, she chose the town of Cakovec because it was love at first sight during her last visit.

''I'm thrilled with Cakovec. The whole of Croatia is wonderful and I want to give an opportunity to as many people as I can to see this beauty by watching my film'', emphasized Colburn, who became popular with a series of tourist films called WOW.

Colburn produced her first travel show ”WOW Croatia!” which was awarded Croatia’s Golden Pen award and won an Emmy in 2010. Following her success with the Croatia show, Ashley created “TAKEOFF with Ashley Colburn” a travel series that premiered in 2010 on Wealth TV and took her to over 25 countries on six continents over two seasons.
The famous video blogger and produceralso met with Stjepan Kovac, the mayor of Cakovec and with Boska Ban Vlahek, the head of the Cakovec Tourist Board.

On this occasion Colburn commented, ''Do not take for granted wonderful things you are surrounded with. The richness of culture and tradition deserve to be enjoyed every day, these beauties are rarelyseen. This goes for Cakovec, as well as for the whole of Croatia''.

The international brand of Dubrovnik just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. This photo was sent to us by a reader of The Dubrovnik Times and shows a branded bottle of Coca-Cola with “Dubrovnik” and a palm tree.

We have seen these specially labelled bottles before but when you bear in mind that this photo was taken in a supermarket in a small rural village with a population of less than 3,000 in the middle of a south-west England then the reach of Dubrovnik is even more impressive.

This year a popular international gourmet sensation, that promotes friendship, elegance, equality, gathering, gallantry and secrecy will take place in Zagreb on the 20th of May.

Le Diner en Blanc or simply ‘’the dinner in white’’ is a worldwide event and a popular Parisian pop-up picnic known for its strict dress code. The story began in Paris in 1988 when a Frenchman Francois Pasquier invited a group of friends to an elegant outdoor dinner at Bois de Boulogne asking them to dress in white so they could recognize each other.

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Le Diner En Blanc in Paris 

After 70 world cities, out of which 13 from Europe, this year only 800 selected lucky ones in Zagreb will have the opportunity to participate in this exclusive secret gathering. The dinner will begin at 7 pm, whilst the exact location will be kept secret until the last minute.

The dinner guests will be entertained by the world’s best DJs, acrobat and dancer performances as well as with fireworks around midnight when the dinner is supposed to end.

It is interesting to note that guests with the most glamorous clothing combinations will have the opportunity to win valuable prizes such as a trip to Paris, and many others.

In cooperation with the American giant technology company Intel, Oracle Croatia organized the eleventh Oracle Cloud Day conference in Zagreb on the 16th of May under the title ''Innovation for growth, knowledge for control''.

The main conference topics were transformation of IT and core business operations through cloud and capitalization on opportunities provided by digitalization of business processes.

This year's conference gathered more than 300 participants mostly domestic business and ICT community leaders, IT experts, as well as speakers from Croatia and abroad.

Representatives of Hipersfera, Multicom, HEP (Croatian Electric Power Company), Addiko Bank, Avnet, Combis, and King ICT held interesting presentations.

However, the most interesting participant at the Oracle Day conference was Hipersfera, one of the most ambitious start ups in Croatia in terms of hardware, which presented its detailed action plan for the next few years.

The HiperSfera company from Zagreb is best known for their unmanned airship technology. HiperSfera airship is designed for a slow flight or hovering, all-weather long-endurance operations and mission specific payloads. ''It has the ability to position a dedicated payload high above the area of interest, in a reliable, safe and cost-effective manner. It can do all that for an extended period of time either as an individual vehicle (while moored) or as a coordinated airship fleet (free flying)’’.

The HiperSfera airship can effectively replace the satellite, because only one such vehicle covers an area of 2,500 square metres, providing the image resolution identical to the one from the satellite, but with several advantages. First, the airship does not orbit the Earth and its maintenance is far easier, let alone cheaper. On the other hand, it is stationary, unlike the satellite, which orbits the Earth and cannot send images in real time, whilst the airship can.

In addition, the HiperSfera airship is most effective above densely populated urban areas, where it can regulate air traffic and traffic control in general. It can also be used for science research that requires the shooting of inaccessible terrain, in the prevention of fires, for broadband telecommunications in order to replace mast-based antenna systems of a classic mobile network, as well as for smart farming, and maritime and land border surveillance.

