Saturday, 7 January 2023

Omis Bridge Soon to Reach Final Phase, Completing the Impressive Project

January 7, 2023 - After the magnificent feat of modern infrastructure that is the Peljesac bridge, Croatia is soon to join another two pieces of its land with a new impressive, incredibly complex construction, the Omis Bridge, hanging 70 metres above this beautiful karst river Cetina.

As Slobodna Dalmacija writes, at the end of January, we will witness the historic joining of the most impressive bridge over the Cetina river; at 70 metres above sea level, the two ends of the bridge that now "stick out" from the gorge. It will connect the portals of the access tunnels "Omis" and "Komorjak."

The last "push" of the bridge section, 12 metres long, is still missing. The section will complete the crossing over the canyon of the karst beauty above Omis, in a visible length of 152 meters, while 30 meters of supports on both sides are "hidden" in the tunnels.

"On the Cetina bridge, there is only one section left of about 12 metres. The last push is expected at the end of January", Hrvatske Ceste (HC) revealed. They are the investor for the Omis bypass, as part of which the bridge is being built, all so that soon we can finally utilise the long-awaited fast, modern road Split-Omis.

Slobodna Dalmacija was curious and asked the investors why the parts of the bridge are not at the same height, because the difference of almost two metres between the eastern and western parts is visible to the naked eye, even from a greater distance.

"It is true that the currently constructed parts of the Omis bridge are not at the same height. Due to the variable height of the cross-section of the bridge, the structure also moves vertically during each push.

After the final phase, both sides will be at the same height so that they can be connected and the entire structure can finally be fixed on the bearings," Hrvatske Ceste specified.

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

Monday, 2 January 2023

Hajduk Announces Coach Ivan Leko, Starts 2023 with Over 8,000 Club Members

January 3, 2023 - 2023 is off to a running start for Hajduk. Former Hajduk captain and player Ivan Leko has been announced as the new coach, and fans have secured over 8,000 club memberships since January 1! 

Ivan Leko is the new coach of Hajduk! On the last day of 2022, the 44-year-old expert from Split agreed to cooperate with the club until the summer of 2025. He will take over the Hajduk bench at the beginning of January 2023. The first official match of the former legendary and trophy-winning Hajduk captain is expected against Šibenik on January 22 at Poljud. Leko returned to his home club after more than 17 years and won the championship title as a Hajduk player in the 2004/2005 season.

He made his debut for Hajduk at 17 against Osijek under coach Ivan Katalinić. He made 187 official appearances in the white jersey, with 39 goals scored. He won the Cup with Hajduk in 2000, and as captain, he led the team to the championship title in 2000/2001.

In the summer of 2001, he signed for the Spanish club Malaga and returned to Hajduk again in the winter of 2005. In the same season, he won the league title. After that, he spent a large part of his career in Belgium playing for Club Brugge, Beerschot, and Lokeren, where he ended his playing career at 37. He made 13 official appearances for the Croatia national team.

"This moment is very special, emotional. I started playing football at Hajduk and knew the day would come when I would become Hajduk's coach. I am thrilled and looking forward to it, and I hope many beautiful things await us. So many things can be done. The fact is that Hajduk has made huge progress in everything in the last two years. From day one, we will emphasize energy, emotion, and passion, and everything we do will be with that emphasis. I hope our fans will enjoy watching our games," said Leko. 

Leko was an assistant to Igor Tudor at PAOK, and as an independent coach, he managed the Belgian clubs Leuven, Sint-Truden, Royal Antwerp, and Club Brugge, with which he won the championship title, Cup, and Supercup and played in the Champions League group stage in 2018. He also sat on the bench of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, and his last coaching engagement was with the Chinese Premier League club Shanghai Port, which he led for the previous two years.

The new year also means the beginning of the new Hajduk fan memberships. After the extraordinary 2022, which will be remembered for a record 90,480 members, this year expects even more. 

Namely, in the 112th year of the club, Hajduk wants to reach 112,000 memberships!

"I think that is also impossible, but we have shown so many times that we are moving those boundaries; we can put that figure of 112,000 members to motivate us all together," said Hajduk president Lukša Jakobušić. 

Membership fees this year are 20 euros. If you are under 18 or older than 65, memberships are 10 euros. Family memberships also have a discount of 2 euros for each additional family member.

The new year also means transfer news, and Hajduk has already made some announcements that have surprised some fans. 

