Tuesday, 16 October 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

A presentation of the gastronomy offer of the Karlovac County and the Guinness Book of World Records strudel took place tonight in the Klarisa Restaurant in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik. In the beautiful ambient of the restaurant, the lovely hosts from the Karlovac County took care that all of the visitors felt welcome and learnt something new about that part of Croatia.

Typical food from this part of Croatia is: wild mushrooms and other fruits of the forest, game, fish from the local rivers and flour from stone mills on the Slunjcica river. Some of the most traditional meals could be tasted on this dinner that was accompanied with music and chit-chat. Guests, who were a mix of locals, foreign journalists and others, could choose what they want to try. And the offer was really great: the Frankopan platter (deer ham, bear ham, wild boar sausage), basa cheese with corn-bread, the Josipdol cheeses, the Ogulin fingers – for starters. Then it was time for porcini soup, after which the main courses arrived: stuffed cabagge rolls with white polenta, boar stew with pupmkin gnocchi, lamb under the lid, catfish in cream and wine sauce, perch in seeds and corn flour crust, stuffed trout. Deserts were: chesnut cake, plumd dumplings and strudel.

When it comes to strudel, another interesting story pops up. In September of last year in the small village of Jaskovo, near the Dobra River and the city of Ozalj, the longest strudel in the world was baked using the old recipe of the Ozalj region. Measuring 1,479 metres long, it was registered in the Guinness Book of Records. Tonight visitors were able to see how the strudel was made by the one of creators of the longest strudel Marica Vrbancic who said that she loves Dubrovnik and that she's been making strudels since her childhood.

 

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Recently presented maps on poverty, spatial distribution of poverty and social exclusion in Croatia, show that continental Croatia has a higher rate of poverty than the coastline region of the country.

Detailed maps were created by the Ministry of Regional Developments and EU Funds in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank in order to help policymakers in better understanding the spatial distribution of poverty, especially at the level of municipalities and cities thus trying to reduce regional differences and eradicate poverty and social exclusion in Croatia.

According to results of the poverty survey for small geographic areas there is heterogeneity of poverty in Croatia with the poverty rate of 19.4 percent in the continental region and 12.6 percent in the Adriatic region.

By the income criteria, the estimated risk of poverty in Croatia in 2011 was 19.2 percent, which means that around 800,000 people had an annual income lower than 24,000 Kunas, which was the risk of poverty threshold for a single-member household. The lowest estimates of poverty rate risk were recorded in Zagreb (9.8%), in the Primorje-Gorje County (11.9%) and in the Istria County (11.9%), whilst the highest were recorded in the Brod-Posavina County (35.9%), the Virovitica-Podravina County (33.4%) and in the Vukovar-Srijem County (31.9%).

By the expenditure criteria, the estimated risk of poverty in Croatia in 2011 was 17.1 percent, which means that around 700,000 people had annual expenditures of less than 23,919 Kunas, which was the risk of poverty threshold for a single-member household. The lowest estimates of poverty rate risk were recorded in Zagreb (5.9%), in the Primorje-Gorje County (9.1%), whilst the highest were recorded in the Pozega-Slavonia County (32.5%), in the Brod-Posavina County (33.9%) and in the Karlovac County (34.3%).

Video of Dubrovnik, shot by an Austrian filmaker during his Yougoslavia tour in the summer 1972 has brought a glimpse of past. In the video, published on the website Footageforpro, it's easy to get that 'old' feeling. Dubrovnik is less crowded, but there are some tourists, as well as marines, recognizable in their uniforms. Also, it looks like the Green Market was a heart of the City. 

On his tour, Austrian also made videos in Hvar, Korcula, Orebic, Mostar and Kotor.

- I used to collect 8 mm films I find on Ebay and I have a collection of 500 reels. I have a restoration system that makes them look like they were shot yesterday! – shared Daniele Carrer from Footageforpro with us.

