Tuesday, 1 November 2022

AWFT22 Reflections for Croatia: City of Nimes, Sustainable for 2000 Years

November 1, 2022 - The second edition of the first world forum dedicated to the transformation of the tourism industry, A World For Travel, was held in Nimes, France, from 27 to 28 October. TCN was there to learn about sustainability in travel and tourism. From a journalist's perspective, there was plenty of talk that seemed unactionable or unaccessible to the everyday person. Still, the forum did achieve its primary goal and made us think about the threats that the industry is facing and the fact that there is an urgent need for a change of direction. As for Croatia, there were no representatives, but the hope is that next year's forum will bring a lot more for this tourist destination where the question of sustainability remains very important. 

In TCN, we had a chance to sit with the organisers, the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, large and small businesses that focus on sustainable travel, and other media professionals who have worked on covering this vital topic. Our interviews and reflections are coming in the following days, all with the underlying thought of how Croatia is doing and where we are headed. Before we get to that, let us share what we learned from the city of Nimes.

Nimes was chosen for several reasons: its privileged location on the Rhone Valley-Italy-Spain axis with three direct motorway exits, 2 TGV stations with connections to Paris and Roissy airport, and to the main cities and their airports, not forgetting access to the TER network.

This ancient city is where history has left its mark for 2,000 years, as evidenced by the three main monuments: the amphitheatre, the Maison Carrée, and the Tour Magne, buildings that are today among the best preserved in the world. The vast restoration project of the Nimes amphitheatre, undoubtedly the largest undertaken in France at the beginning of the 21st century, demonstrates the common will to fully assume the heritage that is the pride of the City of Nimes, to preserve it and to transmit it. This restoration concerns the entire monument and is the most important one it has undergone since its origin. It is being carried out without interrupting the public's use of the site and its use for the many shows it hosts, as it has retained its primary function as a performance venue. This project follows the equally exceptional restoration of the Maison Carrée, which took place from 2006 to 2010. This monument represents one of the oldest and best-preserved expressions of a Roman temple dedicated to imperial worship. Its remarkable architectural quality also bears witness to the values of lasting peace, harmony and prosperity that the Roman Empire promoted and sought to guarantee in the first century AD.

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These restoration projects are all the more exceptional because the stones used are still extracted today from the same quarries used by the Romans 2,000 years ago. Did you say sustainable? The unique character of the ancient temple has motivated the city to apply for World Heritage status, an application that will be studied at the next UNESCO session. The protection of its ancient heritage, but also its enhancement, has been the backbone of the numerous urban redevelopment projects that have taken place over the last few decades.

In a constant concern to embellish and improve the living environment of the inhabitants and to make the city accessible to as many people as possible, many improvements have been made to facilitate the use of the city on foot and the organisation of events in the historic centre, not forgetting the connection with the transport network. The principle of intermodality prevails in the urban regeneration programmes and is reflected in the creation of high service level bus lines connected to park-and-ride facilities at the city entrances. A bicycle plan completes the package and is being developed in connection with the cycle paths and European routes that cross the territory.

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Improving the living environment and protecting the inhabitants from the vagaries of nature are priorities for the City, which has developed particularly innovative monitoring and warning tools, of which it was a pioneer. For more than thirty years, the City has been developing a substantial system to protect itself from climatic hazards and to preserve human lives as well as everything that contributes to economic development, including infrastructure. Residents, businesses, local media... all share the culture of risk and the imperative need to respect the measures provided for in the event of a crisis, in the interest of all.

Among the tools at its disposal, Nîmes has adopted a local town planning plan. While it restricts certain constructions and limits urban sprawl, it also guarantees the optimisation of buildable areas by rebuilding the city on itself. The development of numerous gardens and natural spaces, which are essential to avoid rainwater runoff, offer year-round peaceful and recreational spaces to a population that appreciates the conviviality of a human-sized territory. Designed for its inhabitants, these facilities are just as beneficial to the many visitors that Nîmes welcomes throughout the year to discover its heritage or to take part in a cultural or sporting event, or even one of the unmissable events that take place in the Roman city, such as the Emperor's Games, which take its visitors back to antiquity.

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Nimes offers a calendar of events throughout the year in order to provide 4-season tourism and thus spread visitor numbers over the year. Ranked as the 8th greenest city in France according to the Green Cities Observatory and oxygenated by 372 ha of public spaces and 1,080 ha of natural spaces, it has been awarded 4 flowers in the Villes et Villages fleuris (Cities and Villages in Bloom) label and practices ecological management of its green and natural spaces, which is totally in line with the principles of sustainable development.

