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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fun in the Sun in Split, Croatia

Continuing on to Split, Croatia....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

We didn't do a full inventory of the apartment the night before so I'd thought I'd give it a little love.  Yet again we had booked a three person apartment instead of the main hostel (which looked a little shabby).  The apartment was ADORABLE.  It was the equivalent of a three story walk-up with a little downstairs, a mid-level bedroom and an upstairs complete with kitchen and bathroom.  It was much nicer than the slightly shabby looking hostel (Hostel Sunseekers).



We woke up early and hit the market to buy figs, bread, salami, olive oil, walnuts and pag cheese for our picnic in Marjan Park.

Marjan is a huge park that overlooks the city of Split.  It was quite the hike (we were panting by the time we reached the top) but the gorgeous views of Split were well worth it.  A perfect view for a picnic.  On a random note, keep hiking uphill even if there doesn't appear to be a path because the best view is from the lookout at the top of the mountain which isn't marked THAT well.


After taking in the views, we wandered down the hill towards Kasjuni Beach on the far side of the park from downtown Split.  It took forever to get there because the road curved in on itself a couple times because of the steepness of the mountain but the resulting beach was relaxing, sunny and beautiful - totally worth it.  Plus it probably didn't hurt to walk off all the rumpsteak I'd been consuming.  We napped for a few hours and walked back into town (there is also a bus but it only comes every 20 minutes or so and so it was quicker to walk).


We changed and then spent the early evening wandering the old palace ruins watching fire dancers and eating "award-winning" chocolate gelato which definitely deserved it's name.


Dinner was at Fife, a super cheap, very tasty restaurant that had been recommended by the hostel.  We ordered the goulash and gnocchi and then passed out early.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turns out grocery shopping really works considering we woke up the next day and had leftovers!  To start off the day we decided to try the shop next to us where you can have little fish nibble at your feet to clean them.  It felt SO weird but was also fascinating.  The shop also played amazing classic American songs like Backstreet Boys and the theme song for the Neverending Story.  So random.


This time we decided to head the opposite direction to try out Bacvice Beach which is apparently a little more "touristy."  Turns out this was my favorite "beach" of the trip.  It's kind of set up like a pool with lounge chairs on concrete around the edge but then has a small strip of sandy beach at one end.  The nice part is that it was deep along the concrete edges so you could just jump right as opposed to wading out over painful rocks.  We spent most of the day here although the food options are kind of crappy.

The way back consisted of me buying purple sneakers (yup I'm a shoe whore), drinking beers and seeing the old palace.

We also touched the big toe of the statue of Archbishop Grgur Ninski just outside the Bronze Gate.  Grgur Ninski was one of the first bishops to speak in Croatian during services instead of Latin (Pope was NOT happy about that).  Apparently touching his big golden toe brings good luck.

For dinner we hit up San Giovanni's where, you guessed it, I had the grilled platter of rump steak, bacon, peppers, onion and eggplant with a bottle of Pejalvasac wine.  It was sooo good and really filling.

We rounded out the night at Charlie's Bar which was TERRIBLE.  A Spaniard told Lil Sass she sounded "Like a Mexican" in a really disparaging voice and a really drunk Irish kid kept following me around the bar and finally got mad at me for not talking to him.  Apparently dodging through people to get away wasn't enough of a hint.

The only highlight of the night was Lil Sass complimenting a guy on his shirt to which he replied with "Let's swap shirts" to which she replied "Ok."  He then retorted with "You American girls can't hold your piss" to which Lil Sass responded by tearing off her shirt and handing it to him.  Wide eyed he took his off and I got an amazing picture of the trade.

Seeing as that was the ONLY highlight we left and went home.  This ended our time in Split.  I'm sure part of the depression was the Australian withdrawal we were both going through.  Split just can't compete when you are coming from Hvar.  However, it is a beautiful city and definitely should be a stop on anyone's Croatian adventure.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Next Stop: The Island of Hvar (Southern Croatia)

On to the next stop in our journey... the island of Hvar.

Friday, August 10, 2012

That first morning did NOT start off well.  I consumed some water from questionnable origins and it put my stomach in a tailspin for most of the morning.  Luckily, locating the Hertz rental car location just outside of the Old City was really easy.  I've never seen a rental place run so smoothly!

We spent the rest of the morning driving from Dubrovnik to Split, which is about 4.5 hours. We passed town upon beautiful town as we wrapped around the coastline in our little Punto.  The car was manual and speedy and we'd opted for AC which was DEFINITELY the way to go.  Boy it was hot!

Upon arrival in Split, we followed the clearly marked signs to the car ferry to Hvar.  You can either take the passenger ferry which leaves fairly often or you can take one of a few car ferries to the island.  We unfortunately had just missed the car ferry so we had to wait a few hours for the next one.  It's nice though because you can just park your car in line and then go grab food near the wharf while you wait.  A ticket for two people and one car is 412 kuna.  Once on the ferry it was about 2 hours to Hvar and they have food and drinks on board.  I slept most of the way.