Stipe Biuk has left Hajduk after 67 official appearances. The 20-year-old winger left Poljud to join American Los Angeles FC, realizing one of the most significant transfers in the club's history.

As a captain and one of the most talented players of his generation, he led the Hajduk juniors in 2021 to their first junior title after nine years. He made his debut for the first team in March 2021 in a Cup match against Zagreb.

LASK Linz used the option to buy forward Marin Ljubičić, who went on loan to the Austrian club at the end of June this year. Immediately after arriving in Austria, Ljubičić became a standard first-team player and is currently the club's leading scorer. He made 17 official appearances for LASK in the first part of the season. Marin played 44 official matches for Hajduk, scoring nine times and adding four assists.

HNK Hajduk will play four matches as part of final preparations for the spring season, which will be held in Novigrad, Istria.

The first team continued preparations on Monday at Poljud and will travel to Novigrad on Thursday, where they will stay until January 15.

Match schedule: 

NK Kalcer Radomlje - Hajduk (January 7)

MOL Fehervar - Hajduk (January 11)

Celje - Hajduk (January 14)

1. FC Slovácko - Hajduk (January 15)

Source: Hajduk.com

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

Saturday, 31 December 2022

City of Split Updates Prices in Euros, Parking is Now More Expensive

December the 31st, 2023 - The City of Split has updated its prices in anticipation of the introduction of the euro in Croatia tomorrow, and while public transport may be cheaper, parking isn't...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, with the introduction of the euro as this country's official currency, Split's local authorities, or more precisely two of its utility companies, decided to "round up" the prices of some utility services and, as they claim, in such a way as to benefit the end users themselves. Let's make that more simple: city car parks are now more expensive, but public transport is cheaper.

As confirmed to tportal, the prices of Split's car parks will be adjusted to higher amounts with the introduction of the euro, and the winter regime going forward will be similar to what it is currently, one euro in the first zone, while in the summer period, one hour of parking will cost 1.5 euros. A special item on this particular list is the car park on the Riva (promenade) itself, which will be significantly more expensive: from the current 15 kuna (equal to about two euros) for the first hour and 20 kuna for each subsequent hour to slightly more in the winter period (two euros for the first hour, and three euros for the next hour).

However, from the months of May to September, parking on Split's famous Riva will cost 4 euros for the first hour and as much as 5 euros for each subsequent hour.

"However, most of the other prices have actually remained the same: parking in public garages isn't going to increase in price, the price of tenant subscriptions won't change either," they explained to tportal from "Split parking". They then once again announced the intensification of the construction of new public garages in different Split city districts: one has just kicked off as far as construction is concerned, another is due in about three months, and several more are planned throughout the year.

In parallel with the increase in the price of parking, public transport in Split is becoming cheaper: a monthly ticket for the first zone, which until recently cost 290 kuna, will cost the people of Split 30 euros in the future, equal to around 226 kuna. The difference from the actual price, which is set at 35 euros, so about five euros, will be subsidised by the company "Promet" from Split's own city budget.

It is this company that recently implemented a new ticketing system, meaning it's now possible to buy a ticket for the use of Split#s city buses in several different ways - at card machines, through a mobile application, on prepaid cards and the like. They will be slightly cheaper from the current eight kuna, costing around one euro in 2023.

For more, check out our news section.

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Croatia Tops Nomad List 2023 Survey as 'Most-Liked Country'

December 29, 2022 - Croatia continues to develop its digital nomad credentials with another strong showing on the Nomad List 2023 survey.

It is 3.5 years since I started writing about the digital nomad opportunity, and it has been a fascinating ride, full of adventure, characters, and positivity, as well as proof that Croatian bureaucracy can work at lightning speed at times. The introduction of the Croatian digital nomad permit on January 1 last year was the quickest change in legislation I can recall in my 20 years in this country.  

So where does Croatia stand some 3.5 years later? Back then, few in Croatia had heard of the term 'digital nomad' - now every grandmother with a room to rent talks about the potential of 'digitalni nomadi.'

The annual Nomad LIst survey is as good a snapshot of this notoriously difficult-to-track genre as any available. And Croatia has once again come out rather well. On top of the world, in fact, topping Japan and Taiwan to be the number one most-liked country for nomads in the Nomad List 2023 survey. 

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According to NomadList, the 'average nomad' is 33, male, progressive, not religious, single, white, heterosexual, with a Bachelor's degree, working as a software developer from a home office. He earns $US 85,000 a year, loves coffee, eats meat, works out by hiking, is vaccinated, produces 75% less CO2, stays for 8 months, and loves Tokyo the most as a city. 

