Last week-end we visited for the first time Duvrovnik, invited by Andrej and Miki whom I had met before in Valencia, Amsterdam and Brussels. Femke and I had never been in Croatia before, and John from Adlink had told me it was so beautiful.
One reason to get here was to understand evolutions in CEE online media and what Andrej and Miki were setting up with NEO. They are working on interesting concepts, across all of Central and Eastern Europe. There are tremendous opportunities in these fast-growing markets, and a willingness to make something out of that – I already wrote about that upon returning from Hungary and Romania. We stayed in the beautiful hotel Belle-Vue, although truth being told this hotel only opened in February and has some ‘getting started’ issues: their spa, fitness and swimming pool were closed due to works but they charge like everything is perfect. The view from the balcony is incredible though, see Andrej’s blog to have a look, I read most of Robert Kaplan’s ‘Balkan Ghosts’ here.
We discussed 2 entire evenings/nights the evolution of social media, search, portals, tv, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. Femke even told me that it is weird but great to see men talking so passionate about their work. Yep, we love our jobs and maybe even more industries J But also music, politics, economy and all other subjects passed the conversation cloud.
The greatest part of the week-end was however kind of improvised. First we rented a kayak to peddle around Lokrum, a small island just near Dubrovnik. But then we chartered an amazing 14m sailing yacht, and left for a 9h trip around the Elifati Islands.
Ed Somers, someone I know from my hometown in Bilzen, told me last year that Croatia is not only amazing to sail, that is still relatively affordable, but also talked about how clear and beautiful Adriactic Sea is. And how right he was!
The sea is intense blue – and it is just amazing to dive of a boat and swim around, stop at an island to eat simply grilled fish and have a glass of white wine while enjoyng a sunset and listening to the sea (see flickr for some snapshots). In the evening, we wandered around Dubrovnik’s old city – now completely restored after the war. This UNESCO world heritage site combines a historic beauty with a young liveliness. Dubrovnik was an amazing business trip – but tourism is about to hit again though – so I suggest to visit quickly. And to a friend of mine who asked via SMS if the girls here are really so beautiful, Femke’s answer is: “there is a flight with Thomas Cook leaving tomorrow at 6am – and there are tickets available!’ J