Can you feel it in the air? Spring is coming and many in Dubrovnik are waking up from their winter slumber, getting ready for warmer and busier days. People are slowly shedding away layers of clothes. Summer threads are lurking ominously from our closets, counting down the days until we have to try them on to see if they still fit.
I myself am at the gym more and more, struggling to get as fit as possible before the long and arduous tourism season ahead of me. It always bothered me that I need to be fit just because society deems is important to be physically attractive. Being healthy is one thing, but nowadays you are expected to look your best all the time. God knows we have our physical appearance well documented by ourselves or those around us and posted on social networks where our pasty torsos basically fall into public domain. I was never big on sports and gym-going experience was especially unappealing to me. Lifting and lowering chunks of iron while listening to the latest eurodance hits and counting repetitions was never my idea of two hours well spent. I've changed my outlook on exercise in the last five years or so and nowadays I enjoy working out (most of the time). It is mostly out of desire to keep healthy. I'm still frustrated that people will almost always congratulate you on your dropped weight before they do so when you achieve something great in your line of work, start a professional blog, or make an amateur movie, but I guess that's just the way of the world.
Having said all this, at least I’m not a woman. As difficult as it is for men to keep fit as much as the media or movie industry would have us be, things are way more difficult for women whose physical appearance is dissected and scrutinized to the finest detail. It’s a stressful state of affairs and I can only imagine what it takes to navigate through the jungle of self-help, beauty, popular psychology, or nutrition advice being hurled at women from every direction, every day. Truth of the matter is, we are all looking better and better as people, women especially. But, does that translate into feeling happier?
Somehow, I get the feeling happiness remains as elusive of a concept as ever. It seems society is relentless at feeding women various fears and doubts aimed at making them permanently discontent and frustrated. It stands to reason – people who are dissatisfied with themselves or believe there is something wrong with them are much more likely to spend money trying to cure whatever ails them than those who are happy. What can you sell a happy person? Perhaps a cappuccino and an occasional three course meal, and that’s about it.
Working on your physical fitness is smart and sensible, but the fact is, there is no universal definition of what is sexy or pretty. So, as a belated International Women’s Day gift: Women, next time you are frowning to yourself in the mirror, keep in mind you are most probably way more beautiful than you think… at least to us regular guys. And if you start hearing the approaching footsteps of insecurity next time you undress at the beach or try on that summer dress before going out, remember it’s probably just the echo of big business trying to get you to buy what they’re selling. Just close your eyes and ignore it until it’s gone.
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.
A few days ago, the Association of Foreign Investors in Croatia (FIC) held their general assembly and presented results of the association in 2016.
The results showed a double increase of the FIC members in 2016 in comparison to the previous year, with a series of successfully implemented projects for improving the business and investment climate in the Republic of Croatia.
Burak Baykan, the regional director of the Dogus Group, was elected as a new member of the FIC Board. In the past seven years of its operations in Croatia, the Turkish Group has invested more than 250 million Euros in the country and employed around 350 Croatian citizens.
The Dogus Group started its investments in Croatia with acquisition of D-Marin Mandalina in the city of Sibenik, which was followed by acquisitions of D-Marin Dalmacija in Sukosan and D-Marin Borik in Zadar. The Group also entered in the ownership structure of ACI with a share of 10,87 percent. D-Resort Sibenik, which was opened in 2015, was the first greenfield investment of the Dogus Group in Croatia worth 25 million Euros.
Furthermore, the Dogus Group is the owner of the most exclusive and most awarded Croatian boutique hotel Villa Dubrovnik in the city of Dubrovnik. Currently, the largest project of the Group in Croatia is construction of the first five star hotel in the centre of Zadar, which will operate under the name Hyatt Regency Zadar Maraska. Upon completion of this project, the total investment amount of the Dogus Group in Croatia will rise to 350 million Euros.
In addition, the FIC assembly also announced a major investment gathering in June that will present the best examples of countries in the region for attracting foreign investment.
It's always interesting to get back to the past and to compare it to the present. That's why we love to see old footages from Dubrovnik. The recent one, published by Footagepro, shows the Old City back in 1971. It was shot by an Austrian filmaker while touring Yugoslavia.
