Split : Sun, sea and (sort of) sand etc...

Split Travel Blog

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Mmmm...I could picture a right good snooze on one of them benches! ;)

Upon my early arrival in Split I decide to flip a coin with Fate.  Metaphorically speaking.  It’s only 15 Kuna (£1.50) per 24 hours baggage storage at the train station and there are plenty of comfy enough, white wooden slat benches lining the main harbour promenade that sleeping rough, for the first time by choice, is tempting a little devil who’s keen to start stretching the bounds of acceptability to save a little money.  I go to the one hostel I’d noted in my book and if they have a dorm bed without booking, okay, I’ll be sensible and take it… but if not, it’s back to the baggage storage and that bench tonight. 

When the reception of the arrogantly titled ‘Best Hostel’ finally opens a couple of hours later I’m actually disappointed to find they can take me in.

  But that was a deal with myself, so rest easy family.  The moment of madness passes without coming to fruition and my head will lie on a pillow tonight.  But as I hand over my equivalent of 20 Euros (expensive, but one of the cheapest in town!) I know I’m gonna have to start being more financially creative if this journey’s to roll as long as I wish it to.

Split is one of Croatia’s couple of prime tourist hot spots that lie on the nations generous length of Adriatic coastline.  A large harbour port area welcomes boats of all shapes and sizes.   Cruise ships doin’ their thing, and cruisin’ in and out of dock the whole day long.  Its historical focal point is the large Roman-era palace of Diocletian that once sat at the very waters edge but now has a wide, pleasant pedestrian promenade that runs between it and the waters edge.

One of the old entrance gateways to the Diocletian Palace as you approach from the harbour market.
  Rows of neat white benches mean there’s always a place in the sun for you here, and miniature palm trees throw inadequate and much needed shade on overheated ice cream lickers.

The Diocletian Palace, whatever its historical purpose and composition (you’ll have to forgive the lack of enlightenment I bring you on this subject by The Lonely Plonker’s Guide to Eastern Europe is likewise minimalist in its coverage of the subject) now takes the form of a large warren of flag stone streets, alley ways and shadowed passages broken up by the occasional piata where life and commerce and tourism bustle along next to one another shoulder to shoulder.  The latter two the most prominent at ground level.  Cafes and bars sprout out of small doorways as you wend your way around or sit in greater splendour in the squares.

  Clothes shops and boutiques sit tucked behind centuries old stone doorways. 

I don’t partake of any of the various parts of the citadel complex that require cash for entry and anyhow I’m in a travel phase that feels it doesn’t need to consume absolutely ever angle a city has to offer in order to understand or appreciate it.  I could be wrong.  So you can go into the Basement Halls, a Treasury, some small museums or enter the extremely busy Cathedral tower. 

Diocletian’s Palace swarms in the thick of the heat of midday with organised tour groups, their identifying ‘lollypop’ signs held high into the air.  I’d almost forgotten the trauma of organised tourism since escaping from Eastern China!  So I stare as the sweaty crowds sausage-meat themselves into the church to go up to the ‘viewpoint tower’ but I’m happy enough just to stare up at it and into the sun and wonder at the slight irony that these sky pointing structures were presumably built to inspire awe and to reach closer to God, compositionally designed to draw our eyes to the skies and heavens above, but now very often we use these structures rather to get the best possible vantage point for our cameras to look down and take in the best panoramas of mans architectural creations and city planning compositions.

Cathedral of Diocletian's Palace.
 

Passing through the ‘Gold Gate’  (nah, it’s made if dull white stone just like the ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ and all the other gates here about.) a large bronze statue of some kinda wizard dude stands tall as people rub the touch-worn shine of his left big toe - presumably for good luck.  Both days I’m here a man dressed in extremely complex and rainbow-tastic clown garb sits in the shadow of the western wall of Marmontova Street playing the accordion and at once looks quite beautiful and terrifying.  A young girl playing the violin (to pay her way around Europe?) I swear is following me too (well not really) as she seems to materialise everywhere I go on my strolling tour today.  I see her at four different spots in the space of two hours.

