Earlier I said goodbye to the lovely hostel in Trebinje and therefore I also said goodbye to Bosnia and Hergoniva - the country I have called home these last ten days. I took a bus from the local station first reaching Dubrovnik before switching buses for a main connection to my next destination. This part of the journey was four hours long - my longest time on a bus to-date - although it was the most comfortable I've experienced in all of the Balkans and since I left Corfu one month ago.
Originally I was planning on driving this part of the coast but for one reason or another, this didn't materialise. Perhaps that wasn't a bad thing in the end as with only me driving it would have cost a fair bit and also having now done the journey by bus, the coastline wasn't as spectacular as I expected it to be. Still, I've now safely made it to my latest destination - the town with a strangely funny name 'Split'. Split is the second largest city in Croatia behind the capital of course but it happens to be the largest city on the Adriatic coast. The city was originally built around the Roman emperor Diocletian's palace which I'll show pictures of later on.
The first thing I noticed when I departed the bus was that the bus station area served more than buses. In fact, the bus station is in front of the railway station and the railway station is behind the ferry port. It really all happens in this one location. Not forgetting the taxi rank close by, this is your ready made transportation hub which is massively convenient but naturally this makes it a busy little spot.
Day 2 in Split:
Having now spent a full day here I can certainly see why people like it. With a ferry port, a pleasant promenade, a street full of restaurants and market stalls, it's 'one of those' kind of places that we all like to walk down when we go abroad with our significant other. You could do the 'sights' here in a day, probably half a day, but I get the impression you can spend a lot longer chilaxing and soaking up the atmosphere. I have absolutely no idea how long I'll stay in Split. Instead, and as I've evolved to doing a little more these days, I'll gauge the feeling of the city and how it makes me feel in the next 24 hours and decide from that. I don't envisage being here too long as I don't believe there is that much to do here just like in Dubrovnik but time will tell...
It's immediately clear the main business down here is a maritime one. There are many touts but for once they're not intrusive at all. It's a you approach them of you're interested kind of business - how it should be! From looking at the advertisements of their little business huts, they're looking to sell all sorts of sea adventures ranging from booze cruises to exotic island tours and even 'sail-away' adventures. Speaking of which, a guy in my dorm last night was only staying for one-night because the main reason he came to Croatia was for one of these 'sail-away' adventures. He sets off tomorrow for a week long cruise (of whatever that actually entails as I don't remember asking) at the cost (of which I do remember asking) of around 1000 Australian dollars - around £500 GBP.
So in addition to offering the adventures of Sinbad, Split has a few other offerings including a beach or two and even some Roman architecture, notably Diocletian's Palace that I briefly mentioned earlier. Get a look at this marvelous reconstruction in its original appearance upon completion in AD 305. Now, in Loyd Grossman tone, 'Who would live in a house like that?'. Well, the ruler Diocletian obviously!
Needless to say these days in doesn't quite look like that. Here are a few average shots I took with my point and shoot camera whilst I wandered the city along with all the other tourists that had recently entered up by boat, road or rail! I've also been told that a decent amount of season 4 of Game of Thrones was shot in and around this old palace so not sure if any of you fans out there recognise it from these snaps?
It recently dawned on me that my t-shirt tan line is getting stronger. Ok, ok, rather it has been pointed out to me several times. Knowing there are some beaches in Split, it would be wrong not to explore them and try to correct the image that clearly identifies me as non-local!
The main beach is named Bravice and is relatively close by. I'm proud to say that I spent three hours down here earlier (my record at a beach since I was in my 20s at least). I also braved the sea for the first time since my travels begun. Even in 30 degree temperature, the Adriatic was still pretty darn cold so I wasn't in there for long.
Despite the influx of tourists, Split has been enjoyable and so I think I'll stay on for another night making it three nights in total. Following here I'll likely head further north up the Croatian coast for more of the same but that isn't a bad thing when 'more of the same' encapsulates eating, chilling and socialising. Speaking of which there isn't really a dominant age group here which makes this a cool city in that it can cater for all ages. For all you youngsters out there, start doing what a lot of your age are doing and get over to Croatia instead of the traditionally classic Spanish island holidays. You won't regret it so get looking into it...