Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Split, Croatia

So Ashley and I made it to the airport uneventfully. We were flying SkyEurope again, which naturally meant our flight was an hour late, but only an hour. I found out a few days later from a girl in Dubrovnik that SkyEurope stopped flying out of Vienna on Friday...we left on Tuesday. We were extremely lucky to even get out of the country!! (SkyEurope went bankrupt 1 week after we left Prague.)

The sunset that evening was beautiful, which made up for the delay

We landed in Croatia and stepped off the plane and the first thing I thought was "OCEAN AIR!!!" I hadn't realized until I got off the plane how much I'd missed living by the water. After not seeing any ocean for 4 1/2 months, it was amazing to smell the ocean and just be able to tell you are near salt water. We were forwarned by our hostel that people would try and get us to stay in their "hostel" or give us directions and would swarm us. We sprinted away from the 70 year old woman who attempting to do this.

Split at night is beautiful. Our hostel was a little difficult to find, but we managed relatively quickly after going through the winding streets and asking directions from several ice cream stands. The roads reminded me of Venice, windy and beautiful.

The hostel was absolutely adorable I must say, in an extremely cute part of the city.

The stairs of the hostel were a tad steep and made me feel like I would fall down them, but it was great. The owner was very nice and helpful and they had ice water! They had a canopy of leaves over the main little yard. and a rabbit.

So we got up early our first day and headed out into the town. It was so beautiful!! Right on the water. We went to the main walkway and decided to get breakfast. The place we chose had us order the pastry, sit down then order what you wanted to drink. It was a little weird. As we were sitting there on the waterfront and taking pictures, a girl named Amy from Australia sitting next to us offered to take our picture.

We started chatting with her and learned that her friend wasn't flying to Split until that evening, so she joined us and the 3 of us set out to find the beach of course! We walked in one direction and hit some industrial trucks and fences, which made us think maybe we went in the wrong direction. So after walking for a while through some parking lots, a random field, some stairs, another field (where a lizard ran over my foot and touched my skin) we found an wonderful swimming area! The water was soooo clear and perfect. We chose the small area where the rock was kind of carved out and there were steps so it was easy to get out of the water.

There was a very cool pathway leading to our swimming hole. The water was calm and "shallow." There were kids jumping in with their parents so it seemed safe. We headed back into town to change into our swimsuits (and Ashley and I needed to find the tourist information for our tour to the Plitvice Lakes National Parks before it closed). Amy, Ashley and I agreed to meet up an hour later. Of course, Ashley and I forgot to turn right on the walk back to our meeting point and got absolutely and completely lost. (We found some amazing buildings while wandering that we returned to later). We were late meeting Amy and she wasn't there, so we headed to the spot we'd agreed to swim and hoped she would be there (she was). The walk was way longer than I remembered it was an hour earlier. I think it was because it was way hotter than earlier in the day. We swam for quite a while. I jumped off the rock after staring at the water for about 5 minutes because I was worried about jumping off. After I finally jumped, I looked at the point where I'd jumped off. It was about 5 feet high. I do not like heights so it felt like 15.

The water was realllllly salty but so clear and beautiful. Which lead to a slight problem. You could float easily so we decided to swim towards this cool archway:

About halfway there I see a very dark shadow below us. I was just beginning to think, "SHARK" when Amy from Australia says "What's that beneath us?" which confirmed my fear and she and I went sprint swimming off in the other direction. I mean I assumed she was from Australia and if she was worried I should be worried. However, in our horror and sprint swimming we forgot to tell Ashley our fear and completely left her behind. Amy's face looked completely horrified and apparently mine did too. It really was quite hilarious. Later, we walked by and it was quite obviously a rock. We refer to it as the shark rock now.

So we kept swimming for a while, laid on the rocks for a while then headed back into town. We wandered around the city for a while, including Diocletian's palace (which is basically the entire town). The palace is beautiful. Amy lead us through the winding roads (after getting lost again) to this cute little pizza place. It was cheap and reallllly good. Our table was in this tiny little alleyway.

We all got a tad sunburned...

Our waitress spoke perfect English because her grandpa had learned 13 languages and taught her English and now she's married to a South African man. She was very nice (though she told us about how dangerous South Africa is...apparently she almost got kidnapped and a car of only one woman or even 5 women were allowed to run red lights because otherwise people attacked them from the bushes...) After dinner, we wandered some more through the streets and then met up with Amy's friend Liz. While wandering, we found this really amazing underground market! It was really old but soooo cool.

We went and got dessert and then sat and chatted for quite a while about everything (snakes, spiders, bears and raccoons. basically dangerous animals of our countries.) Ashley and I headed back to the hostel so we could go to bed (later than we planned) to get up at 4:30 for our tour to the Plitvice lakes!

It was there that I had my incident. Apparently, Croatian pipes get really hot when you take a shower and I burned my stomach. It hurt soooo bad. and now, 4 1/2 months later, I still have a scar. I don't think it will be going away anytime soon...

The flowers in the market. They were quite pretty!
They actually used these to weigh all the fruit you would buy...very old fashioned.

This was a little shocking to see...it was a bit more forward than most signs I've seen!

This was the fish market...it was kind of smelly. and by kind of, It was smelled extremely bad. It did not make me want to buy fish.

We went to Plitvice Lakes National Park the next day (incredible-see soon to be written blog) and then the following day looked around split some more...some of these pics are from that morning. Then we headed to our next destination, Hvar.

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