Saturday, 27 July 2019

Dalmatia as It Once Was: Orebic on Peljesac in 1972 (VIDEO)

July 26, 2019 - Continuing our look at the Adriatic coast as It Once Was almost 50 years ago, a visit to Orebic on Peljesac. 

Tourism has changed the Croatian coast considerably in the last 50 years. Some destinations have changed beyond recognition, such as Dubrovnik, where the mass tourism of cruise ships and buses and buses of day trips are filling the old town as never before - a far cry from 50 years ago

Other destinations, such as Korcula, seem hardly to have changed at all

The paths that Korcula and Dubrovnik have chosen for their tourism are very different, something I looked at recently in Is Korcula Really a Mini Dubrovnik? Please May It Never Be

One man who has been instrumental in lifting the quality of Korculan tourism is Brit Michael Unsworth, who arrived in Orebic across the water back in 1972 chasing a local girl. They have been happliy married ever since, and Michael found a second love - Korcula and Orebic. He is the man behind Lesic Dimitri Palace, arguably the best 5-star boutique hotel on the coast, and his Michelin-recommended restaurant has been the catalyst for Korculan hospitality to up its game, and with considerable success. 

So this one's for you, Michael, to thank you for all you have done. A trip down memory lane to the Orebic you arrived to back in 1972. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Sun Lounger Under Palm on Pelješac Beach 3X More Expensive?

According to a report from Poslovni Dnevnik on the 16th of July, 2019, the media in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina reported on some news about a Bosnian tourist visiting Croatia who experienced a somewhat strange situation on the Pelješac peninsula, more precisely in Trpanj: to rent a sun lounger, you'll pay a reasonable 25 kuna, but if you want to put that sun lounger under a palm tree for some shade from the sun's harsh rays, then it costs three times more - you'll pay 75 kuna.

This story does seem a little odd, so Morski.hr tried to find out what was going on and whether or not the story truly is correct.

Trpanj's mayor, Jakša Franković, believes this is a pure fabrication because he just doesn't believe this is possible.

"I think it's just something someone made up, it's almost impossible, because the municipal council has issued two concessions for the rental of sun loungers, one to ''Plavi obrt za morski ribolov'' who own 36 of the sun loungers placed at that location in Trpanj, and ''Hotel Faraon d.o.o. Trpanj'', which owns 20 sun loungers on that same beach. They rent out sun loungers, not shade, and that's what they've been approved for. If this really is true, I'd like this to be sent to our e-mail address or to that of the Trpanj Tourist Board. If the guest used the sun lounger after having paid three times more for it for the above reasons, then I'd like to see that receipt,'' said Mayor Franković.

"If this honestly is true, then it's a kind of bad marketing trick, and the market punishes such unsuccessful jokes, and they can't know if everyone is joking or if they aren't. Mr. Jakov Begović (one of the concessionaires, op.a.) is otherwise inclined to making jokes. Recently, he wrote in front of his facility, ''Govorimo sve jezike osim vašeg'' (We speak all languages ​​except yours). In my opinion, that's also one of those bad jokes that can also be misunderstood,'' added the mayor.

The owner: We're not charging for shade, we're charging for sun loungers next to the palm tree.

Jakov Begović, the owner of the otherwise well-known facility in Trpanj, told Morski.hr that he saw no issue with this.

"I don't see anything controversial about it, and it's not about shade, but because the sun lounger is standing next to the palm tree," he said.

"There are two palm trees and a table is placed next to them, and it's called a palmset. If the gentleman from Bosnia was used to seeing parasols advertised for rent for protection from the sun, then he wouldn't be upset about it. If people want to, people can rent sun loungers and then lie beneath them and use the shade of the chair!'' he concluded, clearly irritated.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Pelješac Bridge Construction Finally Surfaces!

After the Chinese company CRBC started working on the new Pelješac bridge in July last year, and after all of the 148 permanent (+ 2 test) pillars have been installed at their sites, in the last couple of days the construction of the bridge has finally surfaced!

