The city that is a modelling agency

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
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Trip End Dec 01, 2006


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Flag of Croatia  ,
Sunday, June 4, 2006

I arrived at Split at about 6:00pm off the boat with the stupid French people on it. I alighted with some really cool older Americans who are both veteran travellers from way back. They were so impressed by me sleeping on the floor in the restaurant on the ferry that they decided they should take me out for dinner. I was happy to oblige. The lady and the man, whose names I can't remember, were not married to each other (both had their respective marriages), but they both needed out from their lives at home for a while, so they decided that they would come to Croatia and see the country together - I thought that was really cool. She was a psychologist from New York and he was some sort of catalogue manager for the library of Congress in the USA. When we were coming off the boat, I was an easy target with my big bags on and all the people with guest rooms in their houses ran towards me and started grabbing my arms and shoving photos and business cards in my face. I humoured them and took their cards, but let them all know that I was going dining.

At the restaurant, we had this waiter who was clearly not all there. A couple of sandwiches short of a picnic me thinks. When he came to take our order he was sweating like he had just run a marathon and he wasn't really aware of what was going on. As he brought our cutlery out, he dropped it and just stood there looking at them on the floor for a while before we picked it up for him. Our meals came out and I was surprised that I got what I ordered, even though it was crap calamari. My host for the night ordered some bream fish dish, but what he got was a plateful of sliced eggplant. They thought it was hopeless, so they gave up on asking for what he actually ordered and we dined. On leaving, we asked for the check about five separate times then decided that we would just leave as it wasn't coming. He caught us at the door and reminded us we had to pay: news to us. The funniest and saddest part of the whole experience was when the dude had to ask us what we had and point to it on the menu then help him add up the total. Oh well, I didn't pay and beggars can't be choosers.

I walked back to the dock to look for the people who were to give me a room. I was intercepted by this old dude with moles all over his face - the kind that seem to join together in a big conglomerate mole with hair poking out defiantly. I let him take me to his house and I also let him give me have the room for half price...again - ahhh the wonders of competition and what it does to prices. It was actually a really good deal and would have been even if I paid for the whole room. I paid half, because I had a massive king-sized bed in the centre of town for the price of a single as I was alone. As the Kiwi's would say "ehh sweet as bro/cuz". That night I just went to sleep.

At the crack of dawn I woke up. Then I decided to go back to sleep.

When I surfaced at 11am, I went to use the internet and explore the city that beckoned before me. The internet, like in Dubrovnik, was hideously expensive and it wasn't even that reliable. I fail to see how they justify their prices: cartel. Bastards. Oh well, what I saved on the room, I payed out on the net. I find for these old cities, it is best just to walk around and let the streets show you what they want to show you. This method usually means I get lost in the backstreets, but that is a good thing because I get to see these cities for what they really are and not just the tourist strip. Eventually I made it to the centre of the city in the tourist area and plonked down at the base of some of the best kept Roman ruins in the world: or so I'm told. There was this cool busker band playing that had four singing men with two of them playing these exotic guitars. It was really nice music and I actually followed them to their next location so I could keep listening. I think it was traditional Croatian music.

The centre of Split is actually a Roman palace that has been plundered and is now just part of the city. Originally, it was this palace that was only about 100m squared that was Split and the rest was something else, but I guess after the fall of the Roman empire, the gates were opened and people starting building houses everywhere. If you want an accurate history of Split, you should go find to an accurate source - I'm guessing a little here. In the centre of the palace, there is the tower, which I climbed. From this tower, like most towers in European cities, you can basically see the entire city. I took some nice photos from there and I will include a few. The whole city actually has a Fremantlesque feeling about it with the cafes along the waterfront and the smell of seawater and boat and all. Quite nice. The women of Split have a reputation for being amongst the most beautiful in the world - I think this is true.

My Canadian mates from Dubrovnik were also heading to Split at the same time as me and it was my job to find the accommodation because I got there first. I asked the dude I was staying with if he had any more room. He did. When they arrived, he came with me to the bus stop to pluck them out of a sea of people yelling and pushing for first dibs on the new business. I felt sort of strange running through to collect them with that weirdo - it was like I was working with him or something. The other room-people were giving me dirty looks. So we get back to his house and he sits us all down at a table and brings out cherries. We start munching on these and then he brings out two guest books that he insists we read. Following this he brought out three bottles of home made schnapps and four shot glasses. Not wanting to pass up the chance for free alcohol, we had a few there early in the day.

Before the Canadians had arrived, I had been floating around this food and wine fair that was happening on the esplanade near the port. I was a little drunk before they came and after we all went, I was pleasantly tipsy. In Australia, when you are given a taste of the wine, it is about 10mL, but here they were pouring entire glasses for me. Not wanting to be rude, I finished them hahaha. There was also a bounty of traditional liqueurs there for the tasting and we decided we'd taste them all. Not a bad day after all was said and done.

Night passes.

Trying to leave Split for Porec, in Istria, was quite the dilemma. It turns out that Dalmatian people (people from the state of Dalmatia) have a habit of being lazy and unaccommodating to tourists. I was a tourist in Split. Split is in Dalmatia. This presented me with a problem. I wanted to get a six hour bus to Rijeka and then from Rijeka continue up the coast to Porec, where I was to couch surf. By the time that I was able to get some information out of the ticket sellers about when the bus leaves, the bus had left and there would be no opportunity to get a connection to Porec that night. So I went half way to Zadar. Zadar was boring and doesn't deserve an entry.

My next entry will be from Porec.
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