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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Why The Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Loves Croatia — and Colorado






Firstly, this New York Times article that just came out the other day was already titled that way, and I totally came across it by chance and immediately thought I should put it here, (really, I was just Googling around for information about skis and ski touques and there it was, and skiing season isn't that far off either so perfect timing) and even though she's not a Croatian skier it's still pretty cool and good to know for a few reasons. After all, she is a 2-time winner of the annual Snow Queen Trophy World Cup alpine ski races that take place at Zagreb, is the current World Cup overall and slalom champion and has skied at many locations on the World Cup ski circuit, so she should know what she's talking about. (if the reader requires a more Croatia related topic, the Karlovački Dani Piva/Karlovac Beer Days just finished up recently, see karlovac-dani-piva-days-of-beer post and hit the links there for more about that)

Also, her personal thoughts and the article title is just a very good promotion of the sport around the world in general, so speaking as a skier that gets a 2 thumbs up from me. Because dang, it doesn't say "Mikaela Shiffrin Thinks Croatia Is "OK"..or "Not Too Crappy But They Wear Wierd Clothes "..or "Is Alright, But Should Have Better Beers, Pastries & Sausage Toppings" or something like that, heck no. It's just a few brief mentions like this in a major newspaper that does wonders in bringing awareness to important world topics like this, it opens up a whole new can of worms that I get to elaborate on for the benefit of the reader. (it's always and at all times strictly for the readership). I'm not going to get into how long I've skied, where I've skied or what skis or poles or helmets I think are the best, the main point is I like the the sport and the whole skiing tradition and culture thing, it's like surfing in the winter in a way.

Like I said before, it should also help bring awareness to the upgrades, renovations and additions that are currently going on and being envisioned for the whole Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort, which will help the future of the annual FIS Alpine World Cup Snow Queen and King Trophy slalom races to remain as one of the most popular and important on the FIS World Cup Skiing circuit calendar in Central Europe, and so eventually become an even better world class event for everyone, including even those watching at home on television. The Croatian ski team is in a rebuilding stage with new skiers, (more info about the current lineup at croski.hr), but what's important here is keeping the ski culture ad tradition alive. It also even brings awareness to the Winter Olympics in a way, (what kind of a world would it be without the Winter Olympics and skiing I ask the reader? not a better one that's for sure, probably much worse and unbearable), and so in the process in effect bringing the holy skiing bliss and joy of the ski gods to people around the world basically, which is way better and more interesting than lots of the crap and infotainment in the news these days, the world quite simply needs more ski hills and ski resorts because that's the answer to many of the world's problems, and that's the truth.

(I guess it all comes down to that age old question and enigmatic riddle that has perturbed and perplexed many great minds, thinkers and philosophers for thousands of years since time immemorial, namely..."Skiing, What is it? Friend or foe?" (you know, that whole velocity/distance/angle in relation to the earth's circumference/rotational speed thing vis a vis if you didn't ski on the mountain would it exist? aka the skiing crocodile dilemma, I ski therefore I am etc, as well as the very real possibility for the existence of the previously thought mythical legend of the aerodynamically ideal perfect ski position mentioned in ancient chronicles where the skis actually float slightly above and don't even touch the snow going down the hill, because it's all about just you and the mountain and the elements and there is no going back, time-outs or complaining to any ref, either the mountain and snow becomes a part of you and vice versa or it will crush and annihilate you whenever it feels like it, like a pointless foreign puny skiing mammal insect on it's territory, but the rewards and blessings from the ski gods looking down from above for those who accomplish the feat are immortality, real immortality just like those ancient ski heroes of renown from times long past who's names still echo across the mountaintops eternally). Well, that just about sums it up and I think the answer is self-evident, that skiing is a mantra for the ages, a philosophy (in most cases even a religion, which it is) and a way of life that contributes to civilization, progress and a better future, that's the way I see it)

(and you know what else? interestingly it's almost like the statistics situation in my croatians-world-lists-drinking post, eerily similar actually. Like when's the last time you heard in the news about a skier or former skier being involved in robberies, assaults, throwing acid in faces, various voilences, muggings and especially homicides and murders? exactly, it's pretty darn rare and hardly ever in the news. Heck I can't even remember the last time I heard about some skier involved with those things, at some ski race, after ski-party or even while wearing any ski fashion/attire, it sounds shocking but it's true and good to know)

Anyway, this article may even encourage more young kids in taking up the sport and culture, or the other related skiing disciplines like Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Skiing or even Freestyle/Snowboarding etc, in Croatia or anywhere actually, (because not everyone can be a ball kicker or a ball bouncer, thrower or sell eight-balls or do speedballs unfortunately, maybe in a perfect world, so perhaps the ancient sport of skiing is the answer). Well that's about it, for more information and pics of the Zagreb Christmas Holiday Markets that she mentions in the article see post zagreb-advent-festivities-are-underway and for more information about the Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort upgrades in the works see free-skiing-at-sljeme-begins.



(And for those who are totally unfamiliar with this topic here's some supplementary tidbits...the FIS Snow Queen (Croatian: Snježna Kraljica) trophy is a World Cup alpine ski race in Croatia. The men's and women's slalom races take place on the Crveni Spust (Red Slope) Medvednica mountaintop at the Sljeme-Medvenica Ski Resort just north of Zagreb, every year in early January. The women's Snow Queen alpine race debuted in 2005 and the men's event was added three years later in 2008, with the winner being crowned the Snow King. Besides the city events in Moscow and Munich, it is the only World Cup event held in the vicinity of a large metropolitan area.

Its current prize fund of €120,000 is one of the largest prize funds on the World Cup circuit and the races have been known to attract up to 25,000 spectators, making it one of the largest and the most visited races on the World Cup calendar. The trophy is a crystal crown with past winners' names imprinted on it. At the award ceremony, the winner is presented with a cloak and sits on a throne like a queen, and a king. The race was originally called the "Golden Bear" Trophy (Croatian: Zlatni Medvjed), but from the 2006 event the name was changed in honour of Janica Kostelić, whose victories in the sport helped popularize skiing in Croatia and also paved the way for the World Cup race at Zagreb to be included as a premier competition for alpine skiing.

In 2013, the Snow Queen Trophy races were admitted to the Club5 Ski Classics, which gathers traditional organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races. Zagreb has thus joined the company of the leading organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races, including Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen and Val d’Isere. Annually TV stations in over 25 countries of Europe, North America and Asia broadcast the races by Eurosport Europe, Eurosport Asia and ESPN Latin and South America, while news reports and features are transmitted in an additional 50 other countries together reaching more than 250 million households around the world.

And here's some interesting skiing trivia since already on the topic; even Ivica Kostelić who is a World Cup Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and Janica Kostelić who likewise was an Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and multiple Olympic Champion before early retirement, neither of them won at the Snow Queen Trophy World Cup races, (having podium finishes though), so it's not exactly an easy slalom race to win and it's definitely not fixed. And courtesy of www.skijanje.hr some other interesting skiing trivia...the first official ski club in Croatia was formed in Rijeka at nearby Platak (platak.hr) and founded in 1885, which is actually 10 years before even one was formed in more snowier Zagreb in 1895. And the first official skiing competition race was held at a ski slope on Učka just outside the town of Opatija in 1897, (yep that's not a typo, that Opatija), the first locally manufactured skis were made in 1911 as well as the first official Croatian ski camp was held at Mrkopalj in 1913, amazing)





A 2-time winner of the annual Zagreb VIP Snow Queen World Cup alpine ski race, Mikaela Shiffrin pictured earlier this year at the 50th FIS World Cup Skiing Anniversary event in dowtown Zagreb. Image: www.instagram.com/cro_ski.





