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.
Looking at some of the images on television in the past few days makes me feel like the world is going backwards through history rather than forwards. We are constantly being scared by “strange people”, different from us, coming to our countries, threatening our way of life. It seems so funny to me. I’ve been watching “strange people” around me my whole life.
Growing up in a small town in this part of the world can mean growing up cut off from many global trends and multiculturalism. However, this was not the case in Dubrovnik. Even though the city only had around 50,000 inhabitants for most of its recent past, Dubrovnik has a long history of being a popular travel destination for people from all over the globe. Growing up here meant we got the idea of how diverse and interesting the human race is even without leaving Dubrovnik. It was normal to see people of different religion, race and culture walking our streets and that was a powerful thing for a child like me to get accustomed to. It made me want to travel and explore the world.
Isn’t that what travelling for leisure is all about? It’s going beyond your borders to strange lands meeting people from different backgrounds and getting to know their culture and way of life. For fun, relaxation, and expansion of our intellectual horizons. Not war or conquering. The mere fact that us humans thought of travelling for fun has to mean we truly want to get to know each other, and if we do, it’s going to be much harder to wage wars. When you meet a person different from you, share a laugh and a few words, you can't help but feel instantly connected to them. There is a universal kindness to us humans, regardless of how well it's masked sometimes.
Our hate towards people we haven’t met is only as strong as our lack of understanding for them. Those who profit from war and destruction thrive on our alienation from one another and fear mongering. Don't let them win.
Bozidar Jukic 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.
If you're lucky enough to be in Dubrovnik for this Easter Holiday, you won't be disappointed. The weather forecasters are predicting a warm and sunny weekend, and what is the perfect thing to do on a sunny day in Dubrovnik – visit the island of Lokrum.
For the whole of the Easter weekend the ferries to the picturesque island in front of the historic old city will be free of charge for all passengers. And that’s not all; a decorative wooden Easter Egg, handmade by Dubrovnik primary school children, will be presented to all passengers.
The ferries leave the Old City harbour every hour, on the hour, from 10am to 3pm, with the last boat leaving the island at 4pm. If you're lucky, you might even meet an Easter Bunny too! According to the information from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board an Easter Bunny will be strolling around the streets of the Old City as well as visiting Lokrum, keep your eyes peeled.
If you are looking for something a little more traditional there will be a presentation of Easter Eggs in front of the Sponza Palace in the heart of the Old City. These hand decorated eggs are coloured using a method that has been handed down through generations, they are like little miniature works of art. There will also be a demonstration on how the fronds of the palm leaves are braided, another typical Dubrovnik Easter tradition.
And for food lovers many of the restaurants in Dubrovnik will be participating in an special Easter meal over the weekend, combining the traditional meals with modern cooking, all perfect for a yummy Easter lunch.
Decorating Easter Eggs in Dubrovnik
China is a state of a billion and 380 million citizens and intertwined into this mammoth number are a tiny number of Croatian expats. Around 300 Croats live in China; they are very easily lost in the crowds. So an interesting idea was born – to find and connect Croats in China and a Croatian Association has been founded. An initiative by a group of around 50 Croatians living in China, in Shanghai to be precise, have decided to form a Croatian association. With Croatian Diaspora already active in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Chile, a new member of that club is on the way.
Diasporas in other countries have successfully formed many associations and club, mainly due to the large size of the expat communities. But the situation with Croats in China is completely different. Statistics from the Embassy say that there are only around 300 Croatians living in China, most of them professionals and some students and around 100 of them live in the Shanghai area. However, the number of Croats in China is estimated to be much higher because they have no obligation to inform the Embassy when they arrive. The new Croatian club hopes to connect all members of the Croatian community living in this very populous country.
'This initiative is not new but has taken a long time to be implemented. Living in this region we usually act as individuals and everything is unknown to us. So networking is the way to connect, it is key', commented Ivica Žumbar to the news agency Hina.
Thanks to Žumbar the first unofficial meeting of the club was held last autumn. Around 20 Croatians living in Shanghai gathered that day and the number of members has been slowly increasing ever since. The Croatian Embassy and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in China have recognized the new association.
