Monday, 1 August 2022

From Rovinj to Vukovar, Join the TCN Community Cost of Living Checker

August 1, 2022 - Prices are rising, and they vary a LOT across Croatia. We are looking for volunteers to join the TCN cost of living checker community initiative. Are you in?

We live in very uncertain times - pandemics, wars, and economic slowdown. Things seem to change every week, including prices. Rising inflation is sadly a global reality, and the imminent introduction of the Euro to Croatia will also have an impact.

There are other factors too, such as the tourist season, where some supermarkets inflate prices in the peak months to maximise profits.

So just how much are prices rising, how much more will they rise with the Euro, and what are the differences in prices around the country?

In an experiment at community participation, we are testing the TCN cost of living checker and asking for volunteers from around the country to collect information on prices of a selected set of staple items with popular brands, as well as the price of gas and electricity where you are, and to fill in a simple form once a month for an initial 6 months. 

If we get a good response, this will help our data partners extrapolate a number of reports which should make quite interesting reading - how much prices are rising, which items are getting more expensive, what are the differences in price in and out of the season, as well as between different destinations.

Here is the list of items we have selected, filled in from the Konzum Online store by way of demonstration.

konzum.JPG

All we ask is that you commit to going to the same supermarket once a month and marking the prices in kuna (and preferably euro, but Excel can calculate that), as well as any notes, such as are they on special offer (akcija). A photo of the front of the store would also be requested. And the price per kW and m3 of your monthly gas and electricity bill. 

Please note that we are looking for different supermarkets, not just Konzum, and all participants will be credited (unless they prefer not to be).

We would like to cover at least 20 places if possible - so far, we have volunteers for Zagreb Centre, Zagreb Crnomerec, Pula, Osijek, Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Trogir.

We would love to include as many as possible, including Split (centre), Split (suburbs), Makarska, Krk, Zadar, Sibenik, Rijeka, Rovinj, Karlovac, Varazdin, Slavonski Brod, Sinj, and Cakovec. All others welcome.

blank-survey.JPG

Above is the simple blank form to fill in - I can email a bigger version if required.

If there is enough interest to get involved, we will make this a regular monthly feature tracking the changes in prices and the variations between destinations. Which place in Croatia do you think will be the cheapest, and which the most expensive?

If you would like to get involved, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Survey (Destination name), and I will be in touch with more details. Would like to start this week. It might even be fun...

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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.

20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: the Insider Guide to Surviving Croatia will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Monday, 1 August 2022

Swearing in Croatian - The Curious Creativity of the K Word

August the 1st, 2022 - We've explored the infamous J word and the equally infamous P word, and as we make our way through the alphabet (in no particular order, might I add) in our swearing in Croatian series, we need to look at a letter that is just as diverse and creative as both J and P, the glorious letter K. 

K is the first letter of the word kurac, which, unlike the letter P which focuses entirely on the female sexual organ, focuses on the male one. And, just like the P word, swearing in Croatian and using the K word can be used in all sorts of situations, in fact, it wouldn't really be out of place in just about any situation your mind can think of. Let's delve deeper.

Isti kurac - Literally, ''the same dick'', but the correct English translation would simply be ''the same shit''. Bottled water and that free stuff you get from the tap? The same shit. All political parties? The same shit. 

Za misji kurac - Literally, ''for a mouse's dick''. Struggling to make sense of just when the sexual organ of a small, impossibly cute rodent might be used in a sentence? I'll help you out. ''God, that missed us by a mouse's dick!''. ''That was close! For a mouse's dick!''

Turski kurac - Literally, a ''Turkish dick''. You'd use this when describing someone who is pushy and/or aggressive in their approach. ''He came at me like a damn Turkish dick!''

Truli kurac - Something worthless, useless, a waste of time and energy. Something might also mean someone in this case, too.

