Our first port of call was in Split, Croatia. The night before we landed, my family competed in a trivia competition with our classic team name, “The Griswold’s”. We won, naturally. Bonus points if you get the reference. The moderator was from Split and gave us directions to local hangouts where we could get some authentic Croatian food and local beer as well as a few phrases.
We toured the town which is predominantly an ancient fortress, originally the palace of the Emperor Diocletian, built in 305 AD.
The ruins have been reclaimed by current residents and house lots of shops selling local goods including crafts and produce. One stand was selling local honey. My grandfather is a beekeeper so we checked it out and bought some to bring home. In the picture below you can see the pumps set up so people could sample the different types. The whole area was surrounded with bees trying their hardest to reclaim the honey by climbing up the spout.
After a couple hours, we split up and I went off with my sisters. We saw Zeus’s temple and then went off the beaten path, veering away from the tourist area.
Map of the city. Split is the largest Dalmatian city and the second largest in Croatia. It is thought to have been founded in the 6th century BCE as a Greek colony.
We found some interesting things.
After our exploring, we all met up and then promptly split. Get it? Anyways. Mom and Rachel went to check out the beach while Dad, Jessie and I followed the instructions from our Croatian guide and sought out lunch. After poking around for a bit we stumbled upon this wonderful little restaurant where no one was speaking English. Perfect! Inside, all of the seats were reserved for a local party so we hunkered down outside.
Because they don’t usually get a lot of tourists, our waiter seemed excited to explain things to us. He brought out a platter of fish so we could choose which one we wanted to eat. He gave us pointers on how to say a few things and was in general really friendly. I decided to try honey grappa, a grape based liquor. It was pretty good! On the opposite side of the alley way, there was a painting right on the wall that was really well done. When our food came it was even better than we expected. Everything was simple, but still amazing. We all split a chicken dish and a pork dish and both came with this red pepper puree as a dipping sauce which really amped everything up.
On our way back to the ship. We didn’t have much time but we managed to buy a painting, a towel, gelato and acquire a variety of local coins. Croatia is transitioning to the Euro so we wanted to snatch up some Kuna’s while there were still some to be had. After our mad dash to get our souvenir shopping done, we made one of the last tenders back to the ship.