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But right behind Tokyo, in second place, is the Croatian capital, Zagreb, which has made huge strides as a nomad destination in the last two years. 

Regarding the methodology, Nomad List explains as follows:

This page is built LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every day, so it's always up-to-date. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there's a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it's not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs

There are also mentions for Dubovnik, Zadar, Hvar, as well as Split, which is the fourth most attractive destination for male nomads. 

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One of the constant things I hear about Croatia from the nomads I meet is just how safe it is, with female nomads in particular commenting on how safe they feel as a single female traveller. And that feeling of safety for women seems to be borne out in Croatia being in the top 5 destinations where a higher proportion of female nomads go. 

Croatia's nomad journey is still in its infancy, and there are many more established nomad bases, but it is encouraging to see Croatia enter the top 25 for the first time. And while 1% of the market may not sound a lot, Indonesia in 10th only has 2%, and Spain just 5% at number 2 on the list. 

Lots of positives to be taken away from the survey, and you can see all the results in full here

****

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.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

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

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Saturday, 24 December 2022

Welcome Schengen, Euro, Fun at Split's New Luxury Address for New Year

December 24, 2022 - Croatia's entry to the Euro and the Schengen Zone is just around the corner, as an exciting 2023 beckons. Why not celebrate with a gala dinner at Split's new luxurious address at Hotel Ambasador?

It has been quite a year once again, and as we all switch off for the Christmas festivities, it is easy to forget that major change in Croatia is just a week away. For on January 1, 2023, Croatia will officially switch to the euro and join the Schengen Zone the same day, two major achievements for this tiny country which has only been independent for 31 years. 

So there will be lots to celebrate this New Year, as Croatia prepares also to cash in on a bumper tourism season. And where better to welcome in the New Year than with a gala dinner at one of the new arrivals of the luxury Croatian tourism scene in 2022 - the outstanding waterfront 5-star Hotel Ambasador in Split?

I can honestly say that I have never stayed in a hotel with a better view anywhere - the view from the pillow incorporates Diocletian's Palace and the entire harbour, a view whose colours and magic change throughout the day and night. It is truly hypnotic. 

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But a hotel cannot live on fine views alone, and Hotel Ambasador has made a fine start since opening this Autumn. And if you are looking for a stylish place to see in the New Year, look no further. Read more about that and the excellent dinner in Where Luxury Collides: Wanda Radetti Meets Hotel Ambasador in Split

Arguably Split's finest address will be hosting a gala dinner to welcome in 2023, with a New Year's bruch to kick start the next twelve months. Chef Ivica Katic has put together a superb menu for New Year's Eve, where guests can enjoy a superb meal with great entertainment, while taking one of their last opportunities to pay in kuna... 

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The menu for the dinner - and I can personally vouch for the deer - it is fantastic. 

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And a vegetarian option. 

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Especially with a brunch like this to start 2023 in style. 

For more information and to reserve your place, visit the Hotel Ambasador website

 

Monday, 12 December 2022

Harfa International School in Split Expanding, Adding Kindergarten, Elementary, High School

December 12, 2022 - More great news for those looking for international schooling options in Split, as Harfa International School announces an expansion of its services after a very successful start.  

Motivated by excellent feedback from the international audit, Harfa International School is expanding and will offer kindergarten, elementary school as well as high school education next fall!

Some say we can only dream of the Finnish education system. But that is not true anymore for children in Split. The address Osmih mediteranskih igara 2 is located right in the heart of Poljud, in the city of Split. That is where the third generation of elementary school students are being educated, at Harfa International School. As we already learned before, Harfa provides the kind of education we all wish for. A student-oriented education where a "one for all" rule is not applied, where the talents and skills of each child are monitored individually, and the teachers represent mentors, ensuring everyone reaches their full potential. Their own, unique potential.

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Curious about the news that Harfa is expanding and opening an international kindergarten as well as a high school alongside the current elementary school, we paid them a visit again. We wanted to find out more details and learn about how they achieve excellent academic results in a way that is so different from other schools.

