Friday, 06 December 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Croatia found its place among other countries at the famous Youtube channel Geography now about ten days ago and the video has already collected over half a million views. Paul Barbato is the host of the channel. This American YouTuber tries to keep an educational channel with countries from all over the world, talking about politics, demographics and geography, all in a fun way.

Of course that Dubrovnik is mentioned, as well as Game of Thrones and if you want to know (or recap) some interesting facts about Croatia you should watch this 10 minute video.

It's funny that when he posted this on YouTube Barbato wrote ''Well, we're back to the Balkans. You know what that means. Comment section popcorn time!'' in the caption. Well, there is over seven thousand comments now, but most of them are not popcorn material.

Tourists and locals in the Old City of Dubrovnik last night were treated to an unexpected fireworks display over the ancient walls. “Does this happen every night?” one tourist joked with his tour guide. The answer is no, but it did look spectacular as the night sky was filled with bursts of light. With yesterday being a full moon it could be argued that the night sky didn’t need extra lighting.

It is believed that the fireworks came from a private yacht anchored between the Old City and the island of Lokrum, presumably a special celebration. The next massive fireworks display of this size will probably be for the opening of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.

Our photographer Zeljko Tutnjevic was on the scene, as ever, to capture the image.

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The sunshine has arrived in Dubrovnik; summer 2016 is on the doorstep. All weekend we will have endless blue skies and glorious sunshine. Yesterday, Saturday the 21st of May, the temperatures touched the mid twenties and guests to the city made the most of the warmer weather.

The sunshine should continue today and the forecast for the flowing week is for more settled weather and sunshine, temperatures all week are predicted to be in the low twenties. However if you were thinking of jumping into the Adriatic Sea you might want to think twice, the temperature of the sea yesterday was 18 degrees.

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Photos - Niksa Duper 

This weekend the Livingstone Association and the Rijeka City Department of Culture organized a photo exhibition and live performances called ''Farewell my Hero'' as a tribute to the recently deceased world famous singer and artist, David Bowie.

The exhibition is a multimedia story about David Bowie told through the lenses of the “musical photographer” and rock' n' roll fan Brian Rasic also known as an official photographer of the Rolling Stones. This photography master and his camera were friends with Bowie for more than two decades from 1983 to 2005. His role in the visual communication with one of the biggest world known musical performers has great potential in revealing the enigma called David Bowie.

''Rock' n' roll music was a channel of subversion; it wasn't accessible and omnipresent like today. Bowie 'caught' frequency of personal motives: ''I wanted to be a musician because it looked rebellious, it was subversive and I felt that was the only way for me to make changes''. Walking on the 'dark' side of the road was actually a constant change for the artist and a rule that the rules are here to be broken. In a quest for his own identity he played many character roles, changed his image....He was Ziggy Stardust, android alien, a being of intersexual attributes...Always a showman...'', read the preface of the exhibition.

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There is no doubt that Croatia, and in particular Dubrovnik are in the headlights of the worlds media. Whereas Dubrovnik used to be a “hidden” holiday destination it is now one of the leading European vacation hotspots. With more airlines than ever before, more tourists expected this year than the last five years and new hotels in the pipeline there seems to be no end to the popularity of the south Croatian gem – the pearl of the Adriatic.

The UK press is falling over itself to promote Dubrovnik and the latest article appears in the newspaper The Daily Mail. Under the headline “Explore Beautiful Europe,” Dubrovnik, along with Montenegro and the Dalmatian coastline are all featured. This latest article will only add to the amount of guests from Great Britain that will plump for Dubrovnik as their summer option. Traditionally British tourists are the most numerous visitors to the city, for the past five years, and 2016 looks like being the same.

“I have the perfect solution, it’s environmentally responsible, extremely convenient and above all fun,” I joked with the team from The Dubrovnik Times. The very first copy of the tenth season of the Times came out last week. Blimey, where did those ten years go! It is a project that is very close to my heart, one that I am proud of, my little baby, the oldest or should I say the first English language newspaper in Croatia. When I think of the thousands and thousands of our guests who have read the paper it gives me goose bumps. So to celebrate the first copy the team “invaded” the Old City and handed out copies to locals and tourists.