Večernji list brings the story and a gallery of photos by Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads), of how it's possible to see the structure of the bridge above the sea level, as the work on the foundation slabs has started, and those are the first sections of the bridge that will be above water.

It took less than a year to reach that benchmark, and it takes a lot of human and machine power to be able to work that fast. Currently there are more than 20 vessels working on the site, although the biggest one, the Xong Cheng 1 crane, left the bay in May. Currently there are 385 workers on the site, 44 of which are Croats and 341 are Chinese nationals working in Croatia (and recently there have been some problems with their work permits, so the company had to pay a hefty fine).

The foundation slabs connect the pillars that belong to the same group, thus allowing for better stability of the bridge, as well as to protect it against any boats potentially hitting the pillars - as they are at water level and visible. Once they're completed, the piers of the bridge get attached to the slabs. There's more work to be done, as Croatian roads reports, on the pillars of the bridge, pouring concrete and finalising the structure at the seabed.

It is expected that Pelješac bridge will be completely finished in two years. And whether it's going to be fully operational then depends on some other factors, which have almost nothing to do with the bridge itself, rather they almost perfectly tell the tale of Croatia.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Explores St. Ilija on Peljesac (VIDEO)

July 7, 2019 - Looking to escape the crowds and explore the Great Outdoors? The one man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia have the answer on Peljesac. 

If you are an active outdoor person looking for a place to research what Croatia has to offer, there is only one recommendation I would make - the YouTube channel of Outdoors Croatia, which has done more to highlight the potential of Croatia as an active tourism destination than any other I have come across.

And rather than focusing just on the popular spots, the one man and one dog team have explored literally every corner of Croatia, while taking exceptional footage of each activity along the way. I, for one, have learned of a number of new destinations and hidden gems through their excellent videos. 

This week's video comes from Peljesac, as our dynamic duo first kayak to the peninsula, then hike to the tallest peak of the peninsula, Sv. Ilija, which stands majestically some 961 metres above sea level. 

Views from the top include the gorgeous island of Korcula and its archipelago.

Feast your eyes on yet another stunning part of this beautiful country awaiting your hiking boots. 

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

VIDEO: Croatian Roads Release 3D Simulation of Pelješac Roads

Pelješac bridge is something we've been reading about and anticipating for many years now. From wondering where the funding would come from before Croatia's accession to the EU to hearing Bosnian arguments against its construction, this enormous Croatian strategic project will see the construction of a bridge connect Croatian territory without a detour through Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, needed in order to reach Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia by car. 

Works on Pelješac bridge which once seemed like they'd never happen finally began not so long ago, after a Chinese company was chosen as the contractor, much to the European Commission's irritation, given the fact that the bridge is majority financed by European Union funds. Despire that, works appear to be going smoothly and owing to the famous efficiency of the Chinese, more quickly than expected.

The joke is now that the Croats who can't seem to get the construction of Pelješac bridge's access roads off the ground (no pun intended) won't have even chosen a contractor before the Chinese have finished with the entire bridge.

Regardless, Croatian Roads (Hrvatske Ceste) have published the first 3D promotional video on what Pelješac's brand new roads are set to look like.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of May, 2019, just two days ago, the last pilot was put into place at Pelješac bridge's construction site, along the sea bed below the future bridge, 148 permanent pilots and two testers were placed, and the quick and efficient Chinese builders have thus completed the first phase of the bridge's construction, well before time.

This was the timely occasion for Croatian Roads to announce their promotional film showcasing a 3D simulation of the future road through Pelješac for the first time. Have a look at the video (in Croatian) here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more information on the construction of Pelješac bridge and much, much more.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Pelješac Bridge: All 148 Pillars Installed, Access Roads Behind Schedule?

The final of a total of 148 planned permanent pillars was installed at the site of Pelješac Bridge on Thursday night. The hammer of the Xong Cheng 1 crane installed the last, 126.6 metres tall pillar, reports Večernji List on May 11, 2019.