Aside from a bit of lax history ogling the main reason for Split’s appeal is its collection of beaches, often fairly small and over populated pockets of pebble/ rock shoreline or in one instance a pretty tiny, dirty-yellow sand horseshoe a short stroll south of the train station besides the harbour waters.  None of these will particularly satisfy the beach lounging, sun and suntan cream drenched beach bum in you, but hey, travel can be hard work so tempted by a particular fringe of rock I do a circuitous dash back to the hostel to get into me swimmers and collect my diving mask.

Sat on the aforementioned rocks with plenty of the Croatian regulars, a good 8 metres or so back from the waterline, I’m soaking up the sun, drying from my little dip in the Adriatic when all of a sudden, from out of absolutely nowhere, the sea having been as calm as you like all the while, a gigantic wave swooshes in and crashes over our sun bathing pad… whoooosh!!!… it washes over everything!  I just manage to grab my bag and throw it way back over my shoulder.

  I splash over the slippery rocks with others desperately trying to retrieve possessions swept away by the sea.  I’m able - just - to retrieve my sun tan cream, book, and even my 12 year old stinky-as-sh*te trek sandals which in all honesty it probably would have been a mercy to lose!  But without my glasses on to see properly my translucent diving mask is gone, invisible to my eyes and washed out irretrievably to sea.  My prescription diving mask.  One of my travel treasures.  My ticket to seeing the underwater world.  Gone.  And this makes me quite sad.  But I guess it’s the way they woulda wanted to go.

I don’t have a bunch to say about Split if I’m honest.  It has charms but I feel they’re limited for the long term traveller really.

Happy Scary Clown Dude on Marmontova Street
  A perfect destination to come and stay with a partner, swathed in luxury and romance and with no care to the impact on your wallet.  So one for when I’m older maybe.  I survive on scrummy 10 Kuna (£1.25) pizza slices and fruit from the market that sits on the eastern flank of the Palace.  The harbour promenade is a lovely place to stroll and sit and people watch.  And I feel, despite having started my time here feverishly thinking how to curtail my budget, that such activity requires a beer to set it off properly.  And besides I need to drown my sorrows for my drowned diving mask. 

So I sit and sup my ice cold amber happy-juice (that, as is often the case, costs twice as much as my ‘dinner’ did) and watch as kids are awed and terrified in equal measure by a collective of marionette puppets being made to dance and play guitars and saxophones and pianos to jazz songs.

...yeah, I hadn't yet learnt how to project a smile through a beard :)
  Later a man stands high above the eager crowds on a tiny, wavering platform supported by volunteers from the audience precariously juggling fire brands.

At 17.15 on day two in Split I’m on my way again.  Further south to Dubrovnik.  An often astonishingly beautiful 4 and a half hour bus ride that hugs tightly to the beauties of the Adriatic coastline all the way whilst giving you passing glimpses of jewel-like inland lakes and rivers from time to time.  Happy visions all the way.

globalodyssey says:
30 years ago i had my bmw motorbike stolen in dubrovnik....but i got it back , after a tip, from a town anout 60 km north....an experience to remember
keep those hits coming!
Posted on: Aug 07, 2009
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Mmmm...I could picture a right goo…
Mmmm...I could picture a right go…
One of the old entrance gateways t…
One of the old entrance gateways …
Cathedral of Diocletians Palace.
Cathedral of Diocletian's Palace.
Happy Scary Clown Dude on Marmonto…
Happy Scary Clown Dude on Marmont…
...yeah, I hadnt yet learnt how t…
...yeah, I hadn't yet learnt how …
Harbour front promenade at Split.
Harbour front promenade at Split.
Romans roaming around :)
Romans roaming around :)
Tourist tat market stalls in the b…
Tourist tat market stalls in the …
The high, narrow arched passageway…
The high, narrow arched passagewa…
Medieval Washing :)
Medieval Washing :)
Mr Wizard
'Mr Wizard'
Diocletian Palace (abstract)
Diocletian Palace (abstract)
Marmontova Street, the main shoppi…
Marmontova Street, the main shopp…
Split ship (abstract)
Split ship (abstract)
Split quayside promenade.
Split quayside promenade.
The rocky outcrop photographed som…
The rocky outcrop photographed so…
Throwing fire into the night skies…
Throwing fire into the night skie…
Split Morning Fish Market
Split Morning Fish Market
One of the several pebble beaches …
One of the several pebble beaches…
An artists impression of the Diocl…
An artists impression of the Dioc…
Split
photo by: asturjimmy