The city is committed to a sustainable approach with the implementation of global energy performance contracts, particularly in its museums, reducing its expenditure by more than 20% by 2021. It is also stepping up the development of its photovoltaic park and is continuing its work to obtain certification (Eco Réseau label, Sustainable Buildings Occitanie, etc.) to reduce energy consumption. The plan is to reduce the energy consumption of all its buildings of more than 1,000 m² by 40% by 2030 to comply with the requirements of the RTRénovation and RE2020 regulations.

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Nimes Tourism, in its capacity as a Destination Management Organisation, is accompanying the destination's professionals in a classification and labeling process, in collaboration with the CRTL Occitanie, which has placed this theme in its strategy. Already holding several labels, it is also committed to the ISO 20121 approach to strengthen its actions in terms of sustainable tourism. 

In conclusion, while the participation of Nimes in the A World for Travel forum was definitely an excellent marketing move by the town's officials, it wasn't empty promises. The city of Nimes is a truly fascinating little place, where you can feel the effort that has been put into making it a sustainable destination. Lots for Croatia to learn, definitely. And Nimes is not the only place that can teach us something. Next up in our AWFT series: what our neighbours have been up to.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Travel section.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Koncar's Revenue 26.4% Higher Than 2021's in Third Quarter of 2022

November the 1st, 2022 - Many Croatian companies have finally managed to get their revenues back up to reasonable levels in the post-pandemic period, only to have inflationary pressures and spiralling costs cause yet another issue. Koncar, however, has recorded a firm increase when compared to 2021.

As Mladen Miletic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in the third quarter of 2022, Koncar, the largest Croatian exporter and regional leader in the country's power industry, achieved an impressive increase in revenue from the sale of its products and services by 635.9 million kuna, which represents a 26.4% increase in comparison to the results recorded back during same period in what was for this company, a record-breaking 2021.

As much as 61.1% of Koncar's overall income was generated on foreign markets, and at the same time, the growth of newly contracted business and orders was also recorded, which inspires optimism for the future. Along with excellent results in the commercial part of the business, good financial results were also achieved, whereby the consolidated net profit of Koncar's companies amounted to 277.3 million kuna which is equal to 123.9 million kuna or an 80.7 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

With the inclusion of Dalekovod, sales revenues increased by 524.3 million kuna and amounted to 3.562 billion kuna in total. Here on the domestic market, Koncar's companies achieved revenues in the amount of 1.184 billion kuna, which is 268.1 million kuna or 29.3% more than back during the same period last year.

When it comes to exports successfully realised by Koncar, the most significant results were achieved on the demanding German market (332.7 million kuna), which is 40 million kuna more than last year. Sweden (238.8 million) and Austria (95.7 million) follow. Exports to the European Union (EU/single) market as a whole also increased and now amount to 1.343 billion kuna, representing 72.1% of this company's total exports.

For more on Croatian companies, ideas and entrepreneurs, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Valamar's Revenue Growth and Good Results Threatened by Inflation

November the 1st, 2022 - The Croatian company Valamar has enjoyed some excellent results and impressive revenue growth, but could all that end up being threatened by inflationary pressures? It seems rising costs are already making a dint.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to Valamar's business report for the first nine months of 2022, this huge Croatian tourism company achieved results that confirm the recovery of business operations after two years dominated by the public health crisis, and they also indicate the significant impact of the new crisis on business costs.

2.32 billion kuna in operating income was successfully achieved by Valamar, which was an increase of 14% when compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, primarily as a result of an increase in average prices of 19.5%. Operating profit (EBITDA) during the first 9 months of this year reached 943 million kuna, representing growth of 7.7%. The highest growth was achieved by premium hotels and campsites, which confirmed the justification of Valamar's previous investments in tourism with high added value. Northern destinations have also been recording higher demand and faster recovery than southern Croatia has, although hotels down south in Dubrovnik also reached the level of traffic they enjoyed back in 2019 during the main summer season.

Operating costs for the first nine months of 2022 grew by 19% compared to 2019 due to the significant increase in energy costs and the growth of other operating costs under the influence of spiralling and ongoing inflation. Electricity costs increased by a massive 89 million kuna, while other costs increased by a total of 126 million kuna when compared to back in 2019. The biggest impact on the increase in costs has been a staggering three-fold increase in the price of electricity to 230 euros per MWh, due to which, the work of many larger accommodation facilities during the off-season has been shortened.