Next concert of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will present top performers to the Dubrovnik audience. On Friday, May 19th, in the Dubrovnik Art Gallery, The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Uros Lajovic, world-known conductor and pedagogist who has conducted over 90 orchestras across Europe, Russia, Turkey, USA, Korea, China, Taiwan and Colombia. He was in charge of the orchestra in Belgrade, the head of Slovenian Philharmonic, and is a teacher in Vienna for many years – some of his students are the greatest musicians of today.  

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One of the most prominent Croatian violinists Goran Koncar and Japanese pianist Sadakatsu Tsuchida will perform as soloists. The start of the concert is at 9 am. The works of F.B. Mendelssohn: Concert for violin, piano and strings in D minor and Midsummer Dream are on program.

Violinist Goran Koncar started his international solo career in 1982 in most European countries, USA, Japan, Korea and Israel. From 1984 to 1994 he was the concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, the Croatian Radio-Television Symphony Orchestra and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has worked with renowned orchestras and conductors all over the world. He is the winner of numerous awards.


Japanese pianist Sadakatsu Tsuchida was born in 1975 in Tokyo. He started learning how to play piano when he was four in Yamaha Music School. He graduated with the highest marks at the Moscow Conservatory, and two years later he completed his postgraduate studies at the same conservatory. In 2003, he won 1st place at Rachmanin International Music Competition in Moscow as the first non-Russian winner in history.

Collaboration with Goran Koncar started in 2007 when the Zagreb Quartet performed in Japan and continued in 2008 with his guest performance in Zagreb with the HRT Symphony Orchestra and continued this year with concert in Tokyo.

Croatia has introduced its first CSI team for road traffic in order to make roads safer in the country.

The first group of Croatian inspectors completed their training with Slovenian colleagues by attending theoretical lectures, and now they are ready for their first assignment on roads throughout Croatia.

From now on, the Croatian CSI team for road traffic will approve each and every road project in the country in order to provide safety and security on Croatia's roads.

''During the training, we were given directions to observe details on the road that we have never noticed before in order to give our opinion on road improvement'', explained Denis Simunic, one of the Croatian road inspectors.

A lot of work is waiting for the CSI road traffic team. They have to observe each and every detail from all directions and angles, thus there will be no room for mistakes.

''It is a big responsibility and it is very difficult to estimate how much a human life is worth because it is priceless, and each life you save is a big thing'', added Sasa Tomasic, the road inspector.

Marko Sostaric from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences at the University of Zagreb commented that the road inspectors have to evaluate and measure road visibility during the day and the night, quality of traffic signs, routes, road environment, as well as to check for any kind of obstacles, pillars or trees near the road that should not be there.

On the other hand, concessionaries and road managers have ordered these road measurements because they are subject to the European directive. However, they have to require the recommendations from the inspectors, but do not have to accept them.

The CSI road traffic team will monitor and evaluate around 1,600 kilometres of highways and state roads in Croatia.

‘’As our response to numerous hotels for solitary bees that are praiseworthy and are helping the solitary bees and other insects, we decided to make the first five-star hotel for bees in Croatia'', explained Tatjana Balja, the owner of the family farm (OPG) Balja.

The first Croatian hotel for bees is situated at the Balja's idyllic apiary on the edge of the town of Garesnica in the Bjelovar-Bilogora County. The family estate with a private pine forest bordered by flowers, a stream and a small pond offers an abundant acacia pasture, plenty of blackberries for nice and sweet meadow honey, as well as constant care and love for bees.

Apart from the possibility of bringing your beehive to this hotel and leaving the whole honey production process to the owners, for those who want to participate in honey extraction, there is a two-day seminar about the basics of beekeeping, with a usage of the organizers' protective equipment and the necessary tools for beekeeping. Accommodation is also provided in a charming apartment at the family farm.

So far, reactions to this project are very positive, many people call the hotel; smaller companies that want to have their own beehive for their employees, kindergartens, senior citizens etc. The capacity is limited in order to maintain a better quality of service in the first Croatian hotel for bees.

''It took us almost a year to launch this project. Every new beehive is our success, because we love beekeeping and we will not let the bees disappear. We want more people to get to know these creatures and to recognize their role in nature conservation'', emphasized Tatjana Balja.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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