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 find our hotel, Lanterna Guest Rooms. It was owned by a woman named Sonja who we had been corresponding with throughout the day as our plans unfolded. We even ran back in to the nice man who had helped us with the parking situation, and he thought we were going in the wrong direction (he turned out to be wrong). We did eventually find it after a bit of dodging and weaving. The signage was non-existent, making it difficult to find in the dark.
We walked up a narrow stairway after passing through a wrought iron gate, and immediately were transported in to a Mediterranean terrace, behind which were the rooms.
We snagged these pictures the following day, but it should give you a sense of the terrace!
We checked in, Sonja drew us a map, and recommended a few places to eat. She also explained the parking situation, and confirmed that every morning a parking attendant would put a ticket on our windshield telling us how much we owed, and we had 8 days to pay it. We could pay it any bank, or through SMS. Since neither us had our banking info attached to SMS, nor did we have SMS active overseas through AT&T, we opted to pay at the end by bank or even the app if we could figure it out. What a strange system!
The room was luxurious and comfortable and had the atmosphere of a boutique hotel.
Next up, dinner. It was about 2200 when we set out, but the city was still bumping. We wove our way in to the town near the fish market and enjoyed see some illuminated fountains and and ruins.
We found a place called Corto Maltese, which I had read about on the ride over. It looked really charming and had a great crowd, so we gave it a try. We found some perfect seating outdoors, and there was still quite a lot of activity for as late as it was on a Wednesday night.
I ordered the shrimp risotto with truffles and Brendan ordered the veal on the waitresses recommendation. I had some Malvazija white wine (which I had come to enjoy) and Brendan had a mojito, which was refreshing and not too sugary. We also shared some burrata and bread, which was delicious. The food was awesome and the atmosphere was even better. At the end we paid by credit card, but there was no way to add a tip for the waitress (a common occurrence in the Balkans). It paid to always carry a little cash, even though this wasn’t tourist friendly. We wanted to come by another night to give her a proper tip, but never did sadly.
After dinner we continued our walk past midnight and found the waterfront, which we strolled down and found some more fountains lit up. Split was a really pretty city by night, and we couldn’t wait to check it out during the day. There were gelato places every where that stayed open late, and I couldn’t wait to try them.
We went to bed around 0100, and slept soundly and long because the room was dark, quiet, and cool, with working AC.