After weeks of travelling and moving every 3 days or so, it was glorious to finally put down roots for 11 days in Split, Croatia. We couldn’t help but love it when it looked like this:
As always the first order on the agenda was grocery shopping which Thea, Steph and I managed at the Interspar in the Mall of Split. Boasting over 190 shops this mall was recently opened in 2018 and has 3 levels of shopping as well as a terrace level at the very top where you can enjoy coffee and cake overlooking Split city. Shiny and grand the mall was a retail paradise. Thea especially loved finding a kid’s car trolley to drive around in. Laden with groceries we drove through Split back to our apartment.
Although our building and the surrounding streets were run down looking and covered in graffiti, it was peaceful in a way. After lunch we set out to explore the city. Our apartment was only five minutes walk from the green market and Diocletian Palace. Split was built in around the 2nd or 3rd century AD, however it became more well renowned by the Emperor Dicoletian who chose it as his retirement palace building spot in 295AD.
The palace is still in use today as a residential and commercial centre for the city. It is home to around 3000 people. The limestone walls and roads gleam in the glorious Mediterranean sunshine and provide a beautiful juxtaposition to the azure blue of the ocean. It was wonderful to get our fill of vitamin D and gelato in such a beautiful place.
The afternoon was a little chilly with the wind coming directly off the ocean and so our walk was slightly shortened. We did however find a fabulous bistro on the Riva. The Riva is the main boulevard and restaurant strip overlooking the harbour of Split. It was renovated several years ago and is now both a tourist mecca as well as a lovely place to relax and enjoy the view. The waterfront is lined with towering palm trees and white wooden seats.
Brasserie on 7 turned out to be one of our favourite restaurants in Split, as we visited in the later afternoon we stumbled upon their coffee and cake special for 23HRK or about $5.50NZD. The cakes were divine and the coffees better than most we’d drunk in Europe so far, and with a view like this who could complain!
The next day we had booked in for a food and history tour of Split. We met our host Olga at the green market, and she took us around several of the stands there. We learnt that the prevailing winds were very important for prosciutto curing and that if we wanted local fruits they had to be small. Samples of soft cheese was also on the cards plus some strong and very flavour some hard cheese too. We’d only finished breakfast at 9am and were already feeling a bit full!
We wandered through the palace and heard more about the religious and social history of Split before our next food stop.
It was at a little hole in the wall takeaway place where we sampled a regional dish known as Soparnik. It is essentially a very delicious vegan pie made of swiss chard, olive oil, garlic and bread dough. Apparently it is a traditional takeaway lunch meal.
After some more wandering we ended up at a seafood restaurant, named Makarun. There we were treated to some local wines and a gorgeous looking seafood platter. The anchovies were a big hit with Craig and I enjoyed the glorious fresh bread spread with tuna pate.
For the main we were served a traditional cuttle fish (black ink) pasta and a prawn tomato pasta. The pasta was long pieces and the recipe we were served had been made in Split for over 500 years.Evie especially loved the black sauce on the pasta and made quite a mess of the restaurant’s pristine white table clothes (eeeek!).
We were feeling pretty full by this point so headed out for a little more walking around. Last stop was the oldest bakery in Split where we sampled some traditional Croatian biscuits and nougat. Thea also had some great fun wandering and posing with various statues.
We were full as we said goodbye to our lovely host. She’s also kindly recommended several day trips within an hour’s drive of Split for the coming 10 days we were here.
First on our agenda the following day was to go to Trogir in the afternoon on the way to pick up my sister Zoe from the airport who was joining us for 6 nights. We arrived there late in the afternoon after a morning spent Op shopping at a fabulous second hand shop in Split. The old town gleamed gold in the late afternoon sun. It is connected to the mainland by a bridge and surrounded by jade green waterways.
Tall church towers and narrow alleyways lead you in a labryinth here in Trogir. We managed to find a main square where one of the main churches had been built as an offering after the town was saved from the 15th century plague. Thea enjoyed chasing Andy and I around the square as the others settled in for a coffee.
Unfortunately we didn’t have too much there, Steph and I left the boys and kids to a plkayground in Trogir and headed off to pick up Zoe. They had a pretty cool time and found a playground under a castle on the waterfront.
It was a bit of a late finish for us that day, but c’est la vie!
More on Split in the next blog post for now Hvala for reading 😀