Back to the mainland

A late day at last! Woo hoo. Bags out by 8:45 with a short walk (no cars in the old town) to the bus at 9:30 for the 30 minute ride to the ferry port. Coming out of town we saw a mini-fleet of cute, refurbished old VW bugs for rent. Our drive took us past terraced fields, rock walls, a couple of concrete cemeteries, large agave plants, and rocks, rocks, rocks everywhere.

Fun story Jasmina shared with us: For centuries the good land and useful property (think inland where cultivating was easier) passed to the men in a family. Women got what was left (think seaside with its rocky shore and impossible soil). Fast forward to the late 1990s when tourism was kicking into gear. Investors with vision came to Croatia seeking out old ladies who might be enticed to sell their seaside property for a pretty price. They met with some success.

Another fun story: The last man of noble descent on Hvar island has a restaurant. He cooks what he’s in the mood to cook and allows customers who show up to eat … or not. A famous tennis player came and the nobleman chef told him to come back when he got his game under control. He refused anther guy well known in these parts because of his misguided politics.

I digress. Anyway, we got in the ferry queue 90 minutes early in order to guarantee our small bus made it on. To kill the time we took a pretty stroll down a nice wide path along the shore. The relaxing ride was two hours which we spent on the top deck in the shade. Destination: Split, an industrial city of a quarter million right on the water. Second largest in Croatia and of no special interest other than it is the birthplace of Diocletian. We have come to see his palace.

Backstory. Diocletian was the son of two free slaves. An ambitious guy who became a soldier, moved to Rome, and worked his way right up to being emperor! We’re talking late 3rd century AD. Quite a feat for someone of such humble beginnings. He is known for strengthening the empire by dividing it into four sections and naming co-emperors, of sorts, of each section with him being número uno. He was also known for being the last emperor to persecute and kill Christians by the thousands to include his wife and daughter (beheading) who converted later in life. He abdicated the throne after 20 years and moved into a palace he had built in Split, very near his hometown. By palace I mean elaborate compound with living quarters, guest quarters, a temple, mausoleum, emergency exit right out to the sea, and so forth. Our group toured what is left of this amazing palace.

Our hotel is beautiful and I am happy to report does not have a single funky feature. It’s large, bright, and cheerful with no glass walls, photo headboards, wallpaper with nudes. Just run of the mill gorgeous.


2 thoughts on “Back to the mainland

  1. As always Schele…the blog is fantastic with great information and stories! Love, love the pictures too! Thank you so much for taking the time to “share” this great trip!


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