Thursday, 21 October 2021

Moving from Croatia’s Rain Capital to the Emerald Isle: Let's Talk Weather

Following the first instalment in the series on the realities of Croatian emigration to Ireland, a lighthearted personal blog about everyone’s favourite conversation starter: the weather. 

The first time I went to Ireland, it was to visit my best friend. ‘Pack warm clothes’, she warned. 

In April? 

‘It gets really cold here’, she said. So I packed a coat and a leather jacket, and ended up wearing one over the other on the first night I arrived. But then a miracle happened - the next four days were a blissful sunny stretch of a holiday. We frolicked on beaches and explored castle ruins and sat outside in pubs and cafés. 

IMG 20180420 WA0020

 

- You said the weather was bad.

- It’s not always like this. In fact, it’s never like this. 

- Right. 

 20180420 162952 min

A few months later I returned for a second visit, sticking around a bit longer this time. Well aware that Irish summers have nothing in common with Croatian ones, I packed that jacket again, along with a few sweatshirts and pairs of jeans. What followed was a heatwave Ireland wouldn’t see again in years to follow - temperatures lingered in the high 20s for weeks, hitting 30C on a few occasions. The heat would let up in the evening and we'd meet for pints, cheering as the Croatian national football team made its way to the World Cup final. It was great craic. I just packed terribly, terribly wrong.

IMG 20180628 221820 min

 

Another few months went by and I moved to Ireland for good. Boy, were those holidays the worst case of false advertising I’ve ever seen. 

 

IMG 20210314 171106 min

There’s a reason that weather tops the list of cons in every article ever written about living in Ireland. It is the meteorological equivalent of purgatory - neither very pleasant nor extremely punishing, but miserably lingering somewhere in between. An average day is damp, gloomy, grey, and always just a tad too cold for someone raised on the opposite side of the continent. 

I can’t say I wasn’t warned, though. All jokes and misleading holidays aside, I knew of this in advance and thought I was somewhat prepared. After all, I was born and raised in Rijeka, Croatia’s rain capital. Except.... rain in Rijeka and the rest of Croatia usually translates to short violent downpours or long lasting showers. When it rains, it pours, but when it stops, it’s over

In Ireland, rain is always sort of… there. It’s a two minute shower that starts on your way home from a shop and stops exactly when you walk through your front door, soaking wet. It’s several light sprinkles in a row during your evening walk. It’s not even necessarily falling. Oftentimes it just eerily hovers in the air, a wet mist that clings to your clothes like cobwebs and sticks to your face whenever you move. 

Umbrellas are useless. It’s best to invest in a good waterproof jacket, pop the hood on and call it a day. It took me over two years to do this. I just love coats too much, I used to declare, looking (and probably smelling) like a wet dog. Layering is a skill that took me a while to master. 

--

In my years away from home, what I missed most was a distinct change of seasons. In Croatia, it’s almost palpable - there’s always that one day when you walk out and the air smells different. 

In Ireland, all four seasons change in a day. This is a well-known saying that isn’t just poetic, it’s very much true - the fronts moving in from the Atlantic sweep over the island, resulting in quite variable weather throughout the day. By variable I mean oscillating between overcast, drizzly and horrendous, with an occasional short sunny spell. Clear skies never last too long, but at least there are rainbows aplenty.

IMG 20211020 230213

In a practical sense, the unpredictable weather conditions complicate all outdoor plans that you foolishly keep on making like you don’t know any better. It’s hard to dress and pack for a day trip - on second thought, it’s hard to decide on a destination and activity in the first place. Walking around in a drizzle isn’t too bad, but cliffside hikes can quickly become hazardous as a sudden blast of rain turns the trail into a muddy death trap. 

IMG 20210613 151123 min

You wouldn't want to slip around here even on the sunniest of days.

On the upside, the weather is virtually never extreme. Coming from a country with a fairly warm climate, I would’ve enjoyed a rerun of that first and last heatwave I experienced in Ireland, but I know many people aren’t fans of scorching heat and will prefer a temperate summer. (Temperate is a generous way to phrase it - average summer highs are 19-20C in most parts of the country and slightly lower in the north. Still, it’s nice not being bombarded with warnings not to leave the house between 11AM and 4PM every single day.)

