Friday, 5 September 2014

Croatia: Chapter 1 - Flying to Split

So I have been rather fortunate to have two summer holidays this summer! Did I blog about Portugal? I can't remember. Yes, I just checked, it was part of 4 Weeks of Trains from a bit back.

Anyway this time it was 10 days in lovely Croatia which I thought was within Europe so would have moderate priced flights, while still being moderately off the beaten track. Well most of the people I know seem to have had the same thought this year and everyone I told had either been themselves, were going soon, or had a relative/friend/colleague who had!

Be that as it may, my friend (Ami) and I booked flights and packed what seemed like light luggage (ha, my bruises now say otherwise). My Father was surprised when I told him the day before the flight that I would need a lift to the airport at 4.30am but he was reminded by my Mother that he knew this weeks ago. He was an excellent chauffeur and got me to the airport before it was properly light. One very easy check in later I was in the obligatory airport spoons having the traditional breakfast.

Deb was here!

All that was left of dinner
Arriving in Split, we were greeted with a welcome warm breeze and sunshine and one unnecessary taxi later (it was just round the corner but we didn't know that) we were at our accommodation for the next two nights. Well at least I thought we were. We discovered we were 2 floors below where we needed to be and so we lugged cumulatively about 170kg of weight up 2 flights of stairs. This is where the first batch of bruises came from.

We spent the rest of the day settling in and going to a little bay round the corner to get some sun. But for dinner we excitingly set out to a local restaurant following trusty TripAdvisor's suggestions. We had the fish platter for two and two large beers. The waiter rather condescendingly suggested we "could try to have two large beers" but I doubt he's been to England so didn't know any better. I did my best at filleting the bass and bream that arrived with our tuna and prawns and taught Ami how shell a prawn. An excellent first day!

Day 2 and we set out to the old town to have a look round. It is an odd sight as it's old ruins that are still completely being used. I wonder if they were unused and therefore fell to ruins and have been taken back up, or if they were continuously used and therefore there was a time when bits of it were just falling down?!
Splits ruins

Previous usage aside we went round many cute stalls selling the usual range of leather, glass and assorted souvenir things. Also a large amount of lavender which made the whole place smell much better than sweaty tourist!

Beach came with yellow submarine!
In the afternoon we walked across into the large park and found a lovely beach. I honestly don't remember enjoying a beach more! It was pebbles so no sand in bikini issues, it was small with no children, the sea was perfect and warm and I actually swam! Anyone who has been away with me knows my aversion to the sea which is solely founded on its temperature. Not an issue here. And to top it all off there was a beach-side bar with many bottles of cheap cold beer - perfect.

In the evening we did a pub crawl which started of dubiously in what looked like a rec room but soon moved to a harbor side cocktail bar with surprise entertainment in the form of 9ft men in black out suits and covered in lights! Scared me stupid when I turned round to see one behind me!! We also made friends with a bachelor party who were generous with drinks and a boy who everyone we subsequently met, also knew! I think this boy had met the entire population of Croatia and its islands! A couple of bars later and we were heading back to the hostel having had a great night.

The next morning, with a 6/10 on the Deb hangover scale, we set out for breakfast (which reduced it to a 4/10) and the bus to Plitvice Lakes....