Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
Trip End Feb 15, 2011

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Sunday, August 22, 2010

We got a super-fast ferry to Split in the early morning which meant we were able to have enough time to actually see some of Split (instead of the alternative arriving in the evening). The Hotel Atrium was great - the room was quiet, large, and had a great bathroom. Pure bliss compared with the last place. We had a bite of lunch and a long nap before rushing back into town to try to try and catch the 5pm bus tour, which of course we missed. So Split is famous for two things - it was the capital of the Roman province Dalmatia and the Emporer Diocletian built his palace there in 305 AD. The still occupied remains are another UNESCO world heritage site. Our first stop was at the Cathedral of St. Dominus. 10 kuna each allowed us to climb up the bell tower to get a better view of the city. Here's a tip: when climbing bell towers, first check your watch. We were literally adjacent to the bells when they rang at 6pm. A good incentive to finish climbing the stairs! Once back on the ground, we walked around the beautiful narrow streets of the old town, and down the main Riva en route to Fife, a restaurant recommended by a Croatian friend from Dubai. The restaurant didn't disappoint. The place was wonderfully laid back, it was packed, and the food was great. Some crusty bread and local yellow cheese to start, then cevapi (grilled fingers of minced meat) and grilled fish for mains. A few karlovacko beers managed to find their way to our table as well. With full bellies, we strolled backed towards the old town, the other main attraction of Split. Every evening the locals down tools and promenade down the Riva, stopping on the many benches to watch everyone else doing the same thing. It was lovely and so many locals of all ages were just hanging out.  We passed back through Diocletian's palace to catch some of the festivities of the Diocletian Days Festival and spotted many locals and tourists alike with olive wreaths on their brows, and a few dressed in togas.

The next day was off to a slow start. We figured we'd make the most of a nice hotel room while we had it, so we had a leisurely breakfast and checked out a bit after noon. We had just enough time before the bus to Dubrovnik to check out the ethnographic museum, showing pictures and exhibits of historical clothing and jewelry/accessories. We hopped on the bus a bit after 2pm, further developing our impression that Croatian public transport operators are a bit gruff. Unfortunately, the capability of air conditioning in the bus was a little bit exaggerated, so we were more than ready for the trip to end. Nonetheless, the Croatian coastline is absolutely stunning, and the drive is highly recommended (although in a vehicle with a better cooling system). I now agree with Julia that "moist" is not a good word. One pleasant surprise was the very brief trip through the small strip of Bosnia that touches the coast. It was nice to see the blue and yellow flag and prices listed in konvertible marks. Perhaps it's the light at 6pm, but the coast is even prettier as you get closer to Dubrovnik.
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