Friday, 21 July 2017

Sometimes I feel like I am being watched by a hidden camera. You know those funny videos that pop up on YouTube when an old man is shocked when a big breasted lady’s bra falls off and he is left with a stupid smile not knowing which way to look. The camera crew then jump and shout “surprise” and he tries his best not to have a heart attack. I had one of these moments last week.

So to set the scene. I had heard that the CSI Miami actress Eva LaRue was in town and was trying desperately to get a one on one interview. If you have ever seen CSI Miami you would know why. She is the sexy Latin looking detective, you could say I had a few reasons for wanting to meet her.

Now we all know that in Dubrovnik it’s not what you know it’s who you know. A few calls and I was getting closer to the prize. Then at 16.30 I got the winning call. “She will be free from 17.30 to 18.00 and has agreed to meet you,” came the voice. Bingo! I was to meet her in Hotel Villa Dubrovnik, which was an added bonus as I had never stepped foot in the hotel before. At 17.25 I entered the reception “I have a meeting with Eva LaRue,” I announced. Now that’s not a sentence I have said before in my life. “She is on her way please take a seat,” replied the polite receptionist. 17.30 came and went. 18.00 came and went. No sign of Detective Natalia Boa Vista!

I was just about to leave when out of the lift appeared the actress. “And this is Mark Thomas,” the friendly director of the hotel introduced me. It was then that the “hidden camera” moment happened. “Oh, Mr Thomas I have a gift for you,” I heard over my shoulder. The receptionist produced a golden bag laden down with a present. Now, this was odd. Could it be a present from the hotel? But why would they give me a present? Was it a joke?

I opened the bag and to my complete and utter surprise there was something inside that almost knocked me off my feet. Of all the presents I could receive in Dubrovnik this was the most shocking a bottle of salad cream. Now I realise this means nothing to you so here is some background. By far and away my favourite sauce is salad cream, it is kind of like mayonnaise but so much better. I put it on everything. But unfortunately you can’t buy it in Croatia.

About three years ago, or maybe longer, I wrote a column about my passion for this sauce and how a group of fifty English people had turned up in Hotel Splendid all with a bottle of salad cream (but that’s a long story for another day). Now one couple from England had read this column all these years ago and remembered that I loved the sauce. We had been in contact over Twitter a few times as they are both huge fans of Dubrovnik. Not only did they remember I loved salad cream but they had gone to the trouble of bringing a big bottle of it over with them in their luggage when they came to Villa Dubrovnik for a holiday in May this year. So imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to find a bottle of my pleasure!

I literally thought it was a set up; I was waiting for someone to jump from behind a curtain and shout “got you!” I was in a hotel that I hadn’t been in before ever and a bottle of my favourite sauce was waiting for me, unbelievable.

I was so wrapped up in the situation that I completely forgot that Eva LaRue was standing right next to me. She looked as puzzled as I was. Eva LaRue was now in second place in my interest compared to this bottle in the gold bag.

Of course I got straight onto Twitter to thank the English couple. It just goes to show that it is the little things in life that bring the most pleasure, and how fascinating that they had read that column all those years ago and remembered to pack a bottle for me. I shuffled down to the terrace to once again catch up with the sexy detective all the time thinking about my gift. Once again I waited for her. This time it was much easier to wait as she was doing a photo shoot for bikinis (yes it is a tough job) with the sun setting over Dubrovnik.

Finally I got my one on one (and yes she was still wearing the bikini). Here is was sitting alone with a Hollywood actress, watching the embers of a Dubrovnik day with the sun setting, sipping mojitos and with a bottle of salad cream in my bag. I have definitely had worse days.      

The world's first artificial football turf Polytan, certified according to the FIFA Handbook 2015 with the prestigious FIFA Quality Pro certification was set up at the Aminess Football Centre in Novigrad, Istria.

This very demanding and expensive project was realized in cooperation with the Maxmar Group from Zagreb and fully meets all the needs of professional clubs and players in top leagues.

Mladen Knezevic, the marketing director at Aminess Hotels & Campsites commented, ''More than a hundred football teams a year, mostly from Croatia, Austria, Slovenia and Germany come to preparations to Aminess Hotels & Campsites. Manchester City Juniors will visit us for the fourth time in a row this year, whilst we have been hosting first league players at Istria Winter Cup for seven years now. Furthermore, the second Istria Youth Camp will be held in October 2017, which will gather younger selections of the best European clubs such as Milan, Roma, Manchester City, Dinamo, Redbull Salzburg and others. The fact that over the past few years we have been recording a continuous increase by 10% -15% in arrivals of sports groups and individual athletes, has only led us to a decision to direct our investments in the high quality sports infrastructure''.