The beauty of the Old City doesn't change during the years and almost 50 years back Dubrovnik looked as pretty as now. Movie was obviously made during the summer, but at the start or end of the season, since everybody have short sleeves on, but some are wearing their sweaters just in case. It's quite touristy and there are many people walking around. Green market is especially crowded but on the other hand, now iconic Banje Beach is almost empty – maybe it wasn't a good day for swimming. It's interesting to see the car parked right in front of the Rector's Palace! Prijeko Street is almost completely different because there are no restaurant tables and chairs, but there are many children just sitting around and playing. A view from Pile brings that special vintage feeling with all the old cars parked.
Nothing much to say, but – beautiful tour through the past.
Famous American stand-up comedian Pablo Francisco is coming to Croatia! He will have a show in Dom Sportova in Zagreb on 4th of May, as a part of his European tour.
His videos on Youtube have thousands of views and he has a great number of followers on Facebook.
This stand-up comedian is recognized for his humor of course, but also for vocal impressions of famous people including Jackie Chan, Aaron Neville, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Howard Stern, Casey Kasem, Keanu Reeves, Michael J. Fox, Jerry Springer, Don Lapre, Celine Dion, William Hung, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, and most notably Don LaFontaine (the Movie Voiceover King). He also does sound effects and character voices like Count Dracula (as a Spanish Radio DeeJay), Droopy Dog, Chris Rock, R2-D2, Kermit the Frog, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ozzy Osbourne, Ricky Martin, George Clooney, Dennis Haysbert, Anthony Sullivan, Christopher Walken, and Mr. Magoo. He also has a talent for beatboxing.
Not a bad choice if you need a good laugh.
''The first LNG filling station for commercial vehicles in Croatia is expected in the first half of 2018, whilst the interest of carriers will determine whether the station will be opened in Zagreb or in Rijeka'', said Davor Boric, the head of LNG project in Croatia and representatives of the Butan Plin Novigrad company which is to build the first Croatia's LNG filling station.
The infrastructure for LNG filling stations should be set up in all major cities by 2020, whilst the complete network is expected by 2030. In addition, the infrastructure should be built at 11 motorway locations by 2025 at the latest, it was said at the presentation of a project for the introduction of liquefied natural gas in Croatia's road transport in Zagreb on the 7th of March.
According to the words of Boric, there is also a plan to open LNG filling stations in seaports for maritime transport and the first one will be built in Split.
Furthermore, each station will cost 1 million Euros; the Butan Plin Novigrad company will invest half of the money, whilst the other half will be financed from European Union funds, as part of the Connecting Europe Facility program.
Whilst Croatia is waiting for its first LNG filling station, some other European countries have already have wide networks; Sweden has five, France has four filling stations and eleven more under construction, Italy has four etc.
The presentation of the LNG filling stations project in Croatia was organized by the Group for LNG, CNG and biogas which works within the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), in cooperation with the Benussi company from Pula.
According to Ugur Cantimur, the general manager of the Turkish Airlines office in Croatia, the office was not affected by last year's decline in tourism in Turkey, on the contrary, in 2017 they expect even more passengers than the previous year on flights to and from Croatia.
Since Turkish Airlines opened its office in Zagreb in 1998, the air carrier has recorded increase in air traffic almost every year. It is interesting to note that passengers voted Turkish Airlines the best air carrier in Europe for the sixth time in a row.
''This is an obligation for us to be even better in 2017. Despite the decreased number of passengers on our flights to Turkey and Istanbul, we expect that we will compensate it with flights from Croatia to other destinations, mostly to America and the Far East where we have a large number of passengers for Croatia'', explained Cantimur.
Turkish Airlines operates flights from the Croatian capital 14 times a week to destinations in the US and the Far East, whilst from last year's May the air carrier operates flights every day from Dubrovnik.