According to the construction plan, the last permanent pillar was supposed to be installed on May 21, which means that the Chinese builders from China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) have completed this phase 12 days ahead of schedule. The longest pillar is 128.6 metres tall and weighs about 230 tons, while the shortest one is 36 metres long. The diameter of the pillars is between 1.8 and 2 metres. The Croatian Roads public company says that the next phase is for the sludge to be extracted from the steel pipes and discharged, according to the environmental impact study, at a location 21 nautical miles from the site of the future bridge.

While the pillars are still underwater, it is expected that they will become more visible starting from October. The first phase of the construction has passed according to estimates and without additional, unforeseen costs.

There are currently 150 Chinese and 55 Croatian workers at the construction site of Pelješac Bridge. CRBC has pledged to build the bridge within three years from the date of its arrival at the site, which means by the end of July 2021. It is possible that the works will be finished ahead of schedule.

The construction of access roads, however, has not yet begun. Croatian Roads need to re-issue a decision on the contractor for the Duboka-Sparagovići section after the initial decision on the selection of the Greek company J&P Avax has been annulled. They are yet to make a decision on the contractor for the Ston bypass road. It is 32 kilometres long with numerous smaller bridges and tunnels.

Croatian Roads say that the deadline for completing the entire link with southern Croatia is January 31, 2022, and that it is essential for the whole project to be completed by 2023 because the money from EU funds has to be spent by that time.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Josip Bohutinski).

More news about Pelješac Bridge can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 29 April 2019

A Bear Seen on Pelješac for the First Time!

People of Pelješac are hospitable folk, used to wanting to give their best to their guests. But, there are some guests they are not really used to, and a bear on Pelješac is one of those!

The "visited" beehives (actually ruined) were the first sign that an unexpected beast has made his or her way to Pelješac. Near Putniković, Toni Rusković told HRT reporters that he has seven beehives on Wednesday, and on Saturday all of them have been broken into and ruined. Ivo Đuračić from the Hunting Association of Kuna says that the bear has probably spent the whole sweet night by the hives, getting almost all of the honey out of them.

Wild boars and European mouflons are often seen on Pelješac, and the population of jackals is very stable and they can often be seen and heard, but a bear is something that no-one remembers seeing on Pelješac before. Although, hunters add that it could spend a lot of time in a specific location without being noticed, as it avoids humans and their dwellings, and there's plenty of food around for him/her. If only it weren't for that sweet seductive honey, which gave him away.

A couple of days after the incident in Putniković, (s)he was recorded by a hunter's camera just a couple of kilometres away. Some people claim that it's a mama bear with her cubs, although, having done my research, I'm not quite sure how that story got started. And a few more days after that, another beehive incident occurred in Brijesta - which is not surprising, because bears do have a large area where they like to roam around.

The hunters have written to the people in charge of the Agriculture Ministry, waiting for their instructions on what to do with the bear. Hopefully, it will be peacefully moved to a more bear-acquainted part of Croatia, although one would really love the bear to have the chance to taste some of those amazing Pelješac grapes and figs, which will be perfect for consumption sometime in late August. It's not certain how the bear got to Pelješac, although it's possible it just swam over. After all, the bridge isn't finished yet, and will probably never be really bear-friendly! 

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Second Biospeleological Expedition Begins on Pelješac Peninsula

Pelješac is home to much more than just stunning views, golden sunsets and incredible wine, as if that wasn't enough. Home to a wide array of wildlife and many caves, this rugged peninsula in southern Dalmatia is as interesting academically as it is beautiful on the surface, and 2019 brings with it yet another biospeleological expedition of the area.

As Morski writes on the 19th of April, 2019, field research across the entire Pelješac peninsula was conducted at the end of 2018, in close cooperation with the public institution for the management of protected areas of nature of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Croatian Biospeleology Society and the Breganja Association. The announcement of the beginning of the second such biospeleological expedition - Pelješac 2019, has arrived, which has been being held since the 19th of April 2019 and will continue until May the 1st, 2019.

