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.
A beautiful scene in these rainy Dubrovnik days. A dolphin came very close to the Dubrovnik shore today, in fact right into the busy port of Gruz, where it seemingly played around with the boast and small ships.
At around 5.30 pm this afternoon these photos were taken by the members of the eco-centre “Eko Omblici.”
This particular species isn’t uncommon in Dubrovnik waters, but this close to shore, especially in a very busy harbour is rare. Although this isn’t the first time that a dolphin has been spotted in this harbour, just last year another one, or possibly the same one, was also spotted slashing around.
It ended where it all began – in Dubrovnik. The grand finale of the globally popular series Game of Thrones came to an end this morning in Dubrovnik with an extra special screening of the final episode of season eight. And the opening was truly spectacular with a performance by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
Millions upon millions of fans of Game of Thrones worldwide have heard the theme tune umpteen times before, but very, very few have heard it played live in King’s Landing by a symphony orchestra. A truly great beginning to the ending of Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik.
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Game of Thrones came to a fitting grand finale this morning in Dubrovnik with an exclusive big screen projection of the final episode in the Revelin Fortress. Dubrovnik, which plays King’s Landing in the globally popular series, has been used as a location, some would argue the main location, since the second season of Game of Thrones, and with the eighth and final season hitting the small screens in Croatia tonight the Dubrovnik public had a chance to see the outcome a full 12 hours before the rest of the region.
Even though the final episode was screened last night in the US and social media, and indeed the media, is chocked full of spoilers this was a chance for a select few to experience the surprising conclusion in true Game of Thrones fashion.
The Dubrovnik premier brought together many fans, media representatives and citizens of Dubrovnik who enjoyed, clapped and laughed out loud as the plot unravelled on a big screen in the Revelin Fortress, a fitting end to the Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik partnership.
"The positive influence of the world's most popular series on the global promotion of our country is unquestionable. In addition to many visitors to the Croatian locations where the series was filmed, they are also happy with a large number of themed brochures, tourist tours and guides that specialize in creating content related to the series. I would like to thank the excellent cooperation with HBO and the City of Dubrovnik,” commented the Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.
And the national tourist board had organised a special prize for international fans and bloggers on the series which saw 28 lucky winners to see for themselves the Game of Thrones finale in Dubrovnik. “As this is a project of great international character, we have invited a large number of foreign journalists and bloggers who shared their impressions of their stay at King's Landing with a million people around the world, " added Stanicic.
The special projection in the Revelin Fortress was organized in cooperation with the Croatian Tourist Board, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik.
"Thanks to HBO for great cooperation, thank you for choosing Dubrovnik for this planetary popular series. Thanks to “King's Landing” and this outstanding promotion, many people have fallen in love with this city and have come to personally discover the locations of the Game of Thrones shooting. You are always welcome because Dubrovnik is always open to new friends,” commented the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic.
Based on the popular fantasy series, George R. R. Martin's book, The Game of the Throne, is an epic tale of betrayal and nobility placed in Westeros, where summer and winter can last for years, and only the desire for power is eternal. In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, whoever controls the Iron Throne, possesses incredible power, and the series focuses on the rise and fall of a few families that wanted this power at all costs. This is a story of duplicity and betrayal, nobility and honour, conquest and triumph. In the throne game you either win or die.
As the most watched series in HBO's history and the world-wide television phenomenon, "The Throne Game" has won numerous awards, including 47 Emmy Awards. And HBO revealed that there will be a special documentary film, entitled “The Throne Game: The Last Guard" on May 27 at 8pm on HBO as well as via HBO GO.
Croatia will soon adopt the Euro as the official currency and become part of the border-less Schengen Area in the next term of the European Commission, stated German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Zagreb on Saturday.
"Croatia's accession to the euro area and the Schengen zone is certain in the next term of the European Commission. There is still some work to be done, however, Croatia is on the right track, and Germany wants to be its partner in those efforts," commented Merkel.
Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, added that it was important to Croatia that the Schengen zone should be what it used to be, which required a broader agreement inside the European Union as to restore the free movement of people.
Croatia takes over the rotating presidency of the EU in the first half of 2020 and will be succeeded by Germany in the second half of the year.