According to the words of Marina Kramer, the secretary of this new association, important steps were made before the Chinese New Year in order to establish a firm foundation but after the festive period and with the beginning of spring members would start with serious work.
On the official website of the association Hrvatske inicijative Šangaj – Croatian Initiative Shanghai - one can discover important information, the latest news and events related to this small Croatian community in China.
As a conclusion Žumbar added that they were not exclusive and would certainly try to get together all Croatians living in China. New forms of technology and communication would contribute a lot in achieving this goal. Žumbar didn't hide his great satisfaction with the last community gathering held a few weeks ago when around 50 Croatians living in Shanghai and the surrounding area turned up.
The tourism season in Dubrovnik looks set to start with a boom! According to information from the Dubrovnik Tourist Board around 6,000 foreign tourists will arrive in the city for what is considered the traditional beginning of the season, Easter.
Tourists from the UK, Spain, the US and South Korea are expected to be the most numerous in Dubrovnik over the Easter holidays. Many airlines start their flights to the city at Easter and Iberia, Vueling, Eurowings, Finnair, AirLingus, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Norwegian Airlines and easyJet will all arrive this weekend.
The winter hibernation is over for many of the city’s hotels, restaurants and travel organisations, cruise ships have already started docking and the old city is already relatively busy.
The Dubrovnik Tourist Board Dubrovnik Tourist Board has arranged a number of events over the Easter holidays, including concerts, dances and even painting of traditional Easter eggs. For food lovers there is also an “Easter Meal in Dubrovnik” event in which restaurants in the city will prepare traditional Easter dishes.
The historic city of Dubrovnik is slowly getting ready for the summer season, the film crews have gone home, at least for now, and the first cruise ships have arrived. And, just in time, the temporary wooden bridge on the Pile entrance has been removed today, revealing a shiny new wooden bridge.
The temporary bridge was installed in early February whilst work on the bridge began. It wasn’t without its critics, as the pontoon style bridge has steep steps on both sides and proved mission impossible for prams, wheelchairs and citizens carrying shopping bags. Today the situation returned to normal, status quo, when the pontoon bridge was removed and the new, wooden bridge unveiled.
The secretary of the Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, Niko Kapetanic, the organisation that controls and cares for the Dubrovnik City Walls, reported that after the removal of the temporary bridge the work on the lower sides of the entrance walls will continue.
Dubrovnik was awash with terrible weather yesterday, a sand storm choked the city and gale force southerly winds brought crashing seas. Tourists and locals were left in shock as the sun was almost completely blocked out under yellow skies.
The bay under the Lovrjenac Fortress, made famous in the HBO serial Game of Thrones, was the scene of high seas and waves battering the shoreline.
Check out these photos from Tonci Plazibat who was on the spot yesterday.
The Sahara sand storm that has blocked out the sun in Dubrovnik today has also affected other parts of the region. The beautiful island of Korcula was also “under siege” from the thick orange fog.
Our friends at Korcula Explorer sent us this amazing photo of the sand storm descending down over the island. The before and after view is unrecognisable as the sand blocked out the entire mountain view.
Thankfully the African sand cloud seems to have passed Dubrovnik and now the strong southerly winds have brought rain which is slowly washing away the after-effects of the sand storm.
Some of Dubrovnik taxi drivers showed their true colours today by blocking the roundabout in front of the Hilton Imperial Hotel and therefore forcing kindergarten children to struggle past them. The chaos in front of the hotel happened this morning when taxi drivers used the roundabout as a parking space, presumably due to the fact that cruise ships had arrived in the Port of Dubrovnik. The complete collapse of the road forced small children to squeeze between cars and even a wheelchair user was stuck in the mayhem.
The staff of the Hilton Imperial Hotel wrote that “The blockade approached the kindergarten making it mission impossible for children to get to the school. Access for disabled should always be available - which unfortunately was not the case this morning. Such behaviour endangers the safety of the citizens of this city and its visitors. The roundabout in front of the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is NOT a taxi stop. Our city lives from tourism, and this is certainly not the image that we want to send our current and future guests.”
The hotel went onto praise the work of the police and the parking authorities who eventually cleared the blockage.