Friday, 21 September 2018
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of Croatia's independence (8th October 1991 – 8th October 2016) the Croatian National Bank (HNB) issued and put into circulation the new commemorative 25 Kunas coin.

Earlier this summer the HNB published a public-opinion poll on its website in order to invite all interested parties to include in the poll and upon their own personal criteria select the coin design which they consider to be the best.

Based on the works of the Croatian sculptor Damir Matausic, the Croatian Monetary Institute designed three different 25 Kunas coins.

More than 10,000 people participated in the poll. In addition to citizens living in Croatia, Croatian citizens living abroad, as well as tourists who happened to be in Croatia during the survey, also had the opportunity to express their opinion. Around 50 percent of the respondents voted for the first proposed coin design submitted by the HNB after which 50,000 new coins were put into production at the Croatian Monetary Institute.

On the commemorative coin ‘’The 25th anniversary of Croatian Independence’’ were also inscribed years which symbolize a quarter century of the country’s independence – the 8th October 1991 – the 8th October 2016.

The Croatian National Bank has issued 11 series of the 25 Kunas commemorative coin so far which has numismatic value. Even though it is a commemorative coin it can also be used as means of payment.

Record number of passengers have passed Croatia's three busiest airports, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik – reports the website EX-YU Aviation News

Dubrovnik has an increase of 20,5 percent by handling 305.895 travellers. It has also surpassed last year's figures in the period from January to September. With the 1.743.972 passengers it hits an increase of 15,8 percent.

- Dubrovnik Airport is gearing up for what is likely to be its busiest winter season on record – writes EX-YU Aviation News, adding more information about the flights.

Croatia Airlines will extend its summer service to Frankfurt, while Trade Air will continue operating to Rijeka during the winter and Turkish Airlines will maintain its new flights from Istanbul throughout the year. British Airways will continue flying from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik during the winter, with a partial stoppage in service in November, as well from mid-January until mid-February.
Hovever, Croatia Airlines stopped its flights from Dubrovnik to Rome for the first time since 1994. Vueling took over the route, but no flights have been scheduled yet.

The seventh annual Dubrovnik Foreign Circle (DFC) second hand sale was a record breaking one. With the help of the locals and tourists 44 thousand kuna was collected. 

The second hand sale, which is being organised in partnership with the Lazareti Art Workshop, always has a humanitarian character and this year the beneficiary will be for “Dva Skalina” an association for children with special needs. The DFC successfully raised funds for an outdoor wheelchair swing that will come from Denmark.

Facebook group Pomoc za Dubrovcane (Help for people from Dubrovnik), a shelter for abandoned animals at Zarkovica and Caritas have also received assistance. Europe House Dubrovnik got the chance to pick books for their library. DFC wants to thank the local community for all the support they've given them, either by donating or by purchasing. Without them, this action wouldn't have been successful.

There is no better way to experience the surroundings than to walk around and breath in the nature! The perfect opportunity for that in Dubrovnik area is Dubrovnik & Konavle walking festival. This new festival will give you a chance to explore natural, cultural and historical heritage of south Croatia on foot. Hiking trails will take you to amazing photo stops overviewing Adriatic sea, guarding mountain range, Konavle Valley, ancient cities of Cavtat and Dubrovnik.

There are four walking tours that are offered to enjoy: Stone crosses walking tour, Old railway road, Following Napoleon steps and Old Dubrovnik aqueduct. On the official website you can find more details about the tours such as distance, level and route. The highlights of every trip are tasting local food and wine, spending a day in nature, accompanied by astonishing viewpoints. First two tours will take place on 14th of October and second two on 15th. You can apply on the website.

“Marky how nice to see you after such long time,” said my auntie as she enveloped me in a warm hug. And it had been a long time, eleven years to be precise. Here they were in Dubrovnik for the first time along with my mum, a family gathering. “Oh, you look well and we hear you are keeping very busy,” she added with a kiss. “Marky, I hope you aren’t too busy though and that you are eating and looking after yourself,” came the next comment as if she were talking to a ten-year-old boy.

I guess that I will always be a ten-year-old boy to her. So a week of sightseeing, meeting friends, eating out, visiting beaches and general being a good host began. And it seemed that every time we had time to chat, over a meal, with a coffee or just enjoying a nice view, stories and anecdotes of my childhood would star to flow. As embarrassing as it was at the start, and believe me I was left a little red-faced at times, I then began to enjoy remembering those distant times.

“I remember Marky dancing on the table with those horrible red trousers on, he was giggly and wiggling to rock and roll, in fact he was rocking so much that he fell off and burst into tears,” smiled my aunt. “He always thought he was a great dancer,” she added shaking her legs as I once had. It also appears that I had bladder problems as a child, because many of the stories ended with me peeing myself, either through laughing too much or forgetting I needed to go. I only hope they were talking about when I was really young and not in my teens.

I was on a trip down memory lane, and was enjoying the ride. At the same time I was showing them the delights of Dubrovnik, a combination of my “old life” and “new life.” Lamb under the bell in Konavle, cheese from oil, fish and seafood straight from the Adriatic, traditional home cooked meals (thanks to my wife) and lots of local wines…in fact one of the first phrases they picked up was “Posip Cara molim.” And once again the little things that I now take for granted living here were a shock, positive shock, for my aunt and uncle. The safety, the sunshine, the warm seas, the bad driving, the loud speaking, the cruise ship queues, the parking, and the ease of life…they took it all in the stride. Coffee on the Stradun was a big event for them, they soon got used to the people watching part of life, to see and be seen.