Merkel said that the 370,000 Croatian nationals living in Germany and the 2.5 million German tourists visiting Croatia annually constitute a bridge between the two countries. She said that Germany wanted to ensure that EU membership helped Croatia achieve further growth and prosperity, so that people would have good working conditions and living standards, and that this should be taken into account in the new financial perspective.
Croatia and Japan are moving ever closer to introducing direct flights with negotiations over an Air Service Agreement ongoing.
"Discussions between the aeronautical authorities of Japan and the Republic of Croatia are continuing. A tentative framework has been reached until the conclusion of an Air Services Agreement between the two countries. Considering the possibility and forecasts, there is sufficient air traffic demand for scheduled air services between Japan and the Republic of Croatia in the future,” commented the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the specialised website EX-YU Aviation.
An Air Service Agreement is the first step in introducing direct flights between two countries and the negotiations between Croatia and Japan started in November last year.
At this present time All Nippon Airways connects Dubrovnik and Japan in the summer months, there is however no direct connections with the Croatian capital, Zagreb.
Dubrovnik was presented in the ceremonial residence of the Mayor of Prague on Friday the 17th of May, in co-operation with the Croatian Tourist Board's representative office in the Czech Republic, the Croatian Embassy in the Czech Republic, the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik.
The presentation was attended by over a hundred guests, along with Prague Mayor, Zdenek Hrib, the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, Ljiljan Pancirov, the Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Jelka Tepsic, the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic, and the director of the representative of the Croatian National Tourist Board in the Czech Republic, Dubravko Miholic. The event was also attended by twenty ambassadors, numerous travel agents, tourist journalists and other guests from the business and political life of the Czech Republic.
The former statue of Roland, and today's Bruncvik, located on the Charles Bridge in Prague, is one of the links between Dubrovnik and Prague, and was highlighted on the occasion of the marking Orlando's year (600th anniversary of placing the Orlando statue in Dubrovnik).
The Mayor of the City of Prague Mr. Zdenek Hrib held a welcoming speech in which he stressed his satisfaction with the cultural and tourist cooperation of the two cities.
The Croatian Ambassador to Prague, Ljiljana Pancirov in her address focused attention on the link between Prague and Dubrovnik. "Literalist Ivo Vojnovic was extremely appreciated by Prague, where almost all of his plays were performed, Vlaho Bukovac spent much of his artistic life in Prague and spent time at the Academy of Fine Arts. This is only a small part of the extremely rich ties that exist between the Czechs and the Croats, " Ambassador Pancirov pointed out.
The director of the Croatian Tourist Board's representative in the Czech Republic, Dubravko Miholic, presented direct daily flights between Prague and Dubrovnik from SmartWings, and highlighted the growing interest of Czech airlines in the south of Croatia. "I congratulate Dubrovnik and Prague on the fact that they are the champions in their countries by the number of tourist nights. Dubrovnik received 4.4 million overnight stays last year and Prague had 18.2 million overnight stays and I believe there is certainly room for even better future cooperation between Dubrovnik and Prague, " added Miholic.
The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Romana Vlasic, welcomed the participants, expressing her satisfaction with the excellent air connections of the two cities, and the hope of an increase in the number of Czech tourists. In 2018 4,487 tourists from the Czech Republic visited Dubrovnik realized 17,346 overnight stays.
The Head of Communications Department at Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Sandra Milovcevic, held a presentation highlighting the tourism offer and attractions of Dubrovnik and its surroundings as well as numerous events throughout the year.
Deputy mayor Jelka Tepsic spoke about the 600th anniversary of Orlando and the program of events thaqt have been organised and also presented the successful project “Respect the City”. "We believe that in the future we will have more concrete and firm relations between Prague and Dubrovnik, the Czech Republic and Croatia, as it has been through the history of our two countries and cities. Today, there is a link between tourism and we want to work more in the future to strengthen cultural links, especially between Dubrovnik's summer festivals and cultural institutions of the city of Prague", Tepsic.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival Representative Francesca Tevsic held a presentation about one of the oldest and most prestigious European festivals, celebrating its 70th anniversary this summer. In this jubilee season, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival will present more than 80 dramatic, musical, ballet, film, folk and other performances on the impressive open stages of the city of Dubrovnik to numerous domestic and foreign audiences.