Source:nytimes.com


When Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s World Cup overall title in March, she was the first American to conquer skiing’s most coveted title since 2012 — coincidentally, the year she won her first World Cup event at the ripe age of 17.

Like all top-level ski pros, Ms. Shiffrin, who lives in Vail, Colo., spends most of the year circling the globe. In summer, she trains in New Zealand and Chile; from October to March, she races across Europe, with occasional jaunts to North America — the World Cup opener in Sölden, Austria, is on Oct. 28. And this season will add a big detour to her itinerary in February, when she competes in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Below are edited excerpts from interviews with Ms. Shiffrin.




Mikaela Shiffrin in the women’s slalom race in Aspen, Colo., in March. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.





Q. Do you have favorite resorts on the racing circuit?


In Zagreb, in Croatia, we stayed in the middle of the city, right near the biggest shopping street. We were there when the Christmas markets were still up. It’s one of the few times I make a point to get out and walk around a bit because there’s so much history. With Zagreb and Maribor, in Slovenia, the [ski] hills are right on the outskirts. You’re driving through a city for 45 minutes, thinking, “There’s no way we’re going skiing anywhere near here.” Then all of a sudden you’re at a ski hill.


Are there any differences between the ski cultures in the United States and Europe?


Yes, but then there are also different approaches to skiing within the U.S. The East Coast is generally a lot more about racing. The West has a huge all-mountain culture, with powder skiing, heli-skiing and freeskiing. The crowd at the Killington races in Vermont [in November] was incredible. It was this moment for the U.S. to show all these Europeans who think they own ski racing that we can hold our own.




Mikaela Shiffrin celebrating on the podium after the FIS World Cup Women's Slalom race on Sljeme in Zagreb January 4, 2015. Image: REUTERS.





What is it like to be a bona fide star in the Alps?


In the U.S. people might recognize me at home or if I’m at a ski event; otherwise they don’t know what’s going on. But in Austria or Italy I can count on somebody stopping me in the street. When I go to Europe I have to start thinking about trying to be incognito if I have to get somewhere on time.


You’re on the road for months at a time. What’s always in your bag?


I travel with a blanket that I received as a Christmas present and my own pillow, because the pillows in a lot of the [European] hotels are really thin and I feel like my head is falling off a cliff while I’m sleeping. And my face creams, from a company called Beautycounter that specializes in clean products.




Mikaela Shiffrin. Credit Dustin Snipes/Red Bull Content Pool.





How do you deal with travel fatigue and jet lag?


People say that the first few days at a new place, you should not nap no matter how tired you are. But I find that oftentimes I still have some sort of a disrupted sleep pattern at night, so I do nap. If we have to ski the next day, it’s important to get your muscles going again so you must do something active, like go for a walk or a jog, and get some fresh air. For athletes nutrition is always important, but especially with travel you want to make sure you get the right kinds of fats and protein, and bring healthy snacks so you won’t go to the candy shop at the airport. I like dried mangoes, also cheese and crackers — there’s probably no study that shows that’s the greatest thing to be eating for jet lag but as far as snacks go, it’s not terrible. Sometimes dark-chocolate-covered berries, to get a sweet fix without eating an entire doughnut.


What do you look forward to the most when you go back home?


My bed and my shower! In the springtime the snow can be really good in Colorado, so I try to take advantage of that and have some fun with my freeskiing. There’s also a really great movie theater called CineBistro in Vail, a sort of extravagant in-theater dining situation with a burger bar.




Behind the scenes footage and interview from the 2015 Ski Legends and VIP Snow Queen Trophy slalom races.





Previous related posts: photos-of-day-50th-fis-world-cup-skiing-anniversary

free-skiing-at-sljeme-begins-bears-ebel

photos-of-day-skiing-at-platak-ski-resort

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Young American-Born Actress With Croatian Roots...Izabela Vidovic






I'm just doing this one for a change of pace and the interesting Croatian connection. (Because I don't really do "celeb" posts as regular readers already know, even the previous post links at the bottom were done mainly as just informational posts revolving around the interesting Croatian connection, they're not even "celeb-ish" as far as I'm concerned).

Anyway, I also decided to do this one just so that more people will know about her Croatian background and not mistake her for something else. as in..."Oh hey there, did you see that girl in that show there last night on the TV? that Russian or Polish girl or whatever she is?..."No dum-dum, she's Lithuanian or Czech or something like that, probably Hungarian or somewhere around there"...."Aw geez, both you idiots are wrong, that's a Belarusian or Ukranian actress, probably Estonian though actually come to think of it like that tennis player whatshername" and other similar scenarios. I explain this simple topic very clearly at croatiansurnameshistory.blogspot.ca with a number of other interesting examples.

For instance since on the topic remember Eric Bana also? the guy from the 2003 Hulk film? Lots of people at first thought he was maybe Italian, French or Spanish background. (you know, like Bana-Bono-Bonbon-Bellini etc). But nope, his real name is Eric Banadinović. (that was a pretty good Hulk film too actually, it was the first updated Hulk before all the later Hulk versions). I explain the Croatian surname adjustments and spelling variations history from over the centuries at that link also, although it's been common knowledge that for quite some time people have changed their names in Hollywood and the entertainment biz, many even already with English names changed to have a fancier or a plainer celeb name, a few examples...Cary Grant/Archibald Alexander Leach, Hedy Lamarr/Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, Marilyn Monroe/Norma Jeane Mortenson, Meg Ryan/Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra, Joaquin Phoenix/Joaquin Rafael Bottom, Jennifer Aniston/Jennifer Linn Anastassakis, Natalie Wood/Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, Bela Lugosi/Béla Ferenc Dezsö Blaskó, Richard Burton/Richard Walter Jenkins, Gene Simmons/Chaim Witz, Elvis Costello/Declan Patrick McManus, Judy Garland/Frances Ethel Gumm, Demi Moore/Demi Gene Guynes, Nicolas Cage/Nicolas Kim Coppola, Natalie Portman/Natalie Hershlag and hundreds of others did the same. 

You will also notice below she was in a film with John Stamos, remember that guy from the series Full House? I never really watched that series though because it was just too creepy and disturbing for my taste, just a very disturbing series from the equally dark and disturbing late 80's and early 90's in general. There are quite a few other celebs with Croatian background but it's not really the purpose of this blog. you are now free to watch television and movies, I've done my part and now hopefully in the future at least more people will know about her Croatian background and not mistake her for some other tennis player or soccer player or something else.



Related: croatiansurnameshistory.blogspot.ca

www.tabloid.rtl.hr

www.comicbookmovie.com






Izabela Vidovic (Photo: IMDB)




Source: croatiaweek.com


Although she is just 16, actress Izabela Vidovic is already building an impressive CV in Hollywood.

Next month on 9 October 2017 in America the third season of the series Supergirl, starring the young actress with Croatian roots, starts on screens.




Supergirl (Screenshot)




Izabela was born in Chicago to Croatian parents Mario and Elizabeta Vidović.

Her mother Elizabeta was born in Germany to Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina and then moved to Chicago and then eventually to Los Angeles in 2002. Izabela can also speak, read and write Croatian.




Izabela with John Stamos (Photo: IMDB)




Izabela started her career at the age of 7 by performing in stage productions of Mary Poppins, Camp Rock, and Annie. After that, she moved onto film and television series in 2011.