Once we arrived on Hvar Island we had about 20 minutes of driving to the other side of the island to Hvar Town.  We made a small wrong turn once we arrived in town but easily remedied this by asking someone on the side of the road and made it to our hostel - Villa Skansi.  This place was GREAT.  It beat out a couple of HOTELS I've stayed at that were more expensive.  And the people who worked there were amazing - so hospitable and a lot of fun too.

Our "room" was really an apartment that was super clean, fairly quiet with a kitchen and AC.  The only downside was the bathroom had an annoying shower because there wasn't a fixture to hold the shower head so it sprayed all over the bathroom (which didn't have great drainage).  Otherwise it was lovely.

We were starving so we headed down the street to Lungo Mare, which came highly recommended by the front desk.  I ordered the "muckalica" which is pork with onions and peppers and brown rice in sauce.  It was the best meal of the trip and the portions were HUGE for the money.


While we were waiting for our food we ended up making friends with Luka and Luka 2 who were the cousins of the owner of the restaurant.  Turns out their other friends, Julia and Marco, own the hostel!  Small world.

Before we knew it we were sitting at their table drinking wine and eating crepes.  Luka 2 was hilarious and told a ton of naughty jokes ("push").  My only quip with the place is the service was reallllllly slow so if you plan on eating here make a night of it.  Luka's son decided we weren't getting our food fast enough (he's 8 years old) so he made a point of telling them who's "boss" and to get us ladies our food.  He was a totally cutie.

At this point it was past 11pm and we'd made friends with some boys from L.A. who'd joined in the fun so they suggested we go to Carpe Diem.  To clarify Carpe Diem is a club in the harbor of Hvar Town that has an extension out on an island about 10 minutes from the harbor.  It's only like a five minute walk from the hostel to the water taxi that takes you out to the island.

The entry fee into the club was 150 kuna per person (thanks boys!) and the club itself kind of reminded me of Nikki Beach Club in Miami.  I think we may have just gotten there too early because the place was dead.  I also wasn't in much of a drinking mood which probably contributed to the "boringness."

By the end of the night it got a little better and we made tons of new friends from Brazil and France.  However, Lil Sass had to pull the "I'm really wasted and need help getting home" so that we could disentangle ourselves without being followed home.  This marked the first of our 6am bedtimes on the trip.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Having had such an amazing time on the booze cruise I went on in Lagos, Portugal, we woke up the next morning and promptly signed up for the hostel's booze cruise which was 350 kuna per person.  Knowing that the next day would be a sh1tshow, we opted for a more relaxed afternoon starting with a tour of Hvar Town.

As I'd mentioned Hvar Town is only five minutes walking from the hostel although it's a bit tricky since the road is windy.  I recommend heading downhill and once you inevitably hit the water go right until you end up in town.  That's the best directions I can give you.

Hvar Town was adorable with gorgeous water and brightly colored boats.  The wharf was lined with little vendor tents where I found an awesome bracelet to add to my collection.  Unfortunately Lil Sass is terrible with conversions because it turned out to be a $15 bracelet after I consulted my iPhone's calculator.  DOH!

We also were smart and purchased our return car ferry ticket for Monday so that we were assured a spot and then headed along the water towards the famous Hula Hula bar.  Along the way we found a small secluded "beach" (really a giant rock) with lounge chairs so we stopped and sunned ourselves for awhile.  Turns out it's 40 kuna per person which we didn't know so when the lady came around we gave her some money and left.  Luckily we'd been there for about an hour.

Just around a couple more bends in the path and we arrived at Hula Hula bar which was exactly what we had been looking for.  It's a wooden bar right on the water and is very laidback until around 5pm when suddenly the music picks up and the party gets started.  Turns out the people who work at the hostel were also there (Nicole, Marina, and Luke) so we ended up sitting with them and ordering peach daiquiris.  We also ordered the chicken skewers with peanut sauce and the melon with prosciutto.  The chicken was a little dry but the melon/prosciutto combo was excellent.  The melon was really juicy and sweet and the meat was soft and just salty enough.


Sandy, salty and sweaty, we wandered back to the hostel to chill and shower to go out.  Upon arrival back at the hostel my spidey sense picked up Aussies in the area.  Turns out there were six of them!  Shwood, Ponyo, Super T(-Shirt), Party Pants, Captain Cous and Little Sailor (names have been changed to protect their identities).  These poor lads had just finished up their week-long Yacht Week excursion and were either asleep at the table, tending to massive bruises or blowing their snotty noses.  Basically it was friends-at-first-sight.

It took about five minutes of convincing for them to sign up for the next day's booze cruise and then it was time to get down to serious drinking.  Lil Sass was still getting ready while I hung out with the boys regaling them with "Tales of the Salmon."  Acutely intrigued they asked me questions about this infamous salmon... "Can you do it to guys and girls? Does it hurt? How many salmon can you do in one day?"  My answers were vague and usually ended with me saying "You'll have to ask my friend -  The Queen of Salmon."  By this I meant Lil Sass who at this exact moment made her appearance on the deck.  All six boys immediately clamored for answers.  It took Lil Sass about two seconds to pick her target and next thing we know she has salmoned the lone girl who had come with the boys.

