We’ve tried pretty hard to keep a pretty open schedule, and mind, during this trip. The only ‘planning’ we did was to make sure we had a place to stay in Rome, an assigned seat on a flight from Rome to Split, Croatia and a ticket from Istanbul back to Seattle. Everything else has been fly-by-night, so to speak. So when we realized that we forgot to book a hotel in Split on our way to the airport, we knew that the next few days might be a bit more spontaneous.
Great call! I can’t do the story justice, but will do my best to summarize. Somehow, with the help of his daughter, Russ was able to find a hotel for the night in Split (he somehow pulled this off mid-flight). Our plan was to grab dinner around 10pm in Split and figure out what our Croatia trip was going to look like. How long do we stay in Split? Do we rent a car? How far to Dubrovnik? Is it worthwhile to travel to the island to Hvar given the off-season? Lots of questions in which we had no answers and that we needed to answer relatively quickly. So we got some recos from the hotel staff dude and he sent us to the ‘happening’part of town with the most nightlife (Bacvice). He also gave us ample fair-warning that the city shuts down on Thursday evenings around 9pm and not to expect a ton of food options.
He was right. We wandered aimlessly for half an hour trying to find a place with not only food, but also a few people as well. Our only option was some Italian joint on the water near a discotheque type of place playing really old glam rock (right up my alley, btw). Fortunately, there was a table of women at the restaurant, so we figured that we might be able to get some info from them with regards to our time in Croatia. we couldn’t ask for anything better and would save our going out strength for Friday night. We enjoyed a great Italian meal, drank some decent local wine and tried to figure out what we were going to do the next day.
Then things changed…for the better. We ask one of the girls sitting at the table next to us, if she spoke English and she said ‘of course’. We ask her what to do in Split and that leads to numerous conversations with the other women. Turns out that they’re all in the tourism industry in Croatia and had plenty of insights and advice. We end up hanging out with these women for a couple of hours and the restaurant owner begins shutting the place down. (He turned off every light except the one above our table…I’m convinced the only reason he didn’t ask us to leave was b/c we kept ordering wine). After another hour, one of the women mentions that she has a couple of apartments that she rents out in old town Split (where you want to stay if you ever visit) and suggests that we stay in her rentals. We graciously accept and she offers to pick us up at our hotel the next morning to show us not only the apartments, but also Split.
We really didn’t think that she would show up the next morning, but sure enough, Ivana pulled up right at 10am. She spent her entire day playing tour guide and then took us to our new temporary homes. Not only are these places in themiddle of old town (kind of like living in a medieval city), but she insists that we stay there free of charge. We graciously take her up on the offer, settle into our new digs and realize that we’ve also got free wi-fi. Unreal. If the hospitality in friendliness of the people we’ve met thus far are any indication of the rest of the country, we’re definitely spending more time in Croatia.
Questions, Comments, Concerns? Feel free to comment below. And check out all the pics.
PS If you ever plan to travel to Split, let me know and I’ll connect your with Ivana. Her rental apartments are AWESOME and you absolutely cannot beat the location.