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.
The week ahead will be another warm and sunny one with temperatures in the mid to high twenties as the summer in Dubrovnik doesn’t look like ending any time soon.
The week will start with blue skies and sunshine with highs around 30 degrees and the wind will be mostly a light south-westerly.
Tuesday and Wednesday look similar with the chance of one or two clouds to spoil and otherwise blue sky. Highs on both days are expected to be between 28 and 30 degrees.
Thursday and Friday will be warm and settled with clear blue skies and temperatures around the 29 degrees’ mark.
And the upcoming weekend will see some cloud cover and even the possibility of some light showers on Sunday. Temperatures over the weekend will be between 27 and 29 degrees.
The current sea temperature in Dubrovnik is a very pleasant 23 degrees.
And the sunny and hot weather will persist until at least the middle of next week. Could we be in for an Indian Summer? It certainly looks like it.
“When is the best time of the year to visit Dubrovnik?” a friend asked. “Not, August and July!” came my answer.
Thank God that the height of the season is over. I am no longer suffocating in heat. I can breathe again. It may sound strange when an Englishman complains that the weather is too hot and sunny, but summers seem to be getting ever more brutally hot!
And as soon as the main summer chaos has finished almost half a million children go back to school across the country.
Maybe it is OK to start school in continental Croatia at the beginning of September but in the south of Croatia it really feels like some kind of heat torture. The beaches are packed with tourists topping up their tans, warnings of heatwaves are flying around and yet thousands of children are walking to school. Couldn’t the winter holidays just be shortened in the south to make room for starting later?
Do you remember your first day at school? Were you filled with excitement, curiosity and joy? Or like me filled with dread! I think I spent the first day crying, all day. I think I was a late developer.
Heavy rucksacks and curious minds
There is nothing cuter than first graders on their first day at school, with their shining new rucksacks. Although why children that young are expected to carry a bag that looks like they are about to climb Everest and not sit at a school desk is beyond me. Can’t schools just buy lockers! There is only one thing bigger than a first graders curiosity, and that's their backpack.
And this year around 35,000 first graders lugged those oversized rucksacks to school for the first time. Evidence, if evidence was needed, of Croatia’s ever decreasing population. Just two years ago 37,000 pupils started school. The pattern follows in secondary school, with fewer and fewer students.
“Do you like wearing a school uniform?” I asked my niece when she was on holiday with us. “Yeah, I don’t mind, I guess it makes sense,” she smiled.
It does make a lot of sense. But for some reason unknown to me we still haven’t introduced it.
School uniforms keep students focused on their education, not their clothes. Their mind-set is that they are going to “work” and not play. A UK school body conducted a series of focus groups with pupils to get the inside views on uniforms. They found that many pupils chose to remain in their uniform outside of school to complete homework. Most children explained that it helped them stay focussed while they worked, keeping them in the ‘school mindset’. Psychologically is just makes sense.
Win/Win - Made in Croatia
School uniforms create a level playing field among students, reducing peer pressure and bullying. Wearing uniforms enhances school pride, unity, and community spirit. It also means that both children, and more importantly parents, don’t have to think about what to wear each day.
They should be able to buy a subsided uniform that is not only considerably cheaper but also could, or rather should, be made in Croatia. Not only would this save parents money but also create jobs for factories making the clothes. It is a win/win situation.
I had no problem at all, in fact I liked it, wearing a uniform for all my school life.
Of course introducing them would mean a lot of backlash, and it would probably take a few years before they are accepted, but the long-term positives far outweigh the short-term challenges. Parents face more than enough expense with all the books, stationary and other things they need to buy for their children without lumping new clothes on top of that. They’ve got to buy a massive rucksack to start with!
There has been some talk in recent years about the possible introduction of uniforms, but so far it seems to be at the bottom of the “to do” list for the authorities.
So I wish all those first graders all the best in their school life, the start of a whole new chapter that they will never forget.
And also to the teachers, the far too often undervalued heroes of the classroom, who shape our future generations minds.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik
According to data from the municipal tourist boards in Orebić, Ston, Trpanj, and Janjina, from the beginning of the year until the end of August, there were 169,125 guests who stayed on the Pelješac Peninsula, with a total of 1,158,115 overnight stays. This represents an increase of 12 percent and 4 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year. When compared to 2019, there was a 7 percent increase in both the number of visitors and overnight stays.
The largest increase, at 8 percent, was recorded in the municipality of Ston, while the smallest increase, at 2 percent, was in the municipality of Janjina.
In this year, the trend of shorter guest stays on vacation continued, although the average stay is still 6 to 9 days.
The average price per square metre of a new apartment in Croatia in the first half of the year was 2,219 euros, which is 4.1 percent more than in the same period last year, according to data from the DZS (Croatian Bureau of Statistics).