Polytan is a manufacturer of synthetic turf systems across the world and has been a FIFA Preferred Producer since 2011. In December 2016, Polytan, together with its partner company Maxmar Group, installed the LigaTurf RS Pro II CoolPlus premium football turf system with the Bionic Fibre infill granules and an elastic layer laid in situ.

Carried out according to the new FIFA criteria at the beginning of this February, the certification confirms that the playing surface meets the highest standards in terms of playing properties, safety, long life and execution of construction work.

For the Aminess Football Club in Novigrad, the FIFA Quality Pro certificate is also a prerequisite for staging recognized international matches as well as international club competitions and is confirmation from the world’s football governing body of the high quality of the synthetic turf.

The Swiss air carrier Edelweiss Air has announced a new line to Croatia in 2018.

As from next year, the Swiss airline will introduce a new flight in its summer schedule for 2018 between Dubrovnik and Zurich.

The new summer flight will start operating at the beginning of the summer schedule i.e. from the 30th of March to the 26th of October 2018 with two rotations a week, on Mondays and Fridays with Airbus 320 aircraft.

The Swiss national air carrier Swiss International Air Lines, a member of the global air carriers association Star Alliance, has on offer all lines operated by Edelweiss Air within the code-share cooperation.

Edelweiss Air is a Swiss leisure airline wholly owned by the Swiss International Air Lines Group and thus part of the Lufthansa Group. It was founded in 1995 and has a fleet of 10 aircraft. The airline operates flights to 54 European and intercontinental destinations from its base at Zürich Airport.

For seven consecutive years between 2001 and 2008, Edelweiss Air received the golden Travelstar Award for its excellent achievements.

The Tourist Board of the Municipality of Mljet regularly honours its longtime guests for contributing to the development and improvement of Croatian tourism.

-This year we thanked the couple Lorenc from Czech Republic, who are visiting Saplunara for 10 years in a row, staying with family Hansal – Mljet Tourist Board reported.

At a small ceremony, besides the gathering and the banquet, they were given with the letter of thanks, gifts and flowers. They describe Saplunara as their second home and say that they will continue spending their vacation on the island of Mljet.

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival will open for 68th time on Monday, July 10th, at 9 pm in front of Saint Blasius Church. This festival is a must visit during your summer stay in Dubrovnik and it always has a lot to offer to tourists, as well as to locals.

If you are into art, music, theatre or culture in general you will surely find something in the rich and varied program in a festival that lasts for an impressive 47 days until August 25th. The program brings at least one event a day, with more than eighty theatrical, musical, opera, ballet, folklore, film and other performances taking place in more than fifteen site-specific venues in Dubrovnik.


One of the oldest European festivals has two theatre premieres this year - two plays dealing with an individual's freedom of action within strict limitations of the given social reality: Miroslav Krleza's Messrs Glembay, and a Hrvoje Ivankovic dramaturgical adaptation of the biography of- and texts by Marin Drzic, Dubrovnik's great supporter of freedom of speech, entitled Marin Drzic – Victory over the Enemies.  

The hit play La bottega del caffè and Othello - which enthralled critics and the festival's audience alike, and for which extra tickets were requested - will be part of this summer's repertoire again. Theatre guest performances will include the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb last year's hit play by Tena Stivicic, Three Winters, directed by Ivica Buljan.

The music and stage programme will include a premiere of Handel's Orlando. Ballet lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy the most popular „white ballet“ of all time and a synonym of classical ballet art, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, choreographed by the famous Vladimir Malakhov and produced by the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb.

Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will perform a programme consisting of the standard repertoire and the works by Dubrovnik composers.  This year the festival continues with the program Key to the Future which features young laureates of prestigious music competitions. It will be opened by the finalist of the International Queen Elisabeth Competition pianist Dmitri Shishkin.

For the more detailed, day by day programme, visit the Dubrovnik Summer Festival official website.


Opening night of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is a big event in Dubrovnik, so it can get really crowded!

It all starts on July 10th, when there will be a traffic ban on the area around the historic core of the City from 7 pm to 3 am, so the smart move would be to visit the Old City with a bus or a taxi, that are excluded from the ban.

Traffic on urban routes will be significantly enhanced during the opening night.
-    Line 1 that runs from the central bus station to Pile will run every 10 minutes, with the last departure at 3:05

-    Lines 1A, 3, 4 and 6 will run until 3:20 am

-    Lines 1B and 8 will run until 3:05 am

All the last departures are made from Pile.


