Thursday, 23 January 2020
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.


Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian training ship, called 'the most beautiful ship in the world', sailed into the Port of Gruz and it will stay until May 29. The historically most important ship of the Italian Navy came as part of a maritime mission honouring its 85th anniversary.

This is the second time it came after 2012, and it's interesting that since its launch in Castellammare di Stabia on 22 February 1931,  it's been used nearly every year for the training of the Italian Naval Academy, conducting 79 training missions around the world.

Cruise season has begun! This was the first 'super busy' day of the new season and Dubrovnik was crowded with tourists – over 10 thousand of visitors have been roaming around. With the high temperatures and a bunch of people you could really say that the summer is just around the corner. You have all seen the photos of the crowd in Dubrovnik, but today we have something different – take a look at this cruise ships.


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                  Photos by Niksa Duper

When we saw a guy with a polar bear mask standing on Porporela in the Old Town of Dubrovnik on the photo on Instagram, we just had to know who he is and why is he doing that. We discovered that his name is Elnar Mansurov, he's 29 years old and lives in Russia, near Ural Mountains in Perm city. He organizes expeditions and also has a family cafe. In short, but sweet interview he discovered why he wears the mask and what are the reactions.
I must ask, why the polar bear mask? How did you get an idea and does it have any special meaning?
In my city I have been promoted an idea of independent tourism. Unfortunately even 10 years in our country many thought it is impossible to travel without agencies. It was difficult to get a visa and my purpose was to convince people that it’s not that way.
Therefore we created web-site about traveling and its symbol of white polar bear.
I think Russia is associated with a brown bear while white one does not have enough attention. ;)
For the beginning we posted stickers with a white bear image as a symbol of independent traveling, then we decided to have a head of white polar bear with us while traveling. It was made by a puppet master.
Do you wear it on every trip?
Yes, I try not to forget it for every trip, it brings a lot of joy for kids. This head was my companion from Grenland and North Korea to Tanzania, Argentina and Japan.
How do people react to the mask?
They are always interested in it and ask me «why bear?» and «what does it man?». And of course take photos of me. Some people have even recognized me because of following me via Instagram.
I saw on the Instagram that you were in Dubrovnik, how did you decide to come here?
We came to spend 10 days in Montenegro and it would be a crime not to visit Dubrovnik.
What are your impressions?
People often write me words of gratitude because in my Instagram account and blog I tell russan-speaking users how to save money during the trip and travel rationally (miles of avia companies, how to find a cheaper ticket etc.) The main thing is to inspire people for traveling. Seems like I manage to do that.

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Mayor opera event is happening tomorrow night in Dubrovnik. The audience will have the opportunity to hear some of the most famous opera arias and overtures on a unique stage that only Dubrovnik has - in front of the Rector's Palace.

The orchestra will be conducted by Noam Zur from Israel, a conductor whose repertoire includes more than 30 operas and more of 250 symphonic works of all styles and periods, and musical conductor of the International Festival of Opera Arias "Tino Pattiera" which takes place in July in Dubrovnik.

Tenor Xavier Moreno will perform as a soloist. Last five years he sang the leading roles, and received great reviews in prestigious international opera houses. Born in Barcelona, he studied voice, piano and choral conducting at the "Conservatori Superior de Liceu" where he graduated with greatest honors, and in his career he has performed with major orchestras around the world. Audience of Dubrovnik had a chance to meet him last year at MFOA "Tino Pattiera", when they were delighted with his performance appearance in the Rector's Palace.

Saskia Bouma will join him as a soloist. She’s an alto who studied in the Netherlands and worked with successful conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, Gustav Leonhard, Riccardo Chailly and many others. She was a member of the opera company "Kontraveus" in Barcelona, and now performs regularly in Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

All opera lovers, but also those who are into big music events under the stars, will have the opportunity to enjoy the opera arias and overtures of W. Mozart, G. Bizet, A. Ponchielli, Puccini, Strauss, O., Ch. Gounod, Donizetti, Verdi and Leoncavallo A. tomorrow. The concert will start at 9 pm.

