Stunning blue sky, and a tower we will climb later
I put a “flex” day in our schedule this leg of the trip, allowing a day in case we got into trouble in transit. We hit all our connections and were weighing staying another day in Sarajevo or spending our extra day in Split. We decided the latter as we might have had a problem between Sarajevo and Split and it just seemed a careful thing to do.
Split turned out to be wonderful! A beautiful city, right on the Adriatic sea, with ships coming and going, wonderful restaurants, fantastic shops…….we couldn’t find anything negative to say. We ate out several times and the food was pretty much uniformly good. There are sidewalk cafés everywhere for a coffee or a drink. It is a very relaxed and comfortable way of living.
Laurie shops for scarves and gloves
We started out in the market by the old town. Farmers from all around set up here and sell what they’ve grown. Stalls are jammed with fresh produce, fruit, dried fruit, nuts, dried meats, fresh meats, you name it they have it. There were also a lot of booths selling actual handmade objects. Laurie bought a handmade scarf and fingerless gloves, made by a local woman who ran the booth. They were really nice and very reasonably priced.
We wander the market a while and Laurie is a sucker for all the stuff for sale. She buys local almonds, dried figs, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, and oranges. They have candied orange and lemon peels which are a tasty indulgence and we get a small bag of each. She winds up with a couple of bags so we head back to our hotel, just a block or so away, and drop the stuff off.
Nuts are commonly grown here and are quite cheap
From here we start to wander. We visit the local Synagogue, which claims to be the second oldest in Europe. Laurie points out to me that they all claim to be the oldest. We then wander out of the old town and head to a park high on a hill above town. We start up and Laurie says “When you retire, maybe we can come here and rent an apartment for a month.” A local woman is standing nearby and understood English. She says “No. You should come and stay for a year.”
The locals are an inviting bunch. The desk clerk remarked on our trip back in with our purchases from the market "Thank you for helping our local economy!" It's a tourist area, but they seem genuinely happy to see the tourists here. They're kind, helpful, courteous, and genuine. The people are a true gem.
We climb lots and lots of steps to get to the park (you can go around and walk up a not so steep street) and arrive to a café patio looking out over the city. This of course calls for a coffee. We enjoy our coffee with a fantastic view of Split and the Dalmatian coast. Eventually we finish and start our trek down.
Coffee with a city view
We take a different path, going through one of Split’s residential areas. It’s a mix of old European architecture, communist era blocky concrete buildings, and newer buildings. The locals are out doing what locals everywhere do. At the bottom of the hill, we wander through a carnival set up on a Rugby field, with local kids enjoying the rides.
We head back into the old town, passing the statue of Gregory of Nin, a Croatian Bishop who locked horns with the Catholic Church and the pope of the day back then. He’s sort of a local hero and the statue is huge. It is thought that if you rub the toe of the statue, it will make a wish come true. The statue had one brightly polished toe.
We continue into the old town and stumble across a bell tower at the church and they charge the equivalent of 3 bucks to climb it. We do climb it and it gives a view of the old town that cannot be beat. The sun is going down and we can see far out to sea from our perch. We take several really great photos, of which I’ll post one or two…..we don’t want to be boring.
Sundown, as seen from the bell tower
After our tower adventure, we have a drink at a rooftop bar to finish off the sunset, and then we head back to the hotel. We had the hotel do a load of laundry for us today and we have to pack everything as we fly at some ungodly hour tomorrow. We’re getting up at 4:30 and aren’t that pleased about it….but we’re still in the land of travel before the sun comes up or after it goes down. We have a nice birthday dinner for me then head back for bed.
Tomorrow, Geneva. Goodnight everyone.
Split slide show, day two