28th July – 30th July
We landed in Split after an easy, early morning flight from Manchester with Jet2 and was greeted by a glorious 28-degree warmth… We managed to sprint over and squeeze ourselves on to a coach to the port of split and to our dismay, ended up having to stand the whole way with a maniac of a bus driver, who I swear may not have had a valid licence.
Once we arrived at the port and marvelled over the views of private yachts and boats, the ocean and the endless amount of people, we went in search of our hostel. It was easy enough to find (thanks to Noah and his ability to read a map) and I cannot rate it enough. CroParadise Green Hostel was such good value for money. We had booked a 3-person bedroom, leading us to believe we would be sharing bathrooms and a kitchen with numerous other rooms but we actually ended up with quite the opposite! We were walked over to an apartment block about 3 minutes away from the main site by the loveliest man, who showed genuine interest in our journey. We were shown into a quaint little apartment with a private kitchen and huge bathroom! We were all in shock that we had it to ourselves for the insignificant price we paid… (until two Australian girls walked in later, unlocking the mysterious door that we couldn’t figure out the purpose of – oops! They were super sweet). I cannot speak for the main site but I cannot recommend the apartments at Cro Paradise Green and its air conditioning enough; it was so simple and had everything me needed and was literally a minutes’ walk to the centre and a supermarket.
We spent the afternoon in the small park near our hostel, making a plan for our 2 days, gathering our baring’s and just wandering down any street we could find.
(Photo credit: Noah Wright)
We explored the inside of the Diocletian Palace, which was so overwhelmingly beautiful with some of its ancient architecture being so well preserved but adapted into underground markets and restaurants. We stumbled across the National Theatre and it seems that all theatres in Europe are so much more beautiful than English theatres…They’re the greatest buildings, this one in particular was the brightest yellow with stone drama heads chiselled into the original statues of angels and cherubs. It’s the little things that get me.
Inside the palace
Outside the Palace walls
Down the stairs of the first image, into the underground markets.
We wiggled our way through the markets that were bursting with flowers, tourists and pastries that were a stupidly low price of 7 Croatian Kuna each, which is the equivalent of about 78p. That’s what shocked me most about the whole of Croatia, how cheap everything was; which was obviously still an economic result of the recent civil war, that allowed Croatia to gain independence from Yugoslavia! However, as a tourist, I was not complaining at its tragic beauty or its prices.
So we ate a lot of pastries…As well as their signature, wraps? Can I call them wraps? They were basically pizza’s in the form of huge, thick wraps with everything you could think of stuffed inside. Super yummy. That night, after Chef Noah cooked for us, we went out to a tiny gig in the park we’d spent the afternoon in, to listen to some bizarre yet intriguingly good local music.
(photo credit: Noah Wright)
In my journal, my second day begins with “Today is Wednesday, it’s 30 degrees and we have walked SO FAR.” Hilariously summing up practically our whole trip. We originally started a walk at 9am that had been suggested to us by our Hostel host to get the best view of Split, which we did and LOOK HOW GORGEOUS –
Then we decided to follow the map down to a beach that was circled, which we thought would take us around 20 minutes…2 and half hours later, we made it to the beach. The good thing about Croatia is that there are natural water fountains everywhere, and because myself being fair skinned and redheaded, a lack of water is a dangerous game for me. We honestly thought we had walked to the end of the headland and just missed the turn off to the beach but it turned out you had to zig-zag your way down the headland, walking back and forth to get to this hidden beach. But we made it and it was beautiful. We slept under the relief of shade, swam in the crystal blue and clear sea, deservedly ate like Kings and got rather burnt. It was a heavenly afternoon. Although, what really conflicted my emotions between raging anger at a map and utter tearful joy was that we realised there was a walk back to our hostel along the bottom of the headland that only took 20 minutes. We don’t speak about that.
(Photo credit: Noah Wright)
The only problem we had was how sharp all the rocks were, as all of Croatia’s beaches are shingle. So hobbled back into the centre with shredded feet at the end of the day! I guess with that view of undeniable beauty, you can’t really complain… We ended our time in Split with a quiet night in, playing cards and getting ready for an early rise to catch the catamaran over to Hvar. Split is always going to have a special place in my heart, I could have got lost in it’s timeless streets forever.
Here’s to Hvar,