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.
The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, visited Peljesac this Saturday and expressed his conviction that the complaints regarding the tender for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge will be solved quickly and that the project will continue according to the plans.
Plenkovic commented that he believes that the State Commission for Public Procurement will resolve the complaints related to the tender for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge. The future Pelješac Bridge project received a 357 million Euro grant from the European Union, however when the Chinese Company, China Road and Bridge Corporation won the public tender the other companies in the tender all launched appeals.
Croatian Roads had decided that the offer from the Chinese consortium was the most favourable for the first phase of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge with access roads, and that the European Commission will finance 85 percent of the project. However, the process was then placed on hold as the Italian, Turkish and Austrian construction companies that had placed bids for the Peljesac Bridge all lodged official complaints.
Speaking at an opening of a school on the Peljesac peninsular on Saturday the Prime Minster stated that “We are continuing with the project and I believe that we will implement it in accordance with the plan if not until the end of the mandate of this government, certainly at the beginning of the next mandate of the Croatian Parliament and Government and finally finalize the strategic issue for both Peljesac and Dubrovnik-Neretva County.” He added that with the new bridge the region would have a faster connection to the rest of the country and avoid the lengthy traffic jams that form when passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This incredible video by Domenika Loncar was shot today from the ancient walls of the city of Dubrovnik and show the force of the sea crashing into the Bay of Pile. Gale force south winds have been blowing for a few days, and are forecast to continue until the middle of next week, and have brought with them high seas, rain and overcast skies.
Ferries were stopped from running today as the rough seas brought nautical transport to a standstill. Just a few weeks ago this normally calm bay was the scene of the last season of Game of Thrones, now it looks more like a scene from Titanic.
Quite clearly the name of Dubrovnik travels far and wide. This cutting from a Swedish newspaper was sent to us by a reader from Sweden who clearly has Dubrovnik roots as he commented “I am happy when I see Hallandsposten advertising my home city of Dubrovnik, good job Halmstad.”
This advert for Dubrovnik was featured in the daily Swedish newspaper Hallandsposten from Halmstad. And yes we translated the text for you, well Google did literally, “start the summer with a semester in May.”
It was all smiles in Ston today as the wine flowed and the oysters disappeared. On St. Joseph’s Day Ston traditionally celebrates with The Day of Oysters Festivals and as always this picturesque seaside town was packed. Even the recent bad weather didn’t stop the festivities as this seafood delicacy was devoured by hundreds of festival-goers. The oyster is the trademark cuisine of Ston and with good music, a few drops of Peljesac wine and laughter the day was perfect.
“This is magnificent. Ston oysters are a delicacy that are popular all over the world,” commented a local. The clear and clean sea of the Bay of Mali Ston with the correct ratio of minerals and salt, mixed with karst from fresh water springs means that this is the ideal spot for growing oysters.
The Croatian Prime Minster, Andrej Plenkovic, also attended the Day of Oysters and commented that “More than 60 percent of Croatian oysters come from Ston and the Croatian government will encourage various stimulation measures,” concluded Plenkovic.
There is a film starring Hugh Grant that I have always enjoyed, in fact it is based on a true story, and is called “The Man Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.” I did just the opposite of this at the weekend. I went up a mountain and came down a hill.
The very next day after several hundred women climbed to the top of the 1,234 metre peak of Sniježnica I did the same thing. Instead of a hundred women on Sniježnica this was a married couple and two dogs on Sniježnica. Now right at the start I have to be honest and say that I have never really been a great fan of walking up hills and mountains and anything that has snow. Far from it, if it’s flat it’s fine, if its uphill I avoid. However, “carpe diem” as I have never been to the top of the highest peak in the region before I agreed to my wife’s proposal.
Yes, my wife is the hiker in our family, well my wife and our two dogs to be more precise. I have always thought it strange that the mountain was 1,234 metres high, seems like perfect symmetry. But to make matters even more strange did you know that there is a drop in the Adriatic, almost directly opposite of Sniježnica which is 1,234 metre deep. Now that is the Twilight Zone!
Se we set off, with me still thinking that I would be able to conquer the 34 metres and leave the 1,200 to another day. Firstly, what an absolutely glorious piece of countryside, world class! We parked at the bottom and the evidence of the hundreds of women who had trod this route just the day before was everywhere, hanging in the air, almost mocking me.
