This place is amazing! Abby and I arrived here on Saturday morning after a five hour ride on a tilting train along a twisty railroad line from the capital. This got us in around noon, when we promptly walked to the tourist agency and booked a soba for the night. In Croatia, it is very common for people to rent out rooms in their own homes, and these rooms are a far better deal than the expensive hotels. In our case, we got a room in a couple’s apartment about two blocks from the old town. The couple had three rooms for rent, each with a bed, clean sheets, and a locking door. The two toilets in the apartment were shared. We have to admit – the idea of staying in a private home sounded a little strange to us too, but it worked out very well, and was not any more expensive than our hostel back in Vienna.
Now more about Split… Split is Croatia’s second largest city, with much of its old town built within the ruins of a Roman palace which once belonged to Emperor Diocletian. Inside are winding narrow streets, archways, and old columns. Many of these marble-floored streets are only about 6 feet wide, lined with shops connecting cafe-filled squares. In front of the palace, along the waterfront, is a wide promenade where everyone seems to stroll after dinner. Saturday night was a special night in Split, since there was some sort of a public festival with a bunch of live music. Three different stages were set up in the old town, with bands playing Croatian rock, folk tunes, and some international (American) music. We saw families wandering the narrow streets of the old town after dark eating gelato and enjoying the scene. It was almost a Disney-like atmosphere – except that nobody appeared to be making any money off the whole thing. It was simply good fun for all involved.
This morning, we boarded a ferry destined for Korčula, a Croatian island in the Adriatic between Split and Dubrovnik. Once we walked into the metal hull of the ship and handed over our tickets, we ascended an escalator into what at first appeared to be fancy restaurant. This turned out to be the passenger deck of the nicest ferry that either of us has ever seen. Amazing!
Go to Croatia. Now.