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.
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.
Dubrovnik is choking today under a thick fog of orange as south winds have blown up sands from the Sahara. The historic old city is invisible from the observation points, cars and buildings have turned an orange hue and the seas are crashing against the rocks.
“I my sixty years of living in Dubrovnik I have never experienced anything like this before,” explained a local resident to The Dubrovnik Times. “Let’s just hope that it doesn’t start to rain as the whole city will be covered in sand,” he added.
Gale force southerly winds blew overnight and brought with them a thick blanket of sand. Residents woke to find their cars completely covered in yellow, sandy blotches. And during the morning the wind has picked up and made conditions even worse, residents and tourists can be seen shielding their faces and covering their mouths to avoid getting a lungful of sand.
This African sand has almost completely blotted out the sun in Dubrovnik and the while city has an eerie golden glow. Whereas Dubrovnik is recognised all over the world as a destination of mild winters and long hot summers, today Dubrovnik is in a sand storm!
''To be or not to be'' are the world famous words from Hamlet. More interesting is that those very words were spoken so many times on the fort of Lovrjenac as the same fort was used as a stage for one of the most famous Shakespeare's plays. Did you know that among the many Hamlets that have been performed on Lovrijenac was also the Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis?
Fort Lovrjenac, often called ''Dubrovnik's Gibraltar'' is another monumental and impressive fortress outside the city walls at the western side of the city. It rises on a steep cliff about 37 meters high. The chroniclers of Dubrovnik wrote an interesting story about its origin. At the beginning of the 11th century the Venetians intended to build a large fort on the same spot in order to keep Dubrovnik under their power. The people of the city discovered this intention and immediately decided to build a fortress on this almost inaccessible rock in the shortest possible time.
According to the chronicles the building of Lovrjenac was completed in only three months. When the Venetian ships laden with building materials arrived they could do nothing but to admit that they had been outwitted by the citizens of Dubrovnik and returned home to Venice. The fortress has extremely thick walls (4-12 meters) on three sides, the northern, the western and the south-western ones i.e. those facing the direction of a possible enemy attacks. The eastern wall facing the city is only 60 cm thick. Why? Well, this was another of the clever precautions of the government of the Republic of Ragusa. If any of the commanders of the fortress had tried to usurp the power of the city, the Republic could have solved the problem by using heavy artillery from other fortresses and destroying the eastern wall. Thus all possible attempts of this kind would have been defeated.
If you visit Lovrjenac, and I highly recommend that you do, above the entrance gate you'll notice an inscription in Latin ''Non Bene Pro Toto Libertas Venditur Auro'' meaning ''Freedom is not to be sold for all the treasures in the world''.
Lovrjenac Fortress in Dubrovnik
The Mercedes Benz Global Training 2016 in Dubrovnik is still in full swing in Dubrovnik. The massive event started on the 9th of February in Dubrovnik and is based in two hotel resorts, at Valamar on Babin Kuk and in Radisson in Orasac. Over 15,000 sales staff and coordinators from 120 different countries are expected to pass through Dubrovnik in this global event.
During the Mercedes Global Training several new models will have their European premiere, such as the new C, S and E classes. There have been training events for the participants in the Port of Dubrovnik, at both resorts and also through the streets of the city. Locals have got used to seeing top of the range Mercedes with German number plates driving around.
The Old City of Dubrovnik has been the centrepiece for many of these luxury German cars with a selection of Mercedes exhibited in various attractive positions.
Check out this new video of the Mercedes in the historic old city of Dubrovnik.
Under the command of Captain Marc Masse the first MSC cruise ship for this season arrived at the Port of Dubrovnik this morning. MSC Magnifica, with a crew of 1,000 and carrying 2,400 passengers, will dock in Dubrovnik.
This mega cruise ship will arrive in Dubrovnik every Friday, and from the 26th of May the cruise ship MSC Sinfonia will also start to arrive every Thursday.
It is expected that MSC Cruises will achieve 60 arrivals in Dubrovnik in 2016 and bring a total of 180,000 passengers. The season, this year, will close in early November with the last sailing of MSC Magnifica.
In addition to Dubrovnik, MSC Sinfonia will sail to Split on Sundays and bring a total of 50,000 passengers on 20 different arrivals.
The first day of spring was marked in the Bugenvila restaurant with the hosting of the Goût de France 2016 event. There was a real French colour to the restaurant last night as guests enjoyed a creative menu.
Goût de France 2016
The Goût de France is an initiative that was organized on the initiative of Alain Ducasse and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in France. 1,000 chefs on five continents prepared a French evening on the 21st of March, the first day of spring, and ten restaurants in Croatia were hand selected to enter the celebration, the Bugenvila restaurant in Cavtat was amongst this select few.
“The first day of spring symbolises a time of new beginnings, and I think that we have found the right combination in our menu for Goût de France,” commented the founder and co-owner of Bugenvila, Igor Korousic, to The Dubrovnik Times.
Amazing evening in Bugenvila
Guests were treated to a colourful menu, including a spectacular course of Cotes de Boeuf, smoked Bone Marrow, Morrels, Black Trumpets and Bell Peppers. French cheeses and wines were also on offer in an evening that proved an impressive success.
“We are very pleased with the evening, it is great to see so many guests supporting this worthy Goût de France evening,” concluded Korousic.
Head Chef Lukasz Widomski
Colourful French evening