Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Alenka Jurasic: Dear Croatia: It is Not Me, It's You

September 27, 2022 - Not all Croatian returnee stories are happy ones. Alenka Jurasic with a very candid overview of making the switch from Toronto to Volosko. 

Dear Croatia:

It’s not me, it's you...

After leaving my job of 20 years in the hospitality business in one of the best bars in Toronto, I made my way to Volosko, Opatija in June. Notice given and accepted, legendary goodbye party in the books, apartment sublet for 3-6 months, bags packed, triple vaccination certificate in hand, I made my way to my home for the summer, what I hoped would be my home for the future, Croatia.

First and foremost, there was more than one reason for me to make this move. It was not sudden or out of the blue. The move came through a series of breadcrumbs that led me here to this point in time. I had an apartment my mother left me in one of the most beautiful seaside villages I had ever seen. The sprawling place had been her very happy home for 20 years of retirement, and the view from the balcony was something I had never experienced on a daily basis before. I had a whole brood of cousins living across the street who I adored, and then the sea, ah the beautiful sea, was a 5-minute walk from my front door. After 2 and a half years of lockdowns, shutdowns, mask mandates, vaccination requirements, capacity mandates, and everything being closed for months on end in Toronto, I began to really consider what I wanted my life to look like… and it was not looking like Toronto was the place for me anymore.

Plus, with my dad being very ill with stage 4 cancer and in a home in Croatia. I figured this would be an opportunity to spend the summer not only on one of the most beautiful coastlines I had ever seen but also to help him through his last days of life. Nothing seemed more reasonable to me, and the breadcrumbs led me to Volosko in June 2022.

I took a plane, and bus taxi, entered my inherited home, dropped my bags, and sighed as I quickly changed into a bikini, grabbed a new book and a towel, and made my way down to the sea. I had arrived. All my Croatian friends congratulated me on the move well done, if not way too late. My family welcomed me with open arms and open bottles of Pelinkovac. My father somewhat stubbornly remarked, what took you so long, but conceded he was happy to have me so close by.

It didn’t take long for things to get “tough,” but I had anticipated this, somewhat naively, I can now admit. Language barriers, culture barriers, and lifestyle barriers hit me straight in the face like a flying bat in baseball.

First, it was the prices…how did everything all of a sudden get so much more expensive? From food to drinks to excursions - nothing was as cheap and cheerful as I remembered it. And speaking of cheerful? To get a warm greeting or a smile from a hospitality worker or someone in the service industry was very few and far between. Going out to eat went from being a joyful experience to one of frustration and disappointment. Having been in the service industry for my entire life, I couldn’t fathom how a country that lived solely off tourism could provide such a terrible experience again and again and again. Mediocre food for fine dining prices. Now, I must admit I am a pretty picky restaurant-goer. I believe and respect the experience - sometimes more than I respect the quality of the product. So I have to say that I am extremely disappointed with my overall Croatian dining experience. Like wtf. I have waited 10 -15 minutes just to receive a menu. Then I have waited an indiscriminate time for my drink to arrive. I have been overcharged and ignored, and I seem to feel like I am in the waiter's way and not that they are there to give me quality service and an experience. I am a bother, not a valued guest spending hard-earned money.

Transit tickets are more expensive than taking the transit in Toronto (where the median salary is 5 times higher) for a system that is beyond in need of maintenance and upgrading.

3.25 CAD for a ride in Toronto to wherever you want to go and 3.45 CAD for a ride only in a 3-zone range. I’ve been on buses when it was so over capacity that it was dangerous, and young girls were fainting from the heat and nowhere to move. Long distance buses hours late with no one to tell you what is going on and when they might be expected. This is at bus stations with no seating or adequate washroom facilities. I have taken the same route to the same stop and been charged three different fares. When questioned, no driver knew the reason why it was so. I have not gotten change back and been charged a full rate and given a ticket for a cheaper rate so the driver could pocket the extra kunas. I have never in my entire life living and taking transit in Toronto ever seen a young generation more rude while on the bus. Teenagers and young adults nab the seats, and senior citizens and older folks with groceries are left to stand the entire way to their stop. It is not just sometimes; it is every day. My Croatian mother would have bopped me over the head had I not given up my seat to someone who looked even 10 years older than me. The kids scream and joke and goof around and get on without paying, while Nona and Nono are left to hold on tight to the railings through the hairpin turns. Disgusting. I am embarrassed for this new generation. I have argued with bus drivers, been talked down to, cheated, and dismissed. When I asked for my change once, I was told he did not have it, and it was not much anyway, so not to worry about it… the Canadian in me is appalled.

