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.
Facebook is the number one social media platform for Croatians. According to a recent survey almost 50 percent of the Croatian population is active on Facebook, or around 2 million users. This number is significantly higher than the number of Croatians on Twitter, it is estimated that around 60,000 Croatians actively Tweet.
Data from the survey by the marketing agency Arbona shows that most Croatian Facebook fans fall into the age group of 13 to 34, this age group makes up around 570,00 of the Croatian users. Only around 8 percent of users are over 55 years of age.
Whereas Instagram is making waves in Croatia other media platforms, such as Snapchat and Twitter, are still lagging a long way behind Facebook.
Unsurprisingly the most popular Facebook accounts in Croatia are dominated by sportspeople and singers. At the very of the list is the Real Madrid midfield ace, Luka Modric, with an impressive 7.6 million Likes. He is followed by another footballer, Ivan Rakitic, who plays for Barcelona with 3.2 million Likes. And in third place is the Facebook account of the Croatian National Tourist Board with 1.5 million Likes.
As Christmas rapidly approaches the Old City of Dubrovnik is slowly turning up the volume on the Christmas entertainment. After the concert by one of the most popular vocal choirs in Croatia in the heart of Dubrovnik last night this morning was the turn of the folklore ensemble Lindo to entertain the packed crowds.
The Dubrovnik Winter Festival has organised a busy calendar of events in the build-up to the festive season and this morning saw the popular dancing and singing of Lindo. And with the cobbled streets bathed in warm December sunshine the first weekend of December it is turning out to be a weekend to remember.
Zagreb has put special efforts in preparing this year’s Advent festivities as it is poised to defend its Best European Christmas Market title in a ten-day online voting period which will be organised by the European Best Destination between December 2nd and 12th.
Advent in Zagreb has started. It boasts many more programmes than before, hence many more reasons for you to visit and see for yourself why the capital of Croatia was voted the best European Christmas destination in 2016. Zagreb has put special efforts in preparing this year’s Advent festivities because the European champion’s title can be defended only by offering the best programmes and contents to an increasing number of tourists who flock to the Croatian capital at this time of year.
In this year’s competition, Zagreb is poised to defend its European champion’s title. The city has prepared itself well, leaving nothing to chance, because the travellers’ votes are the best recommendation for any destination. The voting will take place on European Best Destination website between December 2nd and 12th. There are some 50 destinations running.
Occasionally, I get to read from my books to groups of Czech tourists in Dalmatia. They find me exotic. In fact, as one of the tourists expressed it, they find my case disquieting. I will tell you what he said, and warning!, this is by no means a way to brag about myself (I was brought up in communist Czechoslovakia, where saying anything positive about your random achievements earned you nothing but public contempt), but to get a bit of context over here.
“Correct me if I am wrong,” the man said in a voice on the edge of fatherly and bossy, “but you were born in Prague, got your degree in Oxford, had a glamorous legal job at an international court in France, and you voluntarily exchanged all that for a life in a village in Dalmatia, marrying a local fisherman and writing books?” He particularly stressed the books, as if that was the most pathetic of all my choices. “I mean – tell me – what on earth possessed you to do that?”
Although I could have been the man’s daughter, I looked at him in manner of a mother or a guru, and said: “Love, my dear. It was love.”
He protested: “Of course! You fell in love with your husband, and – “
He was going to point out the risky business behind international marriages, warn me about how love in the initial stage of a marriage quickly transforms into routine, until you finally realize that there is an avalanche of things you hate about your husband, and spend the rest of your life in the horror of dealing with them, daring to call this love.
I stopped him: “Not this kind of love,” I said. “The love I mean has been with me since I was eight - since the day I first came to Pelješac. It is my love of Dalmatia, the feeling that I belong here, that all I did in my life so far were just steps on a ladder rising up here.”
“So the village of Brgat is higher on the ladder for you than Strasbourg and London?” the man asked in sarcastic disbelief, making everybody in the audience giggle.
“In a way, yes,” I approve. I feel the audience stiffen (did she really say that? Is she, like, completely nuts?). There is a whole bunch of things I mean by that, myriads of emotions and pictures that come to mind, the urge to explain that a lawyer living between four walls of his office tiled with countless cases would be surprised if he spent one single evening on the bench in Brgat, watching local men argue over a game of boće, eating grilled fish and sipping beer, hearing people sing, spontaneously, just like that, their voices melting into the heat of the summer night. Not worrying. Not hurrying. Maybe it would occur to him that there is more to life than sitting at an ergonomic chair, serving a purpose you have long forgotten, and being paid a fortune for it month after month.
Or maybe not - maybe the lawyer would not understand anything.
I finally start reading a chapter about a Dalmatian wedding, because that’s why the people came here at the first place. To hear me read from my humour books about the Adriatic Bride. They laugh. They sometimes lift their eyebrows, learning surprising things about life in Dalmatia through the story. In the end, they clap and some of them buy the books. Some of them later send me a message over Facebook. Not long ago, I got a message from a Dalmatian woman who is fluent in Czech, so she could read my books. She wrote: “There is so much love in your books that it brought tears to my eyes. I know that you are not the protagonist of your novels, but you do love Dalmatia like you were married to it.”
