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.
Croatia is marking one of the most important dates on the annual calendar, Statehood Day, and the letters of congratulations to the President’s Office have been flooding in.
Pope Francis, US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Italian President Sergio Mattarella have all sent letters of congratulations to the Croatian President and the Croatian people.
Pope Francis voiced hope that commitment to justice and peace would enable the building of a society in which every person could find their place, serenity and happiness. Whilst President Trump said US-Croatia partnership continued to grow stronger, both within NATO, where the two countries' troops stand shoulder to shoulder, defending the common freedom and in the economy and culture. Whilst Putin, who currently has his hands full with the 2018 World Cup said that building mutual co-operation between the two countries was in the interest of building a stable and secure Europe.
Congratulations to Croatian citizens on the occasion of Statehood Day also came from presidents Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria, Prokopios Pavlopoulos of Greece, E. Alain Berset of Switzerland, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico, Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan, Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez of Cuba, Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Abdul Hamid of Bangladesh and Michel Aoun of the Lebanon.
Congratulations were also sent by kings Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrein and Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein of Jordan, Emperor Akihito of Japan and Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman.
Today, the 25th of June, is one of the most important days on the Croatian calendar – Statehood Day. Every year on the 25th of June the country celebrates the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Statehood Day is officially a public holiday.
After the independence referendum held on 19 May 1991, the Croatian Parliament formally proclaimed independence with the Constitutional decision on sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Croatia.
The Statehood Day originally used to be 30 May, marking the day when in 1990 the first post-Communist multi-party Parliament was constituted. There was some controversy in the public regarding which date is more suitable for the day of the statehood. Since 2002, 25 June has prevailed as the Statehood Day, and 30 May is marked a minor holiday, one that is not an off-day.
Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia at the same time, and its Statehood Day coincides with the Croatian Statehood Day, on 25 June.
Looking for a thrill-seeking time in Dubrovnik that you’ll never forget – look no further. The latest, and quite possibly most exciting, attraction in Dubrovnik is Zipline Dubrovnik.
If you are an adrenaline junkie, an adventure hunter or just want to have a whole new experience then Zipline Dubrovnik has it all in bundles. You’ll “fly” high over one of the most picturesque beaches in the region and have unbelievable views over the twinkling turquoise Adriatic and the green islands on the horizon.
Located within easy reach of the city the Zipline Dubrovnik is the newest attraction and without doubt it’s a journey that will be memorable.
It all starts with a training course, yes these guys take this all very seriously, that is held by the Zipline team near the take-off point. The experienced and fully licensed guides will slowly lead you through all the steps you’ll need. At the base camp you’ll get accustomed with the harness, helmet and most importantly how to brake correctly. There is even a mini version of the Zipline so you can have a few practise runs before you take on the big one.
Now, you are ready for the flight of your life, the first Zipline in Dubrovnik. At 250 metres in length and roughly 60 metres above the shoreline it certainly is an impressive sight as you stand ready to speed over the beach.
It’s safety and security all the way as one guide leads you to the start point, and the others wait at the finish line, you’re in confident hands. You are clipped onto the wire and ready to go. It is an amazing feeling as you flash through the air. And then at the other end you’ll see the friendly face of the other guides explaining when to brake.
Rushing through the Dubrovnik sky at 50 km/h or just over 30 mph the sound of the air rushing past fills your ears…a truly unique and enjoyable treat. The whole experience lasts for around an hour and it is an hour you’ll remember for many years to come.
Located in Vrbica the Zipline Dubrovnik has a meeting point with free parking if you are coming by car. It is roughly 3 kilometres from the Dubrovnik Bridge is you are heading towards Split. If you are coming by bus (numbers 12, 15, 21, 22, 26 and 35) then get off at the bus stop in Vrbica just a few metres from the meeting point.
Location – Vrbica – Tri Brata beach
Cost - Price of a zipline tour is 300 Kuna (40€) per person (cash only)
Price includes – Equipment, water, training course, 2 guides and a ride on the Zipline
Booking details – groups are from 2 – 8 people if you want to bring a larger group please contact in advance – you’ll need to book at least two days in advance
Tips from the Zipline team
Zipline is activity in nature so please bring a sport shoes and sport wear. It will be much easier for you to walk on a natural terrain.
Make sure you take enough water because tour lasts for aprox. one hour and during the summer days, temperature can rise.
If you have action camera make sure you bring your helmet mounts or hand mounts with you (we have gopro sticker mount) because your both hands should be on a brake so you are not able to take pictures while riding. Our guides will be happy to take a picture for you if you want to :)
Be aware that we will be in nature, so restroom will not be provided once you get to us.
Please follow the rules and instructions of our guides because only then you will have fun and be safe at the same time.
