Split, Day 2

Split, Day 2

My breakfast this morning consisted of Apple Pie! Apple pie, freshly shaven prosciutto, delicious cheese, fruit filled warm croissants, almost a fried fish, and an assortment of other amazingly scrumptious things. The breakfast at the Coronaro Hotel is probably one of the best I’ve ever had, only rivaling that in the SoSofitel Hotel in Thailand.

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After totally stuffing ourselves, we grabbed our travel bag and met the rental car guy in the lobby to get our car for today’s adventure – Krka Falls. I basically signed my life and life’s savings away for the car and the deposit, so I was pretty terrified to drive it. After successfully navigating outside of the tiny car park at the hotel, we were on the road and my driving confidence slowly came back.

It was about a 50 minute, super scenic drive through the mountains, tunnels, and towns to get to Krka. The little car we had had some trouble getting up to the speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour, so it was pedal-to-the-metal to keep up with the other cars. It was only on the way back that Ryan told me to use cruise control! That made things so much easier!

We pulled up at the parking lot of the Park, bought our tickets, and searched for sun screen. Let me tell you, Ryan and I are convinced that Croatians do not believe in sun screen. I scoured all of the markets / pharmacies in the Split the day before, checked with the hotel, and even went to the shops around the falls, but all of the shop attendants looked at us funny when we asked it they sold sun screen. We brought some with us, but one of our bottles disappeared, so we were totally out of luck! I highly recommend bringing as much as you can from the US if you visit Croatia because its like a treasure hunt for the stuff when you get here. When we did find it, it was around $20 for a 3 oz. bottle!

We opted to walk off our huge breakfast by journeying the 15 minute hike down the gravel path to the falls instead of taking the bus. The walk was beautiful and you could hear the falls as we got closer and closer! They were huge and there were so many! ‘

There is a wooden bridge-way that goes through the forest on-top of the falls / waterways (see map above). You literally walk over all of the streams and can watch fish swim under you and down the falls. I’ve never experienced anything like it. The walk around to falls takes about an hour and is so worth it! There were so many views and it was so relaxing to be out in such a beautiful place.

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We were a little peckish by the time we got to the base of the falls and Ryan couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a hot dog stand. I swear, the man loves hot dogs more than anything else in this world. His eyes light up like an anime kids eyes do in cartoons when they see candy! While he was enjoying his hot dog, this lady walked up behind him and took a photo. She then offered me money for the photo. It was a very strange encounter but I have to imagine that photo is hanging in a great place of honor in her household now?

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After making Ryan’s dreams come true by buying a hot dog and turning down the cash from the little lady, I got some pistachio gelato and we sat by the falls, people watching and taking it all in.

Unlike the Plitvice Lakes National Park outside of Zagreb, you can swim at the base of one of the waterfalls in Krka. I couldn’t resist sticking my toes in the perfect temperature water.

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After relaxing by the falls for a while, we had to hike back up. We stopped by the 2nd hydroelectric plant ever made in the world which happens to be located at he base of the falls. The first plant was made in Niagara Falls and opened only 2 days before the one at Krka.

Ryan was getting annoyed at me because I stopped at every vista point, but I just love waterfalls apparently!

We took a quick hike to the boat area that takes motors to a few other waterfalls, an island, and some caves. The boat ride was 4 hours long and we needed to get back to Split to drop the car off, so we passed on the excursion. After that, it was back to the car. We had to walk back up the massive hill that we easily hiked down. It was so steep and we couldn’t stop walking for fear that we couldn’t start back up again!

Huffing and puffing, we got back to our car and it was on the road again back to Split. We had to get some gas to fill up the rental before heading to the hotel and was shocked that the cost to half-way fill-up our little rental car was the same cost as a full tank for my Toyota Yaris! So crazy!

We got back to the hotel in Split, showered off, and decided to walk the town. It was only 4 PM but, with such a light lunch, we decided to grab an early dinner. All I really wanted was a good charcuterie board and we heard that Bokeria was the place to go for such fare. A waiter came and gave us menus but never came back to our table. Even though the restaurant was not busy, we sat for a good 25 minutes with no attention or waters, so we decided to leave. With such rave reviews, I was OK with waiting a little longer, but Ryan’s hanger wouldn’t stand for it!

We walked through a few squares before coming across another place that had a big picture of a charcuterie board in front of it and decent prices, so we grabbed a table. We ordered the meat and cheese board and a pizza for us to share and, even though we said we weren’t going to drink, the $3 house wine ended up on our table.

The meat and cheese board arrived but it only had cheese and bread on it. I alerted the waiter, who replied “Nema problema!”, and came out with a huge second board of delicious prosciutto. We definitely did not need that much but it was so yummy. Another round of heavily poured wine later, our pizza came out and it was cheese overload, but that is never a bad thing. I swear I am going to gain 20 pounds on this trip…

After dinner, we gallivanted through the streets and “accidentally” bought some more gelato. We wondered back to the hotel and grabbed one of the bottles of wine we bought in Hvar. The plan was to drink it on the rooftop patio / bar at the hotel, but one of the bartenders in the elevator up to the top informed us we could not bring it upstairs. At this point, we were quite tipsy, and we decided to be rebels and finish ½ our wine in the lobby of the hotel and then sneak the rest up to the top patio. The sunset view of the port from the roof of the hotel was amazing and we decided to top off the night with a glass of desert wine.