I gave it a thought: yes, that was it. In a long sequence of memories stretching over quarter of a century, I recalled my Dalmatian marriage. All the joy and pain, all the enchantments and disappointments I lived up to here, all the violent internal arguments I had with this place, misunderstanding or disapproving of local culture, the heart-breaking temporary split ups, escapes to Prague, and then the crushing loneliness and panic fear that I might not go back, ever. The frantic happiness of returns. The forgiveness. The lasting passion. Love.
The world doesn’t function in a way to understand this, nor is it designed to support this kind of attachments. Success is measured by the digits at your pay check. Civilization is Europe and America, and if you want to make it anywhere in your profession, you will inevitably end up living in London or New York. Not Pelješac, for god’s sake. An arbitrary diversion from the path of success is regarded unreasonable. Random people, who think they fell in love with Bali and went to live there are generally considered lunatics (unless they become, like, presidents over there). You can, of course, go through your rites-of-passage backpacking thing and live in Bali for three months, but then you better return back home, to the big city that gives you so much more possibilities – of what? Of, well, success.
Dalmatia gives me more possibilities of happiness, though.
I try to capture this happiness in my books. They are my love letters to this corner of the world, to its people, its culture of pomalo. Slowly. Dalmatia and I had our ups and downs, but if anybody asked me, whether I wanted a change, I'd scream "nooo!" After all these years, the spark is still there.
As I write this, I am freezing my butt off in the “Narodna knjiznica,” the library in the old town, wearing a wool hat and a pair of gloves, hating the cold and wondering, why nobody puts the damned heating on here. The librarian, cold and sick, just smiles. School kids on their tour of the library point their fingers at me: who is she? - "That's Blanka, our writer," the librarian explains, with a hint of pride in her voice. The kids raise their eyebrows (thinking either that I am a total freak or a secret celebrity).
In any case, it seems Dalmatia wants to keep me, too.
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com.
Dubrovnik is a centre for tourism, a magnet for the world’s productions companies with Game of Thrones and Star Wars, and now it seems that the door has opened to another branch of tourism. The city has hosted a number of significant car events over the past year and now the destination has been awarded with international recognition. The Sun Gardens, Dubrovnik resort has picked up the “Best Venue for Car Launch” for south-east and east Europe.
This international accolade is mainly due to the fact that this Dubrovnik resort hosted the Mercedes Benz training event earlier this year at which over 15,000 sales staff participated.
But this was just the icing on the cake as Dubrovnik also played host to Bentley convention, a Porsche event and a Hyundai congress. And this isn’t the end of the major automobile events in Dubrovnik. In 2017 Nissan will come to town for the global presentation of the new Nissan Micra, which will also be held at Sun Gardens, Dubrovnik. From the beginning of 2017 until the middle of March over 7,000 delegates from Nissan will be holding a training event in the city in parallel with the Micra launch.
The Old City of Dubrovnik was absolutely packed last night as the Dubrovnik Winter Festival rolled on in festive spirit.
The Stradun resembled a summer’s evening as thousands of people enjoyed the winter stands and a concert in front of the St. Blaise Church.
Check out our gallery from last night
''The construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Croatia is a low-risk investment that is not complicated, and it could bring huge commercial benefits to the country very soon'', said Ian Brzezinski, a member of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Advisors Group.
At a panel discussion held in the House of Europe in Zagreb on the 30th of November Croatia's role in the Three Seas Initiative was discussed in order to encourage the country to become a regional leader in strengthening economically and politically the area between the three seas.
The Three Seas Initiative is a political platform which gathers twelve EU member countries of Central and Eastern Europe situated in the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Seas region. It was launched with the main goal of boosting the regional competitiveness and development primarily through the development of energy, transport and communications infrastructure.
Ian Brzezinski, the son of a famous American expert for geopolitics Zbigniew Brzezinski, also emphasized that the LNG terminal in Rijeka would be important not only for countries in northern and southern parts of Europe but for the whole European Union. ‘’Therefore, the government of Croatia should change local conditions in order to enable this north-south energy corridor to become a reality’’, explained Brzezinski.
David Koranyi, the director of the Atlantic Council's Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative said that it was the right moment for the construction of the LNG terminal which would be useful for Croatia due to its good European environment and the proximity of interested gas supply importers.
Travel+Leisure published a list of unreal bars for a drink you'll never forget and Dubrovnik is right on the top!
- Whether it's one of the most breathtaking views in the world, a completely unique location, or a cocktail you simply can't find anywhere else, these bars are more than just watering holes – it's explained in the article.
The first one is... Buza bar! Famous bar located on the cliffs right by the sea has attracted many visitors since it was opened.
- Game of Thrones fans will enjoy locating the hidden Buza Bar in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as its nearby streets and magnificent views have often been the backdrop for the show. A literal hole in the wall, the bar leads curious travelers to a charming drinking spot on cliffs hugging the ocean with breathtaking views over the Adriatic Sea – writes Travel+Leisure.