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 Dubrovnik Times and Gulliver Travel have teamed up this summer season to offer you some great travel prizes! Stay tuned to The Dubrovnik Times and win with Gulliver Travel!
Easy to enter all we need is your creativity!
Simply add #gulliverexplore to your travel photos and the best photo, as decided by our jury, will win two tickets to explore the beauties of Pelješac and Korčula. Use your imagination!
“History, heritage and splendid nature, how lucky you are to live here,” commented the couple from Germany as we sat sipping wine in a family vineyard in the heart of the Pelješac Peninsular. I couldn’t argue with them. It had been a few years since I travelled across the Pelješac Peninsular and onto the island of Korčula. To be honest I don’t know why I had waited so long.
Famous Legends of Pelješac and Korčula, that was the title of the excursion I was on with Gulliver Travel, just the headline intrigued me. Just to set the scene for those of you who have never been to this region of Dubrovnik. The Pelješac Peninsular stretches out like a green finger into the turquoise Adriatic Sea for around 40 miles, it is in fact the second longest peninsular in the whole of Croatia. A long, thin slice of land indented by a mountain range, the mountain runs like a spine through the centre of this green paradise.
Our day-trip started in the town of Ston. Located at the very joint of the peninsular with the mainland Ston has a rich and fascinating history, for a relatively small destination it has so much crammed in. The second longest defensive wall runs from one side of Ston to the other, you can even walk part of it, and then there are the salt pans that were so important in the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Yes, that’s the reason why they built such an impressive wall. “In the height of the Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries salt was almost as valuable as silver,” stated our friendly guide. We had a short break in Ston, enough time to explore and grab a coffee.
Back onto the coach and now we were entering the green heart of the peninsular. The views from the bus are wonderful, rolling vineyards cling to the mountain sides, on the left is the sea, and then it appeared again on the right. “It is probably safer to be driven than to drive,” I commented to English couple behind me. They knew exactly what I meant, the view was extremely distracting.
Orebić was our next destination where a boat was waiting to whisk us across the Korčula Channel to our island discovery.
Sometimes described in guide books as “Little Dubrovnik” Korčula seems to float on the Adriatic Sea. In fact the portrayal as Little Dubrovnik might be a little unfair, yes historic walls surrounded the old city, and yes terracotta roofs fill the skyline, and yes Korčula had an important role in the history of the whole region. But firstly there is a different feel about Korčula and secondly, and more importantly Korčula doest deserve the description “Little,” in any sense of the word.
The old city is a criss-cross of cobbled streets, a medieval labyrinth, and a city with a soul. “Korčula has had a rich and at times turbulent history,” added our guide as we entered the gate into the Old City.
A tour around the city, an introduction into the legend of Marco Polo’s influence on the city and the island and then some free time to explore the city by ourselves and an excellent lunch in one of the many restaurants, we would recommend the seafood. “It seems that everywhere we go we are met with amazing stories and breathtaking nature,” smiled the German couple whilst we enjoyed a cappuccino in the centre of town.
We spent around three hours in Korcula, but I get the feeling that we could have quite happily spent all day. Back onto our boat and the short trip across the channel where the coach was waiting for us. The organization was running like a Swiss clock.
A short drive back across the peninsular, this time with a view from the other window, and we stopped at a tradition family vineyard for a wine tasting. The family had lived in the same estate for centuries, generation after generation had produced wine and olive oil, these guys knew what they were doing, it certainly showed. We waved goodbye, loaded down with a bottle of red and a bottle of white, the perfect end to a perfect day. “We will remember this day for a long time,” concluded the German couple as we parted, again I couldn’t disagree with them.
By Mark Thomas
The Famous Legends of Pelješac and Korčula is a full-day excursion offered by the Gulliver Travel agency. For more information, including prices, dates and how to book, please visit the Gulliver Travel website here.
Our beautiful town has found its place on another list – a list of 18 places that every woman should visit by herself on the Refinery29.
These days many people decide to travel alone and these kind of trips are quite good for improving, as well as getting confidence. While picking the destinations for the article the author tought about range of factors such as safety, quality of solo activities and the likelihood of meeting other travelers.
It's no surprise that Dubrovnik has a lot to offer to solo travelers, in this case ladies, and that's why it found place among cities like Amsterdam, Bergen, Hong Kong, Verona and others.
- While the walled city makes a memorable appearance as the setting for King's Landing in Game of Thrones, it has a lot more to offer than Instagram backdrops for fans of the show. The seaport is home to some of the best-preserved city walls in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages. And what's behind them is equally enthralling – it's written in the article.
According to the website Timeout.com Korcula and Mljet in the top 10 Croatian islands. Korcula is situated on the fourth place on the list, while Mljet is 6th.
The author praises Korcula because its white wine, enchanting woodlans, and calls it ''a mix of quiet hamlets and vineyards tangled up in the woods, and fishing villages dotted along the winding coast.''
- Korcula town is often dubbed ‘Little Dubrovnik’ because of its formidable medieval walls, but it has its own attractions to offer, too: you can visit a dedicated Marco Polo gallery (Croats claim he was born here; Venetians vehemently disagree; the museum is edifying either way), and a beautiful cathedral – adds the author at Timeout.com.