"With revenue growth of 14% compared to 2019, Valamar Riviera has achieved full recovery from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Through the increase in service prices, primarily the price of accommodation in the premium segment, we managed to amortise the enormous increase in energy costs and the increase we've seen with other operating costs.

Ahead of us is a year full of a lot of uncertainty and challenges owing to the energy crisis, inflation, the cost of financing and geopolitical disturbances, but there's also good news such as Croatia's impending entry into both the Eurozone and into Schengen. The country's tourism sector should turn to the preparation of the next tourist season as soon as possible in order to ensure competitive business conditions and sustainable growth of tourism in time,'' said Zeljko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera.

Despite the crisis, investments in the amount of 530 million kuna were realised this year within several facilities managed by Valamar. The investment in Valamar Amicor Green Resort in the amount of 220 million kuna has significantly raised the quality of the offer on the Central Dalmatian island of Hvar, and refers to the construction of the first summer resort that follows the highest standards of green construction and sustainability. On the mainland in Makarska, the Dalmacija hotel was completely renovated and became Valamar's second lifestyle hotel under the PLACES brand. The Corinthia Hotel in Baska was renovated according to the standards of the Sunny Plus brand, and back in July, the acquisition of the third hotel in Obertauern was finalised, which will open for the 2022/2023 winter season, welcoming guests as Valamar Collection Kesselspitze Hotel 5*.

Valamar is otherwise the largest employer in Croatian tourism by far, employing 7,700 employees this year alone. In order to improve working conditions and retain local employees, 15 million euros were invested this year in salary increases and numerous reward programmes. By entering the TOP 10 most desirable Croatian employers, Valamar has confirmed its long-standing position as the best employer in the country's tourism sector. Back in June this year, Valamar presented its brand new sustainability strategy and ESG goals which it intends to implement until the year 2025, within which, over the next three years to be precise, it plans to become a carbon-neutral company in the first and second scope and to invest 50 million euros in the further development of its destinations and sustainability projects.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Luka Modric Talks War, Childhood and Football (VIDEO)

November 1, 2022 - A rare insight into the Luka Modric childhood story in a rare interview for FIFA ahead of this year's World Cup. 

He is arguably the most famous living Croat, a global superstar whose magic on the football pitch has inspired millions of kids around the world, many of whom wear the Croatian number 10 replica shirt as a sign of their devotion. But the glittering career of Luka Modric and all the global attention is a far cry from him very humble beginnings in Zadar as a child growing up and just wanting to play football.

During the 2018 World Cup, some footage emerged of a 5-year-old Modric herding goats in the hills above Zadar. It was an insight into a totally different world in which the Croatian captain grew up.  

As Croatia prepares for this year's World Cup which kicks off later this month, Modric has given a rare interview about his childhood, which started off idyllicly under the care of his doting grandfather, before war took over their lives and forced them to become refugees.  

Some very candid reflections from Modric on that impressionable time of his life, as well as some rare footage of him playing as a child. A football was never far from his foot seemingly from the moment of birth. 

For more Croatian sports and news features, follow the dedicated TCN sport section

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Croatian Returnee Stories: Jakelina Listes, from Vancouver to Split

November 1, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Jakelina Listes, who moved from Vancouver CA to Split.

Jakelina Listes originally born and raised in Split, Croatia (back in the day, 1971, part of former Yugoslavia). I immigrated to Canada in 2000, came back to Croatia for about a year and a half, and then back to Canada in 2003. I am currently still living in the British Columbia province of Canada, on Vancouver Island’s main city of Victoria, and I am in the process of getting ready for my return to Croatia. I have a degree in social work, and I am currently employed working for the federal government and have a small business making upcycled fashion and jewellery that I do on the side (also on Instagam). I lived in several provinces in Canada and have been involved in the local non-profit sector focusing on immigrants and other inter-cultural issues. 

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

I suppose the idea of me returning back to Croatia was present in my mind forever, as I was homesick for a long time and did not quite find my place in Canada. Despite being here for 20 years, and having a decent life ( in economic terms) and valuable experiences, there was a big part of my life that was missing. It would take a novel to list here all the nuances that make someone's life great and that, when not fulfilled, leaves a gnawing feeling of missing out, longing, and emptiness. 

