Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Art comes in every shape and size, some are more obvious and some a little more subtle. This modern sculpture was found on one of the main entrances into the historic Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday.

Nobody has come forward to claim the praise for this new sculpture. The broken toilet bowl, which is inside the protection borders of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, stopped both tourists and locals in their tracks as they passed into the city.

We are still waiting for the “artist” to come forward, as it must be an attempt at modern art because only an imbecile would leave a broken toilet in a flower bed in Dubrovnik, if not in the name of art.

dubrovnik toilet

korea toilet dubrovnik

Korean tourists have a holiday snap to remember 

Are we, aren’t we? Will we, won’t we? Yes, it’s that crazy time of the year when we don’t know what to do. Have we opened another tourist season or not? To be honest I am not sure. Tourist businesses are kind of in the “can we really be bothered” stage.

The recent warm weather seems to have caught people out. I was standing over the Banje beach the other day and whilst a handful of people were actually swimming (way too cold for me) the cafe bar and restaurant still hadn’t opened. We tend to work to closely linked to the calendar rather than the climate. “It isn’t Easter yet so I am not opening,” is a phrase I have heard a few times over the past few weeks.

And in the middle of this confusion a certain project was released – which has a title just as confusing as the season “Forget the crowds, respect the rules and information.” Not as catchy as “Make America Great Again.” Now the centre of this project, the yolk so to speak, is to count the number of tourists that enter the Old City. And when the counter gets to 8,000 the city is closed, the drawbridge raised, snipers are placed on the walls and a moat of steamy lava is released. Well, no, but in theory the city is closed.

Whilst anyone with half a brain can see that the city is a victim of its own success and during the summer months it is easier to get a date with Kim Kardashian than to find a parking space around the city, or even to squeeze along the Stradun. I would agree some measures are needed; in fact some measures were needed a long time ago. We have brought this on ourselves; nobody else is guilty for our own mistakes. A short term, midterm and long term plan were required years ago. Unfortunately, and as so often is the case in Croatia, the short term plan is by Tuesday, the midterm by Thursday and the long term by the end of the week! The failure to plan has brought this panic action. Be failing to prepare you are preparing to fail, once said Benjamin Franklin.

The reality of this new project, as I understand it from an inside source, is that when the people counter reaches 8,000 the cruise ship passengers waiting in the port will be required to wait a little longer before their buses unload them on Pile. No “normal” tourist will be turned away at the gates. So this is basically a cruise ship passenger ban – or limiter. In fact limiter is a good word, it is like that electrical limiter you have in your house that throws you into darkness if you use too much power. The city limiter will close the doors until the crowds disperse.

Of course to anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size the core of the problem is cruise ships. Limit them and you have solved the problem.

A few years ago I heard a plan to do just that – it was named, again rather boringly, 2 + 1. The basic idea was that at any one time only two cruise ships could be docked in the Port of Dubrovnik and one in front of Lokrum – hence the 2 +1. Seemed like a half sensible idea. A maximum of three cruise ships would mean a maximum of around 9,000 passengers. No need to count tourists when you have already counted them in advance.

We already know exactly how many beds there are in the city, the only variable every year are the cruise ships, limiting the cruise ships years in advance would therefore give us a pretty good picture of the number of tourists in the city at any one time. Unfortunately this plan sunk to the bottom of the Adriatic, as many other plans have done in the past.

And when we do make plans we just ignore them. Last year a study entitled “The Strategic Development of Tourism and Recommendations for Cruise Tourism until 2025,” was published by the University of Dubrovnik. This lengthy document states that “Cruising tourism in Dubrovnik has until now happened and this kind of approach is unfeasible. This extremely important sector of tourism and business must be institutionally organised and must include all parties involved in the cruise ship business.” The study also states that it is important to increase the number of cruisers through the months of November to April, with an aim of at least 30 percent of the total number of cruisers coming in those months. It also adds that a better system of scheduling ships through the summer weeks is necessary.