In the scope of the Pelješac expedition this year, the plans are to explore this rocky area's numerous caves and pits located along different parts of the peninsula and to obtain more detailed information on the distribution of certain groups and species living underground and within said caves. The expedition is likely to gather more than sixty researchers from around the entire region, meaning it will take on a much more international character, and will include the exploration of speleological ocations across the whole of the Pelješac peninsula.

The goals of the expedition include the detailed sampling and photographing the cave fauna as well as topography and the further exploration of newly found pits and caves.

On the two terrains that preceded the main expedition, the emphasis was placed on finding caves and pits known only in literature and by Pelješac's local population. Over twenty caves and pits of various sizes and in numerous locations were explored during the last such expedition, caves suitable for exploration to seek out any animal species living there were recorded, cave fauna was collected, and entry and exit coordinates were noted.

During this expedition, over 100 hundred known caves across the Pelješac peninsula will be explored.

Stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle page.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Deadline Extensions, Appeals and Problems for Pelješac Bridge Access Roads

The Pelješac Bridge saga continues, and deadlines for various parts of the job, be it on the bridge itself or on its required access roads, rather unsurprisingly see more and more extensions...

As Josip Bohutinski/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of March, 2019, the State Commission for the control of public procurement procedures (DKOM) has dismissed an appeal lodged by Varaždin's Colas to modify the tender documentation for the construction of Ston's bypass of Sparagovići - Papratno and Papratno - Doli.

As Večernji list reports, Colas actually only lodged an appeal one day before the expiry of the bidding deadline on February the 14th, 2019. DKOM assessed this appeal, deemed it to be unfair and subsequently rejected it. The tender for the construction of the Ston bypass road was announced on December the 3rd, 2018, with the deadline for the submission of bids for the job set for the 21st of January this year.

Due to the requirements of potential contractors requesting explanations of the tender documentation, the bidding deadline has been extended several times. The estimated value of the works for the construction of the Ston bypass road is 449.1 million kuna, and according to the tender documentation, the chosen contractor will have a deadline for completing the works, which is currently 30 months from the date of introduction to the job.

While Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) can be satisfied with DKOM's decision on the (very late in the day) Colas appeal for this part of Pelješac Bridge's access road, when it comes to the second part of the Pelješac Bridge access road, the Duboka-Sparagovići section, the commission's decision will have to be waited on once again. Namely, the decision for this access sectiont to be built by the Greek company J&P Avax has received an appeal from Aktor SA, another Greek company that participated in the tender, as well as Austria's Strabag. J&P Avax offered 464.9 million kuna without VAT to build the Duboka - Sparagovići road section. The estimated value of these works currently stands at 482 million kuna. Offers for these works were officially opened in June last year.

In addition to J&P Avax, the job of constructing twelve kilometres' worth of this section was desired by six other companies and consortia. In the selection decision, it was stated that J&P Avax's bid was, according to the selection criterion, rated the most economically advantageous. The Aktor SA offered 464.6 million kuna, and Austria's Strabag offered 478.3 million kuna. The lowest bid was offered by Integral engineering from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina - 321.2 million kuna, but that was rejected for its unusually low price tag. Colas, the company to lodge an appeal, also had its offer of 52.5 million kuna rejected, and the China Road and Bridge Corporation were also rebuffed with their offer of 647.8 million kuna, because these offers exceed the estimated value of the works, and the Chinese didn't extend the validity of their offer. Offers were also submitted by the GP Krk association and Euro-asfalt from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a 444.3 million kuna price tag.

The scheduled deadline for construction of the Duboka - Sparagovići road section currently stands at 33 months from the date of the contractor's introduction to the job. Given the fact that in such proceedings, DKOM requires two months to decide on an appeal, the beginning of construction of this section can likely be expected to begin sometime during the middle of this year and not before.

