Monday, 10 August 2015

Mug #11 - Split, Croatia

These adventures tend to start with two things.

1. Messages from well meaning women who care about me and still don't think that at 31 years of age I know how to take care of myself (they might have a point but still).

2. Running. In this case a quick hop, skip and a jump to Walthamstow bus station, where I arrived 7 minutes early for my bus to Liverpool station. Where 30 minutes or so later I arrived for my coach to Stansted Airport - arriving so early that I was able to get on the coach before the one I had booked. What's going on? Have I finally become an adult? - where me and my hand luggage only arrived for our easyJet flight to Split, Croatia.

Attempting to fit everything a modern gent needs for a 10 day trip into a hand luggage only size bag was an interesting exercise that's for sure:

And in the end I didn't do too badly. I managed to fit everything I needed for ten nights and eleven days into that one small bag. Although how many liquids does one man really need:

And even with the help of my trusty tick list I still managed to forgot to take one thing (read more about that HERE). But all in all I had everything I needed as well as several things that it turned out that I didn't.

Now I booked this holiday on something of a whim. I wanted to go somewhere, I had 3 weeks off work and a little bit of money and so after inviting suggestions on Facebook and doing some light google research, I plumped for Croatia. And boy did I make a good decision! OK so all the decision I made weren't exactly great ones. Like the decision to fly at 6.30am, which led to me starting my journey at 2.30am, wasn't necessarily the best. However, the decision to go to Croatia was absolutely the right decision for me personally.

My Croatian adventure started in Split, where I would stay for two and a half days. I arrived into Split by shuttle bus from the airport at around midday. And this was the view that awaited me:

It was fair to say that I was pretty taken with Split straight from the off. It is a spectacularly beautiful little city. Slightly on the touristy side of things - which will no doubt continue to get even worse in the near future - but a lovely little city none the less.

Now being the super organised your man you all know me to be, upon arriving in Split my first task was to find an internet cafe where I could draw myself a little map of how to get from the bus station / ferry port to the apartment I was renting.

Once I found it - I was lost very close to the apartment for around an hour or so - the location of the apartment I stayed in was ideal. Right in the middle of the "city" - I write @city@ because I'm not convinced it's being enough to be a proper city - it was a ten minute walk to the nearest beach in one direction and a fifteen minute walk to the port - where I would take my ferry to Vis, the next stop on my adventure - in the other direction.

The apartment itself was fine. Good value for money. I think it worked out at around £33 a night, which if there was two of you would be a great price. Now the place looked a little like it hadn't been decorated since the seventies and I couldn't sit on the toilet properly because it was too close to the sink. However, if you have been to or even just heard me talk about my place in London, you will understand that this simply made it feel like something of a home from home.

The apartment was big, especially for little old me. There was an open plan kitchen and living area, a single bedroom, bathroom and a mystery bonus room that was big enough to be a double bedroom but didn't have a bed in it. The apartment also had two balconies, one of which had lovely views like this:

Upon finding my apartment I checked in and chilled out / hid from the sun for a couple of hours, before venturing out in the laet afternoon to have a little look around.

My initial thoughts on Croatia:
1. It is very nice. I will definitely be back.
2. It's a lot like Greece. The landscape. The trees. The weather. The architecture. The noisy insects. The fig trees. Lots of cats. And I love Greece, especially the islands and so I could certainly feel myself also falling in love with Croatia, straight form the off.
3. Why do I live in London again?

Instead of heading into the centre I decided to go off in search of the "beach". I'm not sure it really counts as a beach if there is no sand or even any pebbles?:

I didn't have my swimming shorts or a towel with me, plus I was running pretty low on energy supplies and so I just had a nice stroll through this lovely wooded area I found. Upon finding the beach I took pictures of the beautiful water and this dude posing it out in his briefs:

After my walk I was feeling pretty drained from the long day and all the travelling all on around two hours of sleep. So I got myself a takeaway - a Croatian version of a kebab - and got an early night:

I had a nice long sleep and then the next day I went out into Split to have a nice long look around. Take a look at this picture and tell me - with a straight face - that Split isn't a pretty little city:

The first thing I did was to get the buying of presents, postcard and of course my souvenir mug out of the way. Nice and early so that I could concentrate on exploring the city for the rest of the very limited time that I was there:

With the shopping out of the way, next I headed for some food. Now normally I would never head to a city without some sort of travel guide. However, I was only in Split for a couple of nights and well... no actually I just forgot. So I didn't have anything with me to suggest somewhere good (and not too touristy) but luckily for me (and maybe you too), the people of Split have made this great little pocket guide with map:

It was absolutely invaluable while I was there, not least because it led me to the wonderful Villa Spiza. If you're in Split and you're looking for good authentic Croatia/Mediterranean food - my favourite cuisine - at reasonable prices, then look no further than this cute little restaurant:

It really is quite small and the service isn't great - the people were lovely but ordering and paying could have been easier and I never got the salad that I both ordered and paid for - but the food was insanely good! And there was so much of it:

After around 30 minutes of deshelling prawns I got quite proficient at it haha. Later I headed back down towards the water front and bought myself an ice cream (which if I'm being honest made up around 60% of my diet while I was in Croatia):

The map was great. Very helpful. Definitely grab a copy if you're in town. However, save yourself the effort of trekking 30mins out of the centre to see the local street art as indicated as number 34 on the map. That something I did with my final couple of hours before heading for the ferry. I was disappointed by the fact that this was the only decent piece that I found:

and I like it, to me it looks like the pigeons are in a rap group, it's just a shame that it was the only good one that I found. The majority of the other graffiti were tags and I'm sorry but no matter how creative or well executed, I simply don't have any time for tags.

So the lack of good graffiti was disappointing. However, if you're shooing a zombie and/or apocalyptic style film, then this area - which was once the Olympic Centre - would be perfect don't you think?:

Then in the late afternoon I headed off back to the "beach" I had found the night before and had a wonderful and refreshing swim in the gorgeous, clear, warm, torquise waters. Where I stayed for over an hour, swimming from one end of the bay to the other and back again. Before heading back for another earl-ish night and no doubt some more ice cream.

The next day, my final day in Split I simply wondered the small cobbled streets, took plenty of photographs and ate amazing Croatia pastries:

Before wasting a couple of hours in search of nonexistent graffiti, buying myself a snorkel and running to the ferry. Arriving at the boat a big sweaty mess with just a couple of minutes to spare.

I definitely wasn't inSplit for long enough. However, I wasn't exactly sad to leave either - yes I could have happily stayed for another day or seven but - I was too excited about the next stage of my trip.

But I loved Split. It's beautiful, had amazing weather, is reasonably cheap, the people spoke excellent English and it's only a couple of hours from the UK by plane. What more could you want? Split and no doubt Croatia as a whole, really does have everything going for it. So unfortunately it is only going to get more and more popular. Therefore, I would say that you should go soon! Before it is completely over run by tourists. Although in truth, it is undeniably too late already!

So that was the story of my two and a bit days in Split. Next I headed off to the island of Vis, with my suitcase and my brand new snorkel - which you can read more about HERE - hopeful that it would be at least as magical as Split.

ps. see more photographs from my Croatian adventure on my Instagram:

No comments:

Post a Comment