Split in Three

Split Travel Blog

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I stepped onto the ferry panting, dripping in sweat and feeling like the lone pink elephant in a room of clustering Croatians.

The train ride from Torricella to Italy's coastal city of Ancona went smoothly. It was in the shrinking hour I had to trek from train station to ferry port that I realized I should have studied an Ancona map at some point in the planning. The helpful port signs were few and far between, as were the necessary Italian words in my vocabulary. An old man and I had a good chuckle at my expense when he finally figured out that "I need the water," and pointing at my backpack actually meant, "Please sir, could you point me in the direction of the ferry terminal?"

I hurriedly weaved through the car park when I spotted my awaiting ship in the distance--a nerve-racking 10 minutes to spare before departure--only to be turned right back around for the ticket office 300 meters behind me.
Cameron
I think the guards got a personal, evil pleasure out of watching me scurry back and forth, struggling to keep composure under the weight of my backpack.

It was in this state that I boarded and did my best to air dry. It quickly became apparent that everyone else was part of a bigger, non-english speaking circle that wasn't trying to expand. After accidentally sitting down in the middle of a school group, getting strange looks, feeling like an idiot, then leaving said glaring school group, I fumbled my way around the deck looking for a spare seat.

This is how I met Cameron--the only other American on the entire ship and I just so happened to sit down across from him. He's a New Hampshorian (I just spent several minutes pondering what someone from New Hampshire is actually called and concluded that this must be it) who's spending the semester studying in Italy.
the Riva by day
Our conversations about music, politics, economics and life abroad carried us through the 11-hour ferry ride and well into the next day. We arrived in Croatia at 7 a.m. and as Cameron was also a loner with no plans, I had company on my first day in Split.

The city revolves around Diocletian's 3rd century palace, and so did our day. We roamed the narrow streets of the Roman emperor's
walled abode. Taking breaks to rub the lucky toe of Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski) and play cards on the Riva while the sun set over the sea. By nightfall, Cameron left to catch his train to Budapest and I buddied up with the horde of Australians in my hostel. Happy to relax and comforted by the idea of an awaiting bed after a night spent curled up on ferry seats.
Riva by night


Day two reunited me with my friend Fabien. I had stayed with him in Ireland and figured out just days ago that we would be in Croatia at the same time. We walked beyond the walls of the Old Town and ate breakfast from the viewpoints of Marjan Hill. After climbing all the way to the top, we made our way back down and to the nearest beach for a swim. The heat of the day didn't completely transfer to the water, however, and it took about 10 minutes to convince my body to continue moving down the ladder into full submersion. Ten minutes after that, I could finally believe it was actually warm. ish. We finished the day with dinner at a nice restaurant in the square. I felt a little out of my cornfed/casserole-eating element when the first course came. Not only because there actually WAS a first course, but more specifically because it consisted of a single, stuffed mushroom in the middle of a full-sized, sauce-decorated plate of its own.
Apparently the well-to-do have smaller stomachs than the rest of us.

We parted ways not knowing if our paths would cross again in Croatia. But I've long since given up the idea that goodbye is forever. I've said my fair share of ciaos, adioses and adieus already on my travels, but little reunions like this random one with Fabien keep alive the hope of seeing all friends again someday.

I couchsurfed for my third and final night in Split. Marin returned from a weekend away to host me for a night and show off his town by bicycle. I'm pretty sure I immediately impressed him with my athletic ability and grace. That is, if "grace" can be defined by hitting a post and falling off the bike at the dangerous speed of 2mph and nearly killing half a dozen people (not excluding myself) as I bobbed and weaved to catch up with his faster bobbing and weaving through the narrow streets of oncoming pedestrians and traffic.
on top of the world...or at least Split
I blame the unfamiliar bike and crowded paths, but I don't think he bought it. I'd have to win an Olympic gold medal at this point to convince Marin that I'm not actually athletically moronic. We rode the perimeter of Marjan Hill almost entirely in complete darkness. The street lamps were few and far between once we got away from the town center. Since hindsight allows me the advantage of knowing I survived, I can now say it was a very cool experience and not at all scary. I never once imagined turning a corner and driving straight off a cliff into the water below. Nope...not scary at all.

We ended the night tour on our feet, grabbing food by the beach and a drink at a relaxed bar tucked away in the labyrinth of Split's cobblestoned streets. From there, it was back to the apartment for an apple-flavored sheesha, some old school blues and finally, sleep.
Fabien is a lot braver than I am
Having successfully survived my day without killing anyone, it was time to say goodnight and goodbye to Split.

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Cameron
Cameron
the Riva by day
the Riva by day
Riva by night
Riva by night
on top of the world...or at least …
on top of the world...or at least…
Fabien is a lot braver than I am
Fabien is a lot braver than I am
save room for the main course!
save room for the main course!
just another burning dumpster, of …
just another burning dumpster, of…
rubbing the toe
rubbing the toe
its been rubbed once or twice bef…
it's been rubbed once or twice be…
Marin (and an artistically adventu…
Marin (and an artistically advent…
Split
photo by: asturjimmy