Palaces, and how to find them

Split Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 9 › view all entries
So we're now in Split.  A much nicer city, sitting by the sea, smelling slightly of sulphur. and fish, but in a pleasant way, honest!

We stayed in Zagreb in a Hostelling International hostel. With all your standard HI hostel mod cons including no sockets, loud people, inadequate facilities, long check-in times and a lack of friendliness from the staff.  Here in Split we're in about as independent a hostel as you can get.  In fact, we're staying in the house of the hostel owner, a few metres away from the tiny hostel (yet suprisingly well populated).  Manuela, our hostess and hostel owner (Its called Hostel Manuela and is amazing, if you ever come to Split, I can't recommend it enough) is amazing and has helped us out with everything we've needed, lots of good advice etc etc.  And we've met loads of travellers, Brits, Kiwis and Aussies (the yanks seem to keep themselves to themselves) who have been really friendly and chatty, just in the hostel and in particular on the gorgeous roof terrace on the top of the hostel with views over to the old town.  What is it about HI hostels that make the inhabitants all grumpy, and yet, in a small independant hostel like this, everyone chats, everyone gets along.  Its amazing and reminds me slightly of the best hostel ever (Lucy's in Kota Kinabalu), same kind of vibe.

Its also often the case with restaurants that good reputations are earnt and then can't be got rid of.  This is certainly the case with Buffet Fife, the most recommended backpacker's eatery in the city.  Good food, good price, loads of it, kind of recommendations.  Let's start with the loads of it claim.  Six Oxford students, including two girls can happily manage six portions of food in what was a nicely satisfying but in no way majorly filling meal (every other meal we've had on this trip has been far more filling and occasionally cheaper).  Not exactly the so big you'll be taking it home with you reputation.  With a menu that doesn't actually exist, there is one, it just bears no resemblance to the food they are serving, staff who just don't care, this is one restaurant thats getting by on its reputation.  The food was allright, tasty, but I reckon you can do better here.  We'll try again tonight, as its our last meal together as a six before the other three guys fly back home, leaving the girls and me to explore Bosnia.

I guess sometimes, travelling away from the main tourist track (even within a big tourist city has its rewards).  Which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and justified inside.

But what have we actually been doing I hear you ask.  Well we spent one day exploring the Diocletians Palce which makes up the majority of central Split.  It is a beautiful palace.  An elegant hodge-podge of Roman, Venetian, and other styles I have no clue about knowing very little about history, art or architecture, buildings all huddled in, around and over each other.  Built initially in the 5th century, with many buildings remaining, I reckon its the only place in the world where you look at a beautiful 13th century Venetian Palace and can go meh because there's so much else to see!  Its nice to see a city thats survived all of its parts from a thousand and a half year history, all together.  And there are some top quality markets around, some selling cool stuff, and quite a lot of tourist tat too.

We've also been to see Krka national park and the waterfalls there.  Particularly interesting as as these are travertine (a type of carbonate rock) waterfalls, they grow, rather than erode.  Which I find amazing.  I also got to flex my geology muscles today when we went to the island of Brac and in particular the beach at Bol.  There was lots of classical extensional terrane geological markers around, and determining what was going on for myself made attending the Active Tectonics course in my third year seem worth it.  And there was a nice smooth pebbly beach in some kind of interesting geographical configuration, but who cares about that really!!  Joking of course.

And on some good more news, my ice cream to number of days ratio is now above 1.

That's all for now, now off to Bosnia, which should be fascinating.  Adios.
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photo by: asturjimmy