This means that, on average, buyers had to spend almost two full average net salaries on one square metre of a new apartment, as the average salary in Croatia in June was 1,150 euros.
The average price per square metre of a new apartment in Zagreb in the first half of the year was 2,623 euros, while the average salary in Zagreb was 1,303 euros. The prices in Zagreb are a massive 6.9 percent higher just compared to last year.
After a 64-year-old Canadian citizen reported the theft of her handbag to the police officers of the Dubrovnik Police Station on Wednesday, September 6th, the police conducted a criminal investigation that resulted in the arrest of individuals responsible for the mentioned theft within 24 hours.
In her report, the 64-year-old woman stated that she was in the company of her family and friends, touring the old city centre in the evening. At the moment she was taking a photograph of the city, she placed her handbag on a bench and noticed it was missing after finishing her photography.
The bag contained a wallet with money, personal documents, a bank card, and some clothing items, with the total material damage estimated at 2,000 euros.
Through the criminal investigation, it was determined that the theft was committed by two Bulgarian citizens aged 34 and 32, who were handed over to the custody officer of this Police Department with a criminal charge for the offense of theft.
At a little after 3:00 pm this afternoon a fire broke out on a catamaran in the ACI Marina in Komolac, Dubrovnik. According to reports the fire started in the interior of the catamaran, a yacht that is owned by a Croatian charter company.
Firefighters from the Public Fire Department of Dubrovnik quickly attended the scene with 5 vehicles and 11 firefighters, as well as the firefighting boat Orlando.
The fire was quickly contained to the interior of the boat and did not spread to the outside or endanger any other nearby vessels.
Ryanair, one of Europe's leading low-cost carriers, is gearing up to provide even more travel options for passengers flying out of Zagreb during the upcoming 2023/24 winter season. Compared to the previous winter season, the airline is set to increase its weekly rotations on six key routes, offering travelers greater flexibility and choice.
The notable expansions in Ryanair's winter flight schedule from Zagreb include:
Malaga and Malta: Two additional weekly flights will be introduced for a total of four each, making it easier for travelers to enjoy the sunny shores of Malaga and the Mediterranean charm of Malta.
Dublin: An extra service to Dublin will bring the total to four flights per week, facilitating connections to the vibrant Irish capital.
Basel, Beauvais, and Gothenburg: These routes will see an increase in frequency, operating three times a week instead of the previous two, allowing passengers to explore more European destinations.
Lanzarote: As previously reported, Ryanair is launching a new weekly service between Zagreb and Lanzarote, opening up exciting opportunities for winter sun seekers.
It's worth noting that the growth in flight frequencies excludes the two-week Christmas holiday period. During this festive season, Ryanair will provide additional flights on most of its Zagreb routes to accommodate the surge in demand.
However, it's important to be aware that some routes will see a reduction in service compared to the previous winter season. Notably, Ryanair will no longer operate flights to Dortmund, Manchester, Sofia, and Podgorica from the Croatian capital.
The only route experiencing a reduction in frequencies compared to the previous winter season is Bergamo, which will be operated four times a week instead of the previous five.
The 2023/24 winter season is scheduled to commence on October 29, offering travelers a range of options to explore Europe and beyond from Zagreb. With an expanded flight schedule and additional destinations, Ryanair continues to be a key player in providing cost-effective and convenient travel opportunities for passengers in the region.
At the invitation of the City of Krakow and as part of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of this Polish city's inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, participated yesterday in a jubilee symposium that encompassed the exchange of experiences on the development and contemporary revitalization of protected world heritage destinations.
Initially, he conveyed congratulations to the City of Krakow on this significant anniversary, after which he presented numerous positive results and activities being carried out as part of the city's strategic initiative "Respect the City" during a panel discussion titled "World Heritage Cities - Perspectives and Experiences of the UNESCO List." Thanks to these efforts, Dubrovnik has emerged as a leader in sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean. He emphasized that the measures and decisions implemented so far have aimed to prioritize the high quality of life for residents and ensure a complete experience and the best possible experience for all visitors.
He also mentioned a series of implemented Smart City solutions that Dubrovnik uses to manage the destination, such as Bus Web Shop, Dubrovnik Visitors, Du Pass, Smart parking, Car sharing, and many others. He highlighted the fact that the city administration has focused on better coordination of cruise ships in collaboration with the international umbrella association of the cruise industry, CLIA, and the establishment of an efficient traffic system with the primary purpose of reducing congestion and environmentally responsible management of the traffic system, aligning with sustainable principles as the basis for further progress and adherence to all provisions of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Management Plan for the "Old Town of Dubrovnik."