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.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind,” once said a wise man. Individuality must be respected; conformity is a slow poison that will kill any society. When you follow the herd, as unfortunately many people in Dubrovnik do, you become lost in the fog.
Some people try so hard not to stick out, not to raise their heads above the ramparts, they spend most of their lives blending in, and when they succeed they become invisible. Of course in a small place, any small place, sticking out from the crowd takes courage. Dubrovnik lacks individuals. It can be seen at every turn. It is slowly but surely suffocating the creativity of our society.
“It must be hard to be a black sheep here,” joked the friend across the table from me. “Everyone seems so desperate to be a white sheep,” he added. He had been in Dubrovnik for exactly three days and already he had got to the heart of the problem. “There are a few grey sheep but black ones are killed at birth,” I said with smile. “It is a small town, so fear of the unknown is normal, much easier just to go with the flow, even if the flow is against your principles,” he concluded. He was right.
Differences are often treated with fear. Being part of a mass only helps to nurture that fear. We spend so much time worrying what other people think that we ignore our own feelings. I have found that I am beginning to conform, I realised it the other day. It may have been growing for a few years, and I don’t like it. I actually found myself agreeing with the gossip, towing the line, nodding in unison, all to avoid being myself. I didn’t realise at the time, it took a few days to dawn on me and now I feel disgusted.
I have been trying to purge myself over the last few days, going out of my way to be nonconformist, trying as hard as possible to return my status quo of self. It is hard. No one truly succeeds alone, or as the poet John Donne wrote “no man is an island.” So a certain amount of mutual conformity is useful, after all the most beautiful flowers in the world couldn't grow without the soil. But it is probably better to be the flower than the soil.
“It seems to me that when one thing is in fashion every one copies...it is a copy/paste culture,“ added my friend. He was right again. Sometimes the fashion here reminds me of North Korea, only much sexier. Teenagers are by nature rebellious; they are finding themselves and will experiment. But on the other hand they are trying hard to be accepted by their peers. They all have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Unfortunately it seems to me that the angel wins to many times in Dubrovnik.
If a certain hairstyle, a certain pair of trousers, a certain bag or a certain gadget is “in” almost every teenager will have one. Rather than creating their own style they are too quick to raise their arms in surrender and get what everyone else has. Like I already said a more fashionable of North Korea. It is also incredibly boring! I mean painstakingly dull. All the life has been sucked out of them and they are swimming with the rest of the fish, holding back their own style.
It may not be important to be individual, but it IS extremely important to be true to you. Be black or white...don’t be grey. “This is a place in desperate need of fresh blood, new life,” he had finished his coffee now and was ready to chat again. “How strange that the only thing that is unique in this place is a city that was built hundreds of years ago,” now he was in full flow. “Imagine combining the uniqueness of this glorious breathtaking city with some new and contemporary innovations. And how ironic that the city has been chosen to be in one of the most futuristic movies,” he rubbed his brow, deep in thought.
The first step is always the hardest, but there has to be a willing, a desire, to take that step. It’s much easier to stay in the crowd, criticise from a distance, it takes bravery to stand up whilst the rest are sitting. I am not sure that we are ready, I don’t see a desire for change, I am not even sure if we are brave enough. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment,” wrote the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel and The Dubrovnik Times have teamed up to bring you some fantastic prizes for all the family for this Easter period in Dubrovnik. Over the next few weeks the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera is offering a host of prizes, from a Sweet Afternoon at the Sheraton Dubrovnik to a family Easter meal. Follow The Dubrovnik Times and the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to see how you can win this Easter!
“Spa day for two at the Sheraton Dubrovnik”
Relax at the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera with two daily passes into our spacious spa and wellness centre. Swim in the pool, chill out in the Jacuzzi, unwind in the sauna...the choice is yours with these two daily passes to our spa centre. This prize is valid for two people.
To enter this competition all you need to do is count the Easter eggs in this photo, our Easter Hunt competition in the gardens of the Sheraton Dubrovnik.
Tag your answers with #sheratondubrovniktimes the winner will be announced on the 20th of March.
The Competition is open from Saturday the 19th of March and closes at midnight Sunday 20th of March 2016.
Easter Egg Hunt at the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera
What happened when a cat met a drone on the streets of Dubrovnik...well the cat won! This video was taken in front of the St. Ignatius Church in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
A drone had landed on the steps of the church and a curious local cat approached the flying machine. After realising that the drone had no scent the cat became more curious and started prodding the drone with its paw.
