After the Plitvice Lakes, we hopped in the car and booked it out towards the coast – we had places to be and, more importantly, people to see. Waiting for us in Split were our good friends from San Diego, Bre and Dylan. Living in Belgium, we are so far away from friends and family, so we were really looking forward to having a bit of home in Europe. The schedule for the trip was open aside from the meeting point (Split) and the city of departure (back to life, back to reality) of Dubrovnik.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia. Our time in the city was short – just about 36 hours – but we made the most of it.
After settling in, we headed down into the historic center to grab some dinner. You’ll find that the food offerings in Croatia swing heavily in the direction of Italy. Risotto, gnocchi, pastas, and pizza. Oh, and the more delicious of them all: gelato. After dinner we strolled through the streets of town in the direction of music and found a crowd gathered in Peristil square. Cushions were laid out on the stone steps, and servers shuttling to and from the bar to the thirsty patrons. And dictating the mood of it all, a solo man and his guitar. We hung around for 30 – 40 minutes listening to him play. A small girl was so moved by the music she danced in circles in the square (and received many applause in return).
We got a little bit of a late start the following morning, and the beach we had planned to go to was packed.
So, instead of battling the crowds we decided to head across Marjan to a less crowded beach. Marjan is a little pine forest right on the coast, and once you get up the hill (a long, sweaty walk up) you get some breathtaking views of the city and coast.
After our brief photo session (aka stop-and-catch-your-breath moment), we continued to weave through the path and eventually landed at a small, rocky strip right on the water. It was perfect. I found a nice patch of sunlight, everyone else hopped in the water to cool off.
The salt content in these waters is significant. Floating feels almost effortless which is a win. Not a win? The palpable film of salt that dries on the skin. But it is a small sacrifice to pay for piece of paradise. And since swimming and sun bathing can be such hard work, after a couple of hours hanging out we went in search of some sustenance and stumbled upon Buffet Fife. Jared is not a fish eater, so I shared the plate of mixed fish with Dylan. And oh man was it fried deliciousness. And so fresh. I’m positive we were swimming with those fish only a few hours prior. And I can’t think of any better way to follow that up than some gelato.
We wandered around through the alleys and ended up Diocletian’s Palace. Any Game of Thrones fans (we’re big fans – we’ve read all the books and diligently watch the show)? Parts of Game of Thrones is filmed in Croatia. Mostly in Dubrovnik, but part of the 4th season was actually filmed in this palace. The Roman emperor Diocletian built the place in AD 305, and it is the most complete Roman palace left in the world today. It is truly impressive that something like this could have survived so in tact for all these years. Not so impressive is the lack of photos. I guess that just means you’ll just have to visit it yourself – how unfortunate.
The remainder of the evening of was spent relaxing and catching up. I love how despite an 8 month gap and thousands of miles in between, those friendships pick up right where you left off (talking and commiserating about work on the girls part, complaints about the talking about work on the guys part – some habits are hard to break). And so, our time in Split came quickly to an end.
Next up (and I think my favorite): Hvar.