Rushing around Split before Returning to Dubrovnik

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

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Where I stayed
What I did
Cathedral Split Croatia
Fish Market Split Croatia
Marjam Park - Zoo and Botanical Garden - Split
Ethnographic Museum - Split

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Friday, May 11, 2012

I woke up a little later today and tried to get organized for both touristing and traveling.  I probably bought too much food for breakfast.  I ate the yogurt, one orange, and the leftover vanilla dessert.  I packed up the cheese, leftover bread, the other orange and banana for the bus trip.  I split my water:  one for now and one for later and took the other banana with me for a snack.  On my way into the city center, I bought a handful of strawberries at the green market.

I had trouble deciding what to do first.  Then I decided to go to the park.  I found a route on the map and then a sign.  Once I went up fifty million steps to a cafe and lookout, I had choices.  I stayed on a road that seemed to circle the hill (mountain) by keeping to the bay - that was nice because I had a lot of lovely views, but it was also in the open and hot.  As I walked up the road, I met quite a few joggers.  At one point I was passed by a guide and 3 tourists on those motorized standing things.  I had wanted to find the zoo and botanical garden and saw some signs once I got to the top.  The view at the top was OK but not really exciting and there were obstructions in some directions.

I took quite a few photos of interesting vegetation along the way.  There were some cacti, agave-like plants, the cedars, some pines, some wildflowers.  One plant that I especially liked seemed similar to wild parsnip.  I think I may be missing some flower photos though.

The zoo was a strange affair.  I felt sorry for Split and its people but I guess they were doing the best they could.  The cages had a lot of chicken wire so taking photos of the poor animals was not easy.  They were the old-fashioned cages not the new more natural habitats for the poor creatures.  There were some ducks in cages, some rabbits, porcupines, sheep and goats, some exotic deer, a wolf, a bear or two, and some turtles.  Oh, I forgot the guinea pig cage.  There were cages designated for a Siberian tiger and a few different types of monkeys but I didn't see any of them.  Chickens and peafowl had the run of the zoo and were wandering around clucking and screeching.

On to the botanical garden.  I was a bit apprehensive.  Oh, I went to the park because some guidebook said it was a great place to relax and even mentioned the zoo and botanical garden.  Well, as I suspected, the garden was probably underfunded and neglected for some time.  However, there were quite a few signs that someone was working on it at the time - tools, cut logs, and a big plastic bag with plant waste. The garden was set on the side of the hill facing the water and had lots of terraces made from stone walls.  The greenhouses were empty of plants and had broken walls.  There were some olive trees and I assume the pomegranate trees I had seen earlier might have been part of the garden.  I also saw some santolina, rosemary and ice plant.  I am sure I have forgotten something.  And I could see where the gardener had cut some grass around some trees in one section - as if the trees had been planted there - they looked kind of randomly placed though.  It was disappointing but still attractive in a way.  The area was extremely dry and the path was crunchy with dry plant material.  There was a pleasant smell to the air and a peacefulness.  So the guidebook hadn't really led me astray.

This exploration of the park took a bit longer than I expected so instead of lounging in a harbor-side cafe and drinking cappuccino or a glass of white wine, I rushed off toward the Cathedral area.  I was sidetracked coming across the parking lot where the trucks were being refilled with leftover fish from the market.  I realized now why those trucks were there and so I went off in search of the fish market.  I saw some of the last fish because pretty much everyone had packed up by then - 1 pm.  I could tell that it would have been quite exciting to see all the varieties of fish and seafood just from the remnants that I could see.

From there, I went to the Ethnographic Museum and the young man at the desk said that he didn't think I needed to pay to go back in to see the lace.  I took photos of the lace exhibits and then a few of the costumes because I had stupidly thrown my postcards into the box without taking photos of them.  Maybe I can ask the recipients to scan them and send them to me.  I also bought one little pot made by the exhibitor that I liked so much.  From here I whizzed over to the Cathedral - but the exit not the entrance - so I searched for and found the entrance, paid and went in.  The back half looked kind of haphazard but on the other side of what looked like an altar, you could see the rotunda ceiling in the Roman style.  It was quite impressive really.  But the place was packed with very slow moving tourists and they were blocking the exit so I had to try to squeeze my way past them.  Not easy.

Then I started toward the hotel through the edges of the green market where there were certain items that were very tempting had I not been afraid of their weighing me down.  I am having serious trouble figuring out where all those kunas have gone.  I don't know if it only seems as if I had more money because you need 6 times as much, or what the problem is.
I had told the owner's sister that I would be back at 2 pm to pick up my stuff and leave for the bus station and I was back on the dot.  I impressed myself with how I powered up the hill to the room with my cameras and other heavy stuff.  This step climbing regimen is beginning to pay off.

Now to the bus station.  I bought my ticket and asked for a window seat on the sea side.  The woman nodded.  I got seat 11 but couldn't tell which of the two seats was really 11.  I suspected it might be the inner seat but took the window one.  Getting ahead of myself.  I tried to find a nice place to eat but ended up across the street at the ferry dock cafe with fast food.  My bus was scheduled to leave at 3:45.  The buses have always been punctual on this trip.  I waited - it was 4, then 4:15, then almost 4:30 and a bus came that was going to Dubrovnik.  I took my seat next to the window and settled in.  The bus began to fill up.  A bus person came by and looked at my ticket and told me I was on the wrong bus - wrong bus company.  I went in to find out what was happening and the ticket person said the 3:45 bus would be there in a minute and it arrived as she spoke.  I got on this one, settled in, and no one told me to get off....yet.

Unlike the bus that brought me to Split, this one took an interior route rather than a shore route.  We drove on curvy roads above a river valley with lots of fields, and we passed rocks and mountains, but no sea.  Some things I will never understand I guess.  There was a Japanese woman and her daughter also going to Dubrovnik.  They were sitting in front of me.  We stopped at a station and a man got on the bus and told us that we needed to get on another bus to get to Dubrovnik.  So I gathered my belongings and rushed out hoping I hadn't left anything behind.  We got into a minivan with some other people already in it and rode off.  This driver was fast.  At some points I was in fear for my life.  Once we started moving, the window on the sliding door next to me started to howl.  It was not pleasant.  I pushed my fingers along the top edge and it stopped.  It never started again.  I was amazed.  I must really be a witch.  At some point I took out my Fuji to take some photos.  I wanted a river or something and I got a sign instead.  If I had wanted the sign, I would never have been able to capture it.  I heard a woman behind me telling another woman that I had taken a photo of the sign.  Very funny.  After that, I got out my SLR so I would have a better chance at getting what I wanted.

Sooner than expected, we were at the bus station.  That driver was fast.  Plus we didn't have any toilet stops or many other stops either.  I got a taxi to the Villa Micika and am in my room preparing for tomorrow's departure.  Now maybe just a little of that cheese.  I am worried that the open window let in some bad biting insects.  I can see them flying around.  Lynne had a swollen arm when we were here.  It turned out OK.


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