 My husband, who is Canadian, and I have been talking for a few years now about the possibility of buying some property in Croatia so that we can have a place to retire, thinking it will take years to accomplish this as we are in our early fifties. As time went by, my desire to return back was growing, and so did the search for real estate in Split. 

In my case, the important part of this decision is the fact that Canadian society has changed a lot since I came here, especially during the pandemic years. It has gradually become a society that emphasizes many worldviews that are not compatible with my own values. I think I am simply too tired of trying to find my place here, and I told myself, hey you spent years here and gave it a good shot, but it is time to move on. 

The final decision was made this September after my return from a 4-month-long visit to Split.

During that time, I bought a property in Kastela and settled in instantly, feeling this is it, it feels like home home. Coming back to Canada was hard, especially after being there for months, and something shifted in my mind, and I asked myself, why wait for retirement, why don’t we do what we want sooner while we are still relatively young.

So, here we are, selling our house in Canada and preparing to leave in a few months

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

 Many people here in Canada are a bit surprised by our decision but ultimately see it as something most of them would like to do. Meaning, retire early, still have some good years to enjoy life, and fulfill some of the things we all put aside and never get to it, as life is not that long. My family and friends in Croatia are generally understanding why we want to do this, and are welcoming our return. There are some cautious remarks here and there in the sense that people in Croatia find it strange that my Canadian husband wants to move there just like that.  

3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

As I am from Croatia and have been coming for a visit almost every year for the last 20 years, and I extensively follow what is happening in Croatia via media, social media, and talking to people, I am well aware of the Croatian reality. Unlike some people who were born and raised outside of Croatia and have not lived there, I don’t have illusions about the state of affairs there, and I know what to expect. In other words, the Croatian mentality is very familiar to me.

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

We are very excited actually. I anticipate we will have some headaches dealing with Croatian bureaucracy, but being employed by the biggest ministry in the Canadian government, I can testify that bureaucracy is terrible wherever you go. I have family and friends to help if thighs get stuck, so I don't really have a lot of concerns.  

5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Living abroad for many years gives you a unique perspective on your own homeland. I don’t look at the Croatian reality only from the lenses of someone from there, but also from someone who is coming from quite a different socio-economic and political milieu. This can be very interesting at times and leads to a lot of comparisons where Croatia gets the advantage in certain key elements like, in my case, having family and friends, feeling of belonging, familiarity with the place and culture, mentality, habits, food, etc. On the other side, there are some areas that would benefit from some of the attitudes that are more prevalent in Canada. 

At this stage in life, the Croatian lifestyle suits me better.

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6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like. 

Croatia for people like me is very different than it would be for my husband or for those Croats born and raised outside of Croatia. I have a strong connection to my hometown and think it is a great place to live (even though, realistically there are a lot of things that are not great). For me, it is truly coming back home. I like that when I walk around Split, I have memories of places and people, I know its locations and history, and it means something.  As I mentioned before, I know what to expect and how to go about it, which is what some other returnees who never lived in Croatia before often struggle with. 

What I don’t like is what is wrong with many other parts of the world, incompetent and corrupt ruling class, exploitative economy, environmental degradation, and the overall decline in basic human decency. I also do not enjoy the chaotic tourism industry that Split succumbs to and the total lack of vision and planning for the city so that it can thrive for 12 months a year, not just in summer. 

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

To leave the expectations that things in Croatia are or are supposed to be the same or similar to wherever you are returning from. To remind yourself why you decided to move there in the first place, and set what your priorities are. To adapt to local culture and embrace it as that is the only way to adjust to a new reality and meet people and ultimately feel like it is a place you can call home.  

8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

There is for sure a need for people to get more easily accessible information on what needs to be done for getting medical care, residency, driving licence, etc. Also, an agency or center that would serve immigrants to Croatia, regardless of where they come from, would be a logical move, as there are more foreigners coming to live and work in Croatia. I think tools such as Paul’s new book that speaks about just that- survival for foreigners in Croatia are also great assets. Another thing that any immigrant, even a returnee from the diaspora, can use is to observe people and their surroundings and be curious and ask, engage, show interest. That is a fantastic way to learn your way around a new culture. And let’s be honest, coming to Croatia from the diaspora is basically coming to a new culture. 