Boli me kurac - This is a funny one, it literally translates to ''my dick hurts'', but not in the sense you're thinking. Context is important when it comes to swearing in Croatian. The best way to really translate this would be ''I don't give a shit'' ''Like I give a shit'' ''I couldn't care less'' or ''I'm not bothered at all'' about whatever the issue at hand is.

Pun mi je kurac - ''My dick is full''. No, really. But it doesn't mean it in the literal sense. This is used when you're describing to someone just how much you've had enough of something. It's a bit like saying you're at the end of your rope or you've had enough of something (negative) to last you a lifetime. It can also be used how the Brits use the bizarre measurement of a ''f*ck tonne'' of something. ''She has a f*ck tonne of shoes, surely she can lend you a pair'' would be ''Ona ima pun kurac cipela, valjda ti moze posuditi jedne'' in Croatian.

Kurac od ovce - Quite literally, ''a sheep's dick''. In British English, you'd probably translate this as ''easy peasy'' if you were using the child friendly version, or if you're speaking freely in a room of adults, you'd probably say ''it was a piece of piss'' (which is a very amusing British English term, because urine is a liquid, and I'm not sure how one obtains a ''piece of piss'', but I digress). It's used to describe something very easy, something that was a piece of cake, and sometimes if something (or even someone) was worthless or a waste of time. Again, context is the best thing to look at when dropping sheep genitals into any given conversation.

(S)kurcan - To be listless in some way. To be neither here nor there.

M(a)rs/goni se u kurac - To put it politely, to go forth and multiply. To return to wherever you came from, or to get lost/to piss off.

Kurcina - Something went horribly wrong or in a way it definitely shouldn't have.

Za kurac - Literally ''for the dick''. It's a bit like saying something has ''gone to the dogs'' in British English terminology. It's when something is worthless, pointless, meaningless, or something that has gone to hell/to rot.

Ici na kurac - Used when something is getting on your nerves or irritating you.

Evo ti kurac - ''You're getting nothing.''

Kurac cu to napraviti - ''There's no way I'm going to do that.''

Kurcic - Literally, ''a small dick''. This is used to refer to an unimportant person, particularly in cases when said person thinks they're something special.

Koji kurac? - ''What the f*ck?''

 

For more on Croatian language and of course, swearing in Croatian, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Another Delay From Zagreb-Split Train: "Sorry, We'll Refund 50%"

August the 1st, 2022 - Croatia isn't known for its high speed, uber efficient train network. In fact, it's quite the opposite, and it doesn't really seem as if anyone quite knows what to do about it. A Zagreb-Split train was recently delayed, one of many of late, by 134 minutes in total.

We've recently had stories about a train driver simply deciding not to turn up to work, leaving passengers waiting around for far longer than they should have, and one about an employee falling asleep on the job, causing issues for yet another train. Will it ever get better, you might ask?

As Morski writes, the Zagreb-Split train carrying passengers was due to arrive in the Dalmatian port city on Friday at 15:20, but instead, it arrived 134 minutes late. Croatian Railways (HZ), who have been having to do an awful lot of explaining lately, says that the problems started when the train's air conditioner malfunctioned at 16:10 at the train station in Karlovac.

''Given that the bus operator couldn't provide the three buses needed to transport the passengers sitting on train 523 within 60 minutes, a second unit was sent from Zagreb Central Station, which left Karlovac station 92 minutes late, and then arrived at the Split train station with a 134 minute delay,'' they stated from Croatian Railways.

The train which has ended up being faced with issues and delays is otherwise a recently introduced line that runs from Osijek to Split, and it is, it seems, very regularly late.

Croatian Railways will refund all passengers 50% of their purchased ticket price.

Croatian Railways apologised to the passengers on the Zagreb-Split train and told them that they are free to exercise their right to compensation for the delay.

In case the train is delayed from 60 to 119 minutes, compensation is paid in the amount of 25% of the original ticket price. And if, as is the situation in this case, the delay is longer than 120 minutes, compensation is paid in the amount of 50% of the ticket price, as reported by Index.