Now, sit in the time machine and enjoy watching Dubrovnik in 1972.

Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have a concert on Friday, October 21, at the Church of St. Dominic at 8:30 pm. The orchestra will be conducted by the Israeli conductor Noam Zur, who is conducting from 2001 in renowned concert halls and leading orchestras of the United States, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Switzerland, Austria, France, Estonia, Romania, Scandinavia, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Italy. The last two years Zur was the musical director of the Opera Arias Festival"Tino Pattiera" which takes place in July and has the equally successful collaboration with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra during the year. As a soloist in Mozart's Concerto for Horn and Orchestra no. 4 in E flat major, Toni Kursar, the first horn player of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, will perform.

Kursar has won first prizes in national competitions during his schooling, and in 2004 he received the Rector's Award of the University of Zagreb, and the Ivo Vuljevic award of the Croatian Musical Youth. He worked in international youth orchestra YMISO, Young Dunav Philharmonic, Junge Philharmonie Salzburg, the Mostar Symphony Orchestra, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Croatian Chamber Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra Liechtenstein. In 2006 he enrolled in graduate studies in the class of professor Radovan Vlatkovic on the University of Music and Performing Arts "Mozarteum" of Salzburg and 2008 he got his master's degree. He studied with H. Baumann, A. Friedrich, R. Vlatkovic, F. Re Wekre, F. Gabler, L. Garcia, B. Lipovsek.

In addition to Mozart's Concerto for Horn and Orchestra no. 4 in E flat major, the program includes Wagner Seifried Idyll, WWV 103 and Brahms Serenade no. 1 in D major, Op. 11th.

One of my friends got his car badly scratched on the parking lot the other day by an unknown driver who didn't bother to leave a note or his contact. He told me about this over coffee and was understandably angry about it. I tried to calm him down, but agreed this was a pretty lousy move by the other driver. “I hate people like that.” – we both agreed. It was not until later, when I was driving back home that I remembered I actually did something similar myself once.

It was back in the summer of 2011, one of the worst years of my life. Without getting into too much detail, many things went wrong that year and I found myself in financial problems, dealing with family issues, working a job I didn't particularly enjoy, and being generally very unsure about what the future holds. During one of the most hectic days of that summer, I was rushing to a meeting and tried to park my car on one of the improvised, unpaved parking areas around my workplace. The car in front of me seemed a bit too close, but I tried to do it anyway and ended up scratching the guy's bumper. I was forced to find another spot and parked the car. At first I thought about leaving a note with my phone number, but thought I'd best get to that meeting first as I was already late. The meeting lasted a while and was going to turn into a business dinner. It was possible for me to go out for a minute and leave the note at any time, but as time passed, I started thinking I might as well try to get away with it. After all, so many things didn't go well for me that year, maybe this was a chance to take something back from the Universe. Well, as you may imagine, it didn't quite pan out. It turns out, a passer-by saw the whole thing, wrote down my license plate and put his own note on the windshield of the car I damaged. So, I got a call during my business dinner from the owner of the car and had to deal with it right then and there which was quite embarrassing. Eventually, it all turned out fine and in the end I was able to sort it out with the car owner.

In a country which has a number of its leading politicians on trial for various acts of corruption, this might not be a very exciting crime story, but the point of it is not to illustrate how poor of a criminal I am. The point is that I truly do hate people who mess with other people's property and try to get away with it, and there I was, doing the exact thing I hate in others. My excuse was that I was struggling myself that summer and badly wanted to put a stop to a series of unfortunate events. However, isn't that the whole point of trials to our decency and morality? They always come when we are unprepared and weak. The vast majority of us know well what is right and what is wrong to do in a certain situation, yet sometimes we fail to do the right thing. Instead, we get to make up some sort of an excuse. When it comes to big issues in society, we tend to blame the larger forces and claim we are too small to make a difference. When we do the wrong thing in order to profit, we say that someone else would have done it if we didn't (this one is popular in Croatia for the past couple of decades). When we hurt the ones we love, we blame it on the circumstances or a momentary lapse in judgement, and when we scratch someone's car on the parking lot, we say it was an accident and we have filled up our quota of bad luck in a year.