The bid for equipping and supplying the Duboka - Sparagovići section came to an end in February with three offers. The estimated value of these works stands at 38.2 million kuna, and all three bids received are well above this amount. Valard offered 52.9 million kuna, Dalekovod offered 57.3 million kuna, and Elektrocentar Petek offered a handsome 59.5 million kuna. Croatian roads have stated however that they will cancel this bid and announce a new one in which everything needed for the Duboka - Sparagovići section and the Ston bypass will be unified.

Croatian roads have also pointed out that the deadline for completing the entire Pelješac bridge project, meaning the bridge's actual construction and the construction of its access roads, is now January the 31st, 2022.

Make sure to follow our dedicated news and business pages for more information on the construction of Pelješac Bridge and much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Josip Bohutinski/VL on Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Dubrovnik Highway: Talk of 800 Million Euro Project Reignited

After a decade of silence and complete inactivity, the Croatian Government is moving once again towards the temptation of a highway construction project towards Dubrovnik, a move initially started by former PM Ivo Sanader.

As Kresimir Zabec/Novac writes on the 2nd of February, 2019, after a rather unnecessarily lengthy and of course unclear title, the conclusion of the ''study documentation for the road connection of southern Dalmatia to the motorway network system of the Republic of Croatia from the Metković junction to the future Pelješac bridge and from the Doli junction to the City of Dubrovnik'' (yes you can take a breath now), which was adopted during Friday's Government session held in Dubrovnik, has actually led back to the beginning of re-activating the old plan to build a highway to Dubrovnik.

The last time constructing a highway to Dubrovnik was mentioned was way back in 2009, ten whole years ago, when a construction contract worth 3.675 billion kuna was signed in Osojnik in the presence of the controversial former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, an amount which didn't include the VAT for the planned Doli - Dubrovnik section. Although the contracts were indeed signed, the money for this project was never secured, therefore the works never started and all in all, time went by and people simply forgot about it for the most part.

Although there are permits, projects and designs from that time that still exist and could be acceptable today, Croatian roads (Hrvatske ceste) will spend 4.06 million kuna this year to take a better look at the southern Dalmatian transport system in the area of ​​Dubrovnik-Neretva County and its link with the existing highway network, and determine the feasibility of any highway construction from the existing Metković junction to the future Pelješac bridge, and then from Doli to the City of Dubrovnik. They'll also rule whether or not it is simply better to use the highway through neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EU co-financing

Croatia's Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, has already jumped the gun when it comes to the talks held on Friday, stating that the Ploče - Dubrovnik motorway will be built, but the question is when. He is counting on the EU being prepared to co-finance the project in the next operational period. However, some insist that a study is needed because the road image itself has changed over the past ten years, not only in southern Croatia, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The motorway was built behind Ploče and the where the future Pelješac bridge will be, in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, the construction of part of the Vc corridor from Počitelj to the border with Montenegro through Popovo polje has also begun.

Compared to ten years ago, the highway would now be changed somewhat. Back then, the route went from Ploče to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina at Neum and then continued on the other side down south to Dubrovnik.

It was estimated that eighty kilometres of highway from Ploče to Dubrovnik could cost around 732 million euros.

Today, it is assumed that the direction would go from the current Karamatići junction to the Pelješac junction, from where traffic will go down to Pelješac bridge. That equals approximately twenty kilometres of brand new highway sections. The traffic would continue along the new Pelješac road to the Doli junction, and from there 29.6 kilometers of highway would be built leading down to Dubrovnik.

According to the old 2009 project, a total of thirty objects needed to be built, of which there were ten viaducts, nine tunnels, and eight underpasses. Back then, the price of one kilometre of construction was 16.5 million euros without VAT, equalling a total of almost half a billion euros without VAT. The price of the construction of the highway from Karamatići to Pelješac is as yet unknown, but this section is also a very demanding part of the project as the route passes through the Neretva valley, so a high level of environmental protection will be required. Owing to all of the above, estimates are that the entire highway from Ploče down to Dubrovnik could stand at a massive 800 million euros.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages. If it's just Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interest in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow.

 

Click here for the original article by Kresimir Zabec for Novac.jutarnji.hr

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