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Thanks, Jakelina, and good luck with stonethreadsjewellery.com

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You can follow the TCN Croatian Returnees series here.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Monday, 31 October 2022

Unseasonably Warm Weather in Dalmatia (and Elsewhere)

October 31, 2022 - After their visit to the cemeteries for the All Saints' Day, the people in Dalmatia can go straight to the beach and the sea this year, enjoying the warm weather.

This is a very rare occurrence in Dalmatia, with temperatures this high, both air and sea temperature. There are always those extremely brave and persistent individuals who swim year-round, but this year it's something else, Slobodna Dalmacija writes.

And it seems that the current warm weather is to continue well into November. These days, the sea temperature is 19° to 21° C along the coast, which is warm enough for a pleasant swim. Slavko Radilović, PhD, a forecaster of the State Hydrometeorological Institute in Split, says that the air temperatures of 24° to 25° degrees are here to stay for the upcoming days. 

People from the islands tell Slobodna reporters how they're picking their olives and going for a swim in the sea afterwords, which is something they've never experienced before. The forecaster Radilović confirms that the extreme situation is probably the result of global warming, which prolongs the period of relatively high temperatures all the way to September and October, so these weather conditions of the last few days are not strange either. The sea temperature goes up to 22 degrees because there is no wind, and as air temperatures get to 26 degrees, the sea can't even cool down. The high-pressure field has been creating frequent fogs in the last ten days, both in continental Croatia and in some regions by the sea, such as around Zadar.

The upcoming two days will not see any wind, and when there is no wind, there is nothing to bring cold air. When the northern wind, so-called bura appears, it will bring some cold air from the continent, only then will the sea cool down. However, the forecast is that before that happens, the southern wind will bring rain to the region. Looking more broadly, he says that this October fits perfectly into the ten-year period of global warming.

Monday, 31 October 2022

Rimac Nevera Gets Tested on Top Gear!

October 30, 2022 - Confirming its popularity in the world of hypercars, Rimac Nevera finds itself in the first episode of the current season of Top Gear!

The previously extremely popular car show started its 33rd series on BBC last night, and one of the segments of the show was presenter Chris Harris' test of the Croatian super-product, the Rimac Nevera electric car.

You can see the segment yourself, and judge how well the Nevera did while being tested by one of the strictest evaluators in the business.

Mate Rimac, the owner of the Rimac brand and company, couldn't resist boasting about his car and the segment on his Facebook profile:

If you watched the segment carefully, something might've caught your eye, a detail that Rimac himself later shared on his Facebook as well: the licence plate of the car which was parked in the Top Gear studio for filming read Zg-MAGLA-1, which translates to English as "fog". It's clearly a reference to numerous people in Croatia who continue not to believe in Rimac's success story and insist on calling him "a fog merchant" (which is a common Croatian phrase, meaning "fiction monger").

Suppose you've been following Rimac's story and rise to fame. In that case, you might remember that his cars have already had their brush with fame (or, some might say, infamy) when a former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond, tested Rimac's Concept One in Switzerland, with explosive results.

 

Monday, 31 October 2022

Reflections of The Cure in Zagreb from a 53-Year-Old Fan

November 1, 2022 - My live music dreams have finally all been fulfilled after last week's visit of The Cure to Zagreb. Reflections of a 53-year-old fan.

It is a strange feeling finally going to see one of your favourite bands for over 30 years at the tender age of 53, with your two teenage kids in tow, one of them impressively dressed as a Goth and knowing more of their songs these days than I do. 

Zagreb has been very good to me musically. Back in the Eighties, I was fortunate to see many of my musical heroes in their prime: the original Sisters of Mercy on their farewell tour of 1985; a quite unforgettable 15-minute set at 1am by The Jesus and Mary Chain at the legendary Manchester Hacienda in 1984; and sneaking out of boarding school to catch Siouxsie and the Banshees in Preston the following year. 

But there were four bands and artists I still really wanted to see live decades later.  And Zagreb has delivered all four over the years. Never has the saying 'Better late than never' been more true. 

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I missed out on the Smiths in Manchester in 1986, but was compensated by Morrissey in Zagreb.  Leonard Cohen, at the age of 75, lit up the Zagreb Arena for over three hours. And when I was invited to a private audience with one other journalist to interview the man himself, Johnny Rotten, my life was almost complete. There was just one more band that I had to see to make my musical journey complete. 