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

Monday, 1 August 2022

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season Pushes Spending and GDP Up

August the 1st, 2022 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season is succeeding in pushing GDP and spending up, but with the German stagnation still ongoing, things on that front continue to remain a valid concern from a very important market for the country.

As Morski writes, thanks to the excellent Croatian 2022 tourist season so far, spending and consumption back in June continued to grow on an annual basis for the seventeenth month in a row: retail sales increased by 3.8 percent, and at the same rate, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows, industrial production also increased, for the second month in a row and more rapidly than back in May.

These latest indicators confirm previous announcements that economic activity in the second quarter of the year could be even higher than it has been during the first and that GDP growth should exceed five percent this year despite the negative consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, this means that consumers aren't aware of the circumstances in which they find themselves, as reported by Jutarnji list. While it continued to grow on an annual basis, retail trade fell by 1 percent compared to the month of May, which also recorded a faster annual growth of 4.3 percent.

While the data on fiscal receipts and invoices for June pointed to a strong growth in retail trade turnover, as noted by RBA analysts, "it was certainly supported by increased tourist spending", and indicators of consumer optimism simultaneously pointed to a slowdown in the annual growth rate, "which recorded deterioration on a monthly and annual basis in June".

Disposable income

The consumption structure itself points to the increased caution of consumers, given that the turnover of food, beverages and tobacco products is growing at a rate of 5.2 percent, on an annual basis, while non-food products (except for the trade in motor fuels and lubricants) fell by 0.3 percent. However, for as long as the Croatian 2022 tourist season continues to last, it is quite likely that encouraging figures will thankfully prevail across the nation.

''We expect a good season and a double-digit growth rate of both physical and financial indicators, which will positively affect consumption. This will certainly contribute to the preservation of disposable income and thus have a positive effect on retail trends,'' concluded the aforementioned RBA analysis. However, the effect of the base period and the strong uncertainty due to geopolitical events, they believe, will certainly slow down the dynamics of positive changes in trade activity. The high perception of inflation, which is strongly influenced by the rise in food and energy prices, also has a direct effect on restraining consumption.

What the Croatian economy can expect largely depends on global trends, especially in Eurozone countries that are its main foreign trade partners, and which it is set to join on the first day of 2023.

The latest data suggests that the Eurozone's economy is more resilient than previously expected. According to Eurostat's initial data, GDP in the second quarter increased by 0.7 percent compared to the previous three months, while economists expected a growth of only 0.2 percent. In addition, despite the shock caused by the war in Ukraine, growth accelerated compared to the first quarter, when it stood at 0.5 percent. Nevertheless, the data indicates that the German economy is very much stagnating, and as stated by the statistical office Destatis, this is primarily due to "weak trade".

While Germany is visibly suffering the consequences of higher energy prices and inflation, the leaders in terms of growth in the Eurozone are now Spain (+1.1), Italy (+1.0), France and other countries that are supported by tourism and higher consumption. Quarterly declines were recorded by Latvia (-1.4 percent), Lithuania (-0.4 percent) and Portugal (-0.2 percent), but year-on-year growth rates were positive for all countries.

Although the Eurozone achieved faster growth than expected, the pressure on the cost of living is still intensifying. The official estimate of inflation for the month of July reached 8.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent back in June.

Across the pond, the USA is in recession...

Analysts pointed out that difficult days are yet to come for the Eurozone, especially for Germany. A technical recession in that country, the Dutch Ing Group analyst Carsten Brzeski pointed out, "looks like a done deal", given the high prices of energy and raw materials that continue to undermine purchasing power and profit margins.

The American economy, on the other hand, is technically already in recession after the announcement that GDP fell for the second quarter in a row, by 0.9 percent. At the same time, in an effort to curb inflation, the US central bank raised key interest rates by a further 0.75 percentage points. However, they said that any further moves will depend on future economic indicators, so a slower pace of monetary policy tightening is now expected.