She is best known for her roles in movies Homefront (Jason Statham), Wonder, which starred Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts, Little Brother (John Stamos) and in the Freeform television series The Fosters.







Izabela also appeared alongside her mother in the 2012 film ‘Find me’.




Izabela Vidovic (Photo: IMDB)




Her sister Katarina is also an actress and the family regularly visit Croatia, RTL writes.









goran-visnjic-filming-3rd-season-of

photos-of-day-ufc-champion-stipe-miocic-zagreb

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Croatian Shipyard Uljanik Launches World’s Most Powerful Dredger






Here's a quick post just for the hell of it, and it will probably be mainly of interest to those types who are really into ships technology, capabilities, knots, tonnage and specs etc. (there's more exciting things going on in Croatia right now but if I mentioned them it would probably depress the reader, and then next time at the store line up you'll blame me for even mentioning it). Now sure a dredging ship is perhaps not as glamorous or interesting as my previous luxury super yachts, Croatian Navy and Coast Guard patrol boats posts, but still (those links are below). It's just good to know that Croatia is doing it's part for progress, civilization and in this case, for cleaner and better seas and waterways, boats and ships are still very useful as long as there's still oceans so that gets a 2 thumbs up from me the way I see it. Because after all, we're not exporting any sort of weird or crappy foods, fashions or clothing, fundamentals, terrorism or strange theologies, books, cults, dances etc, not even any cartels contributing to crime rates and that's all a good thing I say (you simply can't blame us for exporting that kind of stuff because we're too busy making ships, so it's also a good thing for this overpopulated spinning dirtball in space we call the world's largest round 3-D hi-def holographic television, aka the planet with the various mammals and creepy-crawlies). And besides, once in a while I like to show that we manufacture and export things other than soccer players, a country can't just be all about exporting soccer players all the time I say. (there's some updated construction video footage HERE of the Scenic Eclipse passenger luxury mega-yacht project in the works, which is another prestigious and cool kick-ass boat project currently going on at the same shipyard).

Another thing I like about this story that just occured to me, is that the mentioned Croatian shipbuilding companies have already for a while been building ships and vessels for the Croatian Navy, Coast Guard and Police, mainly various class missile boats, landing/assault ships, minelayers and various patrol ships. But if they really had to they have the means and technological capability to easily build the much larger ships, battleships, destroyers and heck even aircraft carriers. However, I think the chances are pretty well zilch that Slovenia, Montenegro, Italy across the Adriatic or even Greece down the way will attempt a naval attack or amphibious assault on the Croatian coast and vice versa, so it's just mainly national territorial maritime border security ships and as part of Nato, EU maritime forces (besides the inland variable yield nuclear tipped missiles will take care of that anyway).

Basically I think there's a lot worse and pointless absurd things to be exporting around the world these days, so this world's most powerful cutter dredger ship gets my official stamp of approval for that reason. Most of the text below I just added from a previous post for some supplementary probably less well known information about shipbuilding history in Croatia...



***


I touched upon Croatia's long naval and shipbuilding history in a few posts before in case the reader didn't know (those links are below), Croatia's current shipbuilding sector slowed down a little after the world economic crisis a few years ago, but recently it has been steadily growing and getting back to previous production numbers. (Which all makes sense, being that Croatian shipbuilding history actually goes back through the centuries to the early middle ages and it's not just something recent. The history of the Croatian Navy also goes back to the same times to at least the 8th century, that's another topic I touched upon at croatian-navy-25th-anniversary and added an excerpt of at the bottom).

Brodogradilište Split, aka Brodosplit shipyards, (www.brodosplit.hr) is based in the city of Split, (obviously) has already for years been building super-large container ships, ferries, passenger ships, oil tankers, (example) as well as the Croatian Navy warships/police boats mentioned earlier and other marine transport vehicles, but this shows that Croatian shipyards can still make top notch quality fast response Croatian Navy/military ships today. There is also the city of Pula based Tehnomont Brodogradilište which also makes large ships and boats for export, especially lately for the Croatian Coast Guard and the Police Patrol Boats mentioned. (Interestingly Brodosplit even won a contract last year to complete the ‘Save Venice From Flooding’ Project, a system including 63 huge steel gates and one of the biggest construction projects in Italian history, they're practically saving Venice basically, how's that for interesting? (you know, Venice like that gondola guy on those Ragu spaghetti sauce labels, that's in Venice and not just some guy on a boat probably many people don't realize). The gates will also thwart any future shore landing attempts by Ra's al Ghul and his minions if necessary, intelligence reports last year reported his dastardly plan is to transfer the entire populations of Egypt, Libya, Algeria and the whole Middle East into Italy and Greece by 2030 before then taking over North America, China and Japan, he's just plain diabolically evil that guy).

3Maj Shipyard (Treći Maj Brodogradilište) in the city of Rijeka is another one that has a long history of building all kinds of large ships, oil tankers, container ships, ferries, passenger ships and not just oyster, lobster/crab and shrimp catching boats or just those touristy river rafts like some people think (example). The first docks were erected in 1892 at first as an affiliate to the German Howaldtswerke from Kiel. 3Maj was recently incorporated into Uljanik which are based in the town of Pula. This saved a lot of jobs and costs and combined their shipbuilding know how technologies, streamlining operations to make a more efficient and productive shipbuilding company. Case in point, Uljanik Group Shipyard was chosen to make the Katina luxury yacht and the Scenic Eclipse super-luxury passenger yacht not that long ago.

A few other ones I should mention since on the topic are the Dalmont Brodogradilište Kraljevica (aka Kraljevica Shipyards) in Kraljevica near the city of Rijeka, which has a history of shipbuilding since being founded in 1729, these days including building commercial ships, military vessels, and superyachts. The Viktor Lenac Shipyard (Croatian: Brodogradilište Viktor Lenac) was founded in 1896 near the city of Rijeka, it at first specialized mainly in ship repairs and lengthenings, today it has three floating drydocks, a large offshore construction site and it specializes in ship conversions and gas platform construction. Over the years it has even signed a number of contracts to repair and overhaul various US Navy ships (including the US Navy's 6th Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney). And the Brodotrogir Shipyards in the town of Trogir near Split is another one building large container ships, ferries, passenger ships and oil tankers etc, with even documented historical mentions of shipbuilding in the town going back to the Middle Ages, so nothing new there.

I also found out that not long ago this same Uljanik Group shipyard signed a contract to build three 740 foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters for the Algoma Central Corporation shipping company in St. Catherines Ontario, more on that at www.sootoday.com and worldmaritimenews.com. Good news for Croatian shipbuilding again as well as their customers world-wide, Croatian shipbuilding saving jobs and lives and even saving Venice while making the world a progressive and better less absurd place, and top notch beers and pastries too.



Related previous posts: first-of-5-new-croatian-coast-guard

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Croatian Shipyard Launches World’s Most Powerful Dredger




Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik has launched the world’s most powerful cutter dredger (Photo: Uljanik)





Source: croatiaweek.com


Croatian shipbuilder Uljanik has launched the world’s most powerful cutter dredger over the weekend at its shipyard in Pula.

Uljanik built the 151.3 m long vessel named Willem Van Rubroeck for Luxemburg-based Jan De Nul Group.

The self-propelled cutter suction dredger, named after the great Flemish missionary and naval explorers of Medieval times, is 36 metres wide and is able to dredge material up to 45 metres deep.




Footage from the official ship launching.