- Yes, it is true that in addition to the elementary school, we are opening an international kindergarten as well as a high school. We are excited because we received excellent feedback during the visit from the international IB audit. Motivated by their encouragement, confirming that our methods are the right ones, starting the next school year, we are expanding. We follow the international IB Primary Years Program (PYP), balancing it with the Croatian curriculum. In addition to regular classes in the morning, our students have regularly scheduled lunch and two snacks, additional time for studying and writing homework, as well as additional workshops such as drama, chess, mental arithmetic, STEM workshops, music workshops, and individual workshops, depending on the needs. Our goal is to achieve learning outcomes in an interesting and student-oriented way. Our methods are based on inquiry-based teaching, research, projects and teamwork, hands-on learning, but above all, on building strong connections between students and teachers who serve as mentors, while students take responsibility for reaching the classroom goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual level. We teach them to understand the importance of life-long learning and to recognize the power of their responsibility in achieving all life goals, including school goals. – we learn this from the school principal Antonia Tomas.

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While listening to her explanations and the exciting news about spreading the school offer, we hear the students loudly calling out to their teacher. We find out that they are third-graders who do not allow the teacher to end the lesson until they are done with their plans for the day.

- See, this is the result of allowing children to be co-creators of the lesson plans. Every Monday morning, following the curriculum and the learning outcomes, they plan when and how they will learn about a certain unit. You can see their plan right there on that wall. This is what they have committed themselves to. What do you think; will they skip something? No way! No one wants to leave until the plan is fully executed. – explains the school principal.

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- It’s so inspiring seeing children from different cultures communicating fluently in two languages. As an international school, the official language of communication is English, but the children also learn Croatian. It is interesting to see foreigners wanting to learn the Croatian language with great interest and our children helping them in this. In addition, they have enough free time to play and communicate, and they acquire languages ​​very quickly. Seeing a child who recently came from abroad and now speaks Croatian fluently or a Croat who didn't speak English at all and now communicates in that language without any barriers is daily proof of how quickly children acquire knowledge. - explains Dubravka Šušnjara, a first-grade teacher who recently moved from Australia.

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We are interested in her experiences in Australia and in Croatia. Which one is better? But she just waves her hand and adds – This is really the center of the world. With Split as a city tailored for a balanced life and this kind of education, we didn't think twice. My husband and I decided to return after 12 years, and the main reason was precisely the fact that there was a school like this here. As I am a teacher myself, I also applied for an open position in the school this year. I am grateful that my child, as well as myself, have the opportunity to be a part of such a change in education. - concludes teacher Dubravka.

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We have already written about Harfa International School. What started as an enthusiastic project founded by Harfa - the publishing company, turned into a global example of excellent practice. During the preliminary application, they tell us, for the prestigious international "IB Primary Years Program (PYP)" which was planned only for the future, the international audit gave Harfa the highest marks and suggested entering the accreditation process immediately. This is how a small private school from Split became an international example of excellence in education.

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The person behind this inspiring story is Irena Orlović - a psycho-social counselor and one of the main protagonists of Mastercard's short documentary films FIVE, about female entrepreneurs who have changed the world. Irena was chosen as a representative for Europe, and her inspiring story from Croatia was followed by millions of viewers around the world. After 17 years in publishing books by the world's most famous authors in the sphere of children’s socio-emotional development, parenting, and mental health in general, through the award-winning web application Pametnica for the development of children's potential and series of educational workshops for parents, teachers, pedagogues... Irena has decided to turn her rich experience into a school in order to set an example that educational reform, in the best possible way, is very possible in practice.

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- Many refer to the successful "Finnish" model of education. - Irena tells us. - Some things are culturally determined, and some took years of work to change. Finland, too, carried out its reform more than 20 years ago at a time when it was clear that the same path was no longer sustainable. Some other models in the world can also be analyzed, and we can learn something from all of them. This is what we do at Harfa International School. We collect the best world practices, both scientific research about a child’s well-being, as well as best school practices, and we adapt them to our needs. The third generation is underway, and I can only say that we are very excited about the results we see every day.

We are often asked if the children in our school have grades. The grades exist, but the students are self-reflecting with the support of the teacher-mentor. I want to highlight that our world does not revolve around grades. Our world revolves around creating quality relationships between teachers and students, around strengthening that trust as a basis for everything else. At the end of the year, the children give their own opinion about which grade they deserve. Don't fall into the trap of thinking they are giving themselves the highest grades. They are very self-critical and their conclusions are rarely different from reality. This is how we teach them to take responsibility for their actions from an early age. Our goal is to encourage curiosity and develop a passion for learning through research, practical work, and projects, by connecting information with real-life situations. We prepare children for the future where they will be ready for all the challenges they will have to face, and this is the essence of education, isn’t it? – Irena Orlović ends her story seriously.

