split, croatia - a city in a palm-lined palace on the dalmatian coast

Split, with its crayon blue skies, rugged mountains rising above the tattered ancient city center, bright palm trees waving in the wind, and the brilliant blues of the Adriatic, is completely unforgettable. Split was our home base for day trips out to Vis Island and Krka Park, but we also had plenty of time to wander its labyrinthine city center.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Like in Dubrovnik, the center of the old town of Split is enclosed within walls. Diocletian's Palace is "a military fortress, imperial residence, and fortified town" -- and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its 31,000 square meters encompass residences, shops, tiny cafes, secret courtyards, haute dining, and museums.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

At the center of it all is the place made famous by Game of Thrones, which I don't watch and know nothing about, and which when we were there was ruined (not being dramatic, am I?) by a ton of camera and lighting equipment and surly set workers wishing the massive groups of tourists would get the hell out of the way as they lugged heavy props from place to place. 

Split, Croatia

Fine with us. Plenty of narrow side streets to get lost in, away from the crowds.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia
 Always poking my nose where it doesn't belong.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia
Sara fitting right in.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia
Repping the local football club.

Split, Croatia
 This house came straight out of my dreams and built itself in Split.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

I love Sara here, positively radiating beauty. Since the day I met her I've envied her gorgeous green eyes. See why?

Split, Croatia

Yes, Split with its bright colors and happy palm trees and striking old town was a visual feast. Our biggest mishap of the trip? We didn't actually stay there.

Mere minutes after our 7am, 5 hour bus ride from Dubrovnik landed in Split city center, we loaded onto another bus to get to our Airbnb. Aided by a surly bus driver who wanted us to die ("Just go sit down." "But are we on the right bus?" "I'll deal with you later. Go."), and a lovely Croatian grandma and her granddaughter who, when asked if we were on the right bus, give us directions in a five minute explanation in rapid Croatian, with lots of hand gestures -- we made it to our new home.

Welcome to the tiny, crappy town of Krilo Jesenice - only one hour outside of Split!

Krilo Jesenice, Croatia

Here is the view from the bus stop, where we spent the vast majority of our time in Krilo Jesenice.

Krilo Jesenice, Croatia

And here is literally the entire rest of the 'town'. That restaurant is it. We'd hoped there was a grocery store nearby, and our host, hearing we'd arrived by bus (WE CERTAINLY DIDN'T WALK, GUY) was absolutely astonished that we'd missed it, because we passed right by it. It took us 10 minutes to find -- a tiny room behind a literally unmarked door at the base of a crumbling residential building. Sara: "Oh my god, totally, how did we miss this?"

Ahh, lovely Krilo Jesenice. A half mile town of abandoned, dilapidated buildings, a crappy beach, and that restaurant. And only one hour outside of Split!

Anyway, living in Krilo Jesenice meant we spent a lot -- A LOT -- of time on buses. Sometimes you are just not. in. the. mood.


We never even figured out how the Croatia bus system works. We would board a bus, tell the driver where we were going by showing a screenshot of the town name on our phone, and pay whatever amount he told us (it was different every time, and we always left and arrived from the same stop, so the drivers happily profited from our total idiocy).

Once, we took a night bus back that about 200 other people had lined up to board. Sara and I were at the front of the line and realized as we boarded that we hadn't pulled up the name of the town, because we really are idiots. Cut to 200 angry, drunk Croatians yelling at us for holding up the line -- "JUST TELL THEM WHERE YOU'RE GOING" a kind young man angrily screamed at us. "Kilo Jelenska," I insisted to the driver, horribly maiming the name. He did not understand. I was exasperated: "Oh come on. KILO JELENSKA!"

Sara and I still haven't stopped cracking up about this.

Lesson: Airbnb maps LIE.

And now, back to Split:

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Open letter to yellow house: you are perfect in every way, and one day, I'm gonna buy you. Just you wait.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Kokolo Juice Bar, Split, Croatia
KOKOLO JUICE BAR - Brace Radic 7

Sara and I loved this little juice stand (with salads, snacks, treats) that had a bunch of outdoor seating with great people watching. Sara actually got a green juice and I'm pretty sure I got a mojito, which sounds extremely typical for both of our personalities.

Kokolo Juice Bar, Split, Croatia

So. I sat in this spot waiting for Sara to get her drink, and a crowd of 6 older fashionable-mom type Chinese tourists came up and, one by one, sat down on the bench directly next to me, facing me, and leaned in, while the other 5 took a thousand photos.

Not one of them said a single word to me, or even looked me in the eye. When the sixth person came over I stood up and said 'I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE, I'M NOT A PROP' and turned my back to the photographers. Haha. Sorry, sixth tourist lady.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

I had half a day to myself after Sara flew out and before my own flight, and I spent it mostly at the port (of course) hanging out with the boats, reading under a palm tree, and working on a bottle of rosé at a café on the water, away from the madness of the main city center. Pas mal.

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia
 

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