After almost a week in Prague it was time for us to finish our ham, pack our bags and jump on a plane to Croatia, after a short flight we landed on the Dalmatian Coast and headed into Split. What was once a Roman seat of power is now the jewel of the Adriatic Coastline – a mecca for luxury yachters, history buffs, adrenaline junkies, eco tourists and party animals – there is genuinely something for everyone. We spent our first afternoon doing a much more subdued initial exploration than our frantic efforts in Prague, we strolled the marina and began to explore the Diocletian’s Palace, it was built by the Roman Emperor in 305AD who on its completion immediately renounced all responsibilities and retired to Split. From our experiences here over the last few days it was probably a pretty good call. It is amazingly well preserved and maintained, if you are interested in more information on it have a read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletian’s_Palace. After an afternoon of exploring we headed to Mazzgoon for dinner, great little restaurant that does traditional Croatian fare with a modern twist, I highly recommend it if you visit.
Day 2 in Split consisted of an aquatic tour of some of the outlying islands on the Adriatic Sea, we went with Waterworld Croatia and visited Bisevo (The Blue Cave), Vis (Stiniva Bay), Ravnik (The Green Cave), Budikovac (The Blue Lagoon), Hvar and Milna on Brac Island for some wine tasting. Check out the video below for a good overview of the day, not our group but hits the same destinations.
It was a fairly epic day all around, largely in part to the great group of people we had with us. Our captain Peter was not afraid to get the boat airborne, knew how to make sure everyone got wet and had a good eye for a tattoo. His crewman was potentially Spanish and had a name that literally no one on the boat caught, regardless he seemed like a good bloke. We were particularly blessed to have a group of young, fun people on the tour with us – especially Tom and Soph from Melbourne & Dan and Boni from the UK who we kicked on with afterwards and had a few drinks with. The boat was full James Bond and got up around the 100km/h mark a couple of times which resulted in us all looking like this: Tom has some great GoPro footage of our exploits on the high seas and has promised to email them through after they survive their 48 hours in Amsterdam, I will upload here at a later date so you can check it out. The seats up at the front were fairly rock and roll and had you jumping around all over the place whilst the VIP lounge at the back had you chilling out listening to the beats pumping through the sound system in high comfort. Needless to say there was a high rotation of seats and a few strategic offers to take the front seats when a short trip was (potentially) coming up. We went to the Blue Cave first which I can honestly say was the bluest cave I have ever been in… the picture below hasn’t been edited, it really is that blue. The green cave really wasn’t that green. Hvar was a really attractive port/party town on one of the larger islands and the winery on Milna makes a grappa that will fully blow your head off.
Really enjoyed our day out with Peter and the gang and it was great to catch up with some of the guys afterwards, one of the exciting things about travel is meeting new people, plus we now have high quality tour guides available for Swansea and Luton.
For our last full day in Split we undertook a more comprehensive tour of the palace and some go the significant sites such as the treasury, cathedral and belltower as well as the basement below the palace which was the site for most of the Mereen scenes from game of thrones. I’ve thrown a link underneath to a scene from the show that was shot exclusively in Split and predominantly in the basement of the Diocletian’s Palace, the video gives a pretty accurate representation of how well preserved these areas are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwa3g22iYJM
It was an interesting morning of exploring, Jess was quite unimpressed with how rickety the stairs were to the top of the bellower, I was able to greive for Barristan the Bold in the hallway he went down in and when we were wandering through the square a bunch of Romans rocked up to great fanfare out of the blue along with some Croatian folk singers, it really is a happening place…
After exploring the palace we trekked up to the top of the mountain* alongside the city to check out the view, it was an ardous journey but after perseverance we made it to the top, a true testament to human endurance and our will to conquer nature in the face of adversity. The views were spectacular and well worth the effort, on the way back down we encountered a bloke taking his two donkeys for a walk, then we settled in for dinner and a few ciders at a great restaurant half way down the mountain with views overlooking the bay. After dinner we headed back to the AirBnB apartment to start getting ready for tomorrows journey to Dubrovnik, a four hour coach trip along the coastline.
*The word mountain has been used to protect the feelings of Jess, it wasn’t a mountain. It was a hill. But it was hot, so in the interest of not hurting peoples feelings it will be henceforth always referred to as a mountain.