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So now what? Week one in Split, Croatia

BLOG ENTRY #3

BLOG ENTRY #3 - So now what? Week one in Split, Croatia

Thursday 27/8
All of us woke up at around three in the morning and puttered about for a couple of hours - do we try to sleep more or stay awake? Let’s get on Croatian time, we thought, and decided to take a little nap before starting our day.

And eight hours later….
We woke up at 3 PM on our first full day in Croatia. Whoops!
Diocletian’s Palace here we come! For more info on that, see Savannah’s charming educational video “Savvy Travels”. We’re totally considering that homeschooling - history, public speaking, and writing organization!
We wandered around the downtown area (much of it encompassed within the palace’s walls), observing the many restaurants, shops, and apartments within those tiny stone streets. Window shopping in a pedestrian only zone was lovely!

It was high time we tried some Dalmatian food, so we found a local konoba (restaurant) where the menu was more in Croatian than English, figuring that that might be a good indicator of a non-touristy place.

The dish we had heard about the most was black risotto, cuttlefish cooked in its own ink, so of course we had to try it! Surprisingly mild and very tasty, as was the shrimp and zucchini risotto and Savannah’s homemade pasta with tomato and beef.

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After a leisurely dinner (the only way to do it here!), we followed the sound of live music back to the center of the Palace, the Peristyle, where an acoustic guitarist and violinist were playing. They were set up at the Luxor bar, an actual bar in the Peristyle where they throw cushions in pairs on the ancient Roman steps and you can order a drink. How decadent to sip wine while reclining where emperors and Roman patricians once walked!

The music was acoustic versions of popular American music, and we hummed along until I couldn’t stand it anymore and pulled Jamie up to dance. The female musician smiled over at us as we did some swing steps, Jamie spinning me as Savannah looked on and laughed.

We kissed after, remembering our last time in Europe and a similar impromptu dance in another famous square - St. Mark’s in Venice while on our honeymoon. Ten years (and one kid) after that lovely moment, we were blessed to be able to create another.

Friday 28/8

Jet lag ain’t no joke! We’re adjusting to the time difference, but still waking up in the middle of the night. Since we were all up before 4 AM, we decided to just go with it and got ready to leave the house before dawn. Bonus - sunrise over the Adriatic!

We had our first experience of bukek (the wonderful phyllo dough sweet or savory pastries sold everywhere) and kava (coffee) at one of the many little bakery stands throughout the town. Then we found the open air green market - oh the colors! Fruits and vegetables piled high on tables, with locals haggling over the plums, tomatoes, peaches, grapes, and figs. Wizened Croatian men and women gestured us over to sample their wares, each with just their few specialties. We tasted nuts and dried figs and tried to communicate, as we bought more that we could possibly eat that day. Jamie waved ten kuna at a little old lady trying desperately to rid herself of her small but deep purple plums, and she grinned and filled a plastic bag - plums for days!

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We learned to say “ne hvala” (no thank you) pretty quickly, or we would have ended up with more produce than we could carry. But it was a lovely and local experience.

After picking up makings for our picnic, we headed to Bacvice Beach. We joined the older locals (the youngsters show up later!) bobbing around in bikinis and Speedos. It was so peaceful, with older folks getting their morning exercise and socializing over card games played with the ornate Croatian card deck.

We did as the locals did - take a dip, float (so buoyant you barely need to tread water), then get out and dry off only to do it over again - maybe shower off the salt in between! It seems as though everyone takes a siesta during the heat of the day, but then the waterfront (Riva) comes to life again as it cools down.

Lovely tanned couples wander hand in hand, and groups of teenagers on bikes and on foot stop to flirt next to the yachts moored on the harbor.B68496D7-DA70-4845-8F28-08FEEB840CC0.jpeg

No matter what time of day, tables at the waterfront are occupied by people enjoying coffee (before noon) and drinks after (lots of beer and Aperol spritzes) and people-watching. This is very definitely a cafe culture, where buying a drink (whether coffee or alcoholic) is the price of at least an hour of relaxing with good company and watching the world go by.

As true products of American society, Jamie and I are both on the go kind of people - even relaxing at a bar in the States often came with discussing work and creating to do lists. While we still did some of that (have to plan the next day’s meals and events!) - we consciously made the effort to just relax and enjoy the moment. Every time got easier - retraining ourselves to just be is harder than you might think!

Posted by tatehomberg 12:34 Archived in Croatia

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