Trips to social security have left me dreading having to go back. One time I knocked politely on the door and waited - only to have the doorman/guard open the door begrudgingly a few minutes later, admonishing me as to why I did not just enter- that he was not a butler! I explained to him that in times of pandemic and covid, it was expected not to barge into an office but to wait politely outside in case they were at capacity. He grunted. I was surprised he knew the word butler.

Being a pedestrian in this country is like taking your life into your hands every time you step outside. Cars parked belligerently on every sidewalk, so you are forced to walk on the very busy small road hoping that traffic will not smash you to bits.

Trying to navigate the health care system is another nightmare that not only a foreigner but every Croatian who cannot afford paid healthcare has to go through. How many trips to the hospital with my very sick father ended up with me in an argument as to why I don’t have the proper forms and that I need to go here for this and here to pick up that and wait hours to see a doctor in a waiting room teeming with sick folks waiting for their blessed turn to please see someone to help them feel a bit better. One building for the test, then you have to pick up the results yourself to bring to the next building, and so on and so on and so on. It was so confusing and difficult that my poor, very sick father gave up, and I had to fly over from Canada to help an 81-year-old man to get to see someone to help him deal with cancer. It took 7 weeks in total to get a diagnosis and to get treatment started. I myself saw a chiropractor for major lower back pain, and to be told it's 80 CAD dollars for 15 minutes of work, and no he does not take credit - cash only. He scoffed when I asked to pay with a card. Cash only, cash only, cash only. Words that you will hear in many places around this tourist-based country.

No one will tell you that there is not a common taxi system here like there is in most modern countries - a standard fare and commute. I learned that the hard way. What was usually an 80 kuna ride, I was charged 140 kuna and the taxi driver told me that they were a private company and could charge what they wanted..no meter. Cash only. So in a city of no Uber I learned that you have to ask what the fare will be upfront so as not to be shocked when you step out. My ride from the airport to my friend's place taught me that. I nearly fell out of the cab in shock when I arrived and was told a 15-minute ride cost me almost 80 dollars.

Jebiga, jebote and kurac are all I heard when I tried to explain my experience to others. If they are rude to you, be rude to them is what I was told. But it is not in me to be rude. Today I went to pay a bill at the Fina, and the cashier pushed it back to me. And I pushed it back to her. And she impatiently said (hearing that I was a foreigner with my thick accent) that I needed to fill out a payment slip which she pushed across the desk to me. Not knowing the language, I painstakingly filled out the form myself while she sat there and sighed and was impatient with my ineptness. I don’t need to be bowed to and coddled or handled with kid gloves; I just need a bit of patience and kindness and help. I want to be here, I want to belong. I want to pay my bills fast and take the bus without hesitation and not dread dealing with rudeness or animosity. But those experiences are few and far between. And when you find one nice experience, it can change your day by God!

Funeral expenses _ cash only. Who pays cash for a 2500 $ funeral? Getting a new remote for my garage door - cash only and no receipt. Over and over in a system that has no system. Maybe I am too Canadian and too “nice” as we Canadians are known, but when has nice ever been a detriment to society?

I will never forget my first argument in the hospital with the receptionist when I came from Canada to help my dad get care. We had an appointment with the throat specialist. We waited. We were called, and I handed over the form my dad's family doctor had given us. It was the wrong form, and I was told to get another form and come back. I said no. She said what. I said no, I was not coming back, that we had an appointment my dad had social healthcare and that we wanted to see the doctor. She asked me if I understood her, and I said yes, but I did not understand why we could not see the surgeon if we had an appointment he had his medical card, and I had come from Canada to get him this help. So NO, I was not leaving and getting another form, and I did not understand and we were going to see the doctor. The horror! After much hesitation and annoying looks, she spoke to the surgeon, who took us immediately as my father's case was urgent. I had to promise to send the right form the next day. Now getting to see my family doctor was another thing, You can call and call and call but never get through to make an appointment because no one really answers the phone there. You have to show up and wait and then get admonished for not making an appointment, but you had tried for hours and days on end. And so on and so on and so on.

One thing after another, and I tried and tried. Is it me? No, it's not, it is you Croatia. Unfortunately for us both. Not only did you not make it easy, you made it really hard.