It doesn't work like that, unfortunately. Decency is not very flexible and we don't get to have a free pass for doing something wrong or not doing what is right because we've had a rough day. It definitely isn't easy, but I've found that most of the time when I did the right thing to my own immediate harm, I would end up feeling good about myself. There is a sense of wellbeing when you take the moral high ground and no one can deny this. Who knows, maybe someday it comes back to you in some way. At least I know people are not talking trash about me over coffee… I hope.

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Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
www.insiderholidays.eu
www.facebook.com/insiderholidays

After a successful summer season, three cities in Croatia with the most international booking this summer were Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb according to the data of Booking.com – writes Poslovni.hr
Booking.com also ranked Novalja, Crikvenica, Trogir, Sibenik and Rijeka in five fastest growing destinations.
The average stay in Croatia this summer was four nights, including millions recommendations left by the passengers of Booking.com. Majority of them relates to the old city, beach, food, relaxation and nature. The findings also revealed the most popular types of accommodation reserved in Croatia. Among the 48,046 objects in Croatia, available on Booking.com, the first place goes to apartments, then hotels and guest houses. Popularity of the apartments indicates that more and more travelers are looking for local and authentic experiences that are primarily available in private accommodation facilities.
In addition, foreign destinations that Croatians visited this summer included Vienna, Budapest and Sarajevo, while among domestic destinations Trogir, Rijeka and Zagreb were very popular.

The European retail chain PEPCO from Poland which offers shoppers clothes for the whole family as well as wide range of household products will soon begin operations in Croatia.

PEPCO began operations in Poland in 2004, and has since recorded great interest from customers with the business expanding into Central and Eastern Europe. Apart from Poland, PEPCO currently operates in several Central European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The retail chain employs more than 9,000 people with more than 700 stores in Poland and more than 1,000 stores all over Europe.

"We are very pleased to be in Croatia next year with buyers getting a chance to visit our stores. The Croatian market opens up great opportunities for our brand and we hope that we will pave the way for other countries in the region’", said Marcin Stanko, the director of the Operations for Central and Eastern Europe.

PEPCO is planning to open the first store in Zagreb in early April 2017, with the first workers being employed early next year. During the first three years of its operations in Croatia, the brand plans to open about 50 stores throughout the country mainly in cities with over 10,000 residents thus creating around 400 new jobs. We can therefore expect a PEPCO store to be opened in Dubrovnik in the near future.

The popular European retail chain has already won numerous awards in the retail sector - the Forbes Diamond award and the Good Brand and Quality of Service Award.

A few days ago the Financial Times (FT), the respected international daily newspaper on business and economic news, published a few encouraging lines about the Croatian economy.

The article reads that in the six years period from 2008 to 2014 Croatia's economy contracted and its recession was rivalled only by that of Greece among its European peers.

‘’But Croatia’s tentative economic recovery has continued to strengthen in 2016, despite the collapse of its short lived coalition government after an acrimonious six months and the country’s second election within a year’’.

The European Commission forecasts that the country will have a 1.8 percent increase in GDP in 2016 primarily thanks to the tourist sector, which now accounts for about a fifth of Croatia’s output. The commission also predicts that the unemployment rate in Croatia will drop below 15 percent next year.

‘’Following September’s elections there is also tentative hope that the next government may keep a grip on public spending and tackle administrative barriers to investment. That is ambitious given the tendency of Croatian politics to obstruct economic reform. But some people have guarded optimism’’, concluded the Financial Times.

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Dubrovnik

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Humidity: 69%
Wind: N at 6.44 km/h
Wednesday
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Thursday
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Friday
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Saturday
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