Willem Van Rubroeck is 10 metres high and can develop a speed of 12 knots. It has installed power of 40.975 kW, three dredging pumps with a total power of 25.500 kW, two of which located in the pump room and one in the cutter ladder, and 2 retractable thrusters with a total power of 6000 kW.





The launch of the world’s most powerful dredger in Pula (Photo: Uljanik)




“This vessel, the world’s most powerful dredger, will have a cutter power of 8,500kW and it will be able to dredge compact sand, clay and rocks up to 45m deep, while the operation will be controlled from a central station and is almost completely automated. Also, it will be able to receive 67 crew members in a comfortable and high standard accommodation,” Uljanik said.

Uljanik said on Monday that they have also signed a deal with Norwegian company Nexans Subsea Operations to build a cable laying ship. That ship will be 149.9 metres long and 31 metres wide.










.....Like I said, interestingly for those not in the know, and since already on the topic of ships, sailors and the Adriatic sea, I should briefly highlight again with an excerpt about the early Croatian Navy, shipbuilding and coastal maritime activities and history that extends from well before the 21st century, stuff many probably didn't know...




Movie screenshots from "Croatian Kings" (Hrvatski Kraljevi), a Croatian Television (HRT) produced 7-part documentary series viewed by millions and broadcast to over 30 countries by the Swedish "History Channel" on the Viasat World satellite television network. More information at www.momentum-studio.com and viasat-history-channel-to-broadcast-documentary.




...From the time of the Croatian King Petar Krešimir IV around 1066 the Croatian Navy was still an integral part of the overall Croatian military forces and might, during King Petar Krešimir's reign there was a duke Rusin mentioned who assisted with the coordination and activities of the Croatian Navy, some other local dukes and admirals before and after from 835 to 1089 were Družac, Božidar, Berigoj, Jakov, and the fact that the very title of Duke could be borne only by governmental dignitaries and bestowed by the King is proof of the navy importance. In 1069, when he donated the island of Maun to the city of Zadar, in the surviving royal charter document King Krešimir did not fail to point out that ancient Dalmatia was rightfully part of the Croatian Kingdom and that it was "...our own island that lies on our Dalmatian sea...". (Latin: nostram propriam insulam in nostro Dalmatico mari sitam) ie: the eastern Adriatic of the Croatian Kingdom, even the Byzantine empire recognized him, along with his maritime naval fleet, as the supreme ruler of the coastal areas and eastern Adriatic Sea. However well before this and already from the year 642 the early Croats are recorded by the Longobard historian Paul the Deacon as having many ships at the city of Siponto across the Adriatic Sea. The same sources speak about Croats as successful ship builders. At the time of Duke Vladislav (821- 835) sources mention a strong navy. Thanks to the Croatian maritime power of Duke Mislav (835-845), he signed a treaty with Pietro Tradonico, Doge of the Venetian Republic in 839, which led to the further growth of Croatian sea power and control of the eastern Adriatic. During the rule of Duke Trpimir (845-864) Croats broke through to Furlania and in front of Venice itself. In 871 as an ally of the Frankish Carolingian Emperor and King of Italy Louis II, the Croatian Navy under Duke Domagoj distinguished itself in the liberation of Bari, Taranto and southern Italy from the Arab Saracens occupation. Interestingly, during the reign of Duke Branimir (879-892) the Venetians were defeated and were even obligated to pay tribute to the Croatians for the freedom of sailing on the eastern Adriatic, the taxes ensured a safe passage preventing attacks or conflict from the Croatian ships, (so besides being independent of not only the Frankish Empire but also the Byzantine Empire and Venice as well, then it also shows that a well organized under command royal maritime naval force existed). In the work of the domestic and foreign policy manual De Administrando Imperio by eastern Roman Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus VII from circa. the year 950, he wrote that after King Tomislav secured peace with the Bulgarian Empire who bordered the Croatian Kingdom to the east, and the Frankish Empire to our west, we had a military of 60,000 cavalry, 100,000 foot soldiers as well as 80 galleys (larger ships with 40 sailors) and 100 cutters (konduras - smaller ships with 10 to 20 sailors), not counting the oarsmen this would then amount to over 5000 sailors...




Movie screenshot.



...Later during the times of Croatian Kings Michael Krešimir II (reign 949-969) and Stephen Držislav (reign 969–997) as well as their powerful Bans/Viceroys Pribina and Godemir, Croatian Navy ships were victorious when in conflict with the fleets of Saracens and Muslim Arabs attempting to cross and invade from the Italian peninsula of Gargano in 968-969. A number of Croatian Navy conflicts during these centuries successfully repelled Muslim Saracen and Moorish pirate raids arriving from Italy whose primary aim was to attempt to carry off women and children as sex slaves. Later the era of King Stjepan Držislav (969-996) was also marked with successful maritime trade and safekeeping of maritime routes and domination of Croatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. King Stephen I Krešimirović (988-1058) is known in sources for solidifying the Croatian Kingdom domains of the formerly named Pannonia and Dalmatia, but also for strengthening the military and especially ensuring the coastal defence and rule with the aid of his Croatian Navy fleet, with trade and commerce flourishing afterwards. Later in 1084, when the Normans under Robert Guiscard Duke of Apulia and Calabria conquered southern Italy and Sicily, he invaded the Adriatic Sea and western Balkan provinces of the Byzantine empire, and King Dmitar Zvonimir (1074-1089) even helped by sending troops as well as ships from the Croatian fleet to his aid. It is even precisely for these reasons that the medieval Croatian Kings with their royal courts, Viceroys/Bans and many of their nobility kept their seats and official royal residences near the strategic coastal areas, to much easier personally oversee and direct their maritime fleets. (Nin, Šibenik, Zadar, Biograd, Split, Klis, Knin, Trogir, Solin, Kaštela etc). Without getting into the maritime tradition and history including Dubrovnik, events after union with Hungary and the Habsburg Empire, the thousands of Croat sailors who took part in the epic historic Battle of Leponto defeating the Ottoman Empire fleet etc, these are just a few examples of the early Croatian Navy presence and maritime naval history from well over a thousand years ago. Basically in a nutshell, like I said at a previous croatian-navy-25th-anniversary post, the Croatian Navy and maritime shipbuilding tradition and history is then actually much, much longer than just 25 years, which is good to know.






Monday, 21 August 2017

Rowing Sinković Brothers Become First Croatian Athletes Featured On A Red Bull Can &...Toni Kukoč Inducted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame







 Olympic, European and World Champion rowers Martin and Valent Sinković became the first Croatian athletes featured on Red Bull cans. More information: sinkovizacija.redbull.com.





I thought this Croatian related piece of information was interesting and sort of cool, I wasn't panning on adding anything here for a few weeks...but what the hell it's also solar eclipse day today. I've been trying not to do sports or celeb topiced posts for a while either, but it's really not about either actually.