Thanks, Alenka!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.


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

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Istrian Camps and Hotels Breaking Records in Post-Season

September the 27th, 2022 - Istrian camps and hotels are continuing to break records during 2022's post-season, despite the poor weather conditions which are currently causing issues in that and other parts of the country.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, even the bad weather over the last few days hasn't succeeded in spoiling the excellent tourist results for Istrian camps and hotels during the post-season. For the whole year, compared to the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019, the number of overnight stays is now only 3% behind. Of the 350,000 tourists currently staying in Croatia, about 100,000 of them are on the gorgeous Istrian peninsula, as reported by HRT.

There are now much smaller crowds, the sun is still warm but not brutally hot, and the sea hasn't cooled down all that much either, meaning swimming is still very much a possibility, this combination is ideal for guests from the north. The Fazana camp is still half full, and among the 2,000 guests, the majority are retirees, parents with small children and school groups on trips away.

"The season is better than that of 2019. I can say that cumulatively, in total, the whole year will end with some 10% plus compared to 2019," said Roland Cinkopan, the director of the Bi-Village camp in Fazana.

Even in the camp in Pula, the cottages are still full, and the rent of several hundreds of euros per night is now half the price. "We wanted to stay a few days, but it's beautiful, especially with this view, so we're staying the whole week," said Paola from Germany, and that view extends to a luxury hotel with all the accompanying facilities. Although it has just been renovated, it was immediately recognised on the market and will not be closed even over winter. In the coming months, it will host congresses, and now individual guests, mostly Austrian nationals, are staying there.

Raising the overall level of quality and increasing consumption is part of the strategic plan for tourism development not only in Istria but across the rest of country, crowd reduction is also a top priority.

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Association of Pag Cheese Producers Seeks Lowering of VAT

September the 27th, 2022 - The Association of Pag cheese producers are seeking VAT reductions on cheese and milk products from the government, given the fact that Croatia has placed particularly high VAT rates on cheese compared to many EU member states.

As Morski writes, in Italy, this rate stands at 4%, in France 5.5%, in Germany 7%, while in this country, VAT on cheese is a whopping 25%. That is why Pag cheese producers and small dairy farms have sent a request to the Croatian Government in which they're asking for a reduction in what they consider to be too high value-added tax rates. If that happens, the consumption of cheese would increase, and its price for the end consumer would also be lower.

Without tax relief, the business outlook for cheesemakers doesn't look great.

''The Association of Pag Cheese Producers, together with the Association of Croatian Small Dairies, has decided to initiate a request to reduce VAT on cheese and dairy products. Croatia has the highest VAT rate on cheese and dairy products of all EU member states. Just for comparison, in Slovenia, the VAT rate is 9.5%, in Italy and Spain it is 4%, in Ireland the VAT rate is 0%,'' said Martina Pernar Skunca, president of the Pag Cheese Producers Association.

''We propose a VAT rate of 0-5%, so we also accept 5% as a kind of normal VAT rate for dairy products,'' said Sime Gligora, the director of the Gligora cheese factory.

''What's illogical is that the VAT on milk is 5% and the state subsidises milk production and encourages it, while on the other hand, the VAT on cheese and dairy products is so high,'' added Pernar Skunca.

I'm tired of the barren bureaucracy, of all of these piles of paper. Most of this could be reduced, simplified, arranged to be simpler, to be easier. A big problem is created by VAT, which takes most of the income for itself. It's clear to all of us that the state also has to live on something and those institutions that are also at our service, don't get us wrong, but I think that this industry should be protected not only on the island of Pag, but across the whole of Croatia because it's now on the verge of extinction,'' said Sime Pernjak, the co-owner of a cheese factory.

This summer's drought has also left unfavourable consequences. The sheep which graze Pag did not find enough food, so the livestock had to be supplemented, and compared to last year, the costs have doubled.

''From the very start when it comes to livestock, feed prices rose. Fodder rose because artificial fertiliser rose. Fertilizer prices have risen due to energy costs. And therefore the price of milk has also shot up. So, the price of milk is 50% higher than it was last year. Energy prices went up, electricity is three times more expensive, gas is twice as expensive, and the costs of packaging, cardboard, foils all went up,'' said Gligora.

It can't get any worse, Pag cheese producers have warned, aware that they cannot replace the increase in input costs with a higher price of cheese.

''The big thing is that we buy milk with 5% VAT, and the output VAT is 25%. The maths here is crystal clear,'' said Pernjak.