Watch the video to see what happened next...Cat vs. Drone.
Drinking coffee in Dubrovnik is not a question of gulping down as quickly as possible, forget your coffee to go, this is coffee to stay. There is no rush, enjoy your drink in peace; the coffee culture of Dubrovnik is a way of life. Locals drink coffee like a fish drinks water.
Unlike many bars, pubs and cafés that you might be used to back home you don’t, I repeat don’t have to pay for your coffee, or any other drink, when you order it. The waiter/waitress will take your order, and yes all of then speak great English, and return with both your drinks and the bill.
Now one of the biggest complaints that we hear from tourists is the fact that the coffee is either a – cold or b – too small. Here are a few tips to avoid these situations, although never expect those barrel sized cups that brand name coffee shops sell in major cities. Firstly order hot milk with your coffee, the waiters hear this often so don’t be shy. And secondly ask for a white coffee, there is normally plenty of choice on the menu but many of them come in espresso sized cups.
Drink up in peace and at your own leisure, no rush like I’ve already mentioned, and when you’ve finished ask to pay. If you fancy another drink then just order, you don’t have to pay for the first drinks until you finished everything. And whilst we are on the price, of course there is a huge difference in price depending on where you want to drink your beverage. If you want to sit in the middle of the Old City, maybe on the Stradun, then you could be paying twice as much than a café further out of the centre, just as you would in any tourist destination or major city. For example a white coffee on the Stradun will be 20 Kunas plus, whilst on the back streets it will be around 10 Kunas.
It is also normal for a glass of tap water to come with your coffee, if it doesn’t then ask, and don’t be fobbed off with the waiter saying that they only have bottled water, that’s a tourist trap. The main point is to take your time; you are on holiday after all.
The cranes of the Pula dockyard turned green last night in a mark of respect to the Global Greening campaign. On the occasion of St Patrick's Day the huge cranes that dominate the Pula skyline were lit green.
Pula and the local office of the Croatian National Tourism Board decided to take part in this campaign following the proposal from the Irish Ambassador Tim Harrington.
Some other cities worldwide that take part in the Global Greening initiative are Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, New York or Munich whose landmarks such as the Colosseum, Christ the Redeemer statue, or the Opera House go green on 17 March, the day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, whose poetic name is Emerald Isle.
Photos - Goran Sebelic / CROPIX
Source / Hina
The final weekend before the Easter weekend and Dubrovnik is getting in the spirit. These new decorations have appeared, almost overnight, today on the Stradun in the heart of the historic Old City.
Easter bunnies, chick and a rather decorative basket full of Easter Eggs can be seen in this photo sent to us by a reader of The Dubrovnik Times. Get yourselves along to the Old City of Dubrovnik and join in the Easter celebrations.
Easter decorations in Dubrovnik
If you are a lover of oysters then Ston is the destination to be this weekend. On Saturday the 19th of March this charming seaside town will once again be hosting their Festival of Oysters.
The bay of Mali Ston is famous all over the world for the quality of its oysters. Clean seas offer the bay of Ston the ideal conditions for growing high quality oysters. And this Saturday in Ston guests to the festival will have the opportunity to taste some of these fine oysters.
Starting from 11am on the 19th of March on the waterfront in Ston the festival will begin. And you will have the chance to try some fine wines from the Peljesac peninsular along with nature’s aphrodisiac. Mussels and other delicacies from the Adriatic Sea will also be on offer.
A new website has been launched that brings all of the national parks of Croatia under one click. All of the country’s eight national parks, as well as eleven nature parks, are featured on the new website www.parkovihrvatske.hr and it is sure to be a useful resource for tourists.
With panoramic photos, information on tickets, virtual tours and fun facts the newly launched website is available in four languages, Croatian, English, German and Italian.
Two of Dubrovnik’s nature gems are featured on the site, the Mljet National Park and the Lastovo archipelago. There are also the national parks of Plitvice lakes, Kornati, Velebit and Krka.
Irina Zupan, the Deputy Minister of Nature Protection, commented that “Visitors will now for the first time have in one place all the information about the nature and national parks in Croatia.” She added that the main goal was to raise public awareness on the important of protecting these areas of natural beauty.