And I should mention btw, everyone around here has caught the solar eclipse fever just like everywhere else, yep it's all solar eclipse talk and festivities all over the place. Why the whole neighbourhod even got together for a sort of block solar eclipse party. It started last night with various moon themed movies playing on the large outdoor screen (the side of a garage actually) all through the night as a pre-eclipse countown. It started off with the classic A Trip to the Moon, (the first moon film made ever), then Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, An American Werewolf in Paris, Dark Moon Rising, Alien, Moontrap, Dune, Blade Runner, First Men in the Moon, Edward D. Wood Jr's classic Orgy of the Dead, a film that fittingly seems like it even was entirely filmed during a solar eclipse, and of course the Doris Wishman classic Nude on the Moon as a pre-eclipse finale before the sunrise. There was also moon pies, moon dogs (hot dogs in the shape of the moon), phases of the moon Oreo's, eclipse-burgers and various moonshine and other moon foods and drinks, (coincidentally even Red Bull was used to make some of the pre-solar eclipse moon drinks, a combination of Red Bull with cherry brandy, pelinkovac/absinthe and then topped with whipped cream, moon shaped marshmallows and candied meteorite sprinkles), some people brought moon sparklers and even wore those nostalgic moon boots for the full effect. It was eclipse and moonmania all over the place and almost like the 1979 solar eclipse again, just amazing. (Well not really, but there should have been a pre-eclipse moon festival I say, what's a solar eclipse without a pre-eclipse shindig?)

Anyway back to the main topic, I don't really follow rowing and it's much more popular outside of North America, especially Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but I did mention them previously once, so I just re-added that one below also...





Image and more information: sinkovizacija.redbull.com.





The current Olympic, World and European champion rowers, brothers Martin Sinković and Valent Sinković recently became the very first Croatian athletes to be featured on cans of Red Bull.

Red Bull energy drink has been releasing a new series of cans featuring athletes, non-profit charities and various other themes which is a pretty cool idea, and now for the first time cans of Red Bull can be bought that feature the champion rowers.

“We are so honored to be the first Croatian athletes on the Red Bull cans,” the brothers wrote on their Twitter profile.




Martin Sinkovic & Valent Sinkovic at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, Aiguebelette, France. Photo: FISA Igor Meijer




There are a number of other Croatian athletes that could have also been put on a can, but going with the Sinković Brothers is a wise choice and there's no complaints here. (and nope, none of my other choices would have been soccer players btw, picking them for the can just proves like I've shown numerous times that Croatians are much more than just soccer, perhaps shocking to some but it's true). After dominating the double skulls discipline by winning everything possible around the world, including Olympic, World and European titles, as well as remaining unbeaten for three years, it's definitely not an undeserving accolade and honor. And it's not just your typical usual athletes who can get the honor in the first place either, Red Bull is all about extreme athletes and being hardcore, never giving up and pushing one's self further than average athletes, going beyond the limits of normal abilities and mental and physical endurance when others said it was futile, perseverance and proving them all wrong, doing the impossible basically.

As of now they hold 23 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals from international rowing competitions, (as well as still hold the World Record for being the first and only men's pair to ever go under the 6 minute mark in the 2000 meter (2 kilometers) category at 5:59,72) for a total of 29 podium finishes. The brothers also decided to change disciplines just this past year to the Coxless pairs, so they're not even finished yet and it should be interesting.

I should note that the rowing duo also took part in and promoted the not-for-profit humanitarian Red Bull "Wings for Life" Foundation Run that took place earlier this year in the coastal city of Zadar.

More information including behind the scenes video and tips can be viewed at:

sinkovizacija.redbull.com

www.redbull.com/hr-hr/martin-i-valent-sinkovic

www.redbull.com/int-en/the-best-places-in-the-world-to-row

www.facebook.com/sinkovicbrothers

Previous related post: croatian-brothers-break-rowing-world-record











Related posts: croatian-brothers-break-rowing-world-record

over-8000-runners-took-part-redbull-wings-for-life

photos-of-day-red-bull-air-races

croatian-rimac-automobili-red-bull-aston-martin

red-bull-sidrun-in-croatia-for-hardcore-waterpolo

dietrich-mateschitz-next-time-you-drink-redbull

swatch-red-bull-beach-volleyball-series-croatia

photosvideo-of-day-red-bull-air-race

red-bull-air-race-arrives-to-rovinj




Croatian Brothers Break Rowing World Record Time, Win Gold At World Championships



*original post from 2016.



Valent Sinković and brother Martin Sinković had an amazing world record breaking start to the weekend yesterday, and finished it nicely with a World Rowing Championships gold. Not too shabby and definitely worth quickly adding here. Rowing is very physically demanding, quite a grueling sport actually, and you need to be in peak physical condition to give it all for the whole race, with not even a millisecond for a breather. (For all the boys and girls out there who may want to take up the sport, you know what that means, that's right it means lots of hours rowing on the water practicing, rowing machines in the gym, you're going to have to turn down that slice of pie, chocolate eclair, those chips and that yummy crack, it means having to eat those carrots, asparagus and cauliflower on your plate without the extra cheese sauce, no bacon bits and sour cream on your steamy potato and forget about that extra piece of steak, because in a hour you'll be stretching for your 5 km run or other endurance exercises. That's the price you have to pay for becoming a rower and world record holder boys and girls, and probably just growing up on Croatian food is the main thing)

Anyway, it seems all the training footage of them I came across is paying off. There's lots of training and practice behind the various medals. The brothers latest medal is the fourth gold for Croatia from world competitions where Croatia has so far bagged a total of 13 medals, and the 4 man team have been having great success over the past few years also. More info at the links below...

(Also, another quick mention, Lucija Zaninović had a great weekend as well, bagging another gold, this time at the 2014 WTF World Taekwondo Grand Prix Series in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Friday. Lucija Zaninović also just happens to be the twin sister of Ana Zaninović, who is also a champion taekwondo athlete. I know what you're thinking but I don't know if the Zaninović sisters dated the Sinković brothers. More info about her HERE)





Valent Sinković (L) and Martin Sinković (R) from Croatia celebrate after winning the Men's Double Sculls Final A at the Rowing World Cup on Lake Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Keystone, Urs Flueeler). Image: uk.eurosport.yahoo.com





Croatian Rowing Brothers Create History – First Ever to Go Under 6:00 On The Way To Gold





Source: www.croatiaweek.com



Croatian brothers Valent and Martin Sinković have become the first Men’s Double Sculls rowers to go under six minutes over 2,000 metres in the history of the sport…

The Sinković brothers broke the old World Record by 4 seconds with a time of 5:59.72 at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam to become the only rowers in history to go under six minutes. French pair Jean-Baptiste Macquet and Adrien Hardy previously held the record for eight years.

“How did it feel? It is phenomenal to be the World Record holder,” the older of the two, Valent said after the race.

The brothers are the World Champions in their discipline and were silver medal winners at the London Olympics. The Sinković brothers' latest medal is the fourth gold for Croatia from world contests where Croatia has so far bagged a total of 13 medals. The Croatian rowing team have also won 3 medals at summer Olympics finals.




The future world record holders pictured with their mother before the 2014 World Rowing Championships. How long will this new world record last? We'll have to wait and see.





Men’s Double Sculls (M2x) – Final



Source: www.worldrowing.com


Like a Shakespearian drama, the men's double had heartbreak and triumph and that was just in the leadup to today's final. The reigning World Champions, Norway were out with the new combination of the Sinković brothers from Zagreb, Croatia shining with every race through this regatta.

Right from the first stroke Valent and Martin Sinković had the lead. The duo said that they love to lead from start to finish and they were doing just this today. Germany's Hans Gruhne and Stephan Krueger followed in second before last year's bronze medallists, Romano Battisti and Francesco Fossi got ahead.

But what a show of dominance. At the head of the field Croatia had strided away to a two boat-length lead. Battisti and Fossi now slotted into second with a virtual line for the bronze medal between Australia, Lithuania and Germany. The crowd was on their feet. The gold medal was clear. The times showed just half a second separating four crews. Italy had taken silver and Australia's James McRae and Alexander Belonogoff the bronze.