The CEO of Turkish Airlines office in Croatia also commented that they were very pleased with flights from Dubrovnik and that they hoped that 2017 would bring even more passengers, especially in July when the air carrier will launch flights from Croatia to Pukhet in Thailand. It is interesting to note that the airline recently launched flights to Havana, Caracas, the Seychelles and Zanzibar.
The latest data show that in the period between January and November in 2016, Turkish Airlines carried 58,3 million passengers, or 1,7 million passengers more compared to the same period in 2015. The company operates flights to 296 world destinations, which is the biggest number of destinations among all airline companies in the world.
All indicators suggest that this year should be another bumper year for Dubrovnik’s tourism business. And we can expect more Austrians and Germans in the region than ever before. Reports in the German media show that bookings for Croatia are well up on 2016.
The most popular destinations for German tourists for 2017 are Greece, the Balearic Islands and then Croatia. One of the reasons that bookings for Croatia and well up on last year is the collapse of Turkey as a holiday destination. Figures show that a massive 58 percent fewer Germans plan to travel to Turkey this year compare to 2016. And just to highlight how terrible the figures are a huge 40 percent fewer German tourists actually travelled to Turkey last year.
And there is more good news from Austria. The leading newspaper in Vienna, Der Standard, writes that Dubrovnik is one of the most favourable destinations for tourists this summer season. Traditional holiday hotspots such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Rome and Paris are still more popular than Dubrovnik however according to Der Standard Dubrovnik stands out because of the low taxes in hotel accommodation. For example, in Rome the tax for a overnight stay ranges between 5 and 7 Euros, while in Dubrovnik it is 1 Euro for adults and 50 cents for children, regardless of how many stars the hotel has.
Legendary British rock band, The Cult, are to play a concert in the Croatian capital on the 27th of June.
This is the first time that The Cult have been to Croatia in eight years, a country where they have a solid fan base. In 2009 the British band sold out their concert in Zagreb. And now they will be making their first large appearance in the open air. The organisers have brought together all of the rock and metal concerts scheduled for June under the name Zagreb RockFest.
In June Mastodon and Ministry will be playing in Tvornica, and on the 26th of June, one day before The Cult, the Prophets of Rage, House of Pain and Black Peaks will also be playing at Šalata. Ian Astbury and his lads are after all the biggest draw, guaranteeing a top-drawer concert. Tickets go on sale on the 3rd of March at 200 Kuna and can be purchased at www.eventim.hr.
Blustery south winds brought with them crashing waves and rain today in Dubrovnik. The south winds started blowing on Sunday and overcast skies have brought rain. Today the waves crashed down on the iconic Banje Beach near the Old City of Dubrovnik.
The weather forecasters predict that the rain will end tomorrow and more stable weather with the odd ray of sunshine should be the norm until the end of the week.
Check out this stunning photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat
The Embassy of the State of Israel and the Virovitica-Podravina County in cooperation with the Israel Export Institute and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) have organized a seminar on agriculture titled ''The use of new technologies in agriculture''.
The seminar was held in the city of Virovitica on the 6th of March, whilst similar lectures will also take place in other Croatian cities such as Osijek, Slavonski Brod, Koprivnica and Vrbovec.
Experts from Israel's leading agricultural companies (NETAFIM, ND Project, PROFIT AGRO, Afimilk, ICL Fertilizers, ADAM) shared their experience and knowledge in order to inform local farmers on new technologies in agriculture regarding irrigation, greenhouse production, dairy, fertilizers and plant protection.
On this occasion, the Israeli consul Irit Shneor explained, ''Israeli technology can be applied in Croatia. That is why we brought representatives of our most progressive companies that specialize in this technology. Israel is the leading country in agriculture technology. We are very successful in the development of modern technologies in order to compensate the fact that our geographical conditions may not be favourable for agricultural production. In addition, we invented the system of drip irrigation, but there is also soil solarisation, usage of wastewater for irrigation etc. You would be surprised to see how our deserts ''bloom'' and how everything is so green''.
On the other hand, Igor Androvic, the head of the Department of Economic affairs, Agriculture and EU funds commented, ''If we bear in mind that Israel produces most of its food on the area of 310,000 hectares, then this is definitely a country that can be an example for others''.