Dalmatia - blue lovely clear water

Trip Start Mar 12, 2010
Trip End Sep 17, 2010

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Friday, May 21, 2010

Split is a beautiful place, located on the Dalmatia coast of Croatia. When you arrive via Ferry you are able to see the walls of the Diocletian's Palace which is intertwined with the shops and town – the cathedral belltower dominating the skyline.  There is an esplanade along the front of the water where there are plenty of cafes which seem to serve alcohol as well as coffee. Jewellery shops, shoe shops and designer sunglass stores appear to dominate the old town shopping scene.

A short walk from the ferry terminal takes you to the Palace walls and if you venture to the right of the Palace walls you will get a taste of the Split produce at the open air markets. At the time of our visit we have enjoy fine, well priced , samples of local cherries, an abundance of strawberries and local cheeses which appear to be home made. They taste great. This was where our staple diet was to be found for most of our visit.

The water is blue and clear and just beckons you for a swim.  It is quite warm here and we decided to go to the "sandy" beach for a swim.  About a 1km walk from where we are staying to the right of the harbour.  When we got into the water it was FREEZING and we had to slowly become numb bit by body bit before we could immerse ourselves in the water.  Paul chickened out and sat with our stuff – wise move (someone had to look after the valuables!!!).

We have hiked up Marjan Hill which has 318!  The steps are after you have already walked the hill.  Great view from top down into split.  We then walked along the top where there is a zoo, I thought it was closed because it was 5pm but it was open.  So, for 20 KN a family we entered the zoo. ($4 AUD) The front of the zoo didn’t look much so was glad to only pay the small entry fee, however it had wolves, brown bears, tigers and monkeys too.  So much more than I thought.  They should charge more and build bigger cages – the bears and wolves pens made me sad. There was a naughty monkey who thought his long p___s was a firestick and started rolling it and ....... I had to explain to Karlie what that was all about when it spouted white fluid at Karlie and I – thanks monkey!!  We were there for feeding time which was a great experience.

We thought we’d visit the Botanical Gardens – not happening at present just a lot of weeds and plants – don’t think there is a priority to maintain them?

Croatia has only had peace for 10 years.  There is nothing written of the wars in any of the museums we have visited.  People will talk about it if you raise a question about something but there is nothing outwardly written anywhere which identifies  which areas were occupied, and who by etc.  I think it is something they of course would like to forget.

We visited Zadar (29th May) and saw the one of a kind 'Sea Organ’.  The sea plays music like an organ as the waves lapping the specially constructed concrete pier.  It was interesting, someone was very creative.  They also have a huge round solar panel that lights up at night and changes colour – it is said to be beautiful to watch.  We were there in afternoon so did not see the night lights though it was quiet disconcerting to see that it was also a giant scale and had a read out of the weight of people /groups standing on it. Glad I wasn’t standing alone!!!

The spectacular KRKA National Park is about an hour from Zadar.  It is Heritage listed and costs about 10 Euros each to enter. As you wind your way down the scenic road you can see the Krka river in both directions which is but a foretaste of the experience once you reach the valley floor and park the car. The roar of tumbling water greets your ears and it was quiet serene to sit for a time and watch the fast flowing water leading to a magnificent system of waterfalls. Fish appear to be abundant and large when viewed from the bank – much to Daniels disgust.

A short walk leads you to the start of the falls where an ancient village is located which now is set up to display what it would have been like to live there two hundred years ago. It has a water driven corn grinder with five large grinding wheels which are still operational and out the back it has a water driven washing machine thundering away though I can’t see it being used for delicate clothes! The rinse room looked like it could double for a great Jacuzzi with foaming water  - if you could stand the icy melted snow for more than a few seconds. They also have active displays/demonstrations of blacksmiths at work and traditional weaving looms. At the base of the valley an old hydroelectricity plant which was the first working and supplying electricity in the world (while Niagara falls beat them in it’s commissioning by two days – it was the first to supply electricity. Locals say the design was stolen from Krka’s creator) Best of all is the beautiful clear water that flows over a 3 tiered waterfall.  The volume of water doesn’t decrease much even during summer and apparently people swim there – did look appealing but would be FREEZING at present.
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