Same goes for winters - they are pretty mellow, the temperature rarely drops below zero, and I’ve seen snow exactly twice in three years. On both occasions, we revelled in the winter wonderland for about an hour before it turned into puddles on the side of the road.

IMG 20211020 231927

Looking back on the last three years, it was kind of depressing to live in a never-ending October. Beforehand, it had seemed frivolous to me to count mildly unpleasant weather among factors to consider before moving to a certain part of the world. We’re not talking about monsoons or serious droughts, it’s just a bit damper than usual and that shouldn’t be too bad, right? Well, as it turns out, when you’re used to a completely different climate, the Irish weather isn’t just a conversation topic that keeps on giving. It can seriously affect your mood and overall health, and it takes quite a lot of adapting which doesn’t happen overnight. 

But once your eyes adjust to the gloom, you start seeing clearly, taking in all the beauty you previously weren’t able to comprehend fully. Outside the confines of a city, the landscape seems to have been designed to be enveloped in a shroud of mist, with overcast skies as a backdrop. It’s insanely atmospheric, and an average cloudy day in Croatia now seems drab in comparison. 

IMG 20200104 142609 min

Another thing that happens is you realize how spoiled you’ve been, thinking that sunshine is your God-given right all year round. Not anymore - but when the sun does decide to come out to play and actually sticks around for a few hours…

IMG 20201212 132135 min

It’s a glorious sight. Colours appear to be more saturated, the entire landscape glistens in the light, and you cherish it all the more because it doesn’t happen every day. 

The rain isn't all that bad. Without it, the landscape wouldn't be as lush, so intensely and outrageously green. It's not called the Emerald Isle for nothing. 

IMG 20210613 130120 min

Read the first part of this series on Croatian emigration to Ireland - accommodation.

For more news and features from the Croatian diaspora, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Traditional Potravlje Hand Pottery Workshop Returns to Sinj

October 20, 2021 - The Sinj Tourist Board will host a traditional Potravlje hand pottery workshop on October 22. 

After a series of successful and well-attended workshops, the Sinj Tourist Board, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and in cooperation with the Cetina Region Museum in Sinj, organizes an educational workshop about traditional pottery from Potravlje after last year's break due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

This year's workshop will be held on Friday, October 22 at 18:00 in the Cetina Region Museum in Sinj. In the introductory part of this educational workshop, participants will hear a fascinating lecture by the museologists who will introduce pottery and its role in developing cultures and civilizations. The workshop leader, Mr. Ivan Knezović, one of the last masters of this traditional craft, will present how this earthenware is made. The participants of the workshop, if they wish, will be able to try their hand at making clay pots with the professional help of master Knezović.

It should be noted that the beginnings of hand pottery date back to the 4th century BC and that the village of Potravlje is its cradle. Namely, the century-old tradition of making earthenware until the Second World War was practiced by about fifty families in the villages of the Cetina region and Potravlje by about twenty of them. In 1774, the famous Italian travel writer Alberto Fortis claimed that Potravlje's rough pots were more durable than those from his homeland.

 

This was the time when households used various earthenware pots, copper for cooking milk or for preparing turkey - rare corn polenta, jars for holding butter and sour milk, pots for storing wine, grain, utensils for barbecue, peka - bell-shaped lids that covered the dough for bread or some other dish on the open hearth, pjati - plates for serving dishes, bowls (shallow bowls), and drinking jugs. Each vessel had a name according to its purpose (copper mlikarica, purarica, dubočica). Today, in addition to some traditional dishes, those of new shapes and purposes are made, such as amphorae (for tourist sale), flower pots - pitari, and various miniature forms of traditional dishes offered as souvenirs.

LONCARSTVO_2021_JPEG.jpeg

Traditional hand pottery from Potravlje is an intangible cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia. Therefore, the workshops will be held following the recommendations and valid measures of the CNIPH and the Civil Protection Headquarters.

The Sinj Tourist Board has prepared souvenirs for all participants, which will be distributed at the end of the workshop.