Production growth is modest, remaining below two percent.

Industrial production back in June grew by 3.8 percent on an annual basis, and by 1.2 percent compared to the previous month. Almost all sectors recorded solid growth, especially the production of capital goods (12 percent) and energy (9.6 percent). Only the production of durable consumer goods fell, 4.7 percent. However, this year, a modest growth rate is expected on average, below two percent, RBA analysts estimate. The main reason for this is the potentially unfavourable influence of geopolitical conflicts, "that is, the dependence of certain important Croatian trade partners on Russia,'' concluded Jutarnji.

For more on the Croatian 2022 tourist season, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Groznjan Jazz Programme Gathers Generations from Multiple Countries

August the 1st, 2022 - The Groznjan jazz programme has succeeded in gathering together generations of jazz music lovers from a multitude of different countries from all across the world.

As Morski writes, exceptional cooperation between participants of various educational programmes and their mentors, along with top-notch knowledge and great talent have been woven into the foundations of the International Cultural Centre of Croatian Musical Youth under whose auspices jazz programmes are being held in Groznjan, which is fondly referred to the smallest jazz metropolis in the world.

The Groznjan jazz programme, Festival Jazz is Back! BP, the Summer Jazz School and the Croatia Drum Camp, has successfully brought together all generations from as many as twenty countries spanning four continents, as well as a large audience, that enthusiastically followed the musicians this summer.

Along with the main organiser, Croatian Musical Youth (HGM), the co-organisers of Festival Jazz is Back! BP, is the Istrian Municipality of Groznjan itself, and the Polyvalent Cultural Centre in Groznjan.

''With its favourable geographical, climatic and traffic conditions, this small, old Istrian town on the one hand optimally meets the needs of artists and the Musical Youth for a place to gather together and work, and on the other hand, the artists and the Musical Youth offered a superior programme back to Groznjan,'' pointed out Dubravka Dujmovic Kusan, the secretary of the HGM.

The participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were from all over Croatia, Germany, the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as wellas Israel, Bulgaria, Austria, Australia, USA, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Russia, Puerto Rico, Greece, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Workshops were held daily as part of the Groznjan jazz programme, and music was also played on the streets of this quaint Istrian town, sometimes in an organised manner, and sometimes quite spontaneously, which was enjoyed by both Croatian and foreign visitors to the town.

It is important to mention that the participants of the Groznjan jazz programme were accompanied by their mentors Luis Bonilla, Alex Sipiagin, Famoudou don Moye, Elvis Penava, Karlheinz Miklin Jr., Lea Lovrencic, Joe Kaplowitz, Goran Rukavina, John Riley, Dick Oatts and Marko Lazaric. Also performing were Jim Rotondi, Jon Boutellier, Gary Smulyan, Andrea Pozza, Aldo Zunino, Bernd Reiter, Primoz Grasic, Mario Mavrin, Vid Jamnik, Blaz Jurjevcic and Tijan Grasic, all of them being truly excellent musicians immortalised by their numerous awards, and among them were and multiple Grammy and Porina winners.

Zvjezdan Ruzic, Borna Sercar and Lado, Zdenka Kovacicek and the Green House Band, Amira Medunjanin and Ante Gelo, Branko Sterpin, Srdjan Kolarevic, Srdjan Kuzmanovic, Marco Quarantotto and Edi Maruzin with the Edi East Trance Blues Band also performed as part of the Groznjan jazz programme.

Young talent is continuing to arrive in Groznjan to attend the string seminar led by Andjelko Krpan, Milan Cunko, Branimir Pusticki and Ilin Dime Dimovski, and the programmes of the International Cultural Centre of the Croatian Musical Youth in Groznjan are going to be held until the middle of September.

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

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival to be Held from 23 Sept to 9 Oct

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - The 52nd edition of the Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival will take place in this northern Croatian city from 23 September to 9 October, and the programme will include 35 concerts in 15 towns in six counties, the organisers have announced at a recent news conference.

