Exhausted from our Montenegro to Croatia travels, Friday night we settled on a quick dinner and dessert and then immediately to bed. I’ve decided I’m a two, better yet three-gelato-a-day kind of girl. The gelato spot we found in Split, Gelateria Emiliana, has THE best gelato I’ve ever tasted and honestly probably ruined all other gelato experiences for me because they will never be better than this place. I have some hope for Italy reaching my high standard for gelato, but we will just have to wait and see!
We woke up fresh Saturday morning to go on an Air BnB experience we had booked the week before. I don’t usually go for the events listed on Air BnB because they are usually very pricey, and you could find something similar on your own, this one was different though. Since being away from home there is something, we both have been missing, our four legged best friends. We’ve seen lots of stray dogs throughout Europe and made friends with quite a few, but this experience helped fill the void. Organized through the only no-kill shelter in Croatia, we were able to spend the whole morning socializing with 60 puppies and a handful of adult pups. It was so wonderful, they were all excited, had lovable personalities and if we were going straight home from Croatia, I promise you we would’ve taken one of these pups’ home.
With limited time in Croatia we tried our best to pack in all the things we wanted to do during the first half our week there and then have some relaxing time on the backend. Croatia is made up of a bunch of tiny islands all along it’s coast with a ton of ferry and boat tours going to said islands. We decided on Sunday to take the first ferry out to the island of Brac, the closest island to Split, and spend the whole day out there exploring the island. The ferry ride was a quick hour to the island, and we got there early enough to enjoy the calm before everyone was out and about.
After learning in Greece, the best way to get around an island is by scooter, we decided to rent a scooter for the day on Brac. There is a famous beach on the other side of the island called Zlatni Rat, known for it’s unique triangular shape and crystal clear waters. Our goal was to get there as quickly as possible so we could enjoy the beach without a million and one other people. We were successful and enjoyed water that was refreshing, and close to Lake Tahoe clarity! We got there around 8:30am and were able to endure the crowds until about 2:30pm when it just became too packed. After that we enjoyed some snacks from a grocery store, puttered up and down the coast of the island and by the time we got back to the port it was time to head back to Split. A day well spent, we were exhausted, but not too exhausted for a gelato on the way home.
Monday and Tuesday, we spent doing what we do best, finding a good beach to hang out on and eat some yummy food. We had been craving healthier food, so we went to the grocery store and got a lot of fruit and some basic proteins to eat for dinners and lunches. Don’t worry, we still got our daily dose of gelato in. After moving at a rather quick pace through Montenegro and Split we took these days to slow down, enjoy the beach, read some good books, and basically do nothing. Traveling is a blessing, and we are both so thankful for this opportunity, but sometimes it can get exhausting moving place to place, packing and unpacking your bag and having to adjust to a new everything every few days. So, these few days were much needed and taken advantage of.
Tuesday we also decided that we would go to one of the no-kill shelter’s events at the beach. They bring 15 or so pups to the beach and each person gets to play with them, help them swim, and just get them out and about. Since we had such an enjoyable time at the shelter on the weekend, we thought it would be nice to see the pups again. The beach we went to was just a short bus ride from the center of Split and once we got there we were in heaven. It was a beach specifically for dogs and let me tell you there were dogs of all shapes and sizes there! Great Danes, to mini poodles all enjoy the water and running around. We spent most of the morning and afternoon with the shelter pups, our pup was a black and white long-haired puppy named Borno. He didn’t like the water too much and was a little crazy, but we loved him all the same and wished we could bring him back to the States with us.
On Tuesday evening Scott went to the airport to pick-up a rental car that we would have for the next two days of exploring. We are really about avoiding as many crowds as we can so on Wednesday morning, we woke up early to go on an hour drive to Krka National Park. This park is most well known for waterfalls and even has a part in which you can swim at. We waited early at the ticket office to ensure we were some of the first people to get to the waterfall and hopefully get a good picture or two.
The whole production of the National Park is seamless, you pay a lot of money for a ticket, 200 kuna, then they put you a bus to go down a winding road that ends at a boardwalk, you walk the boardwalk that twists and turns past waterfalls and over rivers to a pristine area of Skradinski Buk, the actual place you can swim at. It is beautiful but can easily be ruined by too many people. The ticket office can sell up to 8,000 tickets per day to this park and by the time we got in, there were already 1,000 gone. We scrambled as quickly as we could to the waterfall and only two other people were in the water when we got there.
It was a little cold out and early in the morning, so most people were tentative to get in. We took advantage of that and jumped right in and swam as close as we could to the waterfall for some pictures and to enjoy the views without the chaos of thousands of other people. Of course, I tried to take off first into the water but saw some giant fish, and being the scaredy-cat that I can sometimes be with fish in the water a ran back to Scott and pushed him in in-front of me. Anyways once we got as close to the waterfall as the park allowed, we took pictures and then sat on a conveniently placed rock in the middle of the area and watched all the people start to file in. I didn’t want our experience to get ruined so just as the amount of people started to become a little too much we decided to leave, in order to preserve our memory of this place!
Our visit to that part of Croatia ended with us stopping by an old town on the way home, going to a grocery store hungry and buying way too much food (always a bad idea), and sampling Croatia’s “Lion Bar” flavored McFlurry.
That evening we had made reservations at a restaurant that we passed almost everyday that always smelled of one of my favorite things, truffle oil. Our one nice meal in Croatia at Art-i-cok. I even put on make-up for the occasion! Scott indulged in lamb-shank with a sauce that had been cooked over 3-days and I had fresh pasta with truffle cheese sauce. It was heavenly, and a great way to end our last evening in Croatia. (Don’t worry, we topped it off with gelato!)
The absolute worst part of travel must be that in-between time when you have to check out of your air bnb, but still have too much time to go to the airport and check-in your bags. It is even worse if you must haul your bags around with you until then. Luckily, we had the rental car to store our bags, and more frequently than not, if we need to our air bnb host will let us leave our bags for the day at their place and pick them up on our way to the airport. Still, this lull of time is my least favorite.
There is this struggle of finding something to do to preoccupy an awkward amount of time and in a dream world we would just go to the beach. But remember, we don’t have a place to shower off after the beach, so then imagine having to get back into your clothes sweaty and salty and then sit at the airport, and then sit in a plane, and then try to get to your next air bnb in your next country… Being salty and sweaty would just not be enjoyable. So, most of the time we try to go to a Starbucks to do some computer work (reliable internet always), but alas, Croatia has NO Starbucks. We settle for wandering around the largest mall in Croatia and grabbing a tea at Mcdonalds (the cheapest place to get tea in Europe usually). Luckily, we were able to check our bags in early and check-out Split Airport’s new terminal that had just opened a few days prior.
The new terminal overlooks the water, is incredibly clean, and modern. We enjoyed a cup of tea there and then we were off to Venice, Italy! I’ve been looking forward to Italy the most (pasta, pizza, hello!) so I couldn’t be giddier to get a move on.
Best of Split-
Gelato: Gelateria Emiliana
Beach: Zlatni Rat
Sunset Spot: Park Suma Marjan
Cevapi: Kantun Paulina
People Watching: Riva