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 unusually bad weather in Dubrovnik has not only caused tourists to run for cover from the rain but has also brought down trees. Early this morning a large pine tree was uprooted and crashed down on a road leading to the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
Firefighters were on the scene very quickly and cut up the tree and removed the debris from the road, but it is more evidence of the unsettled weather in Dubrovnik at the moment.
It started off as a novelty, something unheard of before in May, but now the novelty is wearing then fast. What is up with this weather? Rain, rain and more of the wet stuff as the grass grows faster than a turbo-charged Usain Bolt. My garden, in fact the whole of Župa, has never been greener, my roses have already bloomed three times, truly crazy weather.
“What can we do in Dubrovnik when it rains?” Is a question I’m being asked more often than “Is the cable car running yet?” And the answer is…well the answer is that I don’t have an answer for either of those questions. We certainly aren’t prepared for a summer season that isn’t full of blue skies and sunshine. I see foreign tourists determined to wear their holiday wardrobe and even though both rain and the temperature are dropping like leaves in winter they are stubbornly wearing brightly coloured shorts and bikini tops. I even saw a lady the other day walking back to her hotel wearing a skimpy summer outfit whilst desperately holding onto an umbrella.
And to make matters worse the north of Europe is basking in golden sunshine. “Oh I had to come in from the garden the other day as I started to burn,” said my mother to me as I could see for myself the blazing sunshine behind her. It must feel like some strange role reversal for British tourists coming to Dubrovnik at the moment.
It also just goes to highlight what a fragile business tourism really is! How many businesses in Dubrovnik are based around tourism? And how many are looking up at grey skies every day and cursing their bad luck. All of them. Sure the sun will come back soon and summer will arrive, even if it is a little late, but losing a month, or more, of income will hit many businesses hard in the pockets. This isn’t normal. And it’s hard to plan your business around completely unusual situations, but the delicate nature of tourism when it is reliant on a factor that nobody can control is challenging. Maybe if we already some indoor facilities, then at least we could offer something. An indoor concert centre, water park or some kind of “dry” inside entertainment.
I really can’t imagine how families with young children are keeping themselves busy in these rainy days. There are only so many times that you can play cards or Ludo. Basically we aren’t prepared for bad weather. The guaranteed sunshine, or at least we thought it was guaranteed, has made us lazy. There is no plan B. And now we are stuck with empty sunbeds on the beach and tonnes of ice-cream still in the deep freeze. This lack of flexibility has meant that changeable weather is enough to destroy plan A.
A couple of years ago I published a text entitled “What to do in Dubrovnik on a rainy day” on my website. It gave some creative ideas to wind away the time whilst showers fell, and was really aimed at people visiting in the winter. Never has that article been so popular as this year. Whatever else happens these days, European elections, end of Game of Thrones, natural disaster or mega event, all people want to read is this text, hundreds and hundreds of people a day are reading it.
But what really is there to do in Dubrovnik on a rainy day? Again we come back to the heart of the matter…nothing. Even if the cable car was open I doubt it would be as interesting for guests to ride to the top of Srđ to see a sea of grey clouds rather than an ocean of blue. The cable car is officially closed because of a “greater force” which is rather appropriate as Dubrovnik is also closed at the moment for the same reason. It was the great English explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who once said “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
But I guess the same quote could be used to explain Dubrovnik’s tourism business in these rainy days, “there is no such thing as bad fortune. Only inappropriate expectations and reactions.” What’s the weather forecast for the next seven days? Let me guess…
Students from the University of Connecticut’s Student Support Services program are collaborating with Dubrovnik’s own Bonsai Association for Civil Society!
The event, Dancing with Angels, will be held this Friday, May 31st at Paula Di Rosa Center from 17:00 to 20:00 to raise awareness for youth with disabilities across the globe.
The night will include dancing, music of all origins, refreshments, and food. The night will be wondrous and the first of many.