This year's partner country is the Republic of Ireland.

The festival will kick off with a concert by the Irish Baroque Orchestra on 23 September, and an Irish youth orchestra will also perform a week later. An Irish Corner will be set up in Varaždin as part of a supporting programme..

Irish Ambassador Ruaidhri Mark Dowling said it was an honour for his country to be the partner.

So far, the partner countries have been Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Israel, Austria, the Russian Federation, Italy, France, Spain, Hungary, Japan and Sweden.

"The Varaždin Baroque Evening Festival is the most important music and stage event in central Croatia, founded in 1971, and today, as a specialised festival of early music, it is one of the most eminent festivals of its kind in the world. The festival is under the permanent auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia awarded it national significance 20 years ago," the festival's website says.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Eel Brudet, Traditional Boats added to Register of Cultural Properties

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - The art of preparing Neretva eel brudet, or brodetto, and the art of building and navigating traditional boats in the Kvarner region of the northern Adriatic have been added to the Croatian Register of Cultural Properties, the Ministry of Culture and Media has announced on its website.

Eels and brudet are inseparably connected with the way of life of the people in the Neretva river valley of southern Croatia and are part of their identity. Neretva brudet belongs to the Mediterranean family of simple dishes based on locally available ingredients, and today, with eels in shorty supply, it is prepared only on special occasions, the ministry said.

The intangible value of the art of building and navigating traditional boats in the Kvarner region is reflected in the transfer of knowledge and skills related to this aspect of cultural heritage throughout the 20th century. Builders of traditional boats, such as "pasara", "gajeta" and "guc", make them to their own design or to order, the ministry said.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Tourism and Investment Ace Damir Vandjelic to Lead RoomOrders Expansion

July 31, 2022 - DELAWARE, United States_ Highly accomplished manager Damir Vandjelic, who previously presided over an HRK 8 billion tourism portfolio, has been appointed CEO of RoomOrders Global, bolstering the start-up’s international expansion.

Vandjelic, who has held executive positions in leading companies like Pliva, Interbrew, Croatia osiguranje and INA, notably headed capital investment in tobacco, tourism and fish-farming giant Adris Group.

Vandjelic, who will focus on strategic expansion across European resorts and raising capital, will join RoomOrders Inc. CEO Eugene Brcic Jones, who will focus on the group’s marketing and PR from its US headquarters.  

“Mr Vandjelic is among Croatia’s most capable business leaders today and his understanding of the hotels and resorts sector in Croatia, as well as Europe, is very impressive,” said Brcic Jones. “I look forward to working with Damir and synergising with our internationals operations.”

“This is a major coup for RoomOrders,” said RoomOrders Inc. founder and Chairman Viktor Matic. “There is a long list of strong corporations pursuing Mr. Vandjelic as well as political parties, who see him as a candidate for Croatia’s highest offices.”

“Luckily Mr. Vandjelic is eager to share his vast experience in the start-up sector and is able to juggle RoomOrders with his other engagements,” Matic said.

Matic revealed that Vandjelic has already dabbled in several start-ups and hopes his experience and relations will elevate RoomOrders as it enters a period of accelerated growth.

RoomOrders is a cloud self-serve platform that allows guests contactless ordering and payment of food and beverages in hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes; whether they are in lobbies, rooftops, or poolside and beachside deckchairs, using their own smart devices.

RoomOrders is used in about 300 venues across the world, including leading hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott, IHG and Accor.

Vandjelic most recently held the position of Chairman-Supervisory Board at INA-Industrija nafte dd and Chairman-Supervisory Board of Cromaris dd. He was also on the board of Croatia osiguranje dd and Member-Management Board at Adris Grupa dd and Member of Adria Resorts doo. In his past career, Vandjelic was Chairman-Management Board at Croatia osiguranje dd. and also president of Council of HANFA, a financial regulator in Croatia. Vandjelic received an MBA in economics from The University of Liverpool.