For those of you who are new to salmoning I turn to for a definition....

"When you walk up behind someone and you flail your arm/stiff hand between their upper thighs, imitating the act of catching a salmon by hand."
So you can understand why the entire table went into uproar as soon as this happened.  It was one of the best salmons I've ever seen.  Turns out the girl didn't even blink an eye and promptly joined the crew unfazed.  Big Sass.

Somehow the conversation turned from salmoning to shiving to Shetland pony t-shirts.  The boys had apparently all rocked an assortment of pony t-shirts on their yacht earlier in the week.  I insisted that said pony shirts should make a reappearance on the booze cruise the next day.

From there a massive group of us left the hostel and wandered into town.  The night started off with free jaeger shots at Nautica Bar but it was fairly lame.  I think the party truly got started at Kiva Bar, when "Shots, Shots, Shots" came on and we devolved into a massive pile of sweaty, beer stained dancing bodies.


This ridiculousness continued to Skybar, a more upscale establishment where we quickly took the "CL" out of Classy and Super T and I discussed his plethora of incredible Ben Sherman shirts.

At some point we tried to end the night at the club inside a fortress on a hill above the city but it was closed because someone had been stabbed (turns out later all that talk about shiving earlier in the evening had started a rumor and really something else had shut down the place).
So we opted for our only other choice, the Island of Carpe Diem.  This time we were there super late and the place was hoppin.'  Ponyo, Shwood and I danced it out until close to 6am and then retired back to our rooms.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Today we were up and "cruisin' for a boozin'."  The Aussies all dawned sunscreen, hats and speedos in an effort to be "sun smart."  Ponyo, who appeared that morning in his pony shirt as promised, suggested I turn my golden locks into a "hair-brero" since I didn't have a hat.  Little Sailor appeared in the tiny sailor hat for which he earned his nickname and promptly lost it before even making it to the boat at the bottom of the hill.

The booze cruise was a grand time with an open, unlimited bar of sangria, beer and mixed drinks.  I collected a straw for each drink resulting in a rainbow of colors.  The boys meanwhile told us stories from the S.S. Sausage (their all man Yacht Week boat) which included the definition of "man train" and an assortment of dead baby jokes.  At some point Ponyo got a lesson on respecting woman, Lil Sass flashed the entirety of the boat, all of us jumped up and down (innertubes included) to Gusttavo Lima's "Balada Boa" and The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger," and I made about seventeen failed attempts to climb into an abandoned dinghy due to my complete lack of upper body strength.  Pretty sure Ponyo's GPRO video camera caught all of this on tape including Lil Sass and Party Pants trading.. that's right... pants.

Luckily, no one was "sharked" during this experience (imagine a salmon but throw in an upward thrusting thumb) however Ponyo's pony "t-shirt" had become a one shoulder shirt, remnants of the second sleeve having been made into headbands and wristbands for the rest of us (below you can see the step-by-step demise).


And let the day not stop there!  Post-boat we immediately hit Hula Hula bar where Ponyo ate an entire stick of chapstick, Lil Sass got lost after trying to pee off the dock, and Super T explained how every time he books a hotel room he requests "champagne on arrival."  To this day apparently it hasn't worked.  Ponyo convinced the bartender to give him 60 kuna worth of a 80 kuno peach daiquiri only to give it to me and watch me promptly drop it on the ground.

We ended the night with a quick jaunt through the children's playground where Ponyo and Super T tried to ride the tiny plastic bouncy horse.  At some point Super T and Captain Cous found some French girls to entertain them, Shwood headed back to catch his 6am flight from Split, and Ponyo and I opted for street pizza.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized Lil Sass had at some point gotten completely lost while trying to lock in a boy.  She appeared the next morning in the sassiest state of the trip and promptly yelled at me to say "we had a fight last night and you didn't even show up for it!!"  It didn't take long to soothe her back into a coherent state at which point she explained that she had tried to get an extra key from the night watchmen who had refused and after being yelled at by her for 20 minutes responded with "You are not a very nice girl."  Incredible.

Amends was finally solidified over Hello Burgers in the little downtown area where I ordered the actual Hello Burger which is like bacon, rumpsteak and regular steak all mixed together into a mouthwatering monstrosity of meat.  MMMM.

As late afternoon rolled around we said our sad goodbyes to the boys who promised we'd be getting FB messages about joining Yacht Week next year (yes please!) and took the car ferry back to Split.  We drove around Split for ages looking for a parking spot and finally made it to our next accommodation, Hostel Sunseekers in the old Diocletian palace section of the city.  Because we had just come from the party island, and I was sick, we were grateful for the quiet location that was still very central.  We grabbed a simple dinner that was delicious and then went to  bed eager to see the next city on our adventure.