Croatia Day 14: Split

We had a lovely last full day together in Split yesterday. We began with a hike (not a big deal after all the hills and stairs we’ve climbed on this trip!) up the Marjan hill overlooking the city. At the top there’s a nice 360-degree view of Split and its neighboring islands, which were visible but not too clear in the heavy haze. We were glad to get out of the busy city center, but we weren’t motivated to take any pictures… we’ve seen so much beautiful scenery in the last two weeks that we just couldn’t get as excited about this view!

Further back down the hill there was a a cafe on a terrace overlooking the city center, and we stopped there to get a drink and wait out the storm clouds that threatened rain. We were just about to leave, having concluded that the clouds had shifted to the surrounding mountains, when out of nowhere it started pouring, and we watched the mountains and even part of the city disappear in the heavy rain we thought had passed us over! (I cheated and took a picture of a postcard showing our view from this terrace – see below.)

When the weather had cleared, we made our way back down and into the city, where we wandered in and out of shops looking for souvenirs. We spent a long time in a great store selling all sorts of wines, brandies, olive oils, and plant products (like lavender) and also went into a music store in search of some tamburica music. The owner told us that the music from Dalmatia is just mandolin-based and that the tambura is more of an eastern Croatian thing. That was a lesson for both of us.

We spend about half an hour before dinner enjoying the early evening sun on the rooftop terrace. We could see all the boats coming and going. It’s interesting to think that the port authority probably has a much more difficult job than air traffic control in this country; there’s just so much going on by boat. There are always two big cruise ships parked in the harbor, and then Jadrolinija has ferries and catamarans of all sizes to take people and cars to the islands.

We went practically next door for dinner to a place called Konoba Lučac. Zrinka had told us in Komiža that “konoba” refers to the type of oven in which everything is baked, and now that we know that words, we’ve been seeing restaurants called konobas all over the place. This one had a terrace in the back, so we enjoyed the evening air. I had gnocchi with shrimp and zucchini, and Rachel had stuffed veal; both were excellent.

My friend Iva met us there when we finished, and we went into the city center to sample some rakija. Iva took us to a little hole in the wall place – there’s no place to sit; you just stand in front of the counter and tell the guy which flavor you want. A chalkboard on the wall listed something like 20 different flavors, most of which were foreign to me. We had small samples of blueberry, strawberry, honey, and something else the guy just felt we should try (we couldn’t decide what it actually tasted like). After that we walked along the Riva to a quieter bar off the main drag, where we sat on the second floor terrace and spent another couple of hours just hanging out.

It’s now 12:30 on my last day here; Rachel is on her way to England, and I’m just getting my things together for my trip back tomorrow. Stay tuned for one more post and a reflection on the trip as a whole!

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