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We are interested in learning how long it takes for children to be able to give themselves an objective assessment.

- People do not function "at the press of a button!" Everything I mentioned earlier requires a lot of work and patience. And, of course, trust in teachers. I know it's hard to accept a different path when we have expectations that have been imprinted in our heads for generations. But, it is clear to all of us that we do not all have the same "settings". Someone will get to the destination in one way, others in a different way. The point is that everyone will reach their goal, which is the fulfillment of their full potential. And trust me, this will happen if they are offered the space and the right means to do so. - she explains.

While we are talking, children approach us with trays of food. Today, along with a salad, they have polenta and tomato sauce on the menu.

- We plan the menu in cooperation with nutritionists, but many children have already learned in their families that healthy is better. Try them! Offer them chocolate and an apple and let's see which one they will choose! - laughs Irena. We don't even need to check, we see that they would choose the healthy option. It is very clear that this school is trying its best to make the students fall in love with studying.

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- Yes, we want children to like learning. Our goal is to make inquiry learning and knowledge acquisition their passion. We do not want to instill dry facts in them because the brain remembers what is interesting and important. To some, it looks like we are just playing with the children, but science has proven that this way is more effective in the long run. Let's look around. Take a look at your own children. Do they remember better when they "learn by heart" out of a book or when you tell them an interesting story, play with them, do some research with them and connect information with real-life situations familiar to them? There isn't even much wisdom there. Changes in education only require a lot of self-motivation and an effort to connect with children in a way that is in line with their needs. Yes, the challenges of technology and its impact are not negligible, but wasn't that the case throughout various historical periods in times when changes were made? - explains Irena.

Through children’s laughter, we hear a barely perceptible echoing sound. Suddenly, silence. Irena quietly explains: - Children know when it's time to play and when it's time to concentrate and study. When they hear this vibrating bell, it's time to learn.

The drama workshop will start soon.

- Through drama, they develop presentation skills, face the fear of public speaking, practice self-confidence, memory, concentration... and many other things. To be ready for the future, we should start on time and without pressure, through the game. The same thing is with the other workshops. Chess, mental arithmetic, STEM workshops, music workshops, debates, mental health empowerment workshops, entrepreneurship workshops... each of these workshops is carefully designed to support the learning outcomes, but also the development of soft skills and knowledge needed to face the challenges of the future.

- I used to believe that the same and even better results could be achieved differently from what we had in our traditional education system. Now, I have no doubts about it at all. Three classes at Harfa International School prove that every day. The point of education is to get to know each child, what makes them happy and motivated, and to support them in that. Therefore, I decided that for the next school year, we will open a school center where we will follow our children on their life path from the age of 3 to 18. We are now in the process of opening a kindergarten and a high school, in addition to the existing elementary school according to our program. – explains Irena Orlović, and the slogan of her school is "School for the Future".

Learn more about Harfa International School on the official website.

 

Friday, 2 December 2022

Where Luxury Collides: Wanda Radetti Meets Hotel Ambasador in Split

December 2, 2022 - When two luxury tourism pioneers collide, as Tasteful Croatian Journeys founder Wanda Radetti meets Hotel Ambasador, the first luxury waterfront 5-star hotel in central Split. It was quite an evening. 

It only takes a few good people, those with vision and a pioneering spirit, whose efforts, dedication and passion can truly bring change. 

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I was reflecting this as a sipped on an excellent glass of Babic after the main course of deer rumpsteak, Roman gnochhi roll with cranberry cooked in Port wine, Jerusalem artichoke cream, butter glazed Brussel sprouts, and demiglace.

Opposite me was a lady I had wanted to meet for a very long time, the truly pioneering founder of luxury Croatian tourism from the USA, and Conde Nast's preferred Croatian partner every year since 2006, Wanda Radetti, whose Visit Croatia Tasteful Croatian Journeys project has arguably done more than anything to raise the profile of Croatian tourism in this crucial market.  

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The location? The restaurant in the newly-opened 5-star Hotel Ambasador on Split's West Coast, a hotel which has (at least in my opinion) already changed the perception of Split as a luxury tourism destination since opening a few months ago. Wanda was here on her first inspection trip with a view to adding Ambasador to her already impressive portfolio of hotels for her excellent tours from Istria to Dubrovnik. 

