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24 October 2017


the thing about split was, it all sort of turned to shit within a few weeks of departure. i was supposed to go with ben, see, then we broke up. thankfully, my pals are the absolute greatest, and with the offer on the table, jasmin was more than willing to step up to the plate; with the flights easily changed and the airport lounge booked, we were off! we did little to no planning ahead, instead opting to just "get there and chill", as it's something we both deserved. but, the moment we picked up the hire car in split, and arrived at our villa in seget donji, we knew we'd underestimated how much there was to see and do. like...

krka national park

the national park was a suggestion from our lovely villa host, and was only about forty minutes from the villa. the drive itself was super easy - as most of the drives are in split (thanks to lovely, wide, toll roads everywhere), and parking at the falls was free too, which is always a nice touch. the entry fee was about £14, which is a little more than i'd normally spend on a tourist attraction, but as all the funds go directly into the maintenance and upkeep of the national park, it seemed legit.

the national park is hauuuuuge. it's more than 140sq kilometres, and includes two thirds of the krka river itself - including the sensational skradinski buk falls, which are some of the most famed in croatia. included in the admission fee is a boat trip through the park which we didn't have time to take advantage of sadly, and a pleasant hour-long walk through the park down to the bottom of the falls - where walkers can swim and play in the warm pool below. 

old town split

i love me an old town. it's always the first port of call when i hit a european city, and split was no different. this time, we even had a tour guide in the form of dino ivancic - who is nothing short of a celebrity in his home town (and abroad, i've since found out!). split tourism had put me in touch with dino, and i was grateful for his time; his anecdotes and naughty stories from behind (and beneath) diocletian's palace were easily the most entertaining part of the whole trip, and he had us in stitches the whole time we were in his company.

he took us through the history of split and the dalmatian coast (the breed of dog actually comes from there too!), right from it's roman, egyptian, and later venetian heritage, through to the current political nonsense, and all the cool facts in between. like the fact the subterranean level of the palace was once used as a sewer, and so when it was excavated some twenty years ago, everything beneath the surface was perfectly preserved. legit sphinxes from egypt? there. original roman artefacts? there. the bodies of some pretty important people? all in there. and all preserved. and now, all over the world in some of the best museums there are. it was fricken coooool.

klis fortress

or, meereen, if you're a game of thrones fan. which, i wouldn't say i was, but it was still pretty bloody cool. especially when the day before our trip to the fortress, we literally learned how similar the tv show's story is to croatia's own history. right down to the dragons (i'm not kidding - if st. george can have dragons, so can diocletian, ok?) and the unsullied (again, not kidding; have a read of the history of croatia - it's utter madness). up until a few years ago (yes, thanks to the tv show), the fortress wasn't even open to the public, and yet now it's a thriving tourist attraction. 

it costs nothing to enter, yet from the top of the fortress, there are the most incredible views over split and out to the islands. some of the most beautiful views i think i've ever seen. breathtaking views. did i mention how nice the views were? it doesn't take very long to walk to the top of the fortress, and there's actually not a lot to see and do there. well, not since the game of thrones museum burned down last year (dragon incident), leaving one small hall with a few costumes and a bit of history in it, but.. we could have spent hours there (if it wasn't so bloody hot!) just sitting and taking in that view.

trogir and seget donji

we stayed in seget donji, which was a nice little seaside town about a half an hour's drive from split. there was a water taxi that went from the jetty at the bottom of our road into trogir, which then went on again to split; though we had the car and never needed it, it was always on the to-do list. trogir was about a twenty minute walk from our villa, and what a beautifully scenic walk it was! we stopped in  the walled town for dinner on our last full day on the coast, and it was certainly a lot more touristy in the evening than the old town was the day before. 

neither of the two towns are particularly very big, but they're both very obviously different. split is a port town and opens onto the water with the rocky, decorative mountains surrounding the city, while trogir is walled - more like dubrovnik, and surrounded by water on all sides. both are decorated with bright purple blooms in the summer, and the most obvious of the summertime icons: palms. everywhere you look: palm trees. i ain't mad, they're absolutely the true test of a holiday, aren't they?

all in all, we had the best of both worlds really. we had lazy, unproductive mornings, where we sat on the balcony and ate breakfast in the sun, and thanks to some wonderful recommendations and introductions, we had wholly productive, adventurous, and educational outings too. i fell in love with the dalmatian coast in a matter of days, and i know i will definitely be back. after the taster session we had in split, i've got my sights on hvar, dubrovnik, and plitvice next. watch this space...

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