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The bartender didn’t have any port upstairs but he ran down to grab some from the restaurant for us. That should have been my first indication that it was going to be a pricy glass of wine, however, it was delicious and the rooftop was so romantic I didn’t care to ask and we eventually just bought the bottle….

All of a sudden, a Rat Pack song came on and Ryan and I danced. He spun me a few times and, when we finished, a group at the end of the patio gave us a round of applause. They eventually came up to us to chat and we realized that one couple’s kids live up the street from us! Small world, huh?

Once we were done with our wine, our elevator friend / waiter told us that we could use one of the rooftop hot tubs for free. The hotel opened their spa 3 weeks before our stay at and installed 3 private hot tubs on the rooftop that overlooked the palace and the harbor. Typically, you have to reserve and pay to use the hot tubs, but I guess our waiter decided to give us a treat!  We ran to our room to change and the spa was the perfect temperature by the time we got back. Talk about a romantic night! We enjoyed every second and I honestly didn’t want the night to end.

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Split, Day 1

Split, Day 1

Our 6:30 AM wake-up was early but we were ready for the day. I was still so stuffed from the night before so we had a very light breakfast before walking down to our boat. While I had the right power converter for my phone, I did not have one for my laptop, so we tried to find a converter in one of the little markets by the boat docks and we ended up running into our dinner companions from Stori Komin at the market! It is amazing how small and charming Hvar, Croatia is.

I couldn’t find a charger and am now at 3% typing this on the boat to Split. Fingers crossed I find a charger soon or this post is going to be a shortie….

Thank my lucky stars! Our hotel in Split, Hotel Coranado, had a spare converter so I could charge my Mac! *Phew*. Our boat ride to Split was about 50 minutes and uneventful. Once we debarked, we walked up the pier and used Google Maps on Ryan’s phone to find the hotel! We had no idea that the small alleyways we were weaving in and out of were actually part of a 4th century palace that Diocletian, a Roman Emperor, used for retirement! Must have been nice…

Since we arrived at the hotel so early, we could not check-in, so we gave our bags to reception and waited for our tour guide, Nemo, to arrive. With two check-in counters, there was some confusion finding Nemo, but, like every good story we overcame adversity, found Nemo, and hopped in his Mercedes to go to the island of Trogir.

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We walked over moat to get to the island and then toured through the narrow roads. Our guide gave us some fun facts, like how the stone roads that had a line in the middle were markers to lead out of the city centers. Also, the reason that the pathways were build so narrowly was to keep them cool in the summers and warm in the winters. We saw some beautiful cathedrals, lots of churches, and were even serenaded by 5 men in an acapella group in the open court house. Apparently, the open court house was the place to be back in the early day as the whole town would watch the court cases and gossip about those involved.

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After about an hour of walking around Trogir we headed back to Split. We were getting a little peckish after walking an entire town, so our guide took us to his favorite gelato spot. They had apple pie gelato, which I couldn’t resist. It was heavily!

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We took our ice cream to go as Nemo guided us through Split. We learned all about the palace of Split and how it was built. How it used to have 4 walls but, in the Medieval times, a main wall as knocked out and another section of the city was built. Some parts of the city were from the 3rd century BC! There were even Egyptian 5 sphinx statues throughout the city that were over 3.5 thousand years old. It is astonishing that some of the cities homes and apartments are older than the USA.

Our tour concluded around 2 PM and we went up a street that our guide suggested for lunch and ended up at a pizza place. I got lasagna and Ryan had spaghetti bolognese. Thank goodness we walked 6 miles already…

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After lunch, we could finally check into our hotel so we walked back and got to our room. It is a very nice hotel and Ryan decided to test out the bed with a nap while I took off to walk around the markets and shop for an hour or so. It was such a beautiful day I couldn’t just stay inside!

Around 4, I came back to the room and we got ready for the evening. We decided to walk up  the 200 steep stairs of the cathedral tower. Some of the block stairs were 2 feet tall and the iron stairs up after the bells were slightly terrifying, but we finally made it to the top and the view made all of those stairs worth it!

We went down to into the crypt under the church for a few minutes but it was underwhelming and, instead, we were lured by the songs of a band in the square. They were amazing and we listed for a while before going to find dinner.
We ended up at a restaurant called Apetit and had a delicious meal of salad, bread with oil and vinegar, grilled squid (a Split staple), and truffle macaroni with prosciutto. So much good food! We also enjoyed the $3 house wine that would rival any $20 glass in the US!

In an amazing mood, we walked around the city center, taking in the vibrance of the night life, getting another round of gelato to top off the night, and heading to the rooftop terrace at the hotel to watch fireworks in the distance.

 

Continue on our journey through Croatia…