Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A raging forest fire is currently burning in the hills of Konavle. Thick smoke fills the air of the Konavle region, just south of Dubrovnik as pine trees and undergrowth burns.

The Konvale Fire Brigade is on the scene but as the fire broke out half way up the mountain side it will prove difficult to fight. So far the cause of the fire is unknown.

The fire is to the west of the popular tourist attraction Sokol Grad in a fairly uninhabited part of Konvale. According to the latest information the fire is under control and is almost extinguished.

konavle fire 2

konavle fires 3

konavle fires4

Photos by Adriatic Images

''You all have a big role in the promotion of our country. Beautiful stories and personal experiences are the best recommendation for those who haven't discovered the beauties of Croatia yet'', the Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli thanked foreign diplomats at a reception that was attended by fifty ambassadors, consuls and other diplomatic personnel.

On this occasion, Cappelli also revealed his ambition for Croatia to be among TOP 20 tourist countries in the world by 2020, and emphasized the good start of this tourist year, with 15 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2016.

''We expect an increase of 20 percent; April will be extremely busy due to Easter holidays. The new season is beginning, planes are landing at Dubrovnik and Zagreb Airports...’’, said Cappelli who is expecting the latest data to confirm that the tourism industry in Croatia in 2016 earned 9,5 billion Euros.

The fact that Croatia is a safe destination was confirmed by Mate Granic, the envoy and special adviser of the Croatian president, who reminded that Croatia was one of the most safest countries in the world and that the country ''in the light of threatening migrant crisis cooperates very well with its neighbours and the EU countries in overcoming this challenge''.

Many foreign diplomats have already got to know the tourist aspect of Croatia. For example, the Japanese ambassador to Croatia Keiji Takiguchi noted that more and more of his fellow citizens were recognizing Croatia as an attractive tourist destination.

''I have already visited the regions of Zadar, Split and, of course, Dubrovnik. I am very impressed with nature and the country's rich historical heritage'', commented Takiguchi.

Spring is here and we are all into flowers! The second flower fair in the organization of Dubrovnik Tourist Board and City of Dubrovnik will be held on Saturday, first of April from 7.30 am until 4 pm. Last week's fair was organized in Gruz and was a great success.

This week flower fair transfers to ''Posta Lapad'' and is a great opportunity for all those that missed the last one. You get another chance to pick your favorite flower. Of course, all of the flowers and plants at this sale will be offered at promotional prices.

Tradition hairstyles of Dubrovnik region were shown last night in an event organized by the Crafts and Technical School and with the support of the ‘Heritage’ society in the hall of Pope John Paul II. Mentor of the project Ivona Vujicic pointed out that the idea came from the desire to bring hairdressing profession to the higher level.
Project included traditional ways of combing hair from Konavle, Zupa, Dubrovacko Primorje, Peljesac, Mljet, Lastovo, Korcula and the Neretva Valley.
Jagoda Konjuh from the ‘Heritage’ society said that it’s important to transfer the traditional values on the younger generations.

Tourism and Hotel School was a part of this event too with sweets that they served after the show.

One of the most popular award-winning hip-hop live dance bands of the global music scene the Stereo MC's are coming to Croatia this summer.

The popular British dance group will perform at the Saint Michael's Fortress (Tvrdava Sv.Mihovila) in Sibenik on the 11th of June 2017.

Stereo MC's began its music career in the second half of the 1980s from the British underground acid house scene. Thanks to their original sound based on a mix of different genres of electronic music, the band become popular very quickly and acquired a large number of fans.

Nowadays, many consider Stereo MC's pioneers of the British dance scene and the first hip-hop band, which topped the US charts. The major breakthrough was made by their album ''Elevate My Mind'' which led to the cooperation with the Jungle Brothers and enabled the next album ''Supernatural'' to additionally affirm the band at the global level.
Their hits ruled the ether in the 1990s, whilst the song and the album ''Connected'' became a kind of an ‘’evergreen’’ and a trademark of the band.

The band also did some remix work for U2, PM Dawn, Queen Latifah, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, Monie Love and Madonna.

Despite their fame and numerous tours, the band took a seven-year break. Thanks to their cooperation with Madonna in the early 2000s, they decided to return to their roots and record new songs that resulted in new motivation and excellent albums such as ''Deep Down&Dirty'', ''Double Bubble'' and ''Emperor's Nightingale''.