So until this report is fully enforced we will continue with counting and hoping that we are not tourist number 8,001.

''Tourist traffic in private accommodation does not refer only to the summer months, but is prolonged in many destinations almost to an entire year, as is evidenced by good announcements for this year’s pre-season'', says Nedo Pinezic, the president of the Family accommodation and tourism community at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

Furthermore, Pinezic also emphasizes that most arrivals in private accommodation in the pre-season period is recorded in larger cities, that are connected with airlines and group tours, as well as in the regions of Gorski kotar, Plitvice, Istria and Kvarner which, thanks to their vicinity, attract numerous guests from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Hungary and Bavaria.

''More and more private accommodation facilities are being advertised on online booking platforms, thus some of one them like Booking.com has recorded an increase in the number of bookings for private accommodation in Croatia by 60 percent in comparison to the same period last year. In addition, due to the large interest in Croatia on all world markets, it is obvious that tourists want to ensure their accommodation earlier by booking on digital platforms'', explained Pinezic.

Reminding that the Family accommodation and tourism community at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) recently became a full member of the European Holiday Home Association (EHHA), Pinezic thinks that this will open up new opportunities for the promotion of the Croatian family accommodation, because EHHA represents 20 million beds in households throughout the European Union.

An international cycling race Tour of Croatia will be held for the third year in a row from the 18th to the 23rd of April 2017.

More than 20 teams, including those from the highest rank classification of the World Cycling Organization, will race along the 1,000 kilometres long route throughout Croatia, guaranteeing some stunning backdrops.

As in the previous years, this year's Tour of Croatia starts in Osijek on the 18th of April, whilst the first stage long 227 kilometres finishes in Koprivnica. The day after, on the 19th of April the whole organization moves to Trogir where the second stage of 123 kilometres starts and which could significantly affect the overall standings because its finishing line will be at the second highest mountain top in Croatia - Sveti Jure on the mountain of Biokovo.

Furthermore, the third stage leads the cyclists on the 236 kilometres long route between Imotski and Zadaron the 20th of April, whilst the fourth stage starts in Crikvenica and finishes in Umag after 171 kilometres long route on the 21st of April.

The toughest stage of the Tour of Croatia expects the cyclists in Istria; after the start in Porec on the 22nd of April the competitors will cycle a 141 kilometres long route to the mountain of Ucka. The last and final 145 kilometres long stage starts in Samobor on the 23rd of April and finishes in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, at the Sv.Marko square where will be held the official award ceremony.

The Tour of Croatia cycling race will be broadcasted live by the Croatian Radio and Television (HRT), Eurosport, and Eurosport Asia as well as by television stations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Therefore, citizens in 177 world countries will have the opportunity to see beautiful images from Croatia that will be another great promotion of the country worldwide.

logotip utrke 

Dubrovnik and Game of Thrones just seem to fit so well together. Not only are the locations in and around the historic Old City ideal for the filming of the HBO serial but also the music from the serial has a certain harmony with the city. And when combined with the echoing tunes from the Game of Thrones the city seems to come alive.

This latest video to emerge on YouTube was filmed in the summer of 2016 and highlights the silent beauty of Dubrovnik as the sun rises early in the morning. And just if you were thinking of making your own summer sunrise video you will have to get up at the crack of dawn to capture the city as empty as this.

Long delays are being reported at the border crossing between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at Neum after the European Union decided to tighten up all borders last night. The temporary regulation is in response to “the increase of terrorist threats”, according to the European Council and has meant longer waits at border crossings.

People wishing to pass a Schengen border, either at airports, ports or land crossings will now have to have their ID documents checked, meaning that at the border near Dubrovnik all drivers are being asked for passports or ID cards. As each ID takes time to be scanned the time for each passenger at a border will be considerably longer.

There are reports that the delays on the Croatia/Bosnian border at Neum is up to two hours. Tourist coaches, excursions and transfers all being stopped at the border and each passenger is having their ID checked.

