Leaving Split (after figuring out payment for parking) by 1000, we got a fairly early start to Mostar and the 4th country on our road trip – Bosnia and Herzegovina. The road out of Split cut inward on the windy and high highway we came in on (and this time we actually got to see it during daylight). Back on the Croatian main highway/toll road, we cruised until we cut north towards Mostar. That plan was to spend a few hours in Mostar, and then continue to to Dubrovnik for the evening. As you can see from the map, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a tiny piece of coastline (a town called Neum) that separates both parts of Croatia. We later learned this was on artifact of how Marshall Tito drew the state lines during the time of Yugoslavia. Oddly, it wasn’t contest by Croatia during the 1990s Balkans Wars, As soon as we turned off towards Mostar, the border crossing was upon us. It took a while sitting in a long line (over an hour), and we had to pay a 5 Euro entrance fee at a separate checkpoint, which we think was really just a bribe for the immigration….
After our island hopping adventure in Hvar, we went back in to the city for a last Split dining experience before heading to Dubrovnik in the morning. We of course started the evening with a good wander through the city to work up an appetite, continuing to discover new secrets at every twist and turn. A common stop on our wanderings was always the cat park near our guest house. We enjoyed how they stood watch like sentinels regardless of the time you happened to walk by: We had a hankering for something a bit different than Croatian cuisine, fish, pizza, or Italian, so we opted to relocate a place we have stumbled onto the day before called Kinoteka for our last night of Split dining. We found it intriguing with an Asian/Sushi but also cinema theme, and the manager the previous night gave us a tour and did a great job “selling it”. It also seemed fairly new and they were clearly still building the business, so we thought we would give it a try as a new entrant on the Split dining scene. It’s located closer to the Golden Gate, in an alley running east west along the….
We decided to have a proper day of rest and relaxation, so what better what better way than to do some island hopping on the Dalmatian coast to Hvar. There were many ferry and catamaran options available throughout the day, so we opted for an 1100 departure, giving us some time for breakfast on the promenade again. Prior to the trip, we did a simpler breakfast consisting of muesli – yogurt, granola, fruit – saving our appetite for Hvar. We bought the outbound ticket in advance, but left the inbound for arrival, not knowing how much time we would need in Hvar. At the main port in Split, we boarded the Jadrolinija catamaran at about 15 minutes to our scheduled departure time to make sure we got two seats together (this turned out to be a pro tip). It was a huge catamaran, holding 200-300 passengers. The water was calm and the trip was comfortable from inside the large vessel, and I had a nice snooze – I may have been a little drowsy from the anti-nausea medication (I always take it before being on water, just in case). We arrived about an hour later in to the Hvar City….
In the morning, we grabbed breakfast around 1100 on the waterfront promenade and formulated a day-plan for learning about Diocletian and Split history. We finally felt relaxed because the weather was 70 degrees and sunny, and we had 3 nights for once in a city. Staying in one place for a while was something I had been missing. We had arrived late the night before. First, we strolled again by the fish market which was in its prime. We made again for the waterfront, looking to take in some Split sun and people watching. Palm trees and flip flops. It reminded me of Santa Monica, California. It also had an element of poshness to it. For breakfast, we ate at Brasserie 73. It had lovely atmosphere right on the water, and we were especially intrigued with the waiter call button – whenever you needed service, you just had to press it, the waiter would get a text. Brendan got the double decker breakfast consisting of an asparagus omelette (asparagus were big in Split we found) and bananas foster French toast, which was honestly too big for one person. I ordered the continental breakfast assortment of breads and pastries, and we….
After our flat-tire experience in the middle of nowhere Slovenian-Croatian border, we were very glad to be arriving in Split on the day we intended to. While we experienced the descent in to Split through the windy mountain highway by night, it felt a lot like some of the posh Southern California canyon areas I was used to growing up. We were looking forward to seeing it in reverse on the way out 3 days later. The most complicated thing about arriving in Split was finding the paid parking lot nearest our accommodation in the pedestrian only city-center, and figuring out how to pay. Luckily, we parked next to a man who was also just parking, and explained that we didn’t need to pay until 0700 the next day, and that even then, someone would leave a “bill” on our car that we could pay later. We did find a Split Parking app which we thought we might also be able to pay through, but ultimately exhaustion won out and we just said fuck it, we’ll deal with it tomorrow. So we spent the next 10 minutes trying to follow some bad Google map directions through narrow cobblestone alleyways to….