It is a far cry from the humble beginnings of Wanda's luxury tourism journey in Croatia, which started with her first-ever tour 27 years ago back in 1995. Yes, you heard that right - the same year that the Homeland War ended, Wanda was already bringing tourists from North America on high-quality (at least given the resources available in a nation suffering from a four-year war), as she brought over a group of diaspora women from the Histra Association of Women. It was a trip which was unecognisable from the 5-star luxury tours today which have justified the trust of Conde Nast for the last 16 years. 

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Just finding a hotel open was a challenge, never mind things to see and tourism providers to offer tours. The only hotel available was in Opatija, and so daily day trips to Istria were the norm. As for the wine from the famed wine-producing region of Istira, which today gets awards on the international stage, back then it was pretty undrinkable. Tending to vineyards in a time of war is low priority. 

What was immediately evident from our first exchange is what an excellent communicator Wanda is, always with a word for everyone. Over the years, those waiters and bellboys of 1995 became general managers of top hotels and some of the most important players in Croatian tourism. Wanda knows them all and has watched - and encouraged - their careers grow. As such, she has built up an unparalleled network of places, experiences and - most of all - goodwill, which she can pass on to her clients in the form of outstanding tours with the very best service and attention to detail. 

When Wanda suggested we have dinner at Hotel Ambasador, I smiled and agreed immediately. Apart from being absolutely my favourite place to stay on the coast - you will not find a better view from Dubrovnik to Rovinj - I was curious to see how a luxury travel expert such as Wanda would take to the new hotel star on the Split waterfront. 

As I had already stayed at Ambasador a couple of times, I gave Wanda one piece of advice, which I am pleased she took - to sleep with the curtains open, so that she could fully appreciate the magnificent view of Split, as its colours changed through the day and night. I truly have not seen a better hotel view in this country. 

 It is one of the few places in the world that I don't mind if I wake up in the night, or very early - spectacular.

Split by night, as seen from the Ambasador. 

Just magnificent.

Wanda was clearly impressed too, commenting on the quality of the materials and finish. She was a joy to watch in action, with a kind word for all, a probing question to learn more for her clients, and a watchful eye on everything that was going on in the hotel. If she was going to promote a hotel to her clients, she was going to do it from the viewpoint of total knowledge. This was a site inspection performed by an experienced eye who knew exactly what levels of quality her clients would expect. And she wasn't shy of pointing out a few small areas of improvement, suggestions that were gratefully received and immediately implemented. 

The Hotel Ambasador lobby is very striking as you enter, mainly due to the outstanding photogaphy which adorns the walls with huge pictures of life in Split in the 1950s and 1960s. A wonderful connection of hotel and city, and one whose photos take guests back to a different era. Wanda captured them too 

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This is my favourite photo in the lobby, as well as my favourite story from the Ambasador so far. In an age before gadgets, where kids played on the streets for hours, this game was very popular. Soon after the hotel opened, some older locals came in to have a look around, and one pensioner was shocked when he saw the photo, for there he was in the photo, some 60 years ago. I suggested that perhaps they could have a media campaign to see if they could identify the rest of the kids and then organise a reunion dinner. 

Wanda's mission was to also meet the staff, so that she could advise her clients, and there are few more important than the head chef, and Ivica Katic spent some time with Wanda exploring the menu options for future guests. 

And so to the food at dinner. Although I am not an expert, I find that dining in 5-star hotel restaurants can be a little hit and miss, and it is not unknown for me to dine in such institutions and come away hungry. Not so at Ambasador, and what a delightful and creative meal it was too. 

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AUTUMN SOUP

-Butternut squash, butter glazed croutons, beetroot powder, pumpkin oil cream

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BEETROOT RISOTTO WITH GAMBERO ROSSO

-Gambero rosso prawn, Bisque, beetroot puree, goat cheese

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DEER

-Deer rumpsteak, Roman gnochhi roll with cranberry cooked in Port wine, Jerusalem artichoke cream,
butter glazed Brussel sprouts, demiglace

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„VIŠKA TORTA“

Walnuts, orange chocolate, orange Chantilly

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A wonderful evening of fine company, food and wine with Wanda and her colleague, Tia Lovisa Moreira, an evening made even better as charismatic Ambasador General Manager Stipe Medic joined us during the meal - Stipe is a great addition to the hotel, and his local knowledge and humour is just one more asset to this truly great addition to this new star of Split tourism. 