European Union member countries had called for tighter security and border checks back in 2015 as a response to the refugee crisis.

With Dubrovnik on the eve of another busy summer season this new regulation could have serious affects on the flow of tourist buses and cars through the border.

It would appear that the recent rain has brought more than a few technical problems to Dubrovnik, one could say a virus. The electronic bus schedule on one of the main bus stops on Pile right outside of the Old City turned into some strange hieroglyphic announcement. This photo was sent to us by a reader this morning with the message “The display isn’t working and it is a new investment.”

These electronic bus signals work with GPS monitors in each bus and give an estimated time of arrival, a great idea if you can actually read the screen, which wasn’t the case this morning of one of the busiest bus stops in the whole city. Let’s hope it is a temporary technical glitch and that normal service will be resumed.

bus time

The London Coffee Festival started yesterday and because of that The Telegraph published a map to show coffee consumption per capita all over the world.

Finland is the absolute winner with 12 kg per person per year, according to the stats that they collected from the International Coffee Organization.

Croatia is well known for its coffee lovers, but it wasn’t placed in top 5, 10 or even 15 – it made it to the top 20, or more precisely on 19th place with 4.9 kg per person per year.

Here is the list of the 20 biggest coffee drinkers in the world:

1.    Finland - 12kg per capita per year
2.    Norway - 9.9
3.    Iceland - 9
4.    Denmark - 8.7
5.    Netherlands - 8.4
6.    Sweden - 8.2
7.    Switzerland - 7.9
8.    Belgium - 6.8
9.    Luxembourg - 6.5
10.    Canada - 6.2
11.    Bosnia and Herzegovina - 6.1
12.    Austria - 5.9
13.    Italy - 5.8
14.    Slovenia - 5.8
15.    Brazil - 5.5
16.    Germany - 5.5
17.    Greece - 5.4
18.    France - 5.1
19.    Croatia - 4.9
20.    Cyprus - 4.8

Since United Kingdom wasn’t placed in the top 20 coffee lover nations, Telegraph explains that it might be that way because they consume a lot of tea. That's why they included a list of the world’s 20 biggest tea drinkers with Turkey, Ireland and United Kingdom in the top. However, Croatia didn’t find its place on the list.

Beyonce, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Tina Turner are just some of the celebrities who could not resist the beauties of Croatia.

One of numerous Hollywood actors who was recently enchanted with the country is Pilou Asbaek, the Danish actor famous for its latest role in the film ''Ghost in the Shell'' and for his role in the Game of Thrones serial where he played Euron Greyjoy.

Asbaek spent several months in Zagreb shooting a new film, and he was fascinated with Croatian cuisine, women and the country.

''I spent two months in Zagreb. Croatia is Europe’s best secret! It's incredible! I love Italy, but you can go to Croatia and pay half the price and the food is just as good. And women are very beautiful as well. The only thing I'm very upset of is that I didn't get a chance to go to Dubrovnik. I would really like to see that city'', said Asbaek.

Even though he worked hard during his stay in Croatia, Asbaek enjoyed tasting Croatian cuisine every night, and he was thrilled with Croatian specialties. ''I liked it so much that I was considering of a road trip through Croatia with my wife and daughter this summer'', concluded the famous Danish actor.

Pilou Asbaek in game of thrones

Pilou Asbaekin Game of Thrones 

Tülin Şahin, Turkish top model, television presenter, author, and actress has recently spent time in Dubrovnik and loved it, according to her official Instagram profile. She made couple of beautiful shots in the Old City and discovered that she visited Dubrovnik because of work, but didn’t give any additional details.
Tülin was born in Odense in Denmark and spent her childhood there. She was discovered in a shopping mall and went to do professional modelling career in Paris in 1998. She came to Turkey, the birthplace of her parents to work for Zeki Triko.

It’s interesting to know that Şahin is also known as 'Sivaslı Cindy' or 'Cindy from Sivas' because of her close resemblance to Cindy Crawford and Sivas being her hometown.






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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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