''By reducing the VAT rate on cheese and dairy products, our products would be more competitive on the market, their consumption would increase, and this would be good for everyone because there would be a greater inflow into the state coffers. So we believe that in these difficult conditions on the market and in this situation when everything has become more expensive - both raw materials and energy products - that it is really necessary to reduce VAT because it is the highest in all of Europe. As for Pag cheese, it is a premium product, and the point is that dairy farmers on the island of Pag don't live only on Pag cheese. We also have goats, we buy significant quantities of cow's milk from Croatia and goat's milk which also comes from Croatia. The price of hard cheeses has increased. We've minimally increased our prices. All hard cheeses are more expensive products and you simply have to make a compromise so as not to lose customers. Up to a certain point you can suffer at the expense of your own margins, but then there comes a point where you can't do that. If the dairies aren't operating well, who will pay the farmers for milk but the dairies?'' added Pernar Skunca.

''We bring in milk from Lika, Zagorje, Slavonia, Istria...'' noted Pernjak.

''What is very important is that we're the biggest purchasers of cow's, goat's and sheep's milk and, unlike other dairies, we produce the most products that have this high VAT,'' added Pernar Skunca. That's why only with a lower VAT rate can we overcome this never-worse time for cheesemakers, they explained from the Association of Pag Cheese Producers - now they are already worried about their jobs but also the preservation of the centuries-old tradition of cheesemaking on the island, writes HRT.

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Zagreb Tourist Board Marking World Tourism Day in Vukovar

September the 27th, 2022 - For the first time, the Zagreb Tourist Board will mark World Tourism Day outside of the capital city, looking to Eastern Croatia and choosing Vukovar.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb (TZGZ) traditionally celebrates World Tourism Day every single year, and this year will be the first time it will do so outside of the City of Zagreb, presenting the long-standing educational high school project "Culture of Tourism" in Vukovar. As such, in cooperation with the Croatian Association of Tourist Journalists and Writers in Tourism - FIJET Croatia, the projects of the students of Zagreb will be presented within the a programme called "Culture and tourism in the revival of the continental tourist offer".

The Director of the Zagreb Tourist Board, Martina Bienenfeld, said on this occasion: "World Tourism Day is celebrated on September the 27th under the auspices of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation), so I'd hereby like to send my sincere congratulations to the entire tourism industry of Zagreb and Croatia. In accordance with this year's slogan, Rethinking tourism, we focused on our "Culture of tourism" project, which we're implementing in cooperation with the City Office for Education, Sport and Youth.

With this project, we're involving young people in participating in environmental protection programmes, raising their quality of life, preserving ethnological, historical and cultural heritage, raising the level of hospitality and creating a welcoming climate, and with their great work, they're showing how well tourism can truly be thought through. With an emphasis placed on year-round tourism, Zagreb has a developed, sustainable, equal and responsible tourist offer and has achieved great tourist results in the previous part of the year. Cooperation with Zagreb's high school students provides the foundations for shaping the future of tourism in a way that makes it sustainable, stronger, more inclusive and empowering both for our city and for the country as a whole."

Through the systematic education of Zagreb high school students for whom tourism and catering are not primary, the Zagreb Tourist Board hopes the "Culture of Tourism" project will succeed in its aim to raise the students' awareness of their own city and introduce young people to its touristic, cultural and natural potential. Over the years, all schools in the City of Zagreb have participated in the project, and this year there were six of them. They will present their projects in Vukovar this year.

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Zadar Archaeologists Discover 17,000 Year Old Horse Head

September the 27th, 2022 - Croatia, much like the rest of Europe, is brimming with history from times long since gone by, and every few weeks it seems there is a brand new, very impressive find buried literally under the ground and proverbially by the ages. Zadar archaeologists have now discovered a horse head that is likely to be around 17,000 years old.

As Morski writes, traces of ancient times buried under the soil are frequently stumbled upon in Dalmatia, and Zadar aechaeologists are now on the threshold of an apparently very interesting discovery.

On the official Facebook page of the EpiC project - the Epigravetian Communities of Northern Dalmatia, they published more about their interesting find:

''Maybe it's a rainy Sunday, but even that can't stop the team. Although it seemed that we would stay warm and dry and deal with the administrative part of archaeology, curiosity came calling. At the end of the working day a unicorn appeared! We are waiting for our colleague Radovic to confirm the finding... Joking aside, we are talking about a horse that is probably around 17,000 years old! We are eagerly awaiting your suggestions for a name to give to it,'' the Zadar archaeologists said on Facebook.