Rovinj and Dubrovnik have long been the stars of luxury tourism in Croatia, and Split has always struggled to shine in this sector, at least in my opinion. The positive noises from Wanda and Tia echoed my own thoughts, as I retired to my room for one more night with the curtains open to enjoy THAT view. Rarely can a hotel have such a perfect view matched by an equally perfect location. Within walking distance of Diocletian's Palace and the Split marina, and yet far enough away from the crowds, Hotel Ambasador is the perfect entry point to enjoy the magic of the Dalmatian capital and its incredible history and heritage. 

Learn more about Hotel Ambasador on the official website.

And if you want to know why Wanda Radetti and Tasteful Croatian Journeys are Conde Nast's preferred choice, check out their website.  

Friday, 18 November 2022

City of Split to Co-Finance Medically Assisted Reproduction

November the 18th, 2022 - The City of Split is set to co-finance medically assisted reproduction in order to attempt to raise the birthrate in that part of Central Dalmatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the City of Split will co-finance medically assisted fertilisation from 2023 onwards, writes Vecernji list, stating that such a pronatal measure has already been introduced by the Eastern Croatian city of Osijek, as well as by the municipality of Gradac in the Makarska littoral.

Many couples try to become parents even after several failed fertility procedures, when they no longer have the right to the procedure of medically assisted reproduction at the expense of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, which is a big blow to any normal bank account, so, in an effort to improve the devastating demographic trends in Dalmatia, the city will cover part of the costs of such interventions.

When it comes to demographics in the city and the wider area, the situation is truly alarming. Split has lost 10,100 inhabitants in the last ten years along, and as for the ratio of births and deaths, in the same period, about 3,000 more people died were born.

''We've agreed with Mayor Ivica Puljak that from 2023 on, the City of Split will receive a fund for subsidising medically assisted reproduction. The fund will amount to 600,000 kuna. We will further harmonise the regulations with the mayor before announcing the tender. Otherwise, HZZO covers the costs of four procedures, for women up to 42 years of age. I propose that the City of Split co-finance procedures for women living in Split until the age of 44 or 45, but also to co-finance procedures for couples who have already used all of the procedures financially covered by HZZO, of which there are unfortunately many,'' said Davor Matijevic, a Split city councilor from SDP.

He explained that HZZO pays out in full for four procedures if they are performed at KBC Split (Split Hospital). If those procedures either don't work or result in loss, people seeking such treatments then have to pay for them alone, which is either incredibly difficult or in some cases simply not possible.

For the additional three procedures, the City of Split will co-finance 80 percent of the total costs if the procedure is performed at Split Hospital, 60 percent if the procedure is performed in one of the private institutions in the wider area, and 40 percent (up to 7,500 kuna) for procedures performed in another healthcare institution located on the territory of the Republic of Croatia or even in another European Union member state.

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

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Split Advent Starting on 23 November, Featuring 1st New Year's Ball

November 17, 2022 - The Split Advent will begin on the 23rd of November 23 on the frozen Prokurative. As for the New Year 2023, the residents of Split and their guests will welcome it with Vojko V and Severina.

As Index writes, according to the director of the city company Žnjan d.o.o., Ante Šunjić, together with the City of Split and its Tourist Board is organising this year's advent, entertainment and catering facilities will be set up in three places - in Prokurative, Mertojak, and Šperun. In a private organisation, an exciting programme is also expected in Stari Plac and Perivoj.

"In the city organisation, we will have approximately 750 square meters; at Prokurative we will enjoy a little more than 500 square meters of the ice surface. Similarly, at Mertojak, we will have about 250 square meters; at Prokurative, we will have nine catering houses and, of course, an entertainment programme from the 23rd of November," said Šunjić, adding that the Split New Year's concert will cost around HRK 600,000. Another half a million will be added for the ice rink.

At Mertojak, the Split Advent programme will start on the 26th of November, focusing on the youngest in the morning, while in the evening, a programme for adults will be organised.

First-ever New Year's Ball

For the first time, a New Year's ball and a performance by opera singers will be organised, said Alijana Vukšić from the Split Tourist Board, emphasising that the entire programme is aimed at fellow citizens to repay them for all their efforts during the tourist season.

"Eight shops and three sweet shops will be on the Riva. They will not serve drinks but desserts such as fritule, uštipci and pancakes. We do not have ice rinks in Đardino, but we will set up figurines for the children with ambient music and lighting. Important points for us are "Trg Gaje Bulata, as well as HNK Split and Hrvatski dom Split, where we prepared an entertainment programme in cooperation with our cultural institutions," said Vukšić.