Results: CRO, ITA, AUS, LTU, GER, BUL



Related: www.worldrowing.com/2014-world-rowing-championships

www.hrsport.net

sportski.net.hr

www.24sata.hr

ca.sports.yahoo.com

www.slobodnadalmacija.hr

www.facebook.com/CROKEROARS

wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatia_at_the_Olympics

www.amsterdamrowing.com

wikipedia.org/wiki/Rowing 





I lucked out and found fresh footage from yesterday after the world record breaking semi-final race result (Greek commentary), later they went on to take gold in the final with a not much slower time of 6.00.52. (If any highlight videos get deleted for whatever reason, just Google around there's plenty of others)



Valent and Martin Sinković with David Šain and Damir Martin featured in a behind the scenes vignette during the preparations for the coxless 4 race at the 2012 Olympics.




I also came across these different interesting pics while doing this post and decided to throw them in here, Valent and Martin Sinković with team members David Šain and Damir Martin from a photoshoot dressed in the newer pixelated version Croatian Army fatigues and tees. Images: www.hrvatski-vojnik.hr





This pic of the 4 man rowing team I came across I'll just throw in for the girls...oh and maybe for Richard Simmons and Boy George too, I read somewhere they're big fans of rowing. Image: globus.jutarnji.hr







I might as well add this updated information from just a few days later, since already on the general theme. I don't really watch basketball or follow it, not since elementary school anyway, (that's when I got into the wonderful world of professional wrestling, and some other more interesting things), but it's still good to know as it's another prestigious honour.

Toni Kukoč will thus be the 4th Croatian to be elected to FIBA's Basketball Hall of Fame after former players Krešimir Ćosić, Dražen Petrović and former player/coach/referee Mirko Novosel.




For those unfamiliar, Toni Kukoč was part of a core of Croatian basketball players (along with Dražen Petrović, Dino Radja, Žan Tabak and Stojko Vranković), who since 1989 and in the early 1990's became the first modern era Croats to play in the NBA during the time of official UN world recognition of Croatian independence. They are also considered the crucial part of the first to present-day mass influx of drafted Croatian and other European country players into the NBA, thus paving the way especially for other recently freely independent and former communist countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Montenegro, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania etc, which unlike in the NHL was extremely rare and practically non-existent before then. (Toni Kukoč in Croatian is pronounced something similarly to "Toe-knee Koo-coach" btw)...





Croatian Toni Kukoč to be Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame




Toni Kukoč, a 5X Euroscar European Player of the Year, 4X Mister Europa Player of the Year and 3X EuroLeague Final Four MVP will officially become the 4th Croatian to be elected to FIBA's Basketball Hall of Fame later this month.





Source.croatiaweek.com


Croatian basketball legend Toni Kukoč is to be inducted into the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame.

Kukoč joins The Dream Team, Shaquille O’Neal, Valdis Valters and Moshe "Miki" Berkovich as headliners in the FIBA international basketball Hall of Fame inductees for 2017, it was announced on Wednesday.

A ceremony will take place on 30th September 2017 at FIBA headquarters in Geneva Switzerland.




Toni Kukoč in 1996. Image: Getty Images



Kukoč was one of the first established European stars to play in the NBA, and was known as a versatile left-handed player who could play any position, for this he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1996 and played a pivotal role on 3 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.

He won a number of honors throughout his international career, including being a 3-time Croatian Sportsman of the Year, FIBA World Championship MVP, 5X Euroscar European Player of the Year, 4X Mister Europa Player of the Year, 3X EuroLeague Final Four MVP: (1990, 1991, 1993), 2X EuroLeague Final Four Team: (1991, 1993), EuroBasket MVP as well as a 2X Olympic silver medalist.




Image: pixsell.hr



After retiring in 2006 and undergoing hip replacement surgery in 2009, he has hosted various Toni Kukoč Basketball Camps for youths. He has several deli sandwiches and mixed drink shooters named after him in the metropolitan Chicago area and now plays at least one round of golf daily, winning Croatia's national amateur golf championship in 2011. These days he's also Special Advisor to Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls.



Related: wikipedia.org//List_of_Croatian_NBA_players

wikipedia.org//Toni_Kukoč




Somebody's Toni Kukoč Top 10 plays highights.







Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Croatian City Of Varaždin Celebrating 19th Year Of Špancirfest This August (+Video)






Here's a nice easy post that is just a repost basically, the 19th annual "Špancirfest" doesn't start up yet for another week, but this way the information is still relevant and fresh and I don't have to hardly type anything. (and besides like I've said before, there's enough sites and mentions about things going on in the capital city Zagreb, the other major cities and especially the summer coastal scene activities and events going on, I like to be creatively eclectic and multidimensional).

The little known about Špancirfest takes place in the old town section of a northwestern historic city dating to the middle ages, spelled as Varaždin in the Croatian alphabet (and in Croatian pronounced as "shpawn-tseer-fest" and having the meaning of a stroll festival/strollingfest, the Croatian word špancir being a lexeme to the German word spazieren, some other similar common lexeme examples in the Croatian language here), Varaždin is a city of only about 50,000 but which for a few weeks becomes a popular destination for many locals and even visitors from other countries lately, with various street performers, theatre companies, kiosks, artists, jugglers, historical reenactments, costumes, concerts, other entertainment and music events, workshops and all kinds of stuff going on for just about any interest, a mix of old and new, this and that. You can click onto the links for more information about what goes on, where Varaždin is, as well as what there is to expect this year by checking out the official website spancirfest.com.





It's that time year again for the annual Špancirfest in the historic baroque town of Varaždin.




*Repost from 2016.


I already mentioned this topic previously HERE, so this is just a refresher since I came across some decent video footage from last year. (This is NOT a tourism post though remember because I don't do tourism posts, just information for the benefit of the reader). Just basically to show the readership that it's not all just on the coast where all the summer entertainment, various events or interesting things take place, or the only place in the country that is worth checking out. Because there's more than enough talk and images from the coastal areas in the summer, but it's important to remember that there actually is life, existence and plenty interesting summer things going on and to see and do elsewhere in the rest of the country, including the small towns and cities like Varaždin in this case. There are actually quite a number of events that take place around the same time in the northen more continental areas of Croatia, for instance just on the other side of Zagreb the "Karlovac Dani Piva" (Karlovac Days of Beer) will simultaneously be going on as just one example. People do exist and truly live lives away from the coast in the summer (It may seem unbelievable to some but it's true). The truth must be told, this is the blog of truth after all.








What is Špancirfest exactly? (pronounced "shpawn-tseer-fest" and having the meaning of a stroll festival/strollingfest, the Croatian word špancir being a lexeme to the German word spazieren). Well, Špancirfest is a summer festival that takes place in the city of Varaždin. And where is Varaždin exactly? Varaždin is located in the northwest region of Croatia just between the Slovenia and Hungary border about 85 km north of the capital city Zagreb. It's an old historic settlement from the times of the medieval Kingdom of Croatia and recorded for the first time by name in 1181 as an important newly elevated fortress town.

