Last weekend my roommate and I hopped across the Adriatic to Croatia… well, ‘hopped’ makes it sound deceivingly short and simple. We actually took a 12-hour, overnight ferry from Ancona, a port town on the eastern coast of Italy.
All aboard! Taking the overnight Blue Line ferry from Ancona to Split.
View of the port from inside the ferry
It was a really long ferry ride, but I luckily slept through most of it (when I wasn’t working on my essay due Monday, that is). Besides, the view from the deck in the morning made it completely worth it.
The first thing I saw when I walked out onto the deck in the morning, just as we were approaching Split. Good morning, Adriatic!
Close-up of the coast
Enjoying the view
Once we disembarked and went through passport control, we set out to find our hostel (and took lots of pictures along the way, of course).
Not a cloud in the sky
Our hostel was awesome – it was a really clean and spacious converted apartment unit run by a friendly young woman who lived upstairs. It’s called Sweet and Cheap for anyone planning on going to Split anytime soon, and we booked through hostelworld.com (hostelbookers.com is also good). After dropping off our stuff, we headed to the farmer’s market we had passed on our way.
Farmer’s market in Split
Farmer’s market in Split
There, I bought ingredients for a delicious trail mix – almonds, hazelnuts, and dried pineapple and papaya pieces (a very non-GORP GORP, if you catch my drift). Snacks