''We found a horse-like head and now we are waiting for the confirmation from our other fellow scientists whether it is a species of horse that died out a long time ago or it is the remains of a wild horse. In addition, we also found traces of a hearth and the remains of hunting equipment, which is common for that era,'' research leader Dario Vujevic from the Department of Archeology of the University of Zadar told Radio Zadar.

As it was covered by a layer of earth that dates back to a period even older than 17,000 years, and coincides with the time period during which the last ice age took place, it is obvious that the animal remains also come from that period.

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

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Unseen Footage: Inside Vukovar & Hospital, November 18 1991

September 27, 2022 - The fall of Vukovar on November 18 1991 is marked every year all over the country. Some previously unseen footage, including a tour of the hospital, shows the true horrors and suffering of war on that fateful day. 

The horrendous images coming out of Ukraine over the last 7 months have shocked the world, with millions of Ukrainians forced from their towns and villages, their homes destroyed. 

The images have reawoken some brutal memories among people in Croatia, especially eastern Croatia, which experienced similar aggression in the Homeland War from 1991-5. 

I am just back from the east, where I recorded the first TCN video podcast with Englishman Steve Gaunt, who has lived in Vinkovci since arriving in Croatia in 1991 to fight as a volunteer for Croatia in their war of independence. 

Steve has a fascinating story which you will soon be able to watch, as we recorded for more than an hour in his magical English pub, The White Boar, in a field in the middle of nowhere in eastern Croatia. 

Steve was wounded in the fighting, but carried on, despite losing a foot. He was also very active with the media as a photographer and helping out the international media, in particular ITN News. He formed a great relationship with ITN News anchor, the legendary Michael Nicholson, who gave him a lot of the uncut footage of his reporting as a parting gift. 

Steve has decided to publish that footage on his YouTube channel, Steve Gaunt - you can subscribe here. PLEASE NOTE - these images are VERY disturbing.

The videos are all from November 18 1991, the day that Vukovar finally fell after a brutal 87-day siege. The scenes of people trudging through the ruins of the city and being led out into exile are truly harrowing.

Even unedited, the footage is compelling viewing, and the level of detail it captures makes it an important historical reminder of what happened that day.

But the most harrowing is the third video of the three, as Nicholson and his camera crew have a tour of the basement hospital where around 600 patients (including 12 babies born in horrific conditions) somehow managed to exist from day to day, despite there being no basic supplies such as running water for over a month.

The interviews with the heroic doctors are testament to the bravery and dedication of true heroes working in the most appalling conditions. But what makes the footage even more terrifying is what happened next.

The same day as Nicholson and his team visited the hospital, Vukovar fell, and the Serbs entered the hospital. Some 200 were taken away and murdered. According to Steve, these included the heroic doctor in the lead photo. 

The female doctor who gave the main interview survived, as did the injured baby, who is now married. 

Monday, 26 September 2022

CRO Race, International Bicycle Race Kicking Off on Tuesday in Osijek

September 26, 2022 - The seventh edition of the international bicycle race CRO Race is taking place from September 27 to October 2 through six stages, on a route of more than 1,000 kilometres across Croatia. This year, too, the CRO Race will offer numerous thrills and attractions, and it will pass through some already known as well as some completely new destinations.

As SiB reports, the race starts on Tuesday, September 27, from Osijek at 11:15 a.m., while the finish of the first stage is in Ludbreg. The cyclists are expected to arrive in Ludbreg between 4:42 p.m. and 5:11 p.m.
Temporary traffic regulation will be in effect on the part of the public roads on the roads where the race will take place, and traffic restrictions will be enforced on the mentioned sections in the presence of the Croatian Police employees and the representatives of the organisation. Although the bicycle race will be held under normal traffic conditions with occasional traffic stops immediately before the cyclists meet and pass, it is possible for cyclists participating in the event to lag behind. Hence, it is necessary to increase caution and pay attention to cyclists in traffic.

Temporary regulation of traffic on the first stage from Osijek to Ludbreg will be valid on September 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the roads of Osijek-Baranja, Virovitica-Podravina, Koprivnica-Križevci and Varaždin counties on the route: Osijek-Višnjevac-Valpovo-Podravska Moslavina-Čađavica-Suhopolje-Virovitica-Pitomača-Virje-Koprivnica-Ludbreg. You can find more information about traffic at the link https://bit.ly/3BIo6r3.