If The Smiths assuaged my teenage suicidal feelings back in the mid-1980s, it was The Cure which helped me through a broken relationship 25 years ago. Disintegration, Close to You, and Pictures of You would drown out the misery I was feeling. Although he will never know who I am, Robert Smith has been a part of my life since I came across him first as the Banshees guitarist in about 1984. My Cure fest a quarter of a century ago was enhanced by my Cure-loving neighbour Darren, whose appreciation of the band pre-dated mine, and he was even a penpal of Smith in those early years, showing me some of the letters over yet one more bottle of wine. 

So long ago, and how would it be to see The Cure today, and what kind of performer was Smith today, now a sprightly 63? As I took the kids into the arena, I looked around and was struck by just how young the crowd was. A whole new generation of fans inspired by this musical genius. 

Was I perhaps too old for this concert? And when did seemingly every fan in the audience film every song rather than actually enjoy the experience? It would be great for embedding YouTube videos for this article for sure. 

I got my answer in the second song on an impressively long set (27 songs and 2 hours 35 on stage). 

Pictures of You. 

Eyes closed. Back to the pain of 1999, my darkened living room, Darren's letters. Cathartic. It had been worth the cost of the ticket in one song. Smith may have aged but he is still a great performer, and so many memories flooded back, of a former life with which I have long ago been at peace. 

One Croatian portal described the concert as something for everyone, and there was certainly a lot of variety, with the first half of the concert a lot heavier and focusing on some new songs from the long-awaited new album.

But there were plenty of older classics, augmented by superb lighting and sound effects. Spiderman is having me for dinner tonight. Lullaby was the first of the second encore, and very welcome for this old fart. Many of the songs before that were unknown to me, and I was hoping for my reminiscing with Disintegration, Just Like Heaven, Close to Me, and a host of Cure hits from when I was young. 

I need not have worried. The second encore was heaven indeed. Among the highlights. 

There was no doubt which was the most popular song of the night - The Cure anthem, Friday I'm in Love, a song known and loved by fans of all generations.

Followed by one on my bucket list - Close to Me

In Between Days - I was rolling back the years to 1985. 

And then another of my must haves, and only one of two songs I will dance to - Just Like Heaven.

And a fitting end to my career attending live concerts, to a song from a band who have helped me shed so many tears over the years - Boys Don't Cry. 

I got what I came for, and more, and looking around the arena at different generations of joy, I could see I was not alone. Magical band, well worth the 30-year wait. 

Full playlist:

1. Alone 2. Pictures of You 3. Closedown 4. A Night LIke This 5. Lovesong 6. And Nothing Is Forever 7. Cold 8. Burn 9. The Hungry Ghost 10. Push 11. Play for Today 12. A Forest 13 The Last Day of Summer 14. Shake Dog Shake 15. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea 16. Endsong

First encore: 17. I Can Never Say Goodbye 18. Want 19. Prayers for Rain 20. One Hundred Years

Second encore : 21. Lullaby 22. The Walk 23. Friday I'm in Love 24. Close to Me 25. In Between Days 26. Just Like Heaven 27. Boys Don't Cry.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Monday, 31 October 2022

Zlatko Dalić Announces Wider 2022 World Cup Croatia Player List

October 31, 2022 - Croatia national team coach Zlatko Dalić announced a wider list of players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

On Wednesday, November 9, Dalić will announce the final list of candidates for the World Cup, which includes between 23 and 26 players. The Croatian Football Federation must submit the definitive list of players to FIFA on November 14. After that, it is possible to change players up to 24 hours before the first match in case of injury, reports HNS.

There are 34 names on Dalić's wider list of candidates, one less than expected after Lovre Kalinić was injured in the match between Lokomotiva and Hajduk on Sunday. Today's MRI showed that Kalinić would not go to Qatar. 

"We are extremely sorry about Lovre, and we wish him a speedy and high-quality recovery. However, this unfortunate event confirms that, at this moment, the most important thing is the players' health. Therefore, we can only wish we have no more news related to injuries until we get together," said coach Dalić.

"There are 34 players on this extended list, so we have enough options in case of unforeseen situations. I am happy that most players are in good shape and that most have good playing time. I believe that everyone will make the most of the next two weeks to be in optimal condition for the gathering that we are all extremely looking forward to," said Dalić.