In fact by the end of the week they were running into people that they had meet before, I ever heard my aunt wave “adio” to one of my friends. I hadn’t taken her long to fit in; she had even started saying “fala” instead of “hvala.” Another two weeks and I have a feeling my aunt would have been fluent. It was nice being surrounded by family again; it’s been a long time. They say you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family, it’s true, but I wouldn’t have chosen a different family to the one I have. “I remember when Marky had his first girlfriend,” said my uncle. My wife’s ears pricked up, I waited for the embarrassment. “He just used to walk around with this stupid grin on his face…although he was only 12 years old,” added my uncle with his usual touch of sarcasm. We even had a picnic on the beach one day, another interesting experience.

We decided to order some cocktails. “Have you ever tried Sex on the Beach,” my wife asked my mother. Of course she meant the cocktail but by the look on my mother’s face she had understood something else. “No, of course not Boba!” answered my mother. “Oh, I have I was great,” shouted my sunbathing aunt. It was getting confused now. “Do you want me to order you one Margaret,” my wife asked my aunt. “One what…” came the reply. “Sex on the Beach,” said my wife. Then a scream of laughter filled the air. “I didn’t know you were talking about the cocktail,” giggled my aunt. Then in a dry tone my uncle added “Who did you have sex on the beach with then…” Another scream of laughter, the rest of the people on the beach must have thought we were mad, we didn’t care.

George Bernard Shaw might have written one of the most recognizable quotes about Dubrovnik of all time but he also had some wise words about families. “A happy family is but an earlier heaven,” well said Mr Shaw.

Lazareti were built as one of the preventive health measures to protect the population of Dubrovnik during the time of Dubrovnik Republic.

Once upon the time Dubrovnik was a really important port, welcoming travelers from all over the world – one would say not much changed. But, it was a different time then, so back in 1337 the Dubrovnik Republic made a decision which introduced quarantine, for the first time in the world, as a measure of protection against spreading of infectious diseases, especially the plague. This decision was published in the so-called Green Book (Liber viridis) entitled: Veniens de locis pestiferis non Intra Ragusim nel districtum – Who comes from infected regions, should not get into Dubrovnik nor its area.

It was determined that the locals or foreigners coming from infectious regions can't enter the city, if they don't spend 30 days on the islands Mrkan, Bobara and Supetar, close to Cavtat.

In the decision made in 1397 it is said that foreigners and their ships can’t sail west from Molunat or east of Mljet, and are determined to be in the quarantine on the island Mrkan where at that time was a Franciscan monastery and on Mljet where there is Benedictine monastery.

Because of the distance, but also for strategic reasons, quarantine was moved closer to Dubrovnik in the 15th century.

At the beginning of the 15th century in Dubrovnik there was a quarantine on the Dance, one of the oldest beaches in Dubrovnik. In 1430 for this purpose some houses in the town park Gradac were chosend, and since 1457 quarantine at Dance is built, along with a church. Good organization of this quarantine allowed the complete abandonment of those on the islands near Cavtat.

In 1533 started the building of quarantine on the island of Lokrum. Although a large square quarantine was built, it was never completed or used.
At the end of the 15th century, a decision was made on the construction of the Lazareti at Ploce. The start of construction was in 1590 and it was completed in 1642. Duration of quarantine was extended from thirty to forty days and health workers called 'kacamorti' were in charge to check if the rules of quarantene were respected.

Lazareti are impressive complex made of ten halls, among which are five internal courtyards with two houses at the entrance and the end. The complex is surrounded by a high wall and doors from the sea and the land side.

They now host some of Dubrovnik associations, such as Desa and Lindjo, but some of the halls are still searching for their purporses.

 

The National Park Plitvicka Jezera (Plitvice Lakes) one of the most famous tourist destinations in Croatia has developed the application ''Plitvicka Jezera'' intended for guests. All those who are planning to visit the National Park Plitvicka Jezera will now be able to do it in a much more modern way.

By developing this new mobile application the most visited Croatian destination have decided to make visitors' stay much easier and like other world destinations follow the global trend of importance of the presence on digital platforms.

The app with an accessible user interface is intended for all visitors because it provides content in Croatian, English, French, Italian and German, as well as an overview of all locations, routes, attractions of the National Park and its surroundings, accommodation facilities, ideas for active holidays and service information.

The Tourist Board of Rakovica, the Tourist Board Plitvicka Jezera and the National Park Plitvicka Jezera in cooperation with Plava tvornica the IT company from Virovitica participated in the process which took almost a year to develop the Plitvicka Jezera mobile app.

According to data from Promocija plus, the leading research and analysis agency in the region, car sales in Croatia in September increased by 18.1 percent in comparison to the same month last year. In the first nine months of 2016 a total of 34,916 new vehicles were sold or 21.1 percent more over the same period last year.

This September the best selling brands in Croatia were Volkswagen, which sold 130 Golfs, followed by Skoda with 106 sold Octavia vehicles and Suzuki which sold 80 new Vitara vehicles.

From the beginning of 2016 the leading car manufacturer in Croatia was Volkswagen which sold the most new passenger vehicles (4,890) and is followed by Opel which sold 3,536 new vehicles, Renault (3,000), Skoda (2,764) and Ford with 2,546 sold vehicles.

In the so called premium segment the best selling brands were Audi with 1,246 sold vehicles, followed by its fellow country car manufacturers Mercedes (1,062) and BMW (1,049).

By fuel type, in the first nine months of this year the share of diesel powered cars in the total car sales accounted for 57 percent, petrol powered cars accounted for 41 percent, whilst the negligible percentage accounted for electric, hybrid and LPG vehicles.

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Tuesday
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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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