Beatles Go Baroque a la Vivaldi, Tango from the Al Pacino movie "Scent of a Woman," the Best of Abba, the love theme from the film "The Godfather", and the theme tune to Schindler's List are just a few of the melodies to be performed by the String Chamber Orchestra of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra this Friday in the Revelin Fortress.

The concert, entitled “Baroque vs. Film Music,” will he held this Friday at 8.00pm in the atmospheric Revelin Fortress. Tickets are available, and cost from 30 to 100 Kuna, at the offices of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra from 9.00am to 2.00pm in the Revelin Fortress, in the gift shop Dubravka on Pile and one hour before the concert on the door.

dso poster

Never underestimate the power of rakija! Now after reading that sentence I’d be 99% sure that you interpret power as the actual alcoholic strength of rakija, am I right? To a certain extent you’d be correct, I mean it is pretty alcoholic after all, but a glass or two of rakija has many more powers hidden inside.

I must be honest and say that I’d never tried rakija before I came to live here. There aren’t that many bars or clubs in the centre of London that have rakija on tap. I had, however, tried the Italian version Grappa before. It’s kind of similar, maybe not so strong, or maybe I should say mind-blowing, but it’s similar. I guess grappa just has better marketing than rakija that’s why I’d seen it before. It’s not that unusual that Croatian products, even though they may be much better in quality, don’t have great publicity outside of the country.

In fact I used to work in the wine business in London. So I had plenty of opportunity to come across wines and spirits from foreign countries, although in seven years I never once came across Croatian wine, let alone rakija. So when I finally did pour the liquid down my throat I was left a little red-faced, literally.

But one of the powers of rakija that I didn’t know was its diplomatic power. Of all of the world’s greatest ambassadors there can be none finer than a few glasses of rakija. It has the power to cross borders, open doors and build bridges. “How do you spell that?” said the Norwegian tourist to our small dinner group. “L-O-Z-A” I spelt out the letters one by one. “Never heard of that before” he said scratching his head whilst searching his pockets for a pen. A small serviette was handed over and our Norwegian friend scribbled down the word Loza.

“So when did you arrive in Dubrovnik?” I asked. “About an hour ago, we just got off the plane and were hungry so stopped for a bite to eat,” came the reply. I was laughing inside. This slightly elderly Norwegian had been in Croatia for an hour and the first word he’d learnt was loza. Well I guess you could start with worse words.

That reminds me of another story about Croatian words. I had a coffee with a journalist from Belgium last week after discussing politics, business and basically putting the world to rights we rather unbelievably got onto the subject of the Croatian pop singer Ivan Zak. You probably wouldn’t think that an Englishman and a Belgium could ever in a million years get onto the subject of Ivan Zak, but we did. “We love going to watch Ivan Zak in concert” said the renowned journalist to me. That’s not a sentence I hear very often, especially from a Belgium. “Really, do like his singing then” I said trying to be polite. “No, he’s terrible” he replied. “Then why on earth do you like going to his concert?” now I was wondering. “Simply because the word Zak means bastard in Flemish” he answered with a smile from ear to ear. “You have all the crowd shouting Zak…Zak…Zak, and then when he comes onto stage the presenter shouts IVAN ZAAAKKK”, it kills us every time. “We even took our Belgium friends along that last time they were here on holiday” by now he was laughing at the memories of Zak concerts. “We only ever stay for the first ten minutes, just to hear the crowd shout his name” his wife added. I guess everyone appreciates the arts in different ways.

Anyway, I digress, back to the jolly Norwegian pensioner and his glass of rakija. “So where are you staying in Dubrovnik?” asked one of the female members of our group. “I have no idea….maybe with you?” joked the Norwegian. But seriously he had no idea where he was staying, didn’t even know the name of the hotel. It looked like he was just following the other members of his tour party. But I got the feeling that if they said “we’re going to Afghanistan on holiday” he’d simply say “no problem.” He was happy in his own little world and now he had found rakija he’d probably be even happier.

“I remember the Nazis coming to our village…” started the Norwegian, who turned out to be a very fit 83-year-old man. “So this loza is good?” he asked. I gave him my empty glass just to smell and his eyes opened wider. I understood that look as a yes! “And don’t forget to ask for a double” said my friend. He wiped out the serviette once again and wrote “Loza dobbel.” I’m hoping that’s the Norwegian spelling of double. With a wave to the waiter and a wave of thanks in our direction our Scandinavian friend was off to try the power of loza.