Summer time may not have arrived just yet, but the Dubrovnik Craft Beer Festival, which will take place on the 14 and 15 and June in Solitudo Camp will bring a touch of sunshine to the city, especially for beer lovers.
After a successful years of festivals where many visitors could enjoy many free concerts and even the World Cup, the Valamar resort has organised another festival jam-packed with music, fun and of course craft beer.
Visitors will be able to enjoy dozens of types of handmade beer from a number of local micro-brewers over the two days of the festival, and not to mention numerous free concerts from leading Croatian artists.
For all foodies there will also be a food corner where visitors can "spoil" their palate with an excellent gastronomic offer.
The festival will be open on the 14th and 15th of June from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, and free parking will be provided to all visitors as well as free entrance into the events and concerts.
After one the worst ever months of weather for decades Dubrovnik should be in for a more settled and warmer start to June. This weekend will see a mixture of sunshine and clouds, with even the chance of a few scattered showers, but in comparison to the May it will finally feel like summer has arrived in Dubrovnik.
Saturday will open with sunshine and clouds and temperatures predicted to be 21 degrees by midday, with highs to reach 23 degrees by the mid-afternoon. There will be some cloud cover during the day but generally it will fell warm and calm with a slight south-westerly wind. Possibly a good day to hit the beaches, although the Adriatic still hasn’t reached its summer temperature and is around 19.5 degrees. Although this may seem warm it must be taken into account that during the summer the temperatures reach a bath like 27 degrees.
Sunday will also see more settled weather with clouds and sunshine, although it will be a couple of degrees cooler than Saturday, with highs to reach 21 degrees by mid-afternoon. There is a small chance of some scattered showers but compared to May these will be light and infrequent. All in all, a great weekend to be al fresco in Dubrovnik and for the brave to dip in the Adriatic Sea.
In spite of the terrible May weather the tourist season in Croatia is well on course to beat last year and according to the Minister of Tourism the country’s tourism industry will finish the year with a 3 percent increase over 2018.
The bad weather, increased competition from Turkey and Greece and the uncertainties surrounding Brexit don’t seem to have affected the tourism industry throughout Croatia as more and more visitors arrive. Since the beginning of the year until the middle of May the number of tourists arriving rose by between 4 and 5 percent, in comparison with 2018, and it is expected that June will bring better results than last year.
The Croatian Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli, reviewed the year's expectations and the predictions for the rest of the year at a meeting with the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization - UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili, who arrived in Zagreb for the annual meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe.
"Croatian tourism is in a good position at the moment, good at this time, we have good bookings for the autumn months and we will end the year as we said, with a growth of around 3 percent when compared with 2018,” said the minister.
Cavtat has a new facility for disabled visitors as today a special lift for disabled people was installed in front of the Hotel Croatia in this popular seaside resort.
The lift will assist disabled people enter and exit the Adriatic and cost 77,000 Kuna. The Borough of Cavtat stated that this was just one of the number of measures with which they are assisting disabled people.
The iconic main street through the Old City of Dubrovnik, the Stradun, has over recent years turned into a mecca for ATM machines. Whereas years ago the Stradun could boast only a couple of bank machines now it seems that every shop front and doorway is a cash dispenser.
And with the mega high rents throughout the city business owners could be forgiven for wanting to cover at least some of their rent by facilitating ATMs, and with banks paying up to 20,000 Kuna a month for the privilege a large chunk of rent is taken care of.
However, this multi-coloured machines are becoming more common than pigeons and the latest addition has caused the conservation department to step in, and not just because of the ugly ATMs but because the traditional green wooden doors have been replaced by new metal ones.
After a complaint from the Green Forum organisation on the new doors the conservation department have ordered that the doors must be returned to their original state.
“The owner / investor for the works did not obtain the prior approval of the competent Conservation Department and the works in accordance with the Law on Protection and Conservation of Cultural Property were suspended,” commented the conservation department. Adding that the owner must return the doors to the original state.