For all the guests present, a prize draw was prepared and the winner of Barbora Krunclova won two return flights from Prague to Dubrovnik with Smartwings and a free weekend stay for two people at the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik hotel.
Croatia recorded the lowest inflation rate in the European Union in April, and it was less than half of the EU average, according to new information from the European Union statistical centre Eurostat.
Croatia's annual inflation rate, measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), dropped in April to 0.8 percent from 1.1 percent in March. In April 2018, the inflation rate in Croatia was 1.4 percent. Denmark and Portugal were the other two countries that saw an extremely low inflation rate, of 0.9 percent.
Inflation grew the most year-on-year in Romania (4.4%) and Hungary (3.9%). Compared to the month before, the annual inflation rate dropped in six EU countries, stagnated in two and grew in 19, Eurostat said.
“I don’t desire to change anything in England except the weather,” said the great Oscar Wilde, if this May is any indication of the things to come then we might need some help changing the weather here as well. It might seem strange, an Englishman complaining about rain, you’d have thought we were used to it right, but this is the first time in twenty-one years on being here that I’ve seen a start to the summer like this. Grey, overcast skies every day, rain every day and temperatures that feel like November. We have had the heating on in May in Dubrovnik, now that is unheard of.
Yes, it is officially the wettest and coldest start to May in Dubrovnik for centuries. And not just in Dubrovnik, parts of Croatia have even seen snow. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike this unsettled weather, on the contrary I am quite enjoying it, just don’t tell anyone. I’m probably used to it; I mean growing up in England I was used to summer lasting for a couple of weeks. So a few drops of rain don’t bother me at all.
I do however feel a little sorry for the tourists. These mainly northern European guests have been looking forward to spending time on the beach and topping up their tan and instead they have been hiding under umbrellas. And when it rains in Dubrovnik what do you do? We are just not prepared for wet weather in the summer. Our complete tourist offer revolves around warm sunshine and a bath-like Adriatic. As soon as it rains the whole thing falls apart, we have no Plan B. Which probably helps to explain why we don’t have all-year-round tourism.
I was with a group of Americans this week, in the Dubrovnik “monsoon season” and they asked a local “What do you do when it rains?” He thought for a few seconds and replied with a very dry voice “get wet.” I would add to that “sleep.” If I could have had a Kuna for every time I have heard “oh, this is great weather for sleeping” over the past few weeks I could have paid Croatia’s national debt! The English just love talking about the weather, it’s like some national hobby, but it appears that the English aren’t the only ones. Over the past couple of weeks all I have heard, wherever I have been, is “I am sick of this rain” or “When will summer come.”
According to a recent BBC survey 94 percent of Brits admit to having talked about the weather in the past six hours. According to my first hand information 100 percent of people from Dubrovnik have talked about the weather in the past six minutes. I can understand why the weather is a hot topic in the UK, it changes so regularly that you often get four seasons in one day. Several features of Britain’s geography make the weather the way it is: mild, changeable, and famously unpredictable. On the other hand Dubrovnik’s climate is generally the exact opposite, completely predictable. Of course we get the odd summer hail storm or even snow, but generally my experience is that the weather is as predictable as a calendar.
There are some quirks, for example Dubrovnik receives more rain annually than London, sounds strange but it’s true. The annual rainfall in Dubrovnik is just over 1,200 mm whilst the average rainfall in London is a little under 600 mm. All those years of suffering the mocking and joking from friends and relatives in Dubrovnik that it rains every day in London and in reality the opposite is the case. Not only is the opposite true but there is twice as much rain here every year than in London. Probably the main reason for this is that when it rains in London it feels like a gentle water spray, whilst in Dubrovnik it rains on a biblical level. On the flip side there is twice as much sunshine every year in Dubrovnik compared to London, but you can’t win them all.
I just have this sneaky feeling that when the grey skies break the summer will be one of the hottest ever and will probably last well into October. At least that’s what I hope will happen. “If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm,” a wise man once said. Well we have seen the storm, that’s for sure.