Even though you are on holiday and should be relaxing old habits die hard and you’ve just got to have your daily fix of news. So how do you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening back home whilst you are in Dubrovnik on holiday. Here are some tips to keeping yourself informed whilst on your hols:

Of all of the forms of media getting your daily newspaper is still the hardest. Basically you have one of two different options. Firstly many of the larger newsagents and kiosk through the Old City and in more tourist populated areas have a selection of daily newspapers. However there are a couple of downsides. Firstly the newspapers, which are commonly printed in Spain for some reason, are three days old. We have yet to find a newsagent in Dubrovnik where the newspapers are “fresher” than three days old.

newspaper dubrovnik

Secondly the newspapers that they do sell are considerably more expensive than back home. This means that your copy of The Sun would be three days old and cost around £3.00. If you are lucky enough to be staying in one of the top hotels in Dubrovnik then there is a chance that the hotel will print newspapers for you to read inside the reception or bars. Whilst these are not exactly the same as UK newspapers they are pretty close so you can catch up with the news from back home over a cup of coffee.

Unless you are thinking of bringing a TV in your luggage then the nine o’clock news will probably be off you radar. However almost all of the hotels and accommodation offered in Dubrovnik has a satellite or cable TV available. These tend to show only BBC World News, CNN and possibly Sky News. If there is a major sporting event on then many of the restaurants and café bars through the city will show this on a big screen.

If you are thinking of buying a place here, or if you already live here, then apart from satellite TV you can try one of the many cable TV operators. Cable TV is plugged through your telephone line so no need for additional cables. Along with the various other television channels you will also find Sky News (international), BBC World, CNN, Al Jazeera in English, CNBC, etc.

If you want to catch up on your favourite radio station whilst on holiday then the only way is going to be through the internet, although this may be costly, unless you have Wi-Fi. Throughout the summer months there is news in English on Croatian national radio. There is even a daily news service in English about Dubrovnik “The Voice of Dubrovnik” broadcast twice a day through the summer months on Soundset Ragusa.

Our advice would be to download podcasts and listen to them through your iPhone, computer, MP3 player, etc. If you are staying somewhere with free wireless internet connection then download a few for latter listening.

Yes, this is by far the easiest way of keeping in touch with the comings and goings back home. Although our advice would be to find somewhere with free Wi-Fi, and there are lots of cafés, restaurants, hotels, etc that offer this, and not to roam.

Roaming through your internet provider, or should I say mobile phone operator back home, will leave you with a hefty bill when you come home so be careful. Almost all hospitality objects in Dubrovnik offer free Wi-Fi, most of them need a password so just ask your waiter, and if the cafe bar doesn’t offer free internet move to another one.

At the official ceremony held in Petrinja in the Sisak-Moslavina County on the 27th of March, the United States donated top class army training simulation system SAAT to the Croatian Armed Forces. Julieta Valls Noyes, the US Ambassador to Croatia and Damir Krsticevic, the Croatian Minister of Defence, attended the ceremony

Small Arm Tactical Training System or simply SAAT is an indoor virtual shooting range with ten lanes for training, practicing and shooting with a usage of training ammunition.
"The value of this donation exceeds many times over its price. It is yet another confirmation of the friendly relations between the US and Croatia. The United States is our key ally and we take part in joint exercises, in training and peace-building operations abroad, in the fight against ISIS and the growing radicalism. Therefore, I believe that this is the right path and that there will be more such examples," said the Defence Minister Krsticevic expressing his gratitude for the donation.

On this occasion, the US Ambassador Valls Noyes emphasized that Croatia was an important factor of stability in the region of Southeast Europe, adding that the US and Croatia had cooperated successfully so far in Afghanistan and Kosovo. She also expressed her hope that the successful cooperation would continue in the future.

The total value of the SAAT training system together with spare parts and training is worth around one million US dollars.

The first plane to take off from the new Zagreb Airport terminal was a flight to Dubrovnik. On Tuesday morning the new terminal at Zagreb's Franjo Tudjman airport was officially up and running with commercial operations underway. After more than 35,000 different kinds of testing of the new terminal, including in the last ten days landing and takeoff, yesterday at 5.50am a Croatia Airlines flight took off and headed towards Dubrovnik.

And then at 6.30am the first arrival landed at Zagreb Airport when a Qatar Airways flight from Doha brought the first passengers through the terminal.

The construction of new terminal of the Zagreb airport lasted for three years and is the biggest infrastructure project in Croatia in the last ten years. Around 300 million Euros was invested into the impressive new terminal building which can handle five million passengers a year with the possibility of increasing to eight at a later date.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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