Saturday, 15 June 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.


There is more than one way to enjoy the panoramic views of the Adriatic from the main coastal road. Most of us rush by them without taking a second glance, seemingly taking the natural beauty for granted and without enough time in our busy modern lives to soak up the things that really matter.

However, some people take a much more relaxed point of view and go at a pace much more dignified. This rather odd looking vehicle was spotted today on the main coastal road near Dubrovnik and quite clearly this traveler enjoys a simpler, more laid back, form of transport. Whilst drivers sped by and motorcyclists attempted new speed records this traveler was loving life in the slow lane.

odd bike near dubrovnik

This new video from NASA really caught our eyes. A time-lapse video of a sunset over the earth taken from the International Space Station. An absolutely unique and impressive sight, reminding us of how small and precious our planet is and how we must start to respect it. Maybe watching this video will stop someone asking for a plastic bag after finishing their shopping or taking that plastic straw for their cola. There is no planet B!

NASA states that “Enjoy this sped-up Earth view, captured by the Expedition 59 astronauts currently on-board the International Space Station. The station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes — meaning this sunset you see is actually one of 16 the station residents see each day!”

Needless to say the video soon went viral and received comments on the official NASA YouTube channel like “Absolutely stunning, just utterly beautiful” and “Look at our beautiful home... our planet... it baffles me.. the beauty of the universe... that's why I always protect the Earth.”

The Dubrovnik Economic Conference, a traditional international meeting with representatives of numerous international financial institutions, is being held in Dubrovnik this weekend for the 25th time, and is organized by the Croatian National Bank (CNB).

Boris Vujčić, the Governor of the Croatian National Bank (CNB), recalled the first year of war-time conferences and added that over time the congress has become a significant venue in the world.

“During the last 25 years some of the largest names of economic theory and in the area of economic policy management have been involved in this congress,” said Governor Vujcic. The theme of this year’s conference is economic policy formation at the time of populism. Also a presentation on how Croatia is a good candidate for the introduction of the euro as the official currency.

On this occasion, Boris Vujcic, announced the letter of intent to enter for Croatia to enter into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.

“Before close cooperation with the European Central Bank in the conduct of supervision of credit institutions, it is necessary to test the assets of Croatian banks. We expect this test, as far as the Croatian banks are concerned, to pass very well. As I always point out – the liquidity of Croatian banks is such that it leaves no doubt that it is a quality and stable system” added the CNB Governor.

Over the last quarter of a century the Dubrovnik Conference has become a traditional venue for meetings and dialogues of prominent world and domestic experts with representatives of numerous international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, etc. The conference also includes economists from other institutions and representatives of financial activities.

The central topics of this year's conference will be works and discussions devoted to the losses of international trade, gravity - the link between elasticity, distance and trade, migration, i.e. the effects of financial globalization, economic populism, foreign currency and currency mismatch conversions, independence of central banks in the implementation of monetary policy.

This column could well be entitled “How I discovered I was a sleepwalker,” or even “Is there a ghost in my bedroom.” I recently bought a new mobile phone. I am not so interested in all the features, I fact I probably still haven’t opened more than half of them, but one caught my eye. It interested me basically because it shows up on the homepage of the phone without my having to do anything, those are the apps I like. It basically measures to number of footsteps I do every day. Then it calculates all the distances and so on.

So I read up a little and it seems that you are supposed to be 10,000 steps a day. It seems that 10,000 steps are roughly 7.6 kilometres or around 5 miles. And if you try to that every day you’ll lose weight, which quite clearly is something I need to do.

So I’ve been trying to hit 10,000 every day. Just this week I had a couple of days in the capital and instead of catching trams or taxis I walked. I walked and walked and walked from one side of Zagreb to the other. The first day I managed to clock up an impressive 20,000 steps, “So does that mean I can catch trams tomorrow,” I wondered to myself.

As I limped back into my hotel I was struck by the number of police and security guards everywhere. There were more men with those secret earphones and talking down their sleeves into hidden microphones than actual guests. My legs were a little weary. Instead of the stairs I shuffled into the lift, only to be meet by two huge bodyguards. “What floor are you going to?” one asked in perfect English. “The fifth,” I answered. He looked at the other mountain of a man and raised his eyes as if to say “this one could be trouble.”

Who were they all guarding? It felt like I had walked into a Hollywood movie. Bing! The lift came to a halt. The doors opened and I was greeted by a private army of suited bodyguards. I almost, in a joke, throw my arms in the air as if to say “I didn’t do it!” However, as I had just covered about 15 kilometres across the dry and dusty Zagreb streets all I wanted to do was find my bed.

Struggling along the corridor I had a feeling I was being watched. Trying not to make any sudden movements so as not to excite the army of bodyguards I used a looked in a picture on the corridor to see the reflection of a man behind me. My room key card was in my suit jacket pocket. Slowly I slide my hand into the pocket not to alarm my Kevin Costner shadow. Click! The door opened and I swung around to see him glaring right at me. To cut a long story short I was sleeping three doors from the most important man in the European Union, the EU commissioner himself, Jean-Claude Juncker. Now that’s a man who could also do with trying 10,000 steps a day as well.