The travel guide Lonely Planet has published a list of the leading “must visit” European destinations for this summer. Among many famous destinations the Northern Dalmatia region found its place, too. According to the article, Northern Dalmatia is among the top ten destinations in Europe because it encompasses all the cultural features of the Adriatic coastline and has amazingly pristine nature that hasn't been seen anywhere else in Europe.

The mountain of Velebit stands out in this picture of beautiful nature. It is a UNESCO World Biosphere reserve where a European “re-wilding” initiative has been carried out. This all makes Velebit the most rewarding and at the same time pretty unknown destination. In the very heart of North Dalmatia lies the city of Zadar, an excellent place for travellers who want to visit and explore a lesser-known Croatian city.

‘’Intriguing and vibrant, this top transport hub sits in a lovely location looking out to sea and combines an exceptionally rich cultural history with a radical forward-looking attitude. This combined with the region’s soaring karst mountains, cinematic waterfalls and limpid blue waters makes Northern Dalmatia a must in2016,’’ says the Lonely Planet.

The top destinations list was prepared by a team of experts with years-long travel experience during which they explored every corner of Europe and visited everything worth seeing. The well known destinations with new offers for this year have found their place on this list but among them there are also destinations that passed unnoticed until now.

The best European destinations in 2016 chosen by Lonely Planet

The Peloponnese (Greece)

Aarhus (Denmark)

Venice (Italy)

The Dordogne (France)

Lviv (Ukraine)

Warwickshire (England)

Extremadura (Spain)

East Coast Tenerife (the Canary Islands)

Texel (the Netherlands)

Northern Dalmatia (Croatia)

Homemade carts hurtling down hills at breakneck speeds with drivers only inches from the ground, yes this weekend it is the time for “Balinjera 2016.”

At 3 o’clock in Orasac this Sunday, the 29th of May, the racers will line up at the top of the hill before launching themselves down the 470 metres course. This traditional event in Orasac is a cart race in which “drivers” plunge down the winding course in carts made in their back gardens and garages. The carts, which roughly look like sleds, have to navigate the half a kilometre course with its twists and turns with the massed crowds cheering them on.

It is always a great spectacle and well worth a trip to the Orasac countryside. There will even be a race for children, juniors, over a 100 metres course. And apart from medals and prizes for the first three racers there are some more imaginative award, such as best cart and worse cart.

“Balinjera 2016,” this Sunday, at 3 o’clock in Orasac.

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It will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has swum in the Croatian Adriatic Sea that the waters are some of the cleanest in the world. And now that has been confirmed by an official report by the European Environment Agency released this week, with Croatian waters coming top of the quality list.

This survey of the waters of Europe has been produced for the past two centuries and Croatia has always ranked highly. The latest findings put Croatia in fourth place in Europe with a quality ranking of 94.2 percent. Cyprus, with 99.1 percent, came in at the number one spot, followed by Malta with 97.7 percent and Greece with 97.2 percent.

In total over 21,000 swimming spots all over Europe had the quality of their water checked, the survey was looking for bacteria and pollutants, in Croatia almost 600 beaches were checked.

Near the bottom of the list were Italy, France and Spain, three classical European holiday destinations.

Last year Dubrovnik was minimally linked with European destinations outside the tourist season, but it seems that this year will be quite different. 14 rotations of direct flights have been announced - Dubrovnik will be connected with Istanbul and Frankfurt three times a week, with Barcelona two times a week, and with Rome four times.

Negotiations with British Airways are in the final phase, so the City and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board already count on two direct flights a week from London.

They're still working to return the line to New York twice a week, for which justification is found in the strong increase in arrivals and started negotiations for the establishment of the direct line to Brussels, also twice a week.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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