All those interested can send their applications to e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or apply by calling 021 / 826-352 by Friday, October 22 at noon.

Participation in the workshop is free, and the number of participants is limited.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Second Perspective: Building Smart and Affordable Tourism for Everyone

October 20, 2021 - The Tourist Board of the City of Zaprešić continues with training for tour guides as part of the Second Perspective project, promoting and educating on the importance of including people with disabilities.

Second Perspective is a project that, through various actions and educations, points out the importance of including people with disabilities in creating a tourist story, regardless of their physical limitations and disabilities, reports Turističke Priče. This autumn, the project continues with training for tourist guides and tour guides "Tourist guidance and people with disabilities - how to lead?".

''Tour guides create a successful and quality tourist offer with their work. Their stories, creating experiences, and caring for the guest are a measure of quality, and very often they find themselves in challenging situations and meeting different guests. People with disabilities are part of the tourist movement and our dear guests need to know how to approach well and with quality during the tourist guide'', points out the director of the Tourist Board of the city of Zaprešić Toni Ganjto.

second-perspective.png

That is why this education will prepare tourist guides and tour guides in quality and focused manner to meet guests with disabilities. Top lecturers and experts from the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation and the Center for Education and the Office of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities will answer questions on how-to guide and care for a guest with a disability through a full day of education.

''We want to actively create and direct the development of "soft" values ​​of smart and sustainable tourism, as well as accessibility tourism at the level of our destination, but also the whole of Croatia. We need more involvement and development of targeted tourism products for people with disabilities. In addition to adapting the infrastructure, it is extremely important to raise awareness of the importance of good access and inclusive tourism, and this is best done by exchanging knowledge and good experiences and quality education of all tourism stakeholders'', concluded Toni Ganjto.

Join the training "Tourist guidance and people with disabilities - how-to guide?", on Saturday, November 13 in Zaprešić in the unique area of ​​Vršilnica in the New Palace of Ban Jelačić.

Details on education and application can be found at the LINK.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

After Dubrovnik's Success, Will North America and Split Airport be Connected?

October 20, 2021 - With the success of Delta and United Airlines in Dubrovnik, are flights between North America and Split Airport next?

In the first ten days of October, 80,000 passengers traveled through Split Airport, almost as before the pandemic. This year it holds the title of the busiest airport in Croatia, but with the winter flight schedule, only eight direct flights will survive. So for now, there are no announcements or direct flights from North America, although this is an excellent wish of tourist workers, but also Croats after the recent announcement of visa-free travel. 

After a successful first season, United Airlines announced flights between New York and Dubrovnik on May 1, 2022. As a result, the American market has become Croatia's strongest non-European market. They reached 55 percent of overnight stays from the time before the pandemic, statistics say.

"For us in Split-Dalmatia County, it is very interesting, and I can say more, given the completion of the Peljesac Bridge, I believe that it will be easier and more accessible for all American tourists to come to other destinations that are not only related to Dubrovnik," Jože Tomaš, President of the Split County Chamber, points out for HRT.

The announcement that Croatians could travel to the US without visas and the desire for more American guests in Split, Hvar, Trogir has again updated the story of direct flights to Split Resnik, this year's busiest Croatian airport.

"I think it is simply time for both the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism to start working on it. Unfortunately, we do not have enough capacity on our own, but we are ready to help and participate in extending the season," said the mayor of Trogir Ante Bilić.

They also want a possible connection with the other side of the Atlantic at the Airport. If there were no pandemic, Split would already be connected to Canada.

"We expect that these facilitations that have occurred around abolishing the visa regime will contribute to the fact that we are next in line to establish such a flight," said the assistant director of Split Airport Pero Bilas.

The Split runway is 600 meters shorter than the Dubrovnik runway, but that is not a problem, said Resnik Airport.

As with other airlines, the problem is the destination itself, which with its facilities generates a desire for flights, and in central Dalmatia, when there is no sun and sea, it isn't easy.

