We spent yesterday on the ferry, which left Dubrovnik at 8:30 and chugged slowly up the coast, stopping at Mljet, Korčula, Hvar, and finally Split around 7:30. We passed most of the time on the top level inside, with a great view and our own little area with a table and two semi-reclining chairs. I alternated between reading, gazing out the window, dozing, and listening in on conversations happening in Spanish and French around me. (This never gets old. One of my favorite things about being abroad is hearing other languages, particularly if I speak them!) The trip is slow but so beautiful. It’s hard to capture in pictures or in words just how blue the water is here. I spent some time on the deck staring down at it and reflecting on the best word to convey the brilliance of the color, and the best I came up with was “sapphire.” The Adriatic here is like one giant, sparkling sapphire.
It got warm in our area later in the day, so once we stopped at Hvar (promoting nostalgic sighs from both of us) we grabbed our bags and eased up to the top deck. It was great sitting in the sun with the salty wind blowing on us. People all around were sleeping, sunbathing, playing cards, entertaining their children, and drinking beer. There was an overwhelming sense of calm as we all just enjoyed ourselves. We made friends with a group of German guys (what is it with the German speakers on this trip?! I don’t speak German!) and then, finally, we were pulling into the now-familiar Split harbor.
My friend Iva met us at the dock and walked us to our apartment for the night. It turned out to be very lucky that she was with us. We were supposed to meet a friend of the woman whose apartment we had rented for the night in order to get our keys, and when we arrived at the designated meeting point (which was not where the apartment was) we found that no one at either of the two buildings marked 93 was the woman we were supposed to meet. (Instead we found some French men in bath towels.) Iva then called our “host” to straighten this out, and about 10 minutes and 10 mosquito bites later we were on our way up to our apartment, which was not the one we’d rented, but hey, you go with the flow. We couldn’t connect to wifi (hence why this is going up the next day), but the much bigger problem was that we couldn’t get out of the apartment. The key worked, but the handle just didn’t turn. We tried for a full five minutes before giving up, and Iva called our host (again, not the woman who’d let us in, whose number I’d never been given despite the obvious logic in doing so). The woman who’d let us in came back, and after we tossed her the keys from the window, she was able to open the door. Her conclusion was “just don’t shut this again.” So we were able to lock the door to the street but not the one to the actual apartment – we literally couldn’t close it without getting locked in. (Fortunately, the only other thing in this building was some sort of office downstairs, so it’s not like people were trekking past our open door all night.)
Anyway, having worked through the crises, I set off with Iva for a nice walk along the water (further than the Riva – there’s essentially a second Riva further down where there are only Croatians, yay!). We passed a lot of people dressed as Roman emperors (togas, olive leaf crowns, etc) because yesterday was day two of the Days of Diocletian, when Split celebrates its Roman history. According to Iva, anyone dressed that way on Tuesday can eat for free. It’s really funny to see. Later on we were sitting at a cafe in an alleyway when a group of Roman soldiers walked past; it was like being in a larger, ancient version of Medieval Times!
Rachel and I are now on the ferry to our last island of the trip, Vis. According to another Croatian friend of mine, Vis is supposed to be the most “pristine” of all of Croatia’s islands. It has a couple of famous lagoons, beaches, and charming, unspoiled towns. We’re excited to see all of this, to be back on an island, and to meet our host (who has been sending very welcoming messages and should thus be the total opposite of what we just experienced in Split.)
Pictures when we have a stronger wifi connection…