“I am glad to be joining this exciting group of local entrepreneurs, who have already positioned their brand internationally as a leader in the hospitality industry,” Vandjelic said.

“Mobile ordering and payments is a trending sector and I hope to put RoomOrders in good stead when it becomes a booming sector very soon.”

“There is strong potential across Adriatic beaches, particularly camping sites and resorts, which can easily be replicated globally,” Vandjelic said.

The corona virus has had a major impact on hospitality providers, with many forced to close completely in nationwide lockdowns over the past two years. However, many surveys indicate that one of the first things people want to do emerging from the forced seclusion is to go and dine with friends.

Hoteliers have resisted digitalisation fearing it would remove a key ingredient of hospitality – ‘human touch.’

However, low-touch technology is now not only becoming an interesting idea, but a necessity.

                                                               —————–

RoomOrders Global is a part of the RoomOrders Inc. group, providing a mobile ordering and payments solution for hospitality, particularly hotels and resorts. RoomOrders is used in some 300 leading venues across the world, from New York, Barcelona to Sydney.

For more information visit www.roomorders.com or contact Eugene Brcic Jones on 385-95-777-8743.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Deputy PM's Head of Office Remanded in Investigative Custody

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - Dalibor Šemper, head of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga, has been remanded in investigative custody after seriously injuring a child in a road accident and trying to flee from the scene. 

Karlovac County Court investigating judge Elma Kaleb Mamić confirmed to Hina on Sunday after a two-hour hearing that she had upheld the prosecution motion and ordered one-month detention because of the risk of the suspect interfering with witnesses and repeating the crime.

The accident occurred on Friday evening in Štikada, near Gračac, about 70 kilometres inland from the coastal city of Zadar. The 45-year-old driver, driving under the influence of alcohol, skidded off the road and hit a 10-year-old boy who was walking by the edge of the road in the opposite direction.

Prosecutors said after the hearing that the suspect had failed to administer first aid to the injured boy even though he could have. The suspect left the scene but was soon stopped by members of the public.

The child suffered multiple injuries and was transferred to the Gospić General Hospital and from there to the Zagreb Clinical Hospital Centre, where he underwent surgery on Saturday. "He is now in stable condition and his life is not in danger," the hospital's director Ante Ćorušić told Hina.

Deputy Prime Minister Anja Šimpraga confirmed to Hina on Saturday that the driver was the head of her office.

Šimpraga said that the police were investigating the case and that she would initiate the procedure for the dismissal of her head of office.

"As soon as we learnt this, we contacted the boy's family to express our regret for this unacceptable and unjustifiable act. What is most important is that the child's condition is stable, and we wish him a speedy recovery," Šimpraga said.

Sunday, 31 July 2022

"Hospital" for Griffon Vultures Opens on Cres island

ZAGREB, 31 July, 2022 - A new "hospital" for griffon vultures, with an indoor and an outdoor enclosure for intensive care, has been opened in Beli on the northern Adriatic island of Cres as part of a project to enhance the capacity of the Beli Rescue Centre for Griffon Vultures.

The value of the project, which includes the necessary diagnostic and laboratory equipment, is HRK 888,000 (€117,300), of which HRK 755,000 (€100,000) was allocated by the European Union, while the rest came from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund.

The newly-renovated facility will be of great assistance to young vultures when they fall into the sea during their initial flights. Their rescue and recovery will contribute to the survival of griffon vultures in the Kvarner region, the last population of this species in Croatia which is protected by law, the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County administration said earlier week.

Primorje-Gorski Kotar County is committed to preserving its biodiversity, especially protected species, County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said at the opening ceremony.

The Beli Rescue Centre treats any griffon vultures found injured, sick, exhausted or poisoned, helping them to recover and return to nature.

Currently, about 125 couples of griffon vultures nest in the Kvarner region, most of them on Cres island. A dozen birds on average, mainly young vultures, are saved from death annually and are given care at the Rescue Centre.

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