That is why this winter will be just as slow as the previous ones, except during the Christmas holidays. Croats can travel to the United States visa-free, for example, via Venice, which offers very tempting direct flights.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Revamped Ferry Port: Split East Coast Reconstruction Completed by End of 2021

October 20, 2021 - With the tourist season behind us, the Split East Coast reconstruction is currently in full swing. By the end of the year, the ferry port area should boast a completely new look.

"The works are progressing well. The first part of the coast is in the phase of laying stones, the second part of concreting is underway, installations are being carried out, followed by communal equipment. We hope that, if there are no major weather conditions, the works will be completed by the end of the year," said the director of the Port Authority, Vice Mihanović for Dalmacija Danas.

Most of the money comes from EU funds, while a small part will be financed from the state budget.

"The value of the works is 42 million kuna, co-financed from EU funds, and the rest from the state budget. Therefore, the whole East Coast project will not cost a single kuna from the Port Authority, the City, or the County. In my opinion, this is the right direction in which to work - preparation is important, we should constantly work on resolving property-legal relations, on project documentation, to somehow meet all the needs and conditions for applying for European money," says Mihanović.

Nothing was done on the East Coast for a long time. But, every year, as more and more tourists pass through the city of Split, it is time for things to move.

"The coast is being rebuilt after 150 years. It was built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire when the notch of the railway was dug, and the excess material was poured. This time lag speaks volumes about how much it was needed because in 150 years, our city and port have experienced a big step forward and expansion, and therefore the needs are greater. What makes me happy, apart from the operational part and the operational needs of the port, the city of Split and the citizens of Split will get a beautiful, modern promenade paved with stone. The project is adapted for people with disabilities, so the operational part is separated from walking. The width will be nine and a half meters; the length is 260. I hope that this is the beginning of arranging the entire East Coast and surroundings," explained Mihanović. 

In addition to the new promenade, there will be new berths.

"We will get four berths for high-speed lines or catamarans. We assessed this as necessary because this type of maritime transport has increased by 60 percent and is by far the fastest-growing type of maritime transport. This is the result of changes in travel habits because we want to get from point A to point B as soon as possible," Mihanović continued.

And the only thing left to solve is the biggest problem of the port of Split, which is one-way traffic that was supposed to relieve the port. Namely, the Jadran Bridge cannot withstand heavy traffic.

"It is not within the competence of the Port Authority, but it indirectly affects us as well. Unfortunately, we witnessed that people could not get out of the city port for two hours last summer. We could have done that at one point; we even shared water for free with those passengers, no longer knowing how to help them. As a city councilor and politician, I presented the solution for constructing a new two-lane exit from the city port, which would start from the Prince Domagoj Coast, be a 70-meter-long tunnel, and exit at Mihovil Pavlinović Square, i.e., at the beginning of Bijankinijeva. This would bypass the part of the Jadran Bridge where the traffic is one-lane, and the entire length of such a solution would be two-lane.

The Faculty of Civil Engineering did the traffic simulation in Split, and one-third of the conceptual design was paid by the Port Authority, one-third by the City of Split, one-third by Hrvatska cesta. This simulation showed that such a solution meets current needs. This is the fastest thing that can be done, and now it is the turn of the City of Split. I called the mayor to accept my proposal because it is the turn of the City of Split. The first step needs to be taken, and that is the changes to the GUP. I am the president of the commission for urbanism; on that commission, the representatives of the political option of the mayor and deputy Ivošević were against the inclusion of the exit from the city port in the changes to the GUP that follow us. They were outvoted because there was common sense in other political options, and it was unanimously adopted at the last session of the GV. It is now up to the City to start changes to the GUP as soon as possible, which is an essential precondition for Croatian Roads to obtain a building permit and realize that solution.

What is essential with this proposal is that the deadlines are 12 months for execution, and the property-legal relationship has been entirely resolved, i.e., all plots through which the road passes are owned by either Croatian Railways or Croatian Roads or the City of Split," he concluded.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Emergency Maritime Medical Service in Dubrovnik and Coastal Cities in Next Two Years

October 20, 2021 - Mali Lošinj, Rab, Zadar, Šibenik, Supetar, and Dubrovnik will receive modern high-speed medical boats in the next two years, finally establishing an emergency maritime medical service in these areas.

