A visit to Trogir

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
Trip End Feb 03, 2008

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

We had planned to visit Trogir today, a small walled village only twelve kilometres away from Split. I told the kids we should try to head off early and sure enough they were up and about way before me.
We knew we had to catch a bus, so we headed down to the bus station. Of course, we stopped off for coffee and pastries along the way at one of the waterfront cafes. It's interesting the way it works. The seats are provided by the cafes, but the cafes don't have street frontage - they are all upstairs and they don't sell food, only drinks. The shops, like our pastry shop, sell food, but you can't sit at the table with just your food. The cafes, on the other hand, have no problem with you bringing the food from the other shops as long as you order some drinks.
After working out which bus we needed to get on we headed out. On the way, just out of Split we noticed a very interesting fortress on a hillside which a sign pointed out as being Klis. Perhaps something to explore tomorrow? Of course, I knew it was called Klis all along, I just told the others it was called Salona to throw them off the scent. You do believe me don't you?
When we got to Trogir there was a bustling market happening right beside the small bridge that crosses into the old town. The market had lots of fresh produce, including fresh flowers by the armful, and it also had a lot of Christmas stalls, including that weird sphagnum moss stuff that appears to be used to make your own nativity scene. We had noticed this in Spain too on an earlier trip.
Over we went to the old town of Trogir. Like some of the other walled cities we have seen, Trogir has a natural beauty. In the case of Trogir this is enhanced by its island location. We wandered around the narrow streets without much purpose, but marvelling at the old buildings and the beauty of the carving. Once we had located the tourist information and had a map of the town, we were able to wander around the narrow streets of Trogir with mot much more purpose than we had before, but at least now we had some idea of what we were looking at.
Although it was the last Saturday before Christmas, virtually every store in Trogir was closed, only a couple of restaurants and cafes remained open. This meant that it was extremely quiet, but it also meant that we could wander freely without being bothered by pesky tourists, or pesky locals for that matter. We found the old fort at the edge of the island, and although it was not open for us to explore inside, it is a great looking fortress even from the outside. We hatched up a couple of plans to break in, but they came to nothing.
We found a restaurant to eat lunch in that was set on the wide pavement, basking in the sunshine with views of the yachts and tall ships moored for the winter. It was a very pleasant way to spend some time resting and munching on some delicious pasta. At one stage I looked across at the boats and thought to myself how lucky I was to be sitting in this place, in this company. It's important (for me anyway) not to become complacent about the magic of it all.
After our late lunch we decided to catch a bus back to town. Strangely, although we had caught a deluxe coach to Trogir and a normal 'city bus' back, the coach was cheaper, quicker and far more comfortable. As I was reflecting on this on the bumpy, slow, and crowded trip home, I consoled myself with the fact that I was enjoying far more of the local 'colour' this way. That was until it dropped us at the edge of town rather than in the middle where we had caught the bus in the morning. Then I consoled myself that the walk would do me good and help to use up some of the pasta energy from lunchtime. Then it got colder and I ran out of consolation.
When we arrived back in the old town it was to find that almost every shop in Split was shut. This spoilt Jess's plans for some last minute shopping (probably for me) and I reflected that although at was almost midnight back in Australia at that moment there were probably more shops open in Albury than there were here given that it was so close to Christmas. I'm not saying the lower-key attitude to retail here is a bad thing mind you, just inconvenient for us at that time.
As luck would have it, one place that was not shut was the café that we had been spying out for a couple of days called 'Luxor', so named because it is located in the middle of the Diocletian Palace and a small sphinx statue is outside that the Emperor Diocletian had brought from Luxor in 305 AD. The statue itself is more than 3600 years old though. I sat in the café enjoying my 'coffee with milk' but at the same time amazed at the fact that we were actually sitting in the ruins - this was not part of a museum. That column I was sitting beside with the magnificent stone masonry was 1700 years old!
After coffee the four kids returned home while Jess and I went and organised the ferry tickets for the journey to Rijeka tomorrow. The woman serving me printed out the tickets and took my credit card off me and said '3200 kuna please'. I did a double-take as I did a quick conversion in my head.. $720  - that didn't sound right. The woman must have seen the look on my face because as I started to query the cost she realised that she had made a mistake and had sold me tickets all the way to Ancona. The actual cost for all six of us on the overnight ferry including cabin accommodation and breakfast was just 1600 kuna, or about $360. Pretty good value I thought.
When we returned home Jess and I met with Nikola our host and I paid him and okayed it with him to check out later in the day, as our ferry didn't leave until 7.30pm. He said it was fine and we could stay as late as we liked. Excellent.
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