(As an interesting sidenote, (because so many readers keep begging for those spontaneous quirky math, science and history facts all the time), in 1756 as part of measures to cut administrative costs throughout the empire, Maria Theresa the Empress of the Habsburgs (and the Croatian crown lands within Austria-Hungary, this over 450 years after the Kingdom of Croatia entered into a political union with Hungary circa. 1102 and then officially elected to join the Habsburg monarchy in 1527), moved the Croatian Government from Zagreb to Varaždin and established the Royal Croatian Council overseeing the Croatian Triune Kingdom lands, (Headed by the Croatian Ban/Prime Minister [aka Viceroy pronounced like 'bahn'] and the Croatian nobilty), so Varaždin actually became the Croatian capital until it moved back 20 years later to the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb in 1776). Castles, palaces, mansions, fortresses, baroque buildings, classical theatre houses, classicist and secessionist homes and even cobbled roads are still found in the medieval-renaissance-baroque historic Old Town nucleus of Varaždin. Today, besides some other annual festivals here the old town quarter is for the most part a quiet and relaxing type of location throughout most of the year. (the nearby Varaždinske Toplice have been popular natural hot springs for many centuries also)





The Varaždinska Građanska Garda/Varaždin Civil Guards in the 1840's.



I should also mention that it's not generally known that Varaždin was under attack a number of times during the centuries of Ottoman Jihads into Europe, yet from the1530's onward every single Ottoman army and their Serb volunteers attacks from the Sanjak of Smederevo was repelled in their attempt to take the strategically important town. (As a matter of fact, from the Seige of Vienna in 1529 to the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the combined Ottoman armies and their Serb volunteers allies had to repeatedly circumvent around the Croatian defensive military positions, including Varaždin, to attain their goal of reaching Vienna. The bloodthirsty Ottoman Serb Grand Vizier and de facto ruler of the Ottoman empire, Мехмед-паша Соколовић (English: Mehmed-Pasha Sokolovich, aka Sokollu Mehmed Pasha) led numerous combined Turkish Ottoman and Serb jihad campaigns to try to break through Croatian positions but with no success)

Also worth noting of course is the still kept tradition of the Varaždinska građanska garda (Varaždin Civil Guards, who were grenadier soldiers and aka the "Purgari" seen above), which is a historic civil military unit formed in 1538 and then officially founded in a 1750 statute by imperial decree, they are still used for Varaždin county events and official ceremonial functions even today (example) as well as representatives of the historical units of Varaždin Hussars that existed in the vicinity until 1813. They were just some of the regiments and military units that over the centuries took part in the Croatian–Ottoman wars and within the overall Habsburg-Ottoman wars. (oh and trust me, I did some reading and they weren't just standing around in fancy uniforms back then either, just like the various Zrinski Guard military units they made lots of shit happen, were in the thick of the shit plenty times and caused a lot of fucking shit and fucked shit up for various invaders coming from the balkans over the centuries, but they are still cool uniforms today too). Varaždin and the surrounding county suburbs is of course also known for various local gastronomical choices (foods), wines, specialty liquors and pastries etc.








However, and getting back to the main point of this post, once a year for 10 days in August, Špancirfest comes along. A time of mixing the old with the new, bringing out the foods and drinks, old costumes, crafts, displays, historical reenactments and related events, and also more modern events, jugglers, theatre companies, costumes, street performers, concerts, workshop programs and other music entertainment, (It can seem sort of like medieval times in a way when you think about it, because there used to be court jesters, fools, musicians, magicians and various entertainers back then too, of course along with the local village wench and goblets of frothy mead, mutton and those big turkey and ham legs). In some of the photos and video footage it even almost looks like a scene out of some fantasy novel, like from Alice in Wonderland, an Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Brothers Grim or Tolkien novel or something like that, all surreal and like a fantasy magicland full of magical characters and otherworldly weird beings with strange hair and clothes.





Varaždin was also a host city this past April during the Tour of Croatia cycling stage races.




There is something for one and all and a time to celebrate the town with food, entertainment, art and the arts. Even the cool 3D projection mapping visuals and neon drumming mimes will be there again this year. (see previous post festival-visualia-2014-3d-projection-pula for more about that). Maybe it's not as well known, long running or on the scale of festivals like the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and some other different themed ones, but Varaždin is not Dubrovnik and it isn't located on the coast, that's the way geography is and which also explains the lack of boats, rubber dinghies and shrimp and mussels in Lake Varaždin.





Cobbled roads still visible within the old town quarter paths and walkways. Instagram photo.




Varaždin from August 19-28 will once again feature over 1,000 well-known street performers, musicians, theatre performers, comedy acts and acrobats from all over the world. More than 40 concerts will also take place this year, during these days Varaždin regularly hosts over 100,000 visitors coming from all over Croatia and over the years even visitors from other Central European and other nearby surrounding countries, including musicians and artists from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Macedonia, Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Romania, Spain, Kosovo, Montenegro, Italy, Ukraine, France, Sweden and other countries.

I know what you'll be thinking, probably wondering where the pics of the the various Croatian kobasice, kremšnita, štrukli and pohano & pečeno meso is, but don't worry they're always there within reach and not too far away.




Here's some cool photos and a small sample of just some of the things going on to see and do during the 10 days of Špancirfest. (More images at www.facebook.com/pg/spancirfest/photos and www.flickr.com/photos/spancirfest)












Image: Facebook.com



Image: wonderoflight.blogspot.ca



Image: wonderoflight.blogspot.ca



Image: wonderoflight.blogspot.ca



Image: wonderoflight.blogspot.ca






Also good to know is that along with all the usual fun, members of the Croatian "Crveni Nosovi Klaunovidoktori" (Red Nosed Clown Doctors) also make an appearance during Špancirfest. They inform the passers-by on the street about their work and then make visits to the local Varaždin hospital. (more about them at croatian-red-nosed-clown-doctors)









Even important politicians, such as the President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović seen above, have paid visits to the Varaždin Špancirfest, it's not one of the entertainment events but shows the growing popularity of this annual summer festival gets a 2 thumbs up from the country's leaders and politicians also, so that's good to know also. (She's currently on the way to Australia and New Zealand for an official state visit btw, perhaps even rounding up some Australian bands, jugglers or acrobats for Špancirfest 2018, but that's another topic)



A few members of the Zagreb Bears (KHL Medveščak Zagreb) hockey club hanging out at Špancirfest. (more recent news about the Zagreb Bears at zagreb-bears-confirmed-ebel-2017)



Image: wonderoflight.blogspot.ca (more and better footage of these futuristic evil drumming mimes at festival-visualia-2014-3d-projection-pula)





This is an entertainment lounge area and as one can see the locally produced "Pan" beer has been a regular sponsor of Špancirfest events. (I tried Pan a few times (pronounced like "Pawn" or "Pon" in Croatian) and it is a good beer, more interesting information about Pan beer and other Croatian beers at croatians-world-lists-beers-alcohol)











What the heck, just one Walmart People photo so the reader doesn't get Špancirfest overload because I don't want that, I couldn't also resist because there's some really good recent ones added lately and plenty of updated new videos too with interesting background music, consider it a public service announcement.








Yep, you or your kids can even get their haircut, a new hairstyle or sideburns trimmed at an official Špancirfest barbershop booth, so you'll look really cool at the concerts and shindigs. (see related now-you-can-get-shave-haircut-tattoo-at)






Events also take place around the Old Town Varaždin Castle which dates from the 12th century. (see croatiancastlehistory.blogspot.ca)
















A few highlights from last year and what kind of things to expect.





It's still mainly Croatian music acts that perform at Špancirfest, but over the years it's become more eclectic in regards to entertainment and things to do and see. Practically unheard of to most, Varaždin is located in the northwest corner of Croatia just between Slovenia and Hungary, quite a ways from the Adriatic coast, and all the boats and beaches, (although there are even places to swim if you feel the need) and there are many similar events taking place all across Croatia during these summer months, but believe you me, Špancirfest will be a happening interesting place to be at this summer. Guaranteed. If you're in the area you should definitely check it out, and if not it's still good to know.

