Split sights and beachlife

After surviving the climb to the top of the bell tower, we headed out and about to grab a snapshot of the sights of Split.

P1020020Artwork nestles against the ancient mellow stones while a shoal of rainbow fish wiggle tantalisingly for shoppers.

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Bouganvilla blazes on every house and hides even the most broken down of ruins.

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Ramshackle little back yards can be glimpsed through half open doors and peeling paint tempts the camera.

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*Wikipedia interesting fact alert* The city draws its name from the spiny broom (calicotome spinosa; brnistra or žuka in modern Croatian), a common shrub in the area.

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From abstract artworks to labryinthian alley ways that abruptly turn into shady courtyards full of ancient artifacts, balconies and greenery, the city has plenty of hidden delights.

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Split is said to be one of the centres of Croatian culture and its literary tradition can be traced to medieval times. In recognition of its importance, in 1979, the historic center of Split was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

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There’s also a strip of beach where all the locals meet up to play the hectic game of Picigin – a ball game played in in shallow water.

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Players stay in shallow water and hit the ball with the palm of their hand trying to keep it in the air for as long as possible.

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This ensures plenty of hilarity as players belly flop into the water in a desperate attempt to keep the ball in the air.

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Head for heights in Split

Pretty Split is a maze of little back alleys, sun drenched courtyards and cosmopolitan feeling harbour front.

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Here’s Neil, making it all slightly less classy with his beer. .

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The city lives cheek by jowl with its history thanks to the main attraction the Diocletian Palace.

The palace was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century CE and now forms the center of the city of Split.

While it is referred to as a “palace” because of its intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, the structure is massive and more resembles a large fortress.

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Above is a view of the peristyle (the central square of the Palace) towards the entrance of Diocletian’s quarters and some of the narrow alleyways.

The bell tower looms over the centre of the old city and provide a perfect, albeit rather vertigo inducing viewpoint of the whole area.

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Here’s a view of the rather rickety staircases heading upwards! Try not to look too closely at the wobbly rivets, that’s the key .  .

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And some rather spiffing views across Split from the cosy look out at the top.

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You get to peek into windows and spy over roof top courtyards (if you dare peek out from between your hands that is)

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It’s a sea of terracotta, wave upon wave of warm reds, undulating tiles and endless windows.

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For your viewing pleasure an elusive glimpse of your very own pasty blogger, posing awkwardly (proving once again why it is preferable to be safely hidden behind the camera not in front of it!).

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And finally heading back down on rather wobbly legs .  .

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800 miles of road

So leaving Dubrovnik behind for a few days, we embark on our epic journey across Croatia. Here’s a misty goodbye (for now) to the harbour and fort.

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As part of my impeccably planned manic route march across the country, the long suffering other half ends up driving over 800 miles in total. The next step after Dubrovnik is heading North to Split. Here’s our tiny little hire car for the week!

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Heading for the open road we get onto the epic A1 road, a huge, winding and empty dual carriageway that eats up the miles.

We zoom onwards, ploughing through the middles of mountains thanks to the endless succession of tunnels, including one 6 kilometre monster!

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Along the way we see some of the most incredible scenery including this breath taking view over fertile plains full of oranges as far as the eye can see.

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You can almost see the curve of the sky from our vantage point at the side of the road. it seems to only just skim the tops of the mountain range in the distance.

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After about three hours we arrive in Split where we’re staying in one of tiny back alleyways of the old town in the impeccably presented Fabio Residence 2.

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This was complete with the most hair raising parking experience ever as you have to negotiate the (barely) single file back streets praying all the while that another car doesn’t come haring around the corner at you.

Cosmopolitan feeling Split has the air of a high end resort in the South of France, sort of Cannes or Nice but a lot cheaper!

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The city is literally living history as most of the shops and restaurants of the old town are set in and around Diocletian’s Palace – an ancient palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century CE. Below you can see the outer walls of the palace.

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During our stay we’ll whisk our way through the narrow alleyways and enjoy a vertigo inducing climb up the bell tower. Rest assured, photos to follow!