Welcome to Split, Croatia

Wow, talk about running behind schedule… half way through my trip and not a single blog post!

I’ve been busier than I expected, and short on writing time. I’ll give you a brief synopsis of my past few days, then we can backtrack later on.

Last week I took the ferry from Ancona, Italy to Split, Croatia. The ferry was a blast – they had cafes, a night club-esk area, a grocery store, and even a little chapel!

I paid for a bed in 4 person cabin, but it ended up just being me and one other girl. It was pretty cool – we even had our own bathroom and shower in the cabin.

Frolicking about the decks before the ferry left, I couldn’t help but feel like I was on the Titanic- maybe just because I’ve never been on a cruise ship before. This brings me to another realization I’ve had recently – I really romanticize the Titanic too much. I saw the movie at the age when themes of forbidden love and tragedy were still fascinating wonders for me. I think these feelings have had residual effects.  I sat with Jaclyn on the beach a few weeks back in Spain, and as we gazed out at the ships far off at sea, I sighed dreamily and said, “Gosh, I wish I had been on the Titanic.” NO MEGAN you do not wish you were on the Titanic. Come back to Earth.

Aaanywho, it was quite lovely sitting on the sunny ferry deck sipping a beer as we left port. Ended up getting into a conversation with a chatty girl from Colorado who was very into being vegan. We had a good long chat and she’s convinced me to begin a meatless Mondays routine.

After dozing off to the hum of engines beneath my stomach, I woke up to our arrival in Split, Croatia! Split is quite beautiful – distant mountains backdrop charming old world buildings and ancient Roman structures, made perfect by the clear, green waters surrounding it all.

Loved my stay at Hostel Split Wine Garden. Host Nola is an incredible human being who goes out of her way to help guests, whether it being in advising delicious restaurants, sites & plans, or activities. She was a huge help!

My first night I met a gang of aussies from Sydney and Melbourne- so nice to hear the accents again! We swapped drinking tales and then grabbed dinner together at Fefes, a nice food spot close to the hostel. I had a Croatian dish “Pasticada”, composed of the always loveable gnocchi with slices of soft, long-marinated beef with a goulash-like sauce. Fantastic!

The next day I was sad to see my new aussie pals go, as they were all heading out on a party cruise arrangement that sounded like a blast. As much as I would love to do something like this, that’s one thing that’s a bit different about traveling alone- you have to be careful about drinking. You really should be careful drinking with strangers. It’s sad but important to be safe. Would love to do one of those cruises with a friend one day though.

The day started off a bit skewed- I went to go meet for a free walking tour, but got very lost and missed it. Then I thought I’d at least go to a museum I had heard was good. It was tricky to find, and after wandering around in the hot sun for an hour or two, I found it- CLOSED!

I wasn’t so bothered though – wandering in a new city is half the fun. I checked out some of the Roman ruins (they leave their old junk EVERYWHERE! How rude!) and practiced my new favorite past time of Kindle & Coffee breaks.

For the afternoon I took off to check out a park I heard was cool. Turns out this park is made entirely out of stairs. God honest truth – I have never seen so many stairs. Some evil person decided to make a park on a mountainside. What a terrible place to make a park! I’ll admit though, it provided some spectacular vistas from the top. But after 10 minutes I was covered in sweat. By the time I got back to my hostel, I was soaked.That’s when I decided it was beach time!

I headed out for the beach, opting to head to the less crowded but more pebbly peaches rather than the packed sandy ones. I got a gelato on the way (I’ve had one everyday since leaving Italy. Twice today actually). Lots of stuff is super cheap in Croatia – gelato is about one euro. You can see the danger here.

It ended up being quite a hike down to the beach, but it was cool. Lots of big stones and old walls. I watched some young dare-devilish young boys leap off of a banister, past a sidewalk, and down into the waters several feet below.

Though these beaches were said to be the less crowded ones, they were still pretty packed with bodies – I can only imagine the other beach. The pebbly beaches reminded me of my times as a kid at Keuka lake.

I was especially excited to take a dip because someone at the hostel had left behind a snorkeling set that I took for my own (yes, I cleaned it first!) As a kid I use to stay in the water for hours. Like with many things, water play lost most of its magic as I transitioned into adulthood. But when I jumped into that warm, blue-green water with my snorkeling gear on, it felt like I was a kid again, exploring the mysteries of the deep.

Let me be clear, at least around this area of Split, there isn’t much to look at in the way of underwater majesty – just some basic silvery fish and mounds of sea-plants. But seeing it all with goggles – it really adds a whole new world. I now remember how when I was little, I NEVER went swimming without my goggles – those pink-rimmed plastic eye-nose goggles were my 2nd face. It makes sense now – goggles add such an awesome dimensions to swimming! I was once again searching for lost treasure, encountering sea monsters thought extinct long ago. It was great!

After my swim, I went back and met my new hostel roommates – a young 18 year old girl from Cali, two guys from Britain, and two other young girls from Belgium. I ended up going with them to Fefes again (I do regret going here twice. It was good but I wish i had tried something else), this time getting these tasty little sausage things.

We grabbed some beers and played 21 and a weird version of Kings I wasn’t too thrilled about. Then we went out on the town.

On the streets was an AWESOME street band, with these three very chill looking guys just rocking out in the best way possible. One had a harmonica, another had that drum box you sit on. The singer played guitar and had one of those old kinda wonky Elvis-like microphones. Anyway, they were just SO GREAT and really engaging, making everyone sing along and dance. I lost it when they made us all sing “The Bird’s The Word”- SO FUN!

Eventually we moved on to some dance clubs. You know how those aren’t my thing- pretty eh. I got roped into a tequila shot, but stopped the night there. Like I said, you DO have to be cautious traveling alone. It’s important to stay in control of a situation like that when you are in a foreign country with no one you know for sure you can count on. Somehow though we didn’t end up getting back till 5am. It was rough this morning when I woke up at 8am to make sure I got a ticket for my 11am bus to Medjugorje.

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