Varaždin is also twinned with the cities of Bad Radkersburg Austria, Koblenz Germany, Montale Italy, Ptuj Slovenia, Pula Croatia, Auxerre France, Ravensburg Germany, Trnava Slovakia and Zalaegerszeg Hungary. Below is some video footage from last year's Špancirfest 2015 and what to expect this year, so I don't have to add a bunch of photos.


More information at the official website spancirfest.com.







Related: spancirfest-2014_varazdin

www.likecroatia.com

twitter.com/spancirfest

www.instagram.com/spancirfest

www.flickr.com/photos/spancirfest

www.facebook.com/spancirfest

croatia.hr/Varazdin/Culture/Fun/Spancirfest

www.tourism-varazdin.hr/en

wikipedia.org/wiki/Varazdin




A few video highlights from last year's Špancirfest 2015.




Some of the music entertainment for Špancirfest 2016.




More music entertainment for Špancirfest 2016.




One of the special circus acts showing up this year again.




A wide variety of music acts that performed in 2015.




Various foreign travelling televangelists and subversive cults over the years have tried to set up pools, crusades and sell books in Varaždin during Špancirfest, but luckily the heavenly clouds opened up and a great fire swallowed them up unto the lands of the Moabites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Edomites, Detroitites and a whole bunch of other -ites and some other places, they were then rebuked and denied permits and barred from the town by citizens with pitchforks and thrown bricks of cheese and various canned jams and pickles and all was well again. That's why every year there's a children's programs and activities center during Špancirfest instead.




...and interactive stuff also.



More than 40 concert performances over 7 days for 30 bucks during Špancirfest 2016, not a bad deal.



A few scenes of the various street performers and entertainment from 2015.




And lastly, some interesting views of the Old Town section of Varaždin during Non-Špancirfest time.











*Updated August 14th, 2017.




Serbs In Serbia Hoping For Slobo Streets & Giant Statue To Honor Slobodan Milosevic? Yep. (Photos)




This news I came across by total chance and accident just the other day and thought it would be a good interesting supplementary current events addition here, (because trust me this isn't the kind of interesting stuff I look for as regular readers already know, I was just Googling around about statues and stuff and you know how the results pages sometimes adds unrelated and other topics pics). I'm not going to delve into it too much either but just put the basic nuts and bolts and my very brief observational opinion.

In a nutshell according to the articles I came across, numerous supporters of the former President of Serbia from 1989 to 1997 and then last President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000, (as well as charged by the International Criminal Tribunal with war crimes including being the brains behind the genocide and crimes against humanity in connection to the Serb wars against Non-Serbs in Bosnia, Croatia, and later in Kosovo), have already for years but are now redoubling efforts again lately to honor the former dictator in various ways.

They have plans and hopes to name many new streets, parks and erect monuments, as well as a giant monument in the very center of Belgrade. That's about it, below are just a few recent pics I came across of some of the supporters at his grave in Belgrade, where he was also given high honors and a special ceremonial burial by the Serbian Church patriarchs and leaders, who were also big supporters of him and his expansionist policies/accomplices during his time as Serbian and remaining Yugoslav President (officially the very last communist state in Europe also btw), so no surprise there. (he's also especially very popular with the radical politicians and political organizations in Serbia these days and even their current leaders, it's also without a doubt these types that recently got involved with the nefarious schemes in Montenegro, but that's another topic)

However what do I think about this news though? I say go for it, he's all their's like the saying goes and they'd be crazy not to. A true national hero and even lead saint of his other accomplices saints/heroes. They just have to make sure they erect the statues there in Serbia and keep them there. (as in no exporting little souvenir size statues to other countries, just a hunch but probably they wouldn't be all that popular anyway and would just gather dust on the store shelves, I'm pretty sure they would sell just about as much as the Kim Jong statues which isn't really all that many). Heck I even say do the whole Kim Jong thing, make the statues huge like even 300 feet high like some of those giant Buddha and Hindu statues you see around on the internet, heck even all over the place, as in every town and city too. Besides nobody will try to stop them either, it's not like any countries will send their militaries in to stop them from erecting the monuments or a giant statue, that would be ridiculous. I personally couldn't care less really and would probably do a post about it.

Anyway that's about it, that's the scoop, what the giant monument statues will look like I don't know, just multiply his below gravesite statue by a hundred or so. Perhaps it will even look all epic like on a giant white horse or bull looking down across the lands looking all epic and stuff, maybe even riding a 7 headed beast with horns and fire breathing coming out of the sea with golden lamps. Wow, that will be really something and spectacular, practically a tourist attraction probably. The Belgrade grave statue seen below is already a popular place for selfies according to the articles, so the other ones will be hugely popular for various selfie pics, holiday and family photos. Best of luck with that, I'll update this story when more information becomes available.




Images of Slobodan Milosevic statue in Belgrade are in no particular order.




The Serbian Church Metropolitan Amfilohij seen in the golden hat below, gave the tearful moving and inspiring eulogy for the dead scumbag usurping czar wannabee who was responsible for initiating years of nationalistic terror against Non-Serbs. Interestingly also, in 1996 he published a best selling book titled  "The Lamb of God and the Beast from the Abyss" where he likewise treats Slobo's other genocidal ethnic-cleansing psychopal Radovan Karadzic as another heroic Serb saint, as well as other similar war criminal/saint-hero types including of course Vojeslav Seselj (who has become a popular Serb politician and especially known for various glorious flag burning sprees with promises of future explosions and attacks against Non-Serbs and a greater something again, his many supporters always agree and clap afterwards enthusiastically) as well as the greater Serbian pigshit-cunt "Arkan" (who eventually got his just rewards blessings ironically thanks to his very own Serb people). On the other hand the Serbian Church Metropolitan Amfilohij has also been for years numerous times quoted for vehemently denouncing Nato outright by calling it just a "militaristic, totalitarian, terrorist, international organization", (well I can't argue with that because it must be true if he says so, which is probably why Montenegro just joined Nato also to obviously help the surrounding totalitarian terrorist militaries of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania export their various terrorist hair styling  products and greater expansionist cakes and hams)






It's ironic that some countries and people want to erect various sized monuments and statues to megalomaniacal genocidal warmongering commie dictators, and some countries and people, such as Ukraine being just one example, want to tear them all down. 



Here's just a couple bonus pics I came across and again just by chance. (and I kid you not there's no photoshop or fake news involved). They're both from the burial of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000 which was also attended at the time by supporters and political party leaders in Serbia, and guess what? Two of the guys in the first pic went on to become Serbian Presidents and Prime Ministers, the guy on the left Aleksander Vucic is actually even the President of Serbia right now as I'm writing this. And the 3rd stooge seen at the same burial in the second pic is the Serbian Foreign Minister also today, meaning right now at this very moment, I kid you not. Besides being big supporters of the former Serbian Yugoslavia President and his henchmen and their war crimes policies, I know these 3 dirtbag cocksuckers are also big fans of the Serbian delusional-history writer Jovan I Deretić, who is also a big Slobo fan, because I've come across some really absurd bullshit in articles over the years from their pointless bullshit lip-flapping. Well, there's not much more for me to say about this topic except that it's obviously time to build the monuments and especially the giant statue in Belgrade. It's time to build the giant statue already without a doubt.




And lastly here's an example of one of those Kim Jong statues I was talkig about before, this one is located in Pyongyang. Some more examples here of other epic giant monument statues options they should browse through.






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