The start, well the start almost finished me early on. My calves started to burn, my lungs exploded and my knees locked up. If it was going to be like this the whole way to the top, I would need the Mountain Rescue to fly in with a helicopter soon. But just like sex the more I tried the easier it became. “Are you sure you are OK,” asked my wife as sweat ran down my forehead. I nodded. I would have answered her with a “yes, I’m fine, what a lovely view,” but my lungs could either breath or speak, not the two at the same time. Marathon runners say that when running at some point you hit an imaginary wall that stops you in your tracks and you just have to push on through it. It had hit the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China and if Trump had built a wall, then his as well.
Thankfully my saviour was Mother Nature. I have seen some beautiful nature in my time on this earth but the views from the Sniježnica mountain must be up there in the top three. “Shall we stop for a rest,” asked my wife. I wanted to say “I thought you’d never ask,” but yes you guessed it I just nodded in agreement. I collapsed to the grassy floor like one of Mike Tyson’s opponents.
My dog and I had something in common – both out tongues were hanging out gasping for water.
And then as I lay crumpled on the grass I suddenly realised why hiking up mountains is so popular. It is completely silent. The whistle of the wind, the occasional bird and that is about it. Way above the hustle and bustle of the Dubrovnik café bars I soaked up the peace like a sponge. We pushed further upwards. Would I need an oxygen bottle? To be honest I could have done with a bottle about 300 metres from my car. And then Mother Nature decided to change the situation. I was in good form now, my muscles had warmed up and I was leaping like a mountain goat. But the weather had closed in.
Low clouds, or fog, I don’t really know the difference, had covered the top and was coming down towards us. Just my luck. I’ll get to the top of this bloody thing and won’t be able to see my hand in front of my face! So we reached the 1,000 metre mark, so near and yet so far, and decided to take an alternative route back down. Like I said, I went up a mountain and came down a hill. We climbed over a small ridge and before us an incredible panorama, the snow topped mountains in the distance peeking through the clouds.
I think it was George Bernard Shaw who described Montenegro as a “sea of mountains,” he wasn’t wrong. Unspoilt nature as far as the eye could see and apart from the path we were walking on, not a manmade object in sight. Mankind can build the highest buildings, paint the most exquisite paintings, design the most beautiful objects but we will never ever get anywhere close to the magnificence of nature, not even close. I will be back Sniježnica, and next time I am coming to sit on your head!
Several packages of marijuana have floated into Dubrovnik! From the early morning hours police boats have been circling the waters around Dubrovnik trying to locate the marijuana that has floated into Dubrovnik.
The heavy south winds appear to have brought not only plastic bottles from Albania but also marijuana. It is assumed that the packages were ejected or fell over board from a ship transporting them from Montenegro to Italy but other routes have not been excluded by the police.
According to a statement from the spokesperson from the Dubrovnik Police, Andrija Biskup, the police boats are scanning the Old City harbour and around the Old City in search of more packets. It is still undetermined exactly how many floating packages of the drug there are and whether more have been washed ashore.
Croatia has its first ever medal at a Winter Paralympic Games. Bruno Bošnjak brought the first medal to Croatia when he won the bronze today in the snowboarding discipline “banked slalom” in Pyeongchang.
"I am delighted to be involved in the history of Croatian performances in the Winter Paralympics by winning the first medal for my homeland, and I dedicate this success to my parents, trainers and all those who believe in me,” commented Bošnjak at the end of the competition.
Bošnjak secured the bronze with a time of 54.08 seconds. American Noah Elliott, with a time of 51.90 seconds, won gold and silver was won by American Mike Schultz with a time of 53.42 seconds.
Dubrovnik awoke to grey overcast skies and rain this morning as the predicted period of unstable weather began. And the bad news is that it is not going to get sunnier any time soon.
The forecast for the weekend, and for the next week, is for rain and cloud cover with temperatures ranging from 8 to 14 degrees. This weekend will be wet and windy with a predominately south wind bringing high seas and rain. Highs on Saturday are expected to reach 15 degrees and on Sunday 17 degrees.
All of next week, from Monday to Friday, rain will fall on the Dubrovnik region with south winds blowing for most of the week. Summer is officially 77 days away but with the current weather it feels miles away.