split: the playground of tourists, romantic ruins, and roman gods.

our room was surprisingly quiet on the People’s Square, as late night party goers, #theyachtweek bourgeoisie, and tourists rustled through the Brac tiles under the silver moon.  sleep was peaceful. 

the Croatian Sun rose early, and peeped through the corners of the veiled historic glass windows.  ethereal light blanketed our quaint space.  serene backgrounds beckoned our presence in the near distance, so we followed the sweet call.  

built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian around 300 AD, the palace is a fortress in disguise.  designed to enforce and protect. 

beyond the peristyle which houses faux Roman guard lay St Dominus Cathedral, covered in gold and clothed in oil paintings.  it was converted to a Catholic Church in the sixth century, and many Roman altars were renamed. 

during the marrying of those religions some sculptures remained, like this altar of Jupiter now named after St John the Baptist.  

at night, lights place shadow on the ancient architecture, soft live music from the peristyle dancing in the humid air.  onlooking tourists, mouth agape, flash photos and selfies and drip melting ice cream on the white Brac squares.  

the sommelier and I traverse the alleys and breathe in the swaths of dinner aromas.  

restaurants bustle, patios full to the brim with locals and strangers alike.  white wine spills from most carafes, the highly mineralized, salty liquid easily emptied from crystal glasses.  

fresh seafood packs the plates.  

lovers hold hands in the romantic ruins.  

our last jaunt of Croatian culture, the city of Split is a timeless cross mix of various influences: Greek, Roman, and Dalmatian.  

she glitters brightly in the deep blue sea, her azure heart open for all to see. unbounded by walls, Split is the unique, modern daughter of Croatia.  

a gem in the crown of former kings.  

ferries, catamarans, and Hvar: exploring the Dalmatian Coast.

we boarded the ferry in late afternoon headed north, the hot sun bearing down on our backs in the concrete heat.  the boat was stuffy and musty, the air seeming to circulate only every so often.  still though, the views of the islands couldn’t be beat.  

after stopping in Mjet, Korcula (pictured), Milna, and Bol, we finally port in Split. 

just a short walk through the town center found us in our room at the Piazza Heritage Hotel.  a historical boutique on People’s Square, we had a perfect view of the clock tower and iron gate into Diocletian’s Palace.  

(disclosure:  morning photo)

since we arrived late, we rushed to dinner.  luckily, we were surrounded by restaurants with beautiful fare, including this lovely trio of pates: scampi, chicken, and cuddlefish. 

we awoke early to take an excursion to Hvar, aboard a luxury Catamaran run by a few young locals. 

Summer Blues first anchored off the coast of Brac for a cool dip in the salty sea, and where we could wash the sweat from our dripping brows.  the scenery was familiar, yet the rocks more white and brighter than in the islands to the south.  no wonder ancient civilizations used her stones to build their empires. 

her water was azure blue.  

Hvar, bathed in lavender, is breezy and light and less busy than the other cities we visited. 

founded in the 4th century by the Greeks, then later Romans, Byzantines, medieval Croatian Kings and Venetians, Hvar has been subject to many rule, including Austro-Hungarian.  like all Croatian towns thus far, the town center is flanked by a cathedral off the main square.  

narrow alleyways and high steps make up the stari grad (old town), where small museums, restaurants, and tributes to local men combine.  still slightly conservative, the culture is much more influenced by the Romans and Italians than cities to the south.


at the highest point of Hvar is the Tvrdalj, the fortified residence of a local renaissance poet, built for townspeople for protection against pirates in 1514. 

nightlife in Hvar is said to be busy, with yachts pulling in from all over the world to party.  in fact, we arrived just in time to witness #yachtweek.  luckily, we visited the island in early afternoon, and avoided drunken young adults sailing around the Adriatic.

headed back towards Split, the catamaran anchored off the coast of Pakleni Islands, and then Solta, for a much needed snack and cooling from the bright sun.  

we found time to relax and enjoy the Adriatic Sea in ways we could not from our previous rocky beach and kayaking experiences. and the sommelier smiled.  

headed back to Split, the crew set sail, turned up the music, and passed out the vodka.  

we harbored in port late sunset, and scurried back to the room to shower off the salt from our skin.  

a late night dinner of grilled octopus and prosciutto and truffle tagliatelle warmed our bellies and our hearts. 

the sun had been ours for one more day.  

more on the ancient Roman city of Split in the next post, živjeli!