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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Interailing for Glampackers

September 14th Pescara to Split

Split. The Diocletian Palace. The Riva. The islands. The sun. The Dalmation coastline is truly spectacular and one that will live long in our memory. We took the overnight Blue Line ferry across from Ancona, which is pretty cool as you go to bed in Italy and wake up in Split. In true glampacking style we had a VIP cabin complete with Jacuzzi and separate lounge, which turned out to be very comfortable. Sadly though, the rest of the ferry was a major disappointment. No credit cards were accepted on board (which would have been fine if they had mentioned it beforehand) and only the self service cafeteria out of the many promised eateries was available to us due to "heavy group numbers". The whole ship had an air of gloomy boredom about it, with the mostly Asian crew doing their best to avoid everyone. We did however get to Split on time and in one piece so it did the job.

Split has a lovely feel about it, a slow relaxed attitude that just lets you luxuriate inside its welcoming embrace. The whole old town is practically an open air museum, with the huge roman Diocletian Palace dominating everything. Once inside the walls, every street is seemingly part of it, with bits of ancient floor, or part of a wall wherever you look. There are even bits of it in office buildings. The palace, once the retirement home of Emperor Dioceles, is a wonderfully preserved example of roman architecture and has been lovingly and painstakingly excavated by the Croatian authorities. Split itself is small enough to walk around and navigation is easy as all the signs are in English as well as Croat. There are lots of little windy streets with umbrella adorned cafes on every corner and plenty of eating options, but The Riva, the café-strung promenade right along the waterfront, is the place where people go to see and be seen. The summer months are hot and there is a real Mediterranean feel about the place, with a strong Italian influence, but without Italian prices! The difference in price is astounding, with a good meal costing only about £25 for two of us. Talking of meals, there are many restaurants in the town, often family run places but the quality can be patchy, so get recommendations. We stayed at the Hotel Park, loved by everyone in Split. It is very close to the old town but also next to a lovely small beach with a great café.

Split is in many ways overshadowed by the more popular Dubrovnik further south, but there's no getting round its appeal. There is the wonderful old town of course, but there's also the beautiful islands too and there are frequent ferries to get you over and back.

We loved Split, and you'll love it too.

Suggestions:

Hotel Park

Marjan Hill Café (great views)

Buffet Fife (unglamorous but great food)

Fish Market

The Diocletian Palace