Here is Zipline Dubrovnik
Parking in Dubrovnik in the summer time is mission impossible but so people have obviously been affected by the heat and have decided to park anywhere.
This driver not only blocked all traffic this morning by parking in the middle of the road near to one of the entrances into the historic city centre but also parked right across a zebra crossing. Tourists and locals were left to find a way around his white van.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only example of terrible parking in Dubrovnik over the past few days as the summer madness continues.
After a few days of slightly unsettled weather, and even the odd thunder storm, the sunshine poured down on Dubrovnik for the start of the weekend.
Temperatures touched thirty degrees and the Adriatic Sea was a tempting 24 degrees. The iconic Banje Beach was a magnet for locals and tourists looking to cool off in the turquoise crystal clear sea.
The forecast for the next seven days is for more of the same, temperatures around 30 degrees, clear blue skies and settled wind conditions.
Check out the photo gallery from the Banje Beach today
What is going on with this weather? Has summer been cancelled this year? Is Mother Nature so furious with Mr. Trump that she has sent cloud loads of rain to pour down on us? Whatever the reason it is driving me crazy and not just because I am getting continually wet.
I can probably count the number of hours sleep I have had over the past week on one hand. And it isn’t because these regular night storms have crashed down on my roof and woke me up. No, something much more sleep disturbing. As you may already know my wife is a keen animal lover. When I say keen maybe fanatic is a better word. She will feed, save, cuddle and look after just about everything with four legs. And I mean everything. Although the number of legs is probably irrelevant as I once caught her cutting up an apple to feed a snake! Yes, our house resembles a zoo. I could almost sell tickets on the door for the grand tour.
We have dogs, cats and now even a family of hedgehogs. Yes, that’s right a family of spiky hedgehogs. Animals seem to wander in and out of our door like a visitors entering the Rector’s Palace. And not just through the door but through the windows! We seem to be constantly feeding something.
Maybe I should get some shares in Whiskers. Now there is one thing that cats like less than water and dogs less than cats and that is storms. They can hear them coming way before we even see a dark sky. Apparently dogs hearing is more than a hundred times better than a human. Yet that doesn’t explain why when I call my dog he ignores me. Now I can sleep through a hurricane but our animals obviously can’t. Just the other day when a particularly bad storm was brewing I was awoken to a vibrating bed. Literally the whole bed was shaking. Was it an earthquake? No, it was out little dog having a fit of anxiety as a storm approached. For some reason she had decided to do this a few millimetres from my ear. So as the trembling bed jolted me out of my dream I was greeted with a heavy panting right into my ear. And then the vibration went to a whole new level on the Richter scale as our overweight Labrador scaled up onto the bed. It seems that anxiety is contagious. The bed was now creaking. I am not sure what the neighbours thought. They were hearing heavy panting and the monotonous creak of the wooden bed. Make your own conclusions.
“I am awake,” said my wife from the darkness. The “disco” on our bed then got even more crowded. “Is that one of the cats?” I quizzed my wife as a bright pair of eyes blinked from the end of the bed. “Yes, and the other one is curled up on my shoulder,” she replied. This was going to be another sleepless night in the Thomas house. The first explosion of white as the lightening hit and through the open window jumped two more cats. On seeing these new intruders, the dogs forgot their fear of thunder and leaped from the bed like jaguars and chased them out. Yes, the two dogs are on the bed with two cats but they recognise who is friend and who is foreign.
We had had exactly 45 minutes’ sleep. Then second flash and the dogs forgot their prey and returned in a hurry to the security of our bed. This went on for a further hour! Cast in, dogs jump, flash of lightening and back to the bed. I had resigned myself to a sleepless night and got up to have a drink. “Oh, I forgot the hedgehogs,” screamed my wife from the bed. That is a sentence you don’t often hear. I heard a rustle of sheets as she got out of the overcrowded bed and peaked her head out of the door. So to cut a long story short we have a small overgrown garden. When we started to cut the grass we found a nest of tiny hedgehogs buried in the undergrowth along with a rather grumpy mother hedgehog. Five little faces peered through the grass. Needless to say the grass cutting stopped and we built a larger nest around their nest just to keep away cats and dogs.
Over the past week my wife had been regularly feeding them and again needless to say they were now part of the family. So what else to do than to cover them up in a rain storm. With two dogs and two cats standing in the doorway watching my wife she carefully placed a cover over their nest.
By now the sun was almost coming up. The rain had stopped. The storm had rolled out over the Adriatic and it was time to get ready for work. Completely exhausted I rubbed my eyes as I got out of the shower to discover two dogs and two cats loudly snoring from our bed. Lucky for some!
With the convincing 3 – 0 victory over Argentina last night Croatia have qualified for the second round the World Cup for the first time since 1998. Croatia are almost certain winners of group D, however with Nigeria’s win over Iceland things have got more complicated and Croatia might not win the group.
