From Dubrovnik I got a bus back to Split to meet my friend Rup who had been staying on the party/ festival island of Obonjan. Not the best bus, the air con had broken, which didn’t make for the most comfortable journey. On the way we passed through the border of Bosnia Herzegovina.
In Split I met my friend and we had an early dinner at Zinfandel. I’d wanted to dine here when I was last in Split a couple of weeks ago, however it was fully booked at the time, so glad I got a chance to go this time. The food was excellent, worth the wait.
From Split the plan was to head to meet our other friends who were in Italy. We got the overnight ferry from Split to Ancona in the Le Marche region of Italy. We’d hired a villa together in the countryside near Mondavio.
The queue for the ferry was pretty horrendous, a packed no air conditioned departures building with a massive crowd of pushing people. Absolutely no sense of order and passport control was really slow.
As there was two of us we upgraded to a cabin. My expectations for the ferry would pretty low, but actually it was ok. In no sense was it luxurious, this was no cruise liner, but it was cheap and clean. No ice on board though, so after one round of warm G&Ts we retired early to bed. Despite setting off late, we arrived on time in Ancona the next morning at 9am.
From Plitvice I got a bus to Croatia’s second biggest city, Split. The city centre of Split is dominated by the Diocletian’s Palace. It’s not so much a palace as a small town with a labyrinth of streets packed with shops, bars, restaurants and people, and all set within the walls of one of the most imposing and impressive Roman ruins in existence. I stayed at an Airbnb just outside the walls and then went to explore.
Just outside the city walls stands the statue of Gregorius of Nil. Apparently if you rub the big toe of the statue it’s meant to bring you good luck and guarantees that you’ll come back to Split. You can see where it’s been rubbed as it had got shiny with the many hands that had touched it over the years. I don’t really believe in these sort of things but thought I’d give it a go just in case.
After walking round and exploring most of the palace, I bought a ticket in the early evening to go down into the substructure basement of the Diocletian’s Palace. A huge vaulted space of interconnected rooms, it was a welcome cooling relief from the heat above. When I visited it was almost deserted and I had the place mostly to myself. It was very atmospheric and interesting. Any Game of Thrones fans may recognise it as where Daenerys Targaren keeps her dragons while she is in the City of Meereen. I can highly recommend a visit.