Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Split" ting Our Time in Croatia

We have been in Split for the past 2 1/2 days. We arrived here by bus from Mostar, passing many little villages, hotels and resorts and autoparks (campgrounds) on the way. As we got off the bus in Split we were approached by a woman who had a small apartment for rent. She showed us the location on the map and after some negotiating we agreed to go with her and have a look at it. She pointed out restaurants, super markets and bakeries nearby the apartment while she was giving us a ride there. The Police station is next door and a monastery is just across the street and so it is a quiet but safe neighborhood. The apartment is similar to a studio apartment with a kitchen, bed/sitting area and private bath. The cost was $56 (Canadian) a night so we agreed to rent it for three nights. She gave us a map and directions for walking to the Old Town (about 300 metres away) and left without payment or even our names.

On our first night we tried some traditional Croatian food. I had a beef dish called pasticada served with gnocchi and Doug had a beef goulash. Both dishes were delicious. We headed to Diocletian's Palace and strolled past many shops and cafes. It seems to be a very popular place with tourists and locals alike.

On Wednesday morning we headed to the bakery for some fresh pastries and also picked up a few groceries to make lunches since we have a kitchen. Everything seems to be very cheap here, for about $10 we bought pastries (still warm from the oven apple and cherry strudel, a croissant like pastry filled with cottage cheese and fresh buns), meat, cheese, juice and water. We ate breakfast and then waited for Dianne to arrive so we could pay her. I mentioned that I would like to do some hand laundry and she showed me where I could hang the clothes to dry.

We decided to go for a short stroll around the palace and see it in daylight. We checked out the fish market and enjoyed the sound of the vendors selling their fresh fish. We came across a walking tour and decided to join a small group for a tour of the palace. Our guide was a bit long winded and much of the tour was a too long history of Diocletian and not enough of a description of what we were seeing. There are some posters describing parts of the palace so we will need to go back and read them to see if we get some answers. The old town or palace area has a market for fresh produce, butcher shops, restaurants and cafes, shopping similar to what you would find in any shopping mall as well as apartments that are home to over 2000 people. We just got back to our apartment when the rain started so we had a rest and did some reading. We had a late dinner and strolled down to the palace. Many of the shops were closing up because of the rain and cooler temperatures.

On Thursday morning we took an intracity bus to Trogir. It is an island town and has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. We walked across a small bridge and checked out the cathedral and market square. Then we walked down to the military fortress and enjoyed the view of the surrounding yacht harbors, beaches and town. We stopped for a beer and lunch at the Farmers Market. Along with fresh fruits and vegetables they were also selling honey, olive oil, fresh flowers and, of course, pastries. We caught the bus back to Split and walked back to the Palace for one last look. Tonight there is a football (soccer) game between Split and Belgium and the streets are full of fans on their way to the stadium. I am sure we will hear lots of singing and cheering. We are going to try to find a bar that is televising the game and maybe watch it with the locals. Tomorrow we will head to Dubrovnik.

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