This long-awaited project worth almost HRK 77 million is co-financed by EU Funds and will significantly increase the level of health and safety of people in the coastal area, while with all the necessary equipment in outpatient clinics at initial destinations will be performed to determine the need for emergency intervention and transportation to the nearest hospital on land, reports HRTurizam

The procurement of 6 fast boats with the necessary equipment to provide emergency medical care will be located in stationary ports in Mali Lošinj, Rab, Zadar, Šibenik, Supetar, and Dubrovnik. The boats will be built by the communities of bidders: Tehnomont Shipyard and ISKRA Shipyard.

Boats and related equipment will also be used for search and rescue purposes and to provide medical assistance in cases of maritime accidents and maritime disasters. Also, to prevent unnecessarily high costs of transport from the island to the mainland by fast boats, in dispensaries at the initial destinations of patient care, it will be possible to perform simple qualitative or quantitative medical-biochemical tests using automatic biochemical analyzers to determine the necessity of emergency intervention of transport to the nearest emergency medical institution/hospital on land.

For this purpose, the project will provide 12 automatic biochemical blood analyzers that will be distributed in 12 branches of the Institute of Emergency Medicine - Blato on Korcula, Korcula, Lastovo and Mljet in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Cres, Mali Losinj, and Rab in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Jelsa on Hvar, Supetar, Šolta and Vis in the Split-Dalmatia County and Preko in the Zadar County.

While this is great news, HRTurizam writes that it is also necessary to provide helicopter services on the islands and the coast and that it is the civilizational reach of the 21st century where we must provide all island residents with quality health care, and thus for the safety of tourists as a serious tourist destination.

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

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Epidemiologist: 4th Pandemic Wave Depends on Vaccination Rate

ZAGREB, 20 October, 2021 - Croatian Public Health Institute deputy head Ivana Pavić Šimetin said on Wednesday that the latest surge in new COVID-19 infections called for a return to the basic epidemiological rules, noting that a fourth wave of the epidemic would depend on the rate of vaccination against coronavirus.

There have been 3,162 new coronavirus infections in the country in the past 24 hours, and Pavić Šimetin said that such a situation had not been recorded for a long time.

"After we had three stable weeks, with a mild increase in the number of infections, for the past three days we have had a major increase - today the number of infections was 27% higher, yesterday it was 70% higher and the day before yesterday it was 30% higher compared to the previous week. It is a bigger increase that requires a return to the basic measures, notably vaccination," she told a news conference.

She said that the European Commission envisages that the countries with higher vaccination rates and relaxation of measures should not expect a deterioration concerning hospitalisations and deaths, while the countries with a lower share of immunised people, such as Croatia, could expect higher hospitalisation and death numbers as well as more patients on ventilators, and even more severe symptoms among the vaccinated people if the share of the unvaccinated remains high.

We are facing the ascending curve of the fourth wave present in Europe, and the peak and intensity as well as the duration of this wave depends on the rate of vaccinated persons and on what kind of anti-epidemic measures are being taken, she said.

Croatia has not reached collective immunity, colder weather can be expected and the new school year has begun, and all of that has contributed to the current developments, she added.

3 in 4 new cases on Wednesday unvaccinated

Commenting on today's new 3,162 cases of the infection with coronavirus, she said that 74% of them were not inoculated. Of 98 COVID patients admitted to hospital today, 73% were unvaccinated, she said.

Of those under 55 who died of COVID-19, all were unvaccinated, she said.

As for those vaccinated who succumbed to this infection, the epidemiologist said that they were mainly senior citizens with underlying conditions.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Zagreb's Hotel Dubrovnik Plays Host to Prosecco Days 2021

October the 21st, 2021 - Prosecco Days 2021 - a coming together of Italian wine producers and other lovers of bubbles, was held on October the 14th and 15th at the well known Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb.

Twenty Italian producers of Prosecco DOC presented 60 of their wine labels, including a large number of Prosecco DOC Rosé - a pink sparkling wine that is a novelty even on the Italian market, launched only in 2020. The list of exhibitors included some big and famous names, such as Villa Sandi, Bottega and Astoria. However, most of the exhibitors were presenting their sparkling wines here on the Croatian market for the very first time.