Tickets for the Festival may be obtained online at the official website or at festival box offices in the Old City of Dubrovnik.

In recent years, Croatia has bore witness to a few brave and innovative trends emerging from young people determined to seek disruption and innovation in industries that were traditionally seen as inflexible and untouched, at least in this country. Inspiration came from ideas which later turned into products, many of them much sought after such as the Rimac Concept One electric vehicle (brain child of Rimac Automobili CEO and founder, Ante Rimac) as well as the Solarna E-klupa solar-powered bench and outdoor Smartphone charger (developed by Solin native Ivan Mrvoš and his classmates). Both men have made big names for themselves both at home and abroad, where they have significantly bolstered the image of entrepreneurship in this country and shaken industries that were considered bulwarks of change. While frolicking at the beach today on a small Dalmatian island where my family has a summer home, I was witness to yet another unique game-changer.

rogoznica van 2

Less than 20 metres from the beach where I happened to be swimming, a throng of tourists had gathered around what appeared to be an old-timer VW camper van, the sort hippie Germans would use to embark on southern European tours during the great days of the 1960’s and 1970’s. I couldn’t make out what was going on and decided to have a peek for myself, at which point I was pleasantly surprised to find out what all the commotion was about. On the small road hugging the lovely local beach which we share with tourists, alocal duo had come up with a concept that was recognized by the county chapter of the Croatian Tourist Association (HTZ) winning the 2016 ‘Simply the Best’ award for something called the ‘Mobile Visitor Centre.’ Using a refurbished and uber-cool old-timer VW camper van, the Mobile Visitor Centre does exactly what its name implies -- visits tourists at the places where they congregate be it the beach, the quayside, the local art gallery, café row, or the town square. The Mobile Visitor centre ‘visits’ you and is meant to make things more efficient for tourists in every possible way.

The brain child of Rogoznica natives Petar and Marija Režić, the Mobile Visitor Centre made its debut appearance last summer as part of a pilot project in conjunction with the Rogoznica Tourism Association (and on a larger scale, the Croatian Tourism Association), and quickly earned scores of accolades from local and national tourism organizations. What it does is provide tourists with useful and up-to-the minute information about cultural events and happenings in the town and nearby region which they are vacationing in. Encompassing everything from tourism brochures in multiple languages, to detailed town maps and pamphlets displaying festivals and cultural events, right down to practical information about local hospitals, pharmacies, pet centers and more, the Mobile Visitor Centre serves as a one-stop-shop for all your visitor needs. One of the coolest things about it is that the VW camper van comes armed with complimentary WIFI for visitors to use and the hipster van is a hit with children who clamber to have their photo taken and engage in a pop-up experience. As the concept is still in its infancy, there a range of ideas still being explored about what else to equip the van with and provide, but rest assured that the Mobile Visitor Centre is one of the best ways to find out everything you need to know about your destination without ever having to leave home or log-in to your own mobile device.

Given the marketing gimmick involved, the Rogoznica Mobile Visitor CentreVW camper van with its colourful image of the island had my curiosity on high alert.

Marija and Petar Režić, the pleasant young couple who were administering the pop-up stand next to it took their time to explain what it was to the tourists who had gathered in front, each one of them as equally as intrigued as I was. They explained that the idea was initially designed to provide visitors with an easy overview of local options for family tourism in Dalmatia. Understanding that families were less likely to pop into the local tourist centre office, they thought about how best to bring the centre directly to the visitor using new and innovative options. Knowing that guests were sure to be wowed by a design concept that involved a much loved and recognizable brand, the first VW Mobile Visitor Centre camper van was born.

Rogoznica is a small island located right in the very heart of Dalmatia halfway between Split and Šibenik. It is connected by a man-made bridge to mainland Dalmatia and boastsa private yacht marina - Marina Frappa, that has consistently been voted the best in the Adriatic. As with many Dalmatian towns, Rogoznica has seen tourism quadruple in recent years and the demand this year has reached unprecedented levels, boasted in part by a newly renovated town square and a range of terrific restaurants serving local and foreign cuisine. Walking alongside the quay and ‘Trg’, many visitors were pleased to seethat Rogoznica town centre is now a WiFi mobile hotspot (one of the first of its kind in Croatia) and the quayside has recently installed the Mrvoš’ solar-powered benches with mobile chargers built-in. Given the ingenuity of local entrepreneurship, The VW Mobile Visitor Centre is already a recognizable site in town and in speaking to Petar and Marija, what started as a pilot project will continue in 2017 as the Mobile Visitor Centre tours other Dalmatian towns and regions, both to promote Rogoznica and seek partnerships in innovation.

