Farewell Croatia

Tuesday 25th September


We are really pleased with our accommodation here in Trogir. It is just a couple of minutes walk from the main square, away from the night life, it ticks all the boxes, very comfortable and most importantly quiet (double glazing on all windows). I can definitely recommend this one. There is a pomegranate tree just outside our window growing in a stone archway, apart from the drip watering system I’m not sure how it survives.

We thought we might see if there was a day trip to Split today, but that did not eventuate.  We revisited the sites from our walking tour last night to take some photos and climb to the top of the bell tower of the main church; at least we managed to achieve this without the bells ringing. It seems the island is on the flight path for the airport not far from here, and around 10 o’clock in the morning, it seems that every few minutes there was another low flying jet on approach to the airport. There is a maze of laneways off the main square, with lots of little shops and restaurants. The one good thing is that if you do get geographically challenged you soon end up on the road around the island and quickly relocate yourself. We have also found Trogir’s Jaycar as well. Ewen has now completed his souvenir shopping.

It became quite hot and windy just after lunch, so we retreated to the cool of our apartment for a siesta. This was interrupted by a text from the tour group who were organising our trip to the Blue Cave and the island of Vis on Thursday; unfortunately the windy conditions make it too rough to view the cave. We have opted for a trip to Hvar and Brac tomorrow instead. Ewen’s solution to this disappointment was to order a banana split. He is now having his second rest of the day, before we head out for dinner. We have found the perfect place for dinner (you would love it Sue and John) – yes it has purple tablecloths. It is just a pity you aren’t here to join us.

Dinner turned out even better than expected, grilled octopus with grilled vegetables for me and steak for Ewen.

Wednesday 26th September


Today’s trip to Hvar and Brac(h) was most enjoyable. There was a strong easterly blowing as we headed from Trogir to Split by speedboat, so it was a fairly rough ride. Our waterproof jackets have not had much use up till now, but were quite effective against the sea spray over the side of the boat. We collected a few more passengers at Split and in another half an hour we arrived at Milna on the island of Brac. Apart from the quaint old buildings, the good coffee and the bakery, what I will remember most about this place was the stunning toilet seat of clear acrylic with floral print – very trendy. (Definitely no photos) The male toilet was not as flash!

More bumpy seas on our way to Hvar, but once inside the harbour the wind had dropped, the clouds had cleared and it became quite hot out in the sun. The local guide was excellent, and provided just enough information to make it interesting without overloading the details. Most notable architectural feature was the shed for repairing galleons in past centuries. Check out the large archway at the end of the building. The equivalent of an aircraft hanger for the big ships of that time. There was another fort to conquer, and the view from top was worth the walk up numerous steps. Like all tourist spots there were numerous shops and stalls selling souvenirs. (lots of lavender and olive oil products)

From here we took a short trip across the bay to one of the Pakleni Islands to enjoy one of the beaches.  A little bit of sandy gravel and plenty of slippery rocks. The water temperature was okay, (not chilly like Lorne), but it still took Ewen some time to take the plunge. We spent about half an hour swimming out to the buoys and back to the “beach”.

Meal times are totally different here. Breakfast seems to be about 10 am, then there is a snack around midday, and lunch happens around 3-4 o’clock. A new experience today – green pea dip/spread – surprisingly tasty, and an amazing fresh tomato soup. The bitter orange and lemon tart was okay too as were the jam crepes.

Our return trip to Trogir was even more invigorating. Forget the microderm abrasion at the beauty salon, I feel like I have been sand blasted with salt spray. Totally saturated and salt encrusted eyebrows. The trip was topped off with a view of the sunset just as we returned to Trogir. All in all a good day, even though it wasn’t the trip we had wanted to do.

Thursday 27th September


We have been told that the weather here is either Jugo or Bora. This week is definitely Jugo. The day starts of coolish and a little cloud and by midday it is hot and humid with a clear sky, and high chance of sunburn. Our plan was an early start to head to Split for the day. We decided to take the local bus No 37, firstly because it was the next one to depart and secondly to check out how long it would take to get to the airport for tomorrow’s departure. Ewen’s comment, “this bus was built for neither speed nor comfort”; so after an hour or so of rocking and rolling we arrived at the local bus stop in Split. The local bus stop is further from the waterfront and not to be confused with the intercity coach stop near the ferry terminal.

We negotiated a price for a walking tour of the Diocletian Palace scheduled for about 10.30am. This left us with sufficient time to do something totally uncharacteristic for me – indulge in a jam donut for breakfast. The Diocletian Palace was originally built by a local ruler as his retirement home in 3rd century AD. He even built himself a mausoleum so that the locals could worship him when he died. He didn’t take to kindly to the Christians even though his wife and daughter were Christian.  Any person (namely Christians) who did not bow down to him was put to death. It seems ironic that when the area became under Christian control the mausoleum was converted to a catholic church (bell tower added) and the pagan statues disposed of or had their heads removed.

The architecture shows a range of influences from Roman right through to the Hungarians, Venetians and the Austrians. There seemed very little respect for previous buildings over the years with the open forum area built on, and archways chopped off so that another building could fit in the space.

Entertainment today was provided by an a’capella group singing in the dome near the Peristyle. They were particularly good, no doubt enhanced by the acoustics of the dome.

It would seem that the plants around Croatia are extremely hardy. Today we saw caper bushes growing out of the stone work around the palace. Yesterday there were small daisies in crevices on the Hvar fort, and as well as the pomegranate tree just outside our apartment window and the numerous fruiting olive trees by the road side.

We opted for the comfortable ride home in one of the intercity coaches for only additional 3 kuna each and returned to Trogir in just under 45 minutes. The market near the Trogir bus stop has some interesting and very tasty merchandise. Sampled some local cherry brandy; alas no bottle of suitable size to fit in my case.

Now comes the difficult task of packing (under the weight limit) for tomorrow’s flight home and then time to enjoy our final night in Trogir.