The exciting thing is that this year's cycling race CRO Race will also include the third edition of the virtual race for children, Kids CRO Race, which will be held on September 27 from 12:00 in Ludbreg. Thus, children from Ludbreg will also have the opportunity to compete for the title of the overall winner, whose announcement will take place on October 2 in Zagreb.

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

Monday, 26 September 2022

Wine Marathon in Zmajevac, Baranja Welcomes Over Ten Thousand Visitors

September 26, 2022 - Without a doubt, the biggest outdoor festival in Croatia last weekend was the two-day 17th Vinski Bor Wine Marathon in Zmajevac, for which more than two thousand "marathoners" signed up from Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Germany...


Dubravka Petric / PIXSELL

As Glas Slavonije writes, the first day, according to the tried-and-tested recipe, was reserved for the "Premium Marathon", where visitors had the opportunity to taste the best of the best, top-quality wines from Baranja winemakers. The guests of the premium wine marathon were the singer Tijana Dapčević, who represented North Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest, the Hungarian violin virtuoso, Bernadett Nyári, and The Frajle. One of the "Frajle", Jelena Buča, presented her first book before the concert in the Zajec wine cellar. The premium wine marathon was opened by MP Robert Jankovics, accompanied by two presenters - special guests of this year's marathon, Renata Sopek and Monika Molnar.


Dubravka Petric / PIXSELL

Some of the guests at the opening were led by the consul of the Consulate General of Hungary in Osijek, Zoltán Császár, the director of the Economica Hungarika foundation Hajnalka Palizs-Tóth, and the executive president and vice presidents of DZMH Oliver Matijević, Erik Munk, Janoš Andoči, Kristian Palinkaš and Zoltan Čerepeš. On the second day of the event, on Saturday, thousands of people, with glasses in their hands, "ran" through the surduks of Zmajevac. This year, the marathon runners could also choose where to start their wine adventure, on the red, green or yellow wine road, that is, in Katolički or Reformatorski Surduk, or in Ružina Street.


Dubravka Petric / PIXSELL

For those who could not resist the competitive spirit, a formal winner of the marathon was presented - the one who first visited all the cellars and returned to the start, i.e. reached the finish line with all the stamps. But this is the least talked about, because almost no one goes to Zmajevac to compete, but to have a good time. The wine marathon is, in fact, as if created for the well-known sports saying "it is important to participate". Anyone who has visited the wine capital of Baranja during the Marathon returns again and again. Because every new marathon is a new experience, the excellence of which is guaranteed by top winemakers (this year 22 winemakers offered their wines), breathtaking landscapes, plenty of music and good vibes offered in the surduks of Zmajevac.


Dubravka Petric / PIXSELL

The Wine Marathon is a festival through which the people of Zmajevac simultaneously promote the culture and customs of the Hungarian community, the economic interests of local winemakers, but also the unequivocal interests of promoting tourism in Baranja. And that this is indeed the case, proof is the busy accommodation facilities in Baranja last weekend. According to the estimates of the organisers, during the two-day event, more than 10,000 visitors passed through Zmajevac surduks. The partner countries of this year's marathon were Hungary and North Macedonia.

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

Monday, 26 September 2022

Cheaper and Smarter: Samobor Waste Disposal Idea Outshines Zagreb

September the 26th, 2022 - Much has been said about the City of Zagreb's new and somewhat questionable waste disposal plans for next month, but the Samobor waste disposal ideas are cheaper, smarter, and will likely function far better in reality than the plans here in the capital.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, Zagreb's new waste disposal plans have been deemed good in theory but likely to fail in practice, both in terms of technical feasibility and finances, as well as in terms of legality. Samobor, on the other hand, says that they have devised a much more functional and cheaper system with the use of waste metres that is also applicable in the capital.

Komunalac Samobor is introducing a completely new waste collection system in the first half of next year, and the biggest innovation is the expansion of the separate waste collection area to the entire area and waste metres for multi-apartment buildings.

Collections throughout the city

The Samobor waste disposal plan will be carried out by using large common containers for multi-residential buildings that will record every waste insertion. In this way, the waste metre will monitor the disposal for each user and enable the creation of monthly bills according to the amount of waste actually delivered.

For the first time, separate waste collection is being introduced throughout the city, and residents living in family homes will receive special bins for plastic, paper and mixed municipal waste.