I crashed into the shower and slipped into bed, it’s probably the safest sleep I have ever had with the men in suits outside the door, in the corridor and in the lift. So sleep walking. This app works from midnight to midnight. It resets itself at midnight and then counts a full day of steps. My head hit the pillow at a little after 11:00pm and all I did was to set my alarm for 6:00am the next morning. I slept like a log. Dead to the world. Juncker could have been kidnapped and I wouldn’t have heard a thing.

Bleep, bleep, bleep! Woken at 6:00 am as usual I glanced down at my mobile. It normally reads zero steps. But this Zagreb morning it read 60 steps!?! From midnight to 6:00 am the step counter was at 60. One step is roughly 0.7 of a metre. How had my mobile covered over 40 metres on its own? I hadn’t been to the toilet in the night. Had I sleepwalked? And if so where? It was a pretty big room but not 40 metres wide. Had Juncker’s army sneaked into my room and checked my phone as I slept? Was there a ghost in my room? What would have happened if I had sleepwalked right into the EU commissioner’s room. Something wasn’t right here.

Another day in the capital and another day of walking. Again I hit my target. And when I slipped into bed at night I made a point of double checking my mobile. In the morning it read zero steps. Was my mobile lying? I’ll leave the last few words to Mr. Juncker, who famously once said “When the going gets tough, you have to lie.”       

"We would like to inform citizens that the international border crossing for traffic of “Vitaljina-Njivice” is open for all traffic from today,” read an official statement this week. The border crossing between Vitaljina and Njivice, or between Croatia and Montenegro, is only one of a number of international crossing between the two countries. However, especially in the summer months, the main border crossing tends to have very longs delays, of up to 3 hours, so using these less known crossing will save time.

The statement from the Dubrovnik – Neretva Police Administration added “We also advise all passengers who plan to travel to Montenegro during the summer season and return to use the mentioned border crossing where the traffic intensity is lower than the border crossing for Karasovići-Sutorina international passenger traffic.”

Break out the sun cream and load up on the bottled water as Dubrovnik is about to get struck by a mini heat wave this weekend. If you thought, it was already boiling hot in Dubrovnik it’s about to get even warmer as the summer temperatures ramp up to the mid-thirties.

The State Meteorological Institute has issued a new warning for the dangers of a thermal heat wave for Dubrovnik for the 15th and 16th of June. With temperatures on both Saturday and Sunday expected to reach the mid-thirties experts are warning the public to avoid the midday sun and to take plenty of fluids with them. And night time temperatures will also be extremely warm with temperatures unlikely to drop below the mid-twenties at night.

And the online weather service AccuWeather has also published a weather warning for the Dubrovnik region stating that “Heat wave. Maximum temperature > 32 °C Stay alert for expected high temperatures. Health risks are possible in the vulnerable population, in particular senior citizens and small children.”

Today is the last day of school for thousands of children across Croatia and whilst clearly it is a time for celebrations things got a little out of hand in Srebreno, Zupa.

It started in the early morning hours as pupils finished school, eighth grade pupils aged around 14 years-old, with fireworks but soon escalated this afternoon when smoke bombs turned into real smoke as a fire broke out on the Srebreno harbour in front of groups of tourists. Police were quickly on the scene to control the situation. And they were followed by the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade who extinguished the fires.

zupa danas 7


Bearing in mind that Dubrovnik is currently in the midst of a heat wave and the vegetation is dry it was good fortune that kept the fires, in what appeared to be tyres, contained. Whilst the end of school is an obvious excuse to celebrate this moronic behaviour passes any levels of common sense.

zupa danas 4

zupa danas 3


The renowned UK publication The Guardian has placed one Dubrovnik boutique hotel on their list of the 10 of Europe's best new seaside hotels. The Kalamota boutique hotel, on the island near Dubrovnik that bears the same name as the hotel, is a newly opened accommodation unit which contains one, two and three bedroom apartments. The Guardian highlights the best hotels in Europe, from Greece to Portugal and Latvia and the top ten actually features two Croatian properties, the one on the island of Kalamota and The Melegran in Rovinj.

aparthotel kalamota kolocep dubrovnik


A short ferry ride from the centre of Dubrovnik, the island of Kalamota (as it is known locally) or Koločep to give the island its official name is a summer favorite for both holidaymakers and locals. It is part of the Elaphite group of islands, that include Šipan and Lopud, and there are no roads, and of course cars, on the island. A true break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

kalamota hotel boutique swimming pool dubrovnik


And as The Guardian writes, “Koločep is a serene, car-free island, 30 minutes by ferry from the historical sites and crowds of Dubrovnik. Opened in 2018, the Kalamota hotel sits on the island’s west coast and has one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, each with a lounge, balcony and a sea view. There’s a rooftop pool and a bar and restaurant with large outside terrace by the water. Cycling and walking trails criss-cross the 3km-long islet through pine forests and pass ninth-century churches around the hamlets of Gornje and Donje Celo. Kayaks are available to rent – a great way of exploring the island’s sand and pebble coves.”

kalamota hotel terrace dubrovnik


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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