In addition to winemakers, the fair was also attended by Cibus Et Terra, a manufacturer of handmade equipment for winemakers. The organisers of this event were the Vinoljupci (Wine lovers) Association and the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Italy and the Consortium for the Protection of the Name Prosecco DOC from Treviso.

Irena Lucic, the project manager of the Vinoljupci Association, and Andrea Perkov, the director of the Italian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the opening of the Prosecco Days 2021 fair. The Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Zagreb, HE Mr. Pierfrancesco Sacco pointed out the importance of cooperation between Italy and Croatia and stressed that such events serve to connect and strengthen not only business between the two neighbouring countries but also interstate cooperation.

The Vice Director of the Consortium for the Protection of Prosecco DOC, Mr. Andrea Batistela, pointed out that he hopes that this is only the first such fair in a series, and that he believes in successful future cooperation between Italian winemakers and Croatian wine professionals. Finally, the delegate of the Mayor of Zagreb Tanja Operta, head of the City Office for Economy, Energy and Environmental Protection, thanked those present at Prosecco Days 2021 for the initiative to strengthen Italian-Croatian business relations and stressed that such projects will always be supported by the City of Zagreb.

Although Prosecco Days 2021 was primarily conceived as a business fair with the aim of strengthening existing and creating new business links between Prosecco DOC producers and Croatian wine professionals, distributors, retailers and the HoReCa sector, the fair also aroused great interest among wine lovers.

Over the two-day fair programme, in addition to tasting sparkling wines, a lecture entitled "Prosecco DOC - past, present, future" was held by Andrea Perkov. The first mention of Prosecco dates back to the thirteenth century and has a special emphasis placed on it during the Renaissance period when it was known as "a wine that provides longevity and beauty", while today it is one of the most important export products of Italy: Every fourth bottle of wine produced in Italy is prosecco, and as many as 80 percent of produced Prosecco DOC is consumed outside of Italy.

As part of the fair, four wine workshops were held, which were designed and led by wine blogger Nenad Trifunovic Vinopija in cooperation with winemakers.

There was also a gala dinner "Prosecco & Diamonds" where, in addition to delicious food, sparkling wines were accompanied by - diamonds. The partner of the gala dinner, Zlatarnica Rodic, prepared a short, educational lecture on diamonds for those present, and the present representatives of the fairer sex had the opportunity to be photographed with this precious jewellery.

Diamonds weren't chosen at random as the theme of this dinner - as the most precious and shining stone best conveys the value that prosseco has for Italians: they compare the two and often refer to prosecco as diamonds in a glass.

Italy and Croatia are neighbouring countries linked by a long history of economic cooperation When it comes to wine production, distribution and exports, the figures prevail in favour of the Italians, known for being the world's wine leaders. Although popular sparkling wines obtained from the glera variety have been present in Croatia for a long time now, there is more than enough room for market expansion of Prosecco DOC.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

242,113 Citizens with Frozen Bank Accounts over HRK 18.2 bn Debt

ZAGREB, 20 October, 2021 - At the end of September 2021, there were 242,113 citizens whose bank accounts had been frozen for owing HRK 18.2 billion in principal as well as 14,750 enterprises which owed HRK 4.3 billion in principal, according to Financial Agency data.

The number of citizens with frozen accounts was up by 0.35% on the month and by 4.5% from December 2020.

Their total principal debt was 0.6% higher than in August 2021 and 7% higher than in December 2020.

When the interest owed is added, which amounts to HRK 6.8 billion, the total debt of citizens with frozen accounts rises to HRK 25 billion.