Households will pay 10.60 euros per month for the service, and non-households will pay a slightly higher 11.98 euros. The mayor of Samobor, Petra Skrobot, explained that this is a model that was established by combining good practices that were observed in several locations across Croatia and abroad.

"We didn't research all the cities, but as far as I know, not a single city in Croatia that belongs to the 'big' category has this kind of waste management system," the mayor pointed out, adding that the waste metres themselves will cost around four million kuna, of which one million kuna will be derived from EU funds. There will of course also be other costs involved, she said, such as the modernisation of the vehicle fleet, but they would have to do that anyway because they currently have trucks still doing this job that are over twenty years old.

Komunalac director Renato Raguz pointed out that unlike other cities, especially Zagreb, Samobor's waste management system isn't adapted to the service provider but to the citizens themselves. People don't need to finance the construction of waste boxes from the reserve, as is the case in Zagreb, they don't need to buy plastic bags, and Samobor's Komunalac will take care of the containers, waste metres and system control.

Raguz added that before the preparation of the price list, they managed to make some savings within Komunalac, and even if nothing had changed, the expenses of the waste management service would have been 50% higher than the income.

"With this new Samobor waste disposal system, we foresee numerous price reductions that serve as additional motivation for users when sorting and separating their waste. In particular, the price will be reduced for everyone who composts their waste by 1 to 3 euros, depending on the area, and there will even be a 50 percent reduction of the variable part of the price which will be available to those who have children up to two years old, due to the need to dispose of nappies. The same will apply to adults with incontinence," concluded Raguz.

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

Monday, 26 September 2022

Sibenik Landmarks and History More Interesting to Tourists Than Sea and Sun

September the 26th, 2022 - The many Sibenik landmarks, cultural sites, fortresses and events are of more interest to visiting foreigners than the basic sunshine and sea lure is.

As Morski writes, Sibenik is also now becoming more and more of a desirable tourist destination during the post-season. As one of the very few cities in the world with two UNESCO monuments, this historic Dalmatian city has a lot to offer guests for whom sun and sea are far from the only reason for coming to this country. The Sibenik tourism sector is satisfied with the announcements of arrivals in the coming months, and just a cursory look at the city's streets and squares confirms that tourists really do love Sibenik.

''It's very nice here, we like it, the historic city is beautiful,'' pointed out Petra, a tourist from Slovakia.

''This is the second time we've come here, we were here two years ago, and we've now come to the very centre of the city and we're enjoying it,'' added Lehnard, a tourist from the Netherlands.

Tourist statistics show that September is almost at the level of the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019, with things doing even better in the hinterland.

''The announcements so far are good, although the 'last minute trend' has been present once again throughout this whole summer season, even with hoteliers and private renters,'' said the director of the Sibenik Tourist Board, Dino Karadjole. Regardless of trends, the season for private accommodation has been extended well into September.

''We're staying for fourteen days and we're really having a great time here, we have excellent accommodation, good hosts - oh, and this is a beautiful country,'' said a tourist from Germany, Berharda. Tourists like to visit Sibenik even when the hot summer is over, and local hoteliers are satisfied with the announcements of things to come.

''We know, given that the agencies have filled the hotel quite a bit for September, that what's left of September will be excellent, and October a little less than excellent, but the forecasts are still very good, we're still at seventy percent,'' said the sales manager of a Sibenik heritage hotel, Fabiano Baranovic.

''We have groups from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and the first groups from the Asian market, we have five groups announced so far for the month of October and we hope that there will be more to come,'' added hotel director Magda Lakos Mioc.

As for off-season guests, hoteliers are also adjust their offer in a much more targeted manner.

''Precisely because of them, in addition to our standard wellness offer and the fact that Sibenik and the Krka national park are very close to us, we've prepared special events, and from next month on we will continue with the traditional Olive Days manifestation,'' stressed Katarina Tommasini Maric, the sales manager of a hotel complex.

Sibenik landmarks and this part of Dalmatia's very rich history offer guests much, much more than the basic lure of sun and the sea that Croatia still leans far too much on.

''The beach is great for us, but it's only a bonus on top of what Sibenik already has, our strongest resources and potential lie the old city core, the fortresses and the surroundings of the old town, along with events and gastronomy,'' pointed out the director of the Sibenik Tourist Board, who is no doubt looking forward to the congress season which is rapidly approaching.

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

Page 1 of 3691