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.
One of my friends got his car badly scratched on the parking lot the other day by an unknown driver who didn't bother to leave a note or his contact. He told me about this over coffee and was understandably angry about it. I tried to calm him down, but agreed this was a pretty lousy move by the other driver. “I hate people like that.” – we both agreed. It was not until later, when I was driving back home that I remembered I actually did something similar myself once.
It was back in the summer of 2011, one of the worst years of my life. Without getting into too much detail, many things went wrong that year and I found myself in financial problems, dealing with family issues, working a job I didn't particularly enjoy, and being generally very unsure about what the future holds. During one of the most hectic days of that summer, I was rushing to a meeting and tried to park my car on one of the improvised, unpaved parking areas around my workplace. The car in front of me seemed a bit too close, but I tried to do it anyway and ended up scratching the guy's bumper. I was forced to find another spot and parked the car. At first I thought about leaving a note with my phone number, but thought I'd best get to that meeting first as I was already late. The meeting lasted a while and was going to turn into a business dinner. It was possible for me to go out for a minute and leave the note at any time, but as time passed, I started thinking I might as well try to get away with it. After all, so many things didn't go well for me that year, maybe this was a chance to take something back from the Universe. Well, as you may imagine, it didn't quite pan out. It turns out, a passer-by saw the whole thing, wrote down my license plate and put his own note on the windshield of the car I damaged. So, I got a call during my business dinner from the owner of the car and had to deal with it right then and there which was quite embarrassing. Eventually, it all turned out fine and in the end I was able to sort it out with the car owner.
In a country which has a number of its leading politicians on trial for various acts of corruption, this might not be a very exciting crime story, but the point of it is not to illustrate how poor of a criminal I am. The point is that I truly do hate people who mess with other people's property and try to get away with it, and there I was, doing the exact thing I hate in others. My excuse was that I was struggling myself that summer and badly wanted to put a stop to a series of unfortunate events. However, isn't that the whole point of trials to our decency and morality? They always come when we are unprepared and weak. The vast majority of us know well what is right and what is wrong to do in a certain situation, yet sometimes we fail to do the right thing. Instead, we get to make up some sort of an excuse. When it comes to big issues in society, we tend to blame the larger forces and claim we are too small to make a difference. When we do the wrong thing in order to profit, we say that someone else would have done it if we didn't (this one is popular in Croatia for the past couple of decades). When we hurt the ones we love, we blame it on the circumstances or a momentary lapse in judgement, and when we scratch someone's car on the parking lot, we say it was an accident and we have filled up our quota of bad luck in a year.
It doesn't work like that, unfortunately. Decency is not very flexible and we don't get to have a free pass for doing something wrong or not doing what is right because we've had a rough day. It definitely isn't easy, but I've found that most of the time when I did the right thing to my own immediate harm, I would end up feeling good about myself. There is a sense of wellbeing when you take the moral high ground and no one can deny this. Who knows, maybe someday it comes back to you in some way. At least I know people are not talking trash about me over coffee… I hope.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
After a successful summer season, three cities in Croatia with the most international booking this summer were Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb according to the data of Booking.com – writes Poslovni.hr
Booking.com also ranked Novalja, Crikvenica, Trogir, Sibenik and Rijeka in five fastest growing destinations.
The average stay in Croatia this summer was four nights, including millions recommendations left by the passengers of Booking.com. Majority of them relates to the old city, beach, food, relaxation and nature. The findings also revealed the most popular types of accommodation reserved in Croatia. Among the 48,046 objects in Croatia, available on Booking.com, the first place goes to apartments, then hotels and guest houses. Popularity of the apartments indicates that more and more travelers are looking for local and authentic experiences that are primarily available in private accommodation facilities.
In addition, foreign destinations that Croatians visited this summer included Vienna, Budapest and Sarajevo, while among domestic destinations Trogir, Rijeka and Zagreb were very popular.
The European retail chain PEPCO from Poland which offers shoppers clothes for the whole family as well as wide range of household products will soon begin operations in Croatia.
PEPCO began operations in Poland in 2004, and has since recorded great interest from customers with the business expanding into Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from Poland, PEPCO currently operates in several Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The retail chain employs more than 9,000 people with more than 700 stores in Poland and more than 1,000 stores all over Europe.
"We are very pleased to be in Croatia next year with buyers getting a chance to visit our stores. The Croatian market opens up great opportunities for our brand and we hope that we will pave the way for other countries in the region’", said Marcin Stanko, the director of the Operations for Central and Eastern Europe.
PEPCO is planning to open the first store in Zagreb in early April 2017, with the first workers being employed early next year. During the first three years of its operations in Croatia, the brand plans to open about 50 stores throughout the country mainly in cities with over 10,000 residents thus creating around 400 new jobs. We can therefore expect a PEPCO store to be opened in Dubrovnik in the near future.
The popular European retail chain has already won numerous awards in the retail sector - the Forbes Diamond award and the Good Brand and Quality of Service Award.
A few days ago the Financial Times (FT), the respected international daily newspaper on business and economic news, published a few encouraging lines about the Croatian economy.
