Travel Day 8/Croatian Cruise Day 1: Split

Well today is the start of the cruise. It seems like we have been on vacation forever though. I highly recommend having a few days in another country/place first. Sort of like an “appeteaser” for the bigger vacation.

We got up late this morning. Lazily enjoying the sunshine in our room until checkout. We had breakfast included in our room (again you have to check this place out). Our friends joined us at Bajamonti. We had a traditional Croatian breakfast (at least by name on the menu). It was heavily meat forward but delicious. And the cappuccino was to die for. I think I had three!

After breakfast we walked around the small streets and alleys and over to the docks to try to see our ship. We did a little sightseeing, but not much as we had to get ready to checkout of the hotel and into the cruise. The company is called Unforgettable Croatia and we can see why.

Riva – the main Promenade

Our boat docked in the distance

We got picked up in a golf cart and driven through the old Croatian palace and marble streets to the boat.

Once on board we had Prosecco with our other boat members and did a few introductions. The fun part is there are only 19 state rooms so a max of 40 people on the boat. It’s great unless someone doesn’t get along. Let’s hope it’s all sunshine and rainbows from here on in.

The boat is brand new. It had its maiden voyage in April 2019. I took a few pictures before anyone unpacked.

All the cabins and the salon have natural moss growing as a wall decoration. It totally reminds me of “stroke the furry wall” from Get him to the Greek.

After drinks we unpacked and got ready for our city tour. We each got a “whisper” set for the week of tours. Were they called whispers before Game of Thrones?

I diverge…the tour guide Harry was great. He really gave us a sense of being in Croatia at the time the castle was completed. Diocletian’s Palace was built as a retirement home for the Roman emperor and he had a lot on influence in the architecture which I’ll tell you about soon. Our guide told us there are only two important dates. I only remember the first-305AD. The year that the palace was completed. That’s better than nothing right?!

We started with a walk through the palace cellars. We learnt that Diocletian only wanted cellars as a status symbol. He wanted to be on the shore for an easy escape but as the city was built on a slope he also did not want the commoners to look down on his living quarters. As time went on, the limestone that is was built with started to leak into the cellars as its porous. The emperor didn’t care as he lived above. Eventually it turned into a sewer system and garbage dump. Over time people forgot about the cellars and the sewage/garbage petrified. People forgot about the previous cellars and people who had lived there. It was until WWII and a bomb who luckily missed the main palace but opened up a little window into the the cellar and they started excavating and over 15 years re-found the cellars and used it as markets for the UNESCO heritage site. Imagine if we knew the reason to every city planning decision.

We walked through the palace with the oldest bell tower and vomitarium. What is that you say? Oh a place where the rich could eat as much as they wanted and when full could stick a feather covered in olive oil in their throat to “make more room” to continue to the meal. Seems very Hunger Games and the people of the Capital to me. Maybe an inspiration there.

After the tour was over, it was hot so we cooled down with a nice rosé on the steps of the old square.

We saw a wedding come out of the church and heard some live music.

On the way home we ducked into a candy shop (the kids can’t have all the fun). It was a colorful explosion of sweets and flavors. All in all a lovely afternoon.

We made our way back to the boat for dinner and the Captain’s reception. It was a lovely meal of salad, bacon wrapped chicken and fruit salad for dessert. We met our fellow passengers and found out their favorite traveling destinations. Here is our table the first night.

As it was still early after dinner, we went back into downtown Split for music and dancing. We arrived at the Antique Bar and B found the best people watching and comfiest table. We had the local rosé wine and Aperol Spritz before retiring for the night.

Up next: Hvar

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