The Croatia national team will gather on November 13 and 14 in Zagreb before traveling to Riyadh on November 14 for a friendly match against Saudi Arabia scheduled for November 16. Two days later, the national team travels to its base camp in Qatar, where the FIFA World Cup begins on November 20. The 2018 World Cup finalists start their journey on November 23 against Morocco, followed by Canada (November 27) and Belgium (December 1).

Player list

Goalkeepers: Dominik Livaković, Ivica Ivušić, Ivo Grbić, Dominik Kotarski, Nediljko Labrović

Defenders: Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, Borna Barišić, Duje Ćaleta-Car, Josip Juranović, Joško Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Josip Stanišić, Marin Pongračić, Martin Erlić, Josip Šutalo

Midfielders: Luka Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, Marcelo Brozović, Mario Pašalić, Nikola Vlašić, Luka Ivanušec, Lovro Majer, Kristijan Jakić, Luka Sučić, Josip Mišić

Strikers: Ivan Perišić, Andrej Kramarić, Josip Brekalo, Bruno Petković, Mislav Oršić, Ante Budimir, Marko Livaja, Antonio Mirko Čolak

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 31 October 2022

The Croatian Language Explored - The Čakavian Dialect

October the 31st, 2022 - We've delved into the histories and words of old Dalmatian, the Dubrovnik subdialect, the Zagreb dialect, and we've also explored swearing in the Croatian language. Now let's take a look at another of the main dialects, Čakavian.

Čakavian is one of the three main dialects from which standard Croatian language as we now know it is made up, along with Štokavian and Kajkavian, which we've looked into in two of the aforementioned articles. The Čakavian dialect isn't as obscure as many of the dialects spoken across this country, and it stands out from the crowd because it is deemed to have been the basis of the stylisation of the first publicly used standard Croatian language.

Opinions on just how this particular dialect of the Croatian language which is fairly widely spoken vary, so we'll have a quick dive into both the majority and the minority opinions. According to the dominant opinion held by some linguists, during Ottoman encroachment and invasion, there was a push of spoken dialects out towards the west, and those who spoke the Štokavian dialect fled to areas in which Čakavian was primarily spoken. This consisted of bits of the Dalmatian coast and most of the Dalmatian hinterland, as well as parts of Gorski Kotar and Lika, and on most of the islands north of the Peljesac Peninsula. It also included most of Istria and then inland, all the way to Karlovac.

According to the minority opinion, Čakavian developed from the Old Slavic language spoken by certain coastal Croats as a result of linguistic mixing of that language with the remnants of Romanised people who also influenced the language then spoken by the Croats, which caused the emergence of this dialect of the standard Croatian language. Supporters of this opinion also support the fact that there aren't really any collective Čakavian speakers located in the interior of the country except in very specific areas.

Dutch accentologist and linguist Willem Vermeer divided the Čakavian dialect, or in this case language, into three groups: Northwest, Central and Southeast Čakavian.

Glancing outside of the borders of modern Croatia, most Čakavian dialects are spoken in nearby Austria, followed by Slovakia and Hungary where the number of people who speak with this dialect is less. There is a lot more one could say about this history of this dialect of the Croatian language, with different experts having their own classifications and divisions. Vermeer was just one of them, with Iva Lukezic, another expert, having her own division of this way of speaking which is quite different to that of Vermeer as recently as 2012.

Instead of doing a deep dive into that, let's take a look at some Čakavian words with their standard Croatian and English translations. If you happen to have read any of the above-linked articles or know some old Dalmatian, Štokavian or Kajkavian, you'll more than likely recognise several:

Angurija - lubenica/water melon

Banjati se - to bathe or swim/kupati se

Ceno - jeftino/cheap

Delat - raditi/work

Farmacija - ljekarna/pharmacy

Gad - neotrovnica (zmija)/non-venomous snake

Harta - papir/paper

Infishan - zaljubljen/in love

Jadrit - jedriti/sail

Kalmat se - smiriti se/to calm down

Lesica - lisica/fox

Merlin - mrkva/carrot

Navada - navika ili obicaj/a habit or a custom

Oganj - vatra/fire

Pamidor - rajcica/tomato

Razjadit se - naljutiti se/to get angry

Sakamo - svugdje/everywhere

Tancat - plesati/to dance

Ulika - maslina/olive

Vakit - vikati/to shout

Vlasi - kosa/hair

Zrcalo - ogledalo/mirror

 

For more on the Croatian language, from swearing and extinct words to the histories and examples of different dialects, make sure to keep up with our dedicated lifestyle section.

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