The deputy mayor of Split, Bojan Ivošević, said that through the revival of the city in Advent, there would be increased consumption, and everyone will benefit - from citizens to entrepreneurs and the city itself.

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

Monday, 14 November 2022

A Hotel that Inspires Many - Promotes Croatia & Gives Away 10 Years of Free Stays to Its Guests!

November 14, 2022 - The summer of 2022 and another successful #reelstoryofcroatia contest at Marvie Hotel & Health in Split

This summer has been yet another amazing sun-soaked Mediterranean adventure as seen in the bright and colorful footage which inspired Marvie Hotel & Health guests shared for the 2nd edition of the hotel’s popular contest. For those who are still unfamiliar with the details of this creative and fun contest, as well as its mind-blowing prize - #reelstoryofcroatia was first launched by Marvie Hotel & Health in the summer of 2021.

Already known as the first health hotel in Dalmatia and one that has embraced many innovations such as long-term offers for digital nomads as well as the possibility of paying with cryptocurrencies, this popular hotel in the beautiful city of Split came up with the Instagram contest of the decade - an incredible opportunity for all Marvie guests to win 10 years of stays at the hotel!

3 nights for 2 persons in our Superior Room for 10 years!

It is not hard to imagine why so many took the chance to win 3 nights for 2 persons in a Superior room at Marvie’s, with breakfast included – EACH year for 10 consecutive years. The task was easy - all the hotel guests had to do was enjoy their vacation, shoot their favorite summer moments with a smartphone and finally share their days of fun in the sun with friends and family on Instagram!

The whole concept of this contest is aimed at promoting the beauties of the city of Split, the nearby islands, the magnificent coast and generally the irresistible charm of this region. With that in mind, the creative contestants focused on having fun and being themselves, while filming great footage of the incredible Dalmatian scenery. The goal of promoting this mesmerizing Croatian destination was indeed accomplished as the shared Reels have so far generated more than 250.000 views from all over the world!

Last year’s 1st #reelstoryofcroatia winner was Patrick Whelan from Britain, known as @patrick.films on Instagram, whose creative winning video entry served as an inspiration for many of this year’s contestants. The hotel management has informed us that Patrick has already started reaping the benefits of his prize and has completed his first free stay at Marvie this summer, in July!

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Photo description: Patrick Whelan, the winner of the 1st #reelstoryofcroatia 

 #reelstoryofcroatia 2022 contest of the decade

Following the success of the 1st edition, Marvie Hotel & Health decided to give a green light to the start of a new version of the #reelstoryofcroatia contest for the summer of 2022.

Once more, during this year’s summer season Marvie’s guests were invited to jump into a new exclusive contest and grab the opportunity to win free three-day stays in a Superior Room for two persons EACH year from 2023 to 2032!

Even though no high-end production was needed to take part in this competition, this year too, some creative guests have outdone themselves and have posted authentic, as well as truly exciting videos of their seaside experiences! Just as was the case upon the end of the first edition, this year the hotel’s management admits having had a very hard time selecting the lucky winner!

This season’s #reelstoryofcroatia fabulous prize has gone out to winner Ronnesha Jackson! The top contestant @amorxnesha won the 2022 contest by posting a truly feel-good, groovy and stylish video and has now unlocked her 10 YEARS of stays at Marvie Hotel & Health!

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Photo description: Ronnesha Jackson, the winner of the 2nd #reelstoryofcroatia 

Click below to view Ronnesha’s winning Reel.

 

The GM of Marvie Hotel & Health, Diana Rubić Radman is thrilled with the results:

“Last year we had already noticed that guests readily accepted the challenge of this contest. They had fun filming their videos and the results accomplished our goal – the Reels generated over 250.000 views in two years! The decision to relaunch the contest in 2022 was an easy one to make. This is a win-win situation – the guests happily embrace the contest, while we manage to promote the destination at the same time. By participating in #reelstoryofcroatia our guests also become ambassadors, promoting the beauty of Split, Dalmatia and Croatia as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The fact that last year’s winner has already used 1/10 of his prize this July, is proof of how thrilled visitors are to return to our destination. Once again, we thank all our guests of participating!”

If you’d like to make the most out of your upcoming Croatian holiday, Marvie Hotel & Health might be your optimal choice. Feel free to check their availability calendar, and book directly via their website for the best price online.

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