The article reads that in the six years period from 2008 to 2014 Croatia's economy contracted and its recession was rivalled only by that of Greece among its European peers.
‘’But Croatia’s tentative economic recovery has continued to strengthen in 2016, despite the collapse of its short lived coalition government after an acrimonious six months and the country’s second election within a year’’.
The European Commission forecasts that the country will have a 1.8 percent increase in GDP in 2016 primarily thanks to the tourist sector, which now accounts for about a fifth of Croatia’s output. The commission also predicts that the unemployment rate in Croatia will drop below 15 percent next year.
‘’Following September’s elections there is also tentative hope that the next government may keep a grip on public spending and tackle administrative barriers to investment. That is ambitious given the tendency of Croatian politics to obstruct economic reform. But some people have guarded optimism’’, concluded the Financial Times.
Those tourists who booked their holidays in Dubrovnik in the middle of October this year probably couldn’t have dreamt that they would be swimming in the Adriatic and sunbathing all day. Even though we have almost two months left until Christmas Day Dubrovnik is still in summer mode.
Temperatures today in the region touched 25 degrees and the sea temperature is around 21 degrees.
However if we are to believe the weather forecasters today’s warm sunshine could be replaced by wind and rain tomorrow. Although the longer term forecast shows stable and warm weather from this weekend up until the end of the month.
British low-cost airline EasyJet (U2 / EZY) in its announcements for the summer timetable 2017 strengthened its Dubrovnik – Edinburgh line. In addition to this year's 2 rotations per week every Tuesday and Saturday, it introduces an extra, third rotation a week every Thursday. This timetable will start on 22 April 2017, with all three rotations per week – writes Avioradar.
Excatly one month before the start, the programme of Dubrovnik Winter Festival was presented by the mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic and his associates.
- It's not easy to create new value in a city that cherishes tradition. People call and ask when the Winter Festival will start. We have received all the required permits, and now we're just waiting for the end of the competition for small houses on Stradun which is opened until October 28th. This year we will have free public transport within the city in the evening again. The novelty is that we'll have free parking in the harbor and a free opened bus from Gruz to the City. There will be more decorations in Lapad and a space between Sponza and cathedral will be particuraly horticulturally decorated. There will be a non-commercial content, but let's leave that as a surprise. As for the cost, all this is a part of regular work of utility companies. Decorative lighting will cost up to half a million, the cost of gardeners will be around 200-300 thousand and little houses will pay for themselves. We have decorative lighting from last year, Teddy is here, we just have to prepare him - announced the mayor of Dubrovnik.
Public institution in culture, Dubrovnik Summer Festival, will be a big part of the Festival. Director Ivana Medo Bogdanovic said that the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, as part of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, will spend max half a million kuna.
- I'm happy that Dubrovnik Summer Festival will help in the organisation of the fun and culture programmes that are not directly connected with the Summer Festival – added Medo Bogdanovic.
Head of the Entrepreneurship, sea and tourism departament, Vlaho Margaretic, said that children will be able to enjoy the fun fair and ice skating in Gruz just like last year.
This year's event theme will include the story of Robin Hood, because the filming of the movie 'Robin Hood: Origins', about this medieval hero is expected early next year. Dubrovnik Winter Festival will run from 19th of November until the beginning of March 2017.
British stars from the bands Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Eurythmics enjoyed the beauty of Dubrovnik at the exhibition ''Midsummer Scene-Elsinore in Dubrovnik'', placed in London. Croatian Embassy in London is hosting an exhibition of photographs that brings a touch of magic Dubrovnik summer. The exhibition was made by the British artist Bari Goddard, and it shows the most beautiful moments of the Midsummer Scene Festival. It will be opened until November 18th.
Numerous guests at the opening were greeted by Croatian Ambassador Ivan Grdesic, while the Croatian actor and producer Philip Krenus thanked the visitors on behalf of the Midsummer Scene Festival. Author of photos Bari Goddard greeted guests with a song, accompanied by Steve Maguire, a former member of the group Eurythmics. The opening was visited by Holly Johnson too, the lead singer of the popular British pop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood as well as the singer Adele Andersen, which took a break from preparing for three shows that will soon take place in London. The exhibition was also visited by Pinkietessa Pinkie, designer and famous performer, Diane Goldie, which has designed Bari's costume especially for the exhibition and the British model and designer Lee Sayers. The beautiful photographs of Dubrovnik enjoyed were enjoyed by Gary Roost, famous British stage actor and Philip Parr, coordinator of Shakespeare festivals in Europe.
The next, fourth Midsummer Scene festival will be held in Dubrovnik at the end of June 2017. The festival attracted the attention of the audience and critics with an unforgettable scenery of Dubrovnik City Walls. Last year's success, the play Twelfth Night, directed by Helen Tennison, was included in the main repertoire of the Vienna English Theatre in prime-Christmas period where it be performed daily, except Sundays, running from 7th of November to 22nd of December and then it travels to Bermuda. That's the confirmation of quality and also the start of spreading and increasing of the Midsummer Scene festival, which has distinguished international character from the beginning.
Midsummer Festival Scene is a project of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, produced by Brilliant Events Dubrovnik and Honey-tongued Theatre Productions Ltd. London.