Mini Trip to Split


Split is Croatia’s second largest city. It’s about an hour and a half bus ride from Makarska. It was a nice little vacation from our vacation. The bus ride offered us yet another opportunity to experience Croatia’s dramatic coast line. Seriously, I am in love with Croatia’s landscape and color palette. It’s straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. The craggy cliffs, the pebbly beaches, the red tile rooftop, mixed with pine forests and blue water… heaven.

We backpacked there, but bypassed the grungy hostels of our youth and stayed at the Diocletian Hotel, a lucky find for us. We wanted a place with a pool for Matthew. Did not expect this:

Love this hotel. They let us check in early, at noon! So after a quick dip in the rooftop pool, and expressions of gratitude, we all took a nice long nap in our wonderfully freezing hotel room with Vegas style black out curtains.

After our nap, we took a little stroll down to the Old City, aka, Game of Thrones Part 1 (Part Deux, Dubrovnik is just a couple weeks away).

Watch out Khaleesi
  • Dragon dungeon! (Above)

The Diocletian Palace is at the heart of the city. These are some of the oldest Roman ruins on the Adriatic coast, but the coolest thing about this palace, is that it’s living breathing city. It’s not all roped off and guard-railed like other ruins. Split is why I love Europe. This palace was build around 400 ce, with all the tiny little streets and alleys for wandering, with coffee shops, and apartments and plazas with restaurants, and real ancient stores like Mac makeup and Zara.

Matthew and Vlad debating architectural elements
Watching the cruise ships leave the harbor

We had the best evening here. It was one of those carefree, timeless moments with no agenda but to enjoy. Matthew ran around in the square, we strolled, found street dancers, and just smiled.

To be fair, nothing is ever perfect. I do not want to give the unrealistic impression that our travels are all rainbows and sunshine (though there is a lot of that). For dinner, we ate at a forgettable, mediocre sushi restaurant. Great idea, just bad food. Why sushi? Well, we’ve been eating a lot of the same around here, and our Bay Area roots needed a little variety.

Speaking of imperfection, the next day, after a a morning hanging out in the pop (Matthew’s word for hot tub… how cute?!) we decided to go to this huge indoor place space, in the basement of the football stadium. The play space was a blast. Getting there, not so much. It was about two miles away, but took almost two hours to get to. Buses are well, buses. We got stuck in traffic, some guy on the bus barked at our son for whining. Vlad said he was joking, but somehow the playfulness of it all got lost in translation, setting off my mama bear hackles.We waited for nearly an hour for our transfer. I hate waiting, especially in the heat of the day, especially with a toddler who wants a snack that I did not have. Thank goodness for Uber. Things looked up once we finally found the play space. Matthew was in heaven. He found one room that he loved, and stayed there the ENTIRE time. We couldn’t even entice him to take a break when the pizza showed up.

He was so occupied I got to do some people watching, Croatian playdate mama style. All the mamas were gorgeous, with designer ripped jeans, and their boys all had on striped shirts with popped collars and spiky crew cuts. They sat outside and drank coffee while their kids ran around inside.

Because of this, they got to witness our toddler’s total melt down when it was time to go. Good times. I thought our departure would be quick, as we smartly decided to bypass the bus and grab an Uber. Thank goodness for Uber. Except Uber just started in Croatia about a month ago. They’re still working out the kinks, and small details like accurate Google Maps are still being hammered out. Forty five minutes later, our driver arrived. Stressful. Thank goodness for the pop.