Greetings from Split, Croatia, a little slice of paradise. We arrived here Thursday morning after a whirlwind of travel from Italy that included an overnight of trains leading into an overnight ferry. We much preferred the ferry. Even though we only purchased "deck space", meaning we had no seat or bed or place really, we were able to plop down on some comfy benches in one of the lounge areas for a solid night's sleep. Here is a photo montage of our double overnight travel stint:
In Croatia simply opening your eyes is scenic, the dollar is powerful and the people are genuinely friendly. We've been approached several times by locals who genuinely want to welcome us to their country and ask us a bit about ourselves. The locals are proud and love their country.
We've explored the small city of Split thoroughly. Our favorite landmarks are the Green Market and the statue of Gregorios of Nin. The Green Market is by far the most lively market we've come across and it's open every day. There's a surplus of produce, lavender products of all sorts, souvenirs, beautiful jewelry, butchers, cheese shops, restaurants, and a fair amount of junk. It's a fun atmosphere and we've frequented it for groceries, snacks and some souvenirs as well.
The statue of Gregorios of Nin is famous for its (or his) big left toe. It's said that he was a rebel and a hero for fighting to use old Croatian in liturgical services. So, if you rub his left toe, it's supposed to yield good luck. The statue is a bronze color, but the left big toe is golden because of the constant rubbing. We of course indulged.
On our second day in Croatia we splurged on a day-long island hopping cruise on a speedboat. We started out early from Split and throughout the day went to two famous caves, three beautiful island towns and a famous tiny beach. We traveled over 100 miles by speedboat by the end of the day. It was a fun and bumpy ride in the open sea! (Our boat is the small one below).
Our favorite stops of the day were the Blue Cave and the island town of Hvar. The Blue Cave was a quick but exhilarating stop. We had to transfer from the speedboat to a smaller motorboat to fit in the narrow entryway. The sea was lively and the swells were decent and it made for a dicey entry and exit to the cave. We had to duck!
The Blue Cave is known for being blue. Not a whole lot to it, but a wonder nonetheless. It's a spectacular blue cause by the lighting that creeps under some of the walls of the cave. Pictures don't do it justice.
Hvar is a town famous for its beauty, luxury and parties. Our skipper on the speedboat told us that during the summer rich people from all over the world bring their yachts to Hvar and fight for spots in the small port. Now that it's the off season, people like us can afford to step foot on Hvar and take in some of the ambience. We hiked to the castle on top of the town and found magnificent views of Devil's Islands, which we also got a nice view of from the speedboat.
Today we've enjoyed a rare rest day at our campground in Stobrec, a suburb of Split. We have a beautiful beach of our own and another campground that offers quite the slew of amenities. We think we prefer camping in America for its simplicity, but it's hard to pass up on wifi, beach umbrellas and hot showers (seven minutes a pop) when they're included. We enjoyed a sunset last night from our campsite that created a beautiful red hue on the mountain range opposite of us.
Croatia has certainly not disappointed thus far, and we have a few days yet to explore!
Will and Katie