Of the total debt, HRK 5.7 billion, without interest, is owed to banks as creditors and HRK 6.5 billion to all financial institutions.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Marlee McCormick

October 20, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on, starting with Marlee McCormick from Texas. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 

 

The program was all the richer for the presence of Marlee McCormick, who broadcast her Dallas radio show each day from the Lazareti coworking space just outside the historic Old Walls of Dubrovnik. Together with husband Jeff, Marlee had a great month in the Pearl of the Adriatic. TCN caught up with Marlee 6 months later to get her current perspective on the program, Dubrovnik and the Croatian digital nomad journey.

marlee-mccormick_9.jpg

1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

Is it a cliché to say being selected for the DNIR program was a life changing experience?....because that's really an accurate description.  Being able to live and work in a wonderful and inviting city like Dubrovnik was an opportunity and an experience that will stay with me forever.  My husband and I had been wanting to try living abroad for quite sometime, we just had to wait for the right opportunity and for the kids to grow up and leave the nest.  The pandemic made that dream a possibility and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad program made it a reality.  Once I started working remotely from home, I tested the waters by taking my show on the road, a week here and there.  Those trips were more of a working vacation, but I learned how to make it work and with good WIFI, I could work from anywhere in the world. 

marlee-mccormick_8.jpg

It wasn't until coming to Dubrovnik that I truly got to experience what it would be like to live and work abroad.  I was able to do a job I love in the U.S. while living as a local in a beautiful European city.  When you add in the facts that I didn't have to get up at 4am for work because of the time difference, had a 10 minute stroll through the old city to the Lazaretti workspace instead of a long commute in traffic, and a postcard view of the Adriatic Sea..... well I would say quality of life just doesn't get any better than that.  My husband Jeff was also working from home and able to join me for our test run at being digital nomads.  Not only did we quickly adapt, we thrived!  Although the DNIR program was only 30 days, we can both see ourselves coming back for extended periods of time and now thanks to Croatia's digital nomad visa, we'll be able to. 

marlee-mccormick_3.jpg

2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

We have kept in touch with the other nomads in our group despite the time differences and the geographic challenges.  Social media is a great way to stay connected.  I consider these people as sort of an extended family.  We were all very different, but each brought something unique to the table and we all got along so well despite our differences in age and backgrounds.  There have been talks of a reunion get-together in the future.  I really hope it happens.  Jeff and I also made friends with people outside of our core group and we look forward to reuniting with them as well.

 

3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

In my opinion, Croatia and especially Dubrovnik's foresight to get out of their "seasonal tourism" comfort zone and attract visitors year-round was smart planning for the future.  There is so much more to this community than just a daytrip to the old city for gelato (Although, full disclosure, I do love the gelato in Dubrovnik) during a cruise ship stop.   I really hope we DNIR's helped bring that to light.  I know every situation is different, but compared to where we live in Dallas, Texas, we found the cost of living in Dubrovnik to be very reasonable - options for every budget and lifestyle.  Since returning home I have kept up with happenings in Croatia thanks to Total Croatia News.  Croatia is gaining more prominence on the world stage away from tourism.  Businesses are growing and moving there and I'm excited to see what happens with the transition into the EU.

marlee-mccormick_5.jpg

4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

Without a doubt, the Dubrovnik digital nomad program got the world's attention.  The DNIR roadmap is being used by other countries as a model to launch their own digital nomad programs.  I think we all, including the City of Dubrovnik, the tourism board, TCN and of course our champion Tanja Polegubic at Saltwater Workspace can all be proud of what we accomplished in blazing the trail.  My time as a digital nomad was brief and I'm definitely a newbie, but my experience has allowed me to encourage others to take that leap and even give advice to those that already have through a Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Facebook group. 

marlee-mccormick_1.jpg

5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

It's encouraging to see that the city has taken some of our suggestions and ideas to move the digital nomad program forward.  I hope when the pandemic is over and tourism fully returns, that Croatia as a whole will stick with the program to attract more dn's from across the world.  Word of mouth and the sharing of information is the best way to do that.  Total Croatia News has played a big part in that.

marlee-mccormick_10.jpg

6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

There are so many great memories to choose from - a boat day on the Adriatic with the other DNIRs, dining on Peka at an amazing restaurant owned by two brothers on the island of Korcula, having coffee and people watching at cafes on the Stradun.  One of my favorite memories was interacting with the Dubrovnik cats.  I'm a big animal lover and its a charming aspect to the old city.  I left a little piece of my heart in Dubrovnik.  We can't wait to go back next spring and pick up where we left off.  

marlee-mccormick_4.jpg

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Page 3 of 3281

Search