When it comes to Mljet, on this website it got a title of 'one of the most edenlike spots in the Dalmatian archipelago'.
- Mljet is improbably green and salubriously lush, and is home to an expansive variety of sea creatures that swim (like the cast of Finding Nemo, we like to think) off the island’s coast. Two salted lakes – Veliko and Malo Jezero – lure swimmers into their still waters, and an especially delicious local variety of goats’ cheese lures them into the restaurants afterwards – writes the author.
The passenger railway line between Sarajevo and Zagreb will soon be improved by introducing Talgo modern tilting trains, announced Federation Rail of Bosnia and Herzegovina in a statement.
Rifat Cabric CEO of the company confirmed for Sarajevo newspaper Dnevni Avaz that the final preparations for Talgo coaches to be put into service are in the process and that two capitals will be connected within two months.
‘’Talgo maintenance team is already in Sarajevo performing technical inspection of the trains’’, said Cabric adding that all necessary permits have been issued in Croatia.
The existing railway line between Zagreb and Sarajevo operates with old coaches in poor conditions and takes more than ten hours.
The Federation Rail of Bosnia and Herzegovina bought nine sets of Talgo coaches from Spanish Talgo train company for 67.5 million Euros almost ten years ago. Even though the Spanish manufacturer delivered the coaches in 2010 they haven’t been put into service until now. This delay was accounted with various reasons mainly of a technical nature.
‘’After so many years of waiting the most important thing for us is to put these coaches into service’’, said Cabric. He also added that due to the limited capacity of the passenger railway traffic it might be necessary to rent a part of the coach sets to Turkish Rail.
The Talgo coaches are modern equipped with comfortable seats, internet, TV and shower cabins.
The first formal flight between Zagreb and Lisbon with 97 passengers was welcomed with water cannons in colours of the Croatian flag at Lisbon Airport yesterday. This route will be operated three times a week during summer until the end of October. But if there is demand flights between these two capitals will be operated during the winter months, too.
''We are convinced that direct flights will enable stronger cooperation between our two countries in business terms. We are delighted to enable Croatian people more access to natural, cultural and historical beauty of Portugal'', said Krešimir Kučko, the CEO of Croatia Airlines at Lisbon Airport greeting all guests in Portuguese. Lisbon Portela Airport officially known as Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport handles around 20 million passengers annually. The first happy landing of the Croatian carrier with 97 passengers was also welcomed with a song recited by a Portuguese poet.
''If we compare the number of Portuguese tourists in Croatia with the number of flights that have been operated so far between two countries, it seems that Croatia Airlines flights on this route will be fully booked'', said the Croatian Ambassador to Portugal Ivan Maričić. This year Croatia Airlines operates direct flights from Croatia to 35 destinations in twenty European countries. Apart from Lisbon new destinations this year are Prague, Milan and Sankt Petersburg.
The largest ever Chinese delegation to visit Croatia arrived in Zagreb on Monday the 30th of May to attend a business summit organized by the Chinese Embassy in Zagreb, the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) and China's Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). The representatives of more than 50 companies from the Chinese region of Zhejiang met their counterparts in Croatia in order to explore new business opportunities, develop stronger economic relations and expand cooperation between these two countries.
The region of Zhejiang with a population of over 54 million is also known as the 'Land of Fish and Rice' and introduced the 'Zhejiang model' which combines supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship whilst undertaking large investments in public infrastructure.
The Chinese companies from this region previously cooperated with Croatian companies in the fields of tourism development, cultural education, shipbuilding and harbour construction. Today they cover a spectrum of industries such as trade, communications, chemicals, energy, car-making, electronics and food industry. The most famous company is Alibaba the biggest Chinese online store.
Croatia and China had trade worth 585 million Euros in 2014 with Croatia importing eight times more goods from China than exporting to it.
A vice president of CCPIT Wang Jinzhen said that economic cooperation between China and Croatia was getting stronger and that Croatia had the biggest chance in tourism.
''Chinese people travel more and more these days. In a few years China will 'produce' around 100 million tourists and that is a great opportunity for Croatia. You have to make your beautiful coastline more accessible to Chinese people'', commented Mr Jinzhen.
The outstanding geostrategic position of Croatia as well as developed infrastructure in the country was also emphasized at the summit as one of the country's advantages in the faster transportation of goods.
Luka Burilovic president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) said that two countries could achieve major cooperation in many fields and pointed out that HGK was to open its branch in Shangai.
Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra announces a concert of baroque and film music tomorrow, 31 June at the Rector's Palace. String Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Slobodan Begic and this combination has already become a favorite program among the audiences.
It is a program that includes works by A. Corelli , Dubrovnik composer Luka Sorkocevic, but also by Piazzolla, with the famous sounds of blockbusters such as Titanic, The Godfather, Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond, theme song of the Game of Thrones series and others. This concert is popular because it combines baroque music and modern sound of your favorite blockbusters, and because of that it always gathers great number of visitors.
The concert is scheduled for 9 pm and tickets for the concert can be purchased at the office of Dubrovnik symphony orchestra from 9 am to 2 pm, online at www.dso.hr and www.ulaznice.hr, in the gift shop Dubravka on Pile, the KIC Luza, the agency Perla Adriatica on Ploce, and at the door one hour before the concert.