We decide to drive to Split today to see the city, and if we can, to try and update followsummer.com. It has been 8 or 9 days since we updated and I am feeling a little guilty. We have been able to pickup and send email, but nothing else. We ask François and John to join us for the drive and we head south along the coast for the hour drive to Split. My brother Jeffrey has been to Split before and had sent us some email about what to do and see.
Parking, Parking, Parking
We head into Split via the suburbs and frankly are less than impressed. Industrial and unattended, they are not a very welcoming sight to first time visitors. We negotiate the car to the “Centar” and find some parking that is metered, but the meters aren’t working. Parking all along the Dalmatian Coast is somewhat of a problem – too many cars, not enough spaces. We have already been towed from our initial parking spot in Primošten and now park on the other side of town in a pay lot, 15 minutes walk from Stara Vila. (As best we can figure, given the cars that are continually parked in the spot we were towed from, we were towed because of the French plates on the car.) Here in Split, we watch all the Croats park, try to put money in the meter, realize it is broken and walk away. We decide to take our chances, and head into the walled old city.
A Crazy Mishmash of Architecture
Once we get into the old town, we find a crazy mishmash of styles: Venetian Palazzo beside Roman ruin, beside Napoleonic Empire – reflecting the long history of Split, and the many countries that have controlled it. Thankfully, there is little in the way of Cold War era Yugoslav architecture in the Centar. Most fascinating are the Palace and Mausoleum of Diocletian, the Roman Emperor, These buildings are halfway through a restoration, and will be quite magnificent when done. Much of the palace is able to be renovated only because a bomb exploded on the site during the war (the 1991 war) and destroyed the houses that had grown up over the ruins of the palace. It was an archaeologist’s delight – tons of garbage dumped into the palace over the years.
We find an internet place that will let us plug in our laptop, François and John sip coffee in a café while we update the web, and then we head back to the car, fingers crossed. It is as we left it, and we head back to Primošten through the 5 p.m. rush hour traffic of a typical Croatian Friday afternoon.