All three teams, Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria, have a chance of progressing into the final rounds.
With a win over Nigeria the South Americans could join Croatia in the second round, provided that Iceland don’t beat Croatia. If Argentina beat Nigeria and Iceland beat Croatia then the two national teams will have the same number of points then goal difference will decide who comes second in the group. Currently Iceland have a slightly better goal difference than Argentina, so if they want to pass Iceland they’ll have to beat Nigeria by one more goal than Iceland over Croatia.
Nigeria could still win the group. If Nigeria beat Argentina and Croatia lose to Iceland then Nigeria will be group winners and Croatia will be second. However, Nigeria will have to beat Argentina by a healthy margin to better Croatia’s goal difference which is currently plus five. The Super Eagles could pass in second if they draw with Argentina and Croatia beat Iceland. Iceland need to beat Croatia to have any chance of progressing into the second round.
NEM 2018, an event dedicated to the television industry with an emphasis on the CEE region, was held last week from June 11 to 14 in Dubrovnik in the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. For the sixth year in a row, NEM opened its doors to media experts and this year it gathered more than 800 participants, which marks a new record for attendance. With a little over 50 panelists, top professionals in the television industry who shared their experiences and knowledge with the audience and colleagues, this year's NEM attracted a variety of visitors from all over the world.
Hottest topics and emotional presentations
NEM 2018 will be remembered for its interesting panel discussions, such as “Pay TV: Keeping up with… The Digital Content Game”, where Salim Mukaddam, General Manager and Vice President of BBC Worldwide for CEE, stated that “people are platform-agnostic, wherever the content is, they’re going there”. NEM 2018’s focus on locally-produced content was once again confirmed by Katharina Behrends, NBCUniversal’s Managing Director for CEE, who pointed out that Pay TV should be adjusted to local communities.
One of the hottest topics out there, just a day before the start of the football World Cup, was a panel about the high prices of football rights, which are a result of a multitude of factors. Alex Pinheiro Rotter from Mediapro put it the following way: “Sports is the only property that can bring a lot of audience in a specific time slot, unlike any other property. Even though the interest is highest in the local league, the demand for premium international content, such as the UEFA Champions League and the Big Five, definitely exists.“
The two panels dedicated to local production showed us that local content seems to perform best with the audience for most of the FTAs. Henning Tewes, CEO of RTL Croatia, Matthias Settele, General Director of TV Markiza, Dražen Mavrić, Head of the Management Board at Nova TV, Gabriella Vidus, CEO of RTL Hungary, and Pete Smith, Managing Director of Antenna International, concluded that there is a need for quality screenwriters and that the main drawbacks of local production are its price and the risks that come out of it when discussing younger demographics and digital trends.
Discussing piracy in the region, Damir Novinić, Advisor to the General Manager of Croatian Radiotelevision, said we got ourselves to blame: “Piracy is growing because we are allowing it. We are very inert, very slow to react.” Damir Hajduk, Chairman of the Croatian Agency for Electronic Media, concluded “there is a culture of piracy we have to address”, agreeing with other panelists that enforcing cooperation between all stakeholders is a crucial step in addressing the problem of piracy.
One of the most interesting presentations was surely the one by Arash Pendari on applying AI in the TV industry. Unlike the traditional shallow metadata, Arash’s team at Vionlabs worked in a completely new direction using emotional audio data to provide an advanced user experience for the consumers with individualized content and AI-generated movie trailers.
Another look into the future was provided by LG Electronics which gave insight into a whole new era of television with a presentation by Gyorgy Takacs. The endless possibilities of this amazing TV as well as the best viewing experience make LG OLED TV the leader in premium technologies with ultimate picture quality, ultimate design, and smart artificial intelligence.
How to revamp a 130-year-old brand was a question answered by Christian Brent, SVP of Research & Strategy at National Geographic, in an amazing and emotional presentation.
Exclusive screenings were also part of NEM 2018 and, as every year, participants and guests could see new formats by renowned distribution companies (Global Agency, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, MGM, BBC Studios, Keshet International).
Abundant networking opportunities
Opportunities for networking and socializing were at every turn, with coffee breaks being sponsored by renowned companies such as Viacom, Comcast, A1 Broadcasting and Turkish Airlines. There were also wine tastings organized by Irdeto, as well as a fabulous Wine Tasting with Pickbox in cooperation with Jakovac Wines.
Nevertheless, true networking was happening at traditional NEM evening parties. The first day started with a wonderful sunset and welcome drink by NBCUniversal & Comcast, the second day was concluded with an exclusive party by NEM’s long-time sponsor Eutelsat at the Vala Beach of the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel, whereas FOX Networks Group took care of the exclusive ending of NEM 2018 at the Banje Beach Club in the old town of Dubrovnik.