In Search of Diocletian's Palace

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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Where I stayed
Apartments Sandra

Flag of Croatia  ,
Thursday, May 10, 2012

I am quite well located here at Apartments Sandra right off the main street coming past the harbor, Diocletian's Palace and the Green Market.  I went out around 9:30 am after a short trip to the supermarket and now I am back charging my batteries.  I found out I could charge the new camera if I plugged it into the computer rather than the surge protector and outlet.  But, the charge didn't last very long - until a little after 2 pm I think - while I was trying to take photos of lace at the ethnographic museum.

As I went down the street to find Diocletian's Palace, I saw people going down some steps into a vegetable market.  So this must be the Green Market my landlord mentioned.  I wandered around there for quite awhile.  There were many vendors with lots of character that I would have loved to photograph, but only sneaked a few.  A flower seller was letting other tourists take photos of her.  I tried to get a photo of her while they were at it, but those did not turn out very well.  There were lovely stacks of veggies and fruit and on the periphery there were bakeries and meat shops and clothes, jewelry and tourist trinkets.  The honey always looks so appealing and I have to check out the lavender ladies tomorrow too.  The produce part of the market was pretty much over on my way back.  I did buy some figs though - now that I know they are grown locally.

From the Green Market, I stayed on the main boulevard and ended up at the far end of the harbor where I checked out St Francis Monastery - which was free.  Then I walked over to look at the boats and saw that they were fishing boats and that the parking lot was filled with refrigerator trucks.  I wondered what time the fish came in??

I took a turn in toward the city just before the Green Market and instead of walking through the first big arch, I kept going until I got to the back side of the walls.  There I saw a tower that is now an art gallery.  On the way I saw the famous statue of Grgur Ninski and took some photos, including his shiny feet that people have rubbed to a golden color over time.  Someone put nail polish on his toe.  I walked through the gate and tried to be systematic in my exploration of the city.  It is much like Budva and Dubrovnik with their old towns - cobbles, stone buildings, narrow alleys, clothes on the line, flowers in pots, interesting architectural features.  I found a large square in the midst of all the narrow alleys.  I was working on the far side when I went down some stairs and through big plastic sheet doors and found myself in a vaulted basement souvenir shop - in Diocletian's Palace of all things.  When I worked my way to the opposite end, I found a ticket booth for entry into ....I am still not sure if I paid for the old Roman building or for the flower show that was being held there and I lost my ticket so I will never know.  In any case, I wandered through all the rooms of the flower show and took photos of the brick & stone vaults and most of the flower arrangements.

Soon after leaving there, I stumbled upon more ruins...just incorporated into the shops and restaurants or left....or fixed up and left.  I have to go back because I went into the Ethnographic Museum which is also housed in part of Diocletian's Palace and ran out of battery power so I had no cameras left and there were great things to photograph and no signs not to.  Especially photogenic was the pottery made in an old style by the only surviving person  who learned it (Pedrag Petrovic), although he is now teaching others.  I wish I could squeeze some pots into my bags.  Hmmmm.

Somewhere along the line I had gone into a small art gallery that also didn't charge and saw a restaurant that had taken over some other notable old building.  I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it - this mixture of ancient and contemporary functioning together.  I know I have seen stones from old monuments used as building materials elsewhere....not counting San Marco in Venice that has columns from all different places....but nothing quite like Diocletian's Palace.

After the Ethnographic Museum, I walked around until I found a restaurant in the shade - one that had a fish special.  I ordered a glass of prosec because I thought it would be prosecco but it was a sweet dessert wine.  The fish soup was good but the fish steak was a little dry.  I tried to pay with credit card, but they were temporarily unable to use them.  They were also out of change in kunas and gave me euros instead.  I think I still have that euro note.

I checked out some things in the market.  I irritated a lavender vendor because I wouldn't buy his product at his price.  First I thought he was a customer telling me what a good buy it was, but he was just a pushy salesman.  Then back to my room to charge my batteries before going out for some late afternoon light.

I went out to take photos of the Diocletian Palace area outside the Cathedral.  I looked for good light and eventually went to the Cathedral.  I thought the sign for the Bell Tower said it closed at 6:30 but .the man selling tickets said it closed at 7:30 pm.  I climbed the huge stone steps for two floors and then went up several metal staircases.  They were easier.  I took photos all the way - on the landings, that is.  It wasn't sunset but it was still nice.  I gingerly climbed down the stairs and was just past the bells when they rang.  I was glad I wasn't on their floor then.  No one warned me either.  When I got down a few minutes later and asked to see the cathedral, another man shook his head no.  It wasn't 7:30 yet but I could tell there would be no persuasion.

I walked around to find a place for a light dinner and picked a place across from the free museum but I am not happy at the moment since I have noticed that I am getting poor service compared to the other tables next to me.  Maybe I won't tip my usual semi-generous amount.  The squid salad I had was very good.  The green salad was only lettuce but not bad.  Now I have finished my postcards as well as my blogging up until now and I have finished all my food and wine and water, pushed my dishes aside.  A waiter came and cleared my dishes and I asked for the check.  He's pouring their wine and water into their glasses.  I finally got my check and left my money with half an ordinary tip.  The name of this place is GRADSKA KAVANA.  Do not go there if you are an old woman traveling by yourself....and you don't look particularly wealthy.

On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at a bakery and bought a pastry and then got a hazelnut ice cream.  My irritation has gotten the best of me, but I could save the pastry for breakfast. (I think that means I was tempted to buy these things because of my irritation with the restaurant.)

In the courtyard outside the Cathedral, I heard a woman singing and playing a guitar so I stopped.  She was joined by a Canadian man and they did a few tunes together before taking a break.  I left at that point but it was nice to hear some live music outdoors in the warm evening weather.  The weather this whole trip has been exemplary!

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