A billionaire businessman recently explained the secret of his success, “when you are in your twenties don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes, in your thirties learn from your mistakes, in your forties don’t try anything new and in your fifties learn from the younger generations.” With this in mind, although I am still making plenty of mistakes, I have collected a younger team around me. They will probably learn from my mistakes and their own mistakes – might make them twice as bright.

“So what’s your big idea,” replied the younger generation. “Let’s move our office to the Old City,” came my answer. Their faces took on a question mark expression. “It makes perfect sense,” OK I was joking just a little. “We are in the newspaper and information business, we are now in the heart of everything,” I said as we sat around a table in front of Cele café bar in the heart of the Old City. “We have all the solutions right in front of us,” and my list began. Well join two tables together under those postboxes on the corner. Our new address will be “On the Corner Cele 1, Dubrovnik.”

Being on the corner we could just hand out newspapers as tourists walked by – distribution solved. We have free Wi-Fi from Cele all day long – IT solved. We would be sitting right under two postboxes so just raise your hand over your head and drop the post in the box – communications solved. And don’t forget that the postman would bring us the post right to the boxes. We are sitting right on the Stradun and right under St. Blaise, so we could almost lean out and take a photo – illustrations solved. On the wall just to the left is a public notice board with all sorts of info placed on it every day – events and small adverts solved. We are surrounded by almost a hundred different restaurants – catering solved. We are sitting in a café bar so there will be no problem for coffee breaks, they will bring it directly to our tables – coffee breaks and snacks solved. All of the tables here is either full of locals or tourists, both a great source of information – local and international news. The bank is just up the Stradun and you could distribute newspapers as you walked to pay the bills – financial department solved. There are nearly two hundred different businesses inside the city walls – advertising and marketing solved. All we would need is to drag our graphic designer down here and find a printing shop and we could be totally self-sufficient inside the city walls.

People lived for hundreds and hundreds of years inside these walls, they had almost everything they needed here, why wouldn’t we! We could even change the name of the newspaper from The Dubrovnik Times to the Republic, as a mark of respect to our elders and forefathers. It was just a bit of fun after a busy morning but it got me thinking. All those centuries ago people lived just like that; their working day would have been pretty much the same as I had just explained, but probably without the Wi-Fi. A much greener, less stressful and probably more rewarding way of work and life, and yet we have moved forward to a different future.

Needless to say the few copies of the Times we had went in a few minutes; the constant flow of tourists along the Stradun was never-ending. We could have had a thousand copies and still wouldn’t have been there for more than an hour. With a large “serving” of positive energy we greeted tourists from all over the world, for when you live and work in the Republic the world comes to you.

On the occasion of marking European Obesity Day a press conference was held at the Dr Andrija Šampar Institute of Public Health in Zagreb this Friday. An extremely high percentage of the Croatian population, about 56%, are overweight or obese which negatively affects their health and everyday life.

Last year in Croatia almost 1.2 million men and 900,000 women had problems with excessive body weight. This problem is the most widespread amongst young people from 15 to 35 years of age. Around 11.9% of secondary school boys and 14.2% of girls were overweight, whilst 22.9% of male students and 10.3% of female students on their first year of university were obese. But in some cases this problem was identified even at an earlier age: 13.6% of fifth-grade boys and 10.4% of girls were found to be overweight.

According to some recent studies a rising trend in the incidence of excessive weight is widespread in Croatia and worldwide and is a serious threat for human health. This fast growing problem also increases the number of related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, muscular and skeletal system diseases, diabetes as well as depression and various social problems.

The historic Old City of Dubrovnik had a real “high season” feel today as thousands of cruise ship passengers poured through the stone gates. In total three cruise ships were docked in the Port of Dubrovnik carrying with them around 5,200 passengers, the largest being MSC Magnifica with over 2,600 onboard.

Special pedestrian traffic regulations were in place on the Pile Gate entrance into the city, although the sheer numbers of tourists meant that a bottleneck formed through the stone arch.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 21st of May, will also be a relatively busy day with another three cruise ships expected and around 4,000 passengers.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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