Croatia: Split

There are four of us traveling together, we split in Split and went our separate ways.

Mother and I went along the incredible Dalmatian Coast and to see some additional villages, while my husband and daughter took a more rigorous adventure into Krka National Park.

My husband’s account (as guest-blogger) of their adventures:

We traveled by bus to the Karst Sibenik region of Split to visit the Krka National Park, particularly the Skradinski Buk Waterfalls-a unique formation of gypsum that created the unusual landscape of the falls. They are composed of travertine barriers, islands and lakes, which we viewed from a mile long network of wooden pathways and bridges. Along the way, we toured areas for the women weavers and the original laundry facilities, which used the rushing water as the water source. There is no way to adequately describe the falls other than to look at the photos. At the base of the falls is a large swimming area, which we were tempted to jump into.

We left the park by boat to visit the picturesque town of Skradin with its beautiful marina. We lunched at a local restaurant, where we were seated with a lovely older Austrian couple. Turns out he was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir in the 1930’s, only to return to Austria in 1938-get caught up in WW II, and become a POW for almost 3 years. After lunch, we took a stroll around the marina, taking photos of more large yachts and sailboats before returning to the ship.

Some of the many falls at Krka National Park.

Some of the many falls at Krka National Park.

My travels focussed a little more on history and culture.  Split is very close to Hvar and also an incredibly beautiful city, with limestone mountains in the background and the sparkling Adriatic at its front door. We began our day with a tour of Diocletian’s Palace. This was a treat, because we did not expect it to be included on this excursion.

Diocletian was a Roman emperor in the 600’s and built the Palace as his ‘retirement’ home. More than a conventional palace, the huge complex has subterranean chambers, streets, halls, churches, the requisite bell tower and even today houses 2,000 people, shops, businesses and restaurants. In the middle of our visit we were surprised to have a special performance by an excellent all-male group of acapella singers; the acoustics were perfect.

Much has been added to and altered throughout the hundreds of years of various occupations, and some parts have been restored, while some areas are in the midst of restoration, and others are in very poor condition. Foreign buyers have been purchasing buildings within the complex, and have aroused quite a bit of local controversy in the process.

Once we left the town of Split, we drove up the striking Dalmatian Coast past incredible vistas (with no spot to pull over for a photo stop), beaches below along the rocky shore, and many bays and inlets, some with incredible numbers of gorgeous large sailboats.

Eventually, we arrived in Trogir, another charming medieval town with an incredible bay view. We walked through the twisted streets, visiting the Cathedral of St. Lawrence along the way and seeing the ancient court of law and early synagogue.Our guide said this is the oldest continually operating synagogue in the world, but today

has a Jewish population of just 100.

Our fascinating coastal drive continued, passing fish and mussel farms just offshore. Eventually, we reached the interior village of Bruni, where we were treated to a typical lunch and some lovely folk music. I must say the locally made walnut cordial was potent and hard to take, but the local red wine went down a little easier. The venue was a reconstruction of typical homes from the past and was a lovely setting, filled with brightly colored flowers and a pergola with grapevines, a marked contrast to the rough stone exteriors.

The ride back to Split was equally lovely but now it was hard to stay awake!

At this juncture, we all agree we have never seen so many super-sized yachts, normal sized yachts and large sailboats in any one area of the world. We can only wonder who owns all these vessels. We had a front row seat during dinner at specialty restaurant Prime C, while the ship departed for Montenegro and navigated a narrow passage out to sea. It was a perfect ending to a beautiful day.

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