Sorry it’s taken so long to upload this, we got a bit distracted out and about road tripping other places…
Anyway. This one’s a good’un. I promise.
After a wonderful experience at every destination, beautiful weather included, we were kindly brought straight back down to earth upon leaving with horrible, rainy storms. Hamilton was pretty sure it was because we brought such joy and life to every place and they were lost without us. The city crying is another option we came up with.
Anyway, leaving Plitvice was no different (By the way, I still have no idea of the true pronunciation of Plitvice. Anyone?). We ran out of our apartment to the car, and the rain followed us most of the way to Split. From what we could see through the rain and tunnels (Like Norway all over again), it was a scenic journey. Most of my view was blurred with sing a longs and a wet windscreen, so I wouldn’t solely rely on that information if you’re reading this to find out about nice views from your window on the way to Split.
In Split we were intending on going sea kayaking at sunset – I had massively researched it before hand to find out the companies that were offering it out of peak season, got hold of one… And they never returned any of my emails once we were in Plitvice/Split so we never got to go. Nevertheless, we had a long journey to Split filled with dread imagining sea kayaking at sunset… In freezing cold stormy rain – it was warm whilst we were there, but not swimming in the sea weather (well we’ll come back to that in Hvar).
To be honest, the whole morning on the way to Split was not a lucky one for us. Hamilton still laughs about it. We couldn’t get into our apartment until the afternoon, so we decided to park and walk into the centre, then walk back and park it by the apartment once we could get in. However somehow we managed to park a good 40 minutes out of town…
… The things we saw.
Hamilton’s friend once spent a summer working in Split. He did not work in the bit we walked through.
It was fine. I mean, it was a fairly normal, industrial town. But not what we expected of historic Split.
I fell down 3 times because the ground was wet and my shoes were slippery. And a lady continually walked into Hamilton while we were near the beach until he nearly fell in the sea. And we saw a dead rat. A whole, fresh dead rat. So all that added to the ambience.
This meant our entrance (after a good long walk) through the city walls was filled with so much more than just awe. It was also a strange relief. To get in to the old town, you have to walk under these gigantic arches. The difference between wherever we were and there were almost laughable.
Honestly though, it’s unbelievable that it is a real place. As in, that people actually live there. It’s like taking a step back in time. And in a similar vain to some places in London, it amazes me how the old can be mixed with the new. So although the architecture in itself was fairly uniform, there would be a branch of a sweet shop chain tucked right in beside Diocletian’s palace, and tiny delivery carts racing around in between the ancient city walls.
We managed to walk straight in and on to the steps of the palace. So we had some of our packed lunch, then went for a wander. Every corner turned was a photo opportunity.
There really are some amazing things in Split. We didn’t get to go sea kayaking, but don’t worry, we didn’t let that stop us from exploring all Croatia has to offer. Tucked away a couple of streets out of the old town is a little museum, featuring items that are over 100 years old, crafted lovingly and thoughtfully by hand…
It’s name? FROGGYLAND.
Yep. That really exists. You’re not allowed to take any pictures when inside, so I’ll set the scene.
Speaking as someone with a life time fear of frogs, it was all a bit much. Though again, hilarious. And strangely amazing. If you don’t believe me, it has many positive reviews on Trip Advisor.
Trip Advisor really took us to some strange places in Croatia: we’re very trusting people. Seriously, if anyone has any random places you’re not sure if you want to go to, let Hamilton and I know. We’d love to go make fools of ourselves. (Less sarcasm intended there than implied)
After our confusing morning, our afternoon was very relaxed. We wandered round the tiny avenues and alley ways, went to a city museum, made our way up the tower, grabbed an ice cream, rubbed Gregory’s toe for good luck and then went to find our apartment.
We really didn’t want to walk back to the car, so we decided not to. Well, that was my suggestion. It was so far away from where we needed to be, I would have been happy leaving it. Obviously this wasn’t helpful as a life decision, so we compromised and decided to go to the apartment first.
Our hosts were some of the loveliest I have ever encountered. They were a young couple that owned three apartments in the building. Ours was a large, impeccably clean, modern studio. Open brick on one side, and wood floors. A 2 minute walk from the city walls. She told us that we had come at just the right time of year – it’s too busy, too expensive and too hot later on.
As soon as they realised how far away we had parked, they offered to take us there. We’d done our best to underplay how far away the car was, but seeing as they’re from Split it was difficult to hide it. They knew we’d been stupid. But they’re the kind of people you want to respect you, so we said no to them taking us to our car.
Us saying no went on for a good 5 minutes before their persistence wore us down and we jumped in his car, he drove us to ours, then he drove in front of us back to a car park near the apartment. Seriously, who is this nice? They’re that nice! As I said before, I will compile a document of all the places we stayed – they were all reasonably priced and I would stay there again right now if I could.
The next morning we had the first of our early starts for a ferry journey (I will attempt to explain the ferry schedule in the next post), so we went for dinner, Hamilton accidentally ordered a bottle of wine to himself, we listened to some music in an open square and then we went to bed. Our hosts had recommended a restaurant, in the way of “everyone will know where this restaurant is”, and didn’t tell us where it was. Our British side then came out, and we felt we’d already been too much trouble to them so we didn’t ask how to get there. Most people we encountered were tourists who would have no idea what we were talking about, so we just went somewhere else.
As we went down the country, closer to Dubrovnik, the amount of tourists and the cost of food etc noticeably increased. Split isn’t that big, so at times it did feel a bit claustrophobic with the amount of people there. It must be quite frustrating trying to walk down some of the narrow streets in summer.
Our time there was lovely. Aside from a slight smell at the edge of the harbour, and the other side of town that probably isn’t even Split, it felt like being on a luxury holiday without the luxury price tag. Being near the coast made it feel like we were in another country entirely.
The next day was another experience again; positive of course – Hvar. An island I still don’t quite understand how to pronounce.