Although the idea was born in and started in Rogoznica, which is natural as the founders are both situated here, looking ahead they would like to scale and expand the concept to other Dalmatian towns and cities. The aim is to utilize the Mobile Visitor Centres to engage with tourists while providing unique and innovative experiences that bring the best of Dalmatia to the fingertips and footsteps of our guests. Here’s hoping Dubrovnik is next.

By Mirella-Marie Katarina Radman

The greatest Dubrovnik writer and the greatest author of all time met last night in Dubrovnik when Marin Drzic met William Shakespeare. In collaboration between the House of Marin Drzic, the Freinds of Dubrovnik Antiquities and the Midsummer Scene Festival actors from A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed scenes from the Marin Drzic classic Uncle Maroje. The atmospheric Sponza Palace in the very heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik was the backdrop for this English language theatre and to bring home the full ambience the actors were backed by the early music ensemble Plazarius.

The Marin Drzic House in Dubrovnik promotes the importance and values of the legacy of the greatest author from the city. The project Drzic meets Shakespeare represents the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage by brining the characters and work of Marin Drzic to a foreign audience. The next step for this project is to hold performances abroad to further promote Drzic and at the same time Dubrovnik.

Over the past few weeks the Lovrijenac Fortress was home to one of the most famous Shakespeare comedies “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” These performances as part of the Midsummer Scene Festival were enjoyed by over three thousand guests from all over the world. Under the creative direction of Helen Tennison the world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was brought to life in a modern and amusing way. And rightly so Shakespeare in Dubrovnik was praised by many international media outlets who described the plays as “exciting” and “a romantic and poignant journey.”

In addition to the daily performances this year’s festival also had a musical touch as the Dubrovnik Syphony Orchestra held a concert in the same fortress entitled “Baroque vs. Film” in which such classics and the theme tune to The Godfather, James Bond and Titanic were played alongside Baroque music.

Furthermore there was a photo exhibition by Bari Goddard as part of the festival in which with his own magical way he presented images from Dubrovnik as well as from previous years of the Midsummer Scene Festival. The exhibition was held in the Sponza Palace and was entitled “From Illyria to Elsinore.”

The Midsummer Scene Festival is a project by the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of Dubrovnik, produced by Brilliant Events Dubrovnik and Honey-tongued Theatre Productions Ltd. from London.

drzic meets shakespeare

shakespeare meets drzic

According to data from the Croatian National Bank (HNB), more than 400 counterfeit banknotes worth almost 100,000 Kunas were registered in Croatia in 2016.

The HNB figures show that last year 435 counterfeits worth 99,930 Kunas were registered in the country, which was a decline of 16.2 percent in comparison to 2015. However, 1,057 counterfeit banknotes were registered in foreign currencies, with the largest number of Euro banknotes (897), or 19.8 percent more compared to the previous year.

Considering that in 2016, there were on average around 197 million banknotes in circulation in Croatia, it means that 2.2 counterfeit banknotes were registered per one million original Kuna banknotes. In addition, the Annual Report from the Croatian National Bank shows that in 2015 there were 2.8 registered counterfeit banknotes.

When it comes to foreign currencies, 1,057 counterfeit banknotes were registered, out of which the largest number were Euro banknotes (897), followed by counterfeit US dollar banknotes (126), whilst the remaining 34 counterfeits were Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, sterling pounds and Polish zloty banknotes.

Tourists in Dubrovnik are going to new lengths to get that special holiday snap, even if it means putting their lives at danger. This latest shocking photo appeared today on the social media account of a tourist to the city.

Perched on the edge of the St. Ivan Fortress on the entrance into the old city harbour of Dubrovnik this tourist, and presumably the person taking the photo, had climbed through a security barrier to get to the very edge of the stone fortress.

The lengths that some people will go to in order to “impress” their followers on social media is sometimes mind-blowing.

The Three Seas Initiative Summit, as a joint project launched by Croatia and Poland, has begun in Warsaw on the 6th of July 2017.

The Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is the co-host of this year’s event held in the Polish capital entitled ‘’Connectivity, Commerciality, Complementarity’’.

The ''Three Seas Initiative” gathers the EU member countries of Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovenia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia. The initiative is a declaration adopted by these twelve European countries in order to establish an informal platform for strengthening political ties and facilitate cross-border cooperation and implementation of macro-regional projects in the region BABS: Baltic – Adriatic – Black Sea.

On this occasion, the Croatian President posted a photo on Twitter of her welcoming the US President Donald Trump. She also noted that it was a ‘’beginning of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw with a special guest’’.




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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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