More from Dalmatia

Trip Start Mar 07, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Friday, June 16, 2006

Sunshine, pink roofs, aqua water, and lots and lots of tourists. These are the realities of the Dalmatian coast. I'm now in Split, which is a bigger town than Dubrovnik and a major transportation hub (bus, train and ferry), but isn't quite as pretty or cultural as Dubrovnik. This is just a transit stop for me, but once I'm here I figured I'd spend a day or so checking it out.

Getting here was a bit complicated, thanks to it having been some sort of religious holiday yesterday (still not sure what, but everything was closed). Bus lines weren't running, tourist offices were closed, and getting information out of people was a bit of a pain. Nonetheless, I made it to my hostel by late afternoon, and set out to see Split's main attraction, the partially-preserved ruins of the third-century-era Diocletian's Palace, built by Roman Emperor Diocletian. I strolled through the original underground tunnels of the palace, and then paid five to climb to the top of the bell tower of the cathedral at the center of the palace, which is Split's main landmark. The climb was steep and a bit dizzying, but the views from the top were definitely worth it.

I spent some time yesterday strolling around the Old Town, then down to the port and the "beach" (really just a concrete strip along the water, but judging by how crowded it was, people didn't seem to mind). Split isn't really known for its beaches; it's a major jumping-off point for islands that have much nicer ones. But wherever there's sunshine and water, people will find a way, I suppose.

Today, I walked in the opposite direction, towards Marjan Park, to visit the Archeology Museum. After getting lost about a dozen times, I finally found it... except it was closed. Go figure. A few hundred meters down the road, however, I found the Mestrovic Gallery, which contained sculptures by one of the most famous Croatian artists, Ivan Mestrovic. I spent some time browsing at the gallery and then at the nearby Mestrovic chapel. The chapel itself was nothing special, containing a few sculptures and not much else, but the gate to enter the grounds was surrounded by rose bushes and was sort of how I used to imagine the door to the "Secret Garden".

Aside from that, there isn't all that much to do in Split, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to relax a bit. Of course, the regular evening activity lately has been watching World Cup games with hostel dormmates or pretty much anyone else around. I have a feeling that my memories of this leg of my Europe travels will involve a lot of TV screens showing a bunch of men kicking a ball around a soccer field. It is fun to get into it a bit, though, especially considering how big an event it is everywhere in the world, whereas in Canada everything is all hockey, all the time, and soccer is pretty low on our national priority list. (On the subject of hockey, I'm glad to see Edmonton is still alive after Wednesday's overtime win).

That's pretty much it for now. Just a note about the map pins: I've gotten some comments from some of you that some of the pins from various entries are in the wrong spot. I should mention that with the exception of major cities, which are on the maps, I'm placing these map pins manually, estimating rather than pinpointing the locations. I'm doing the best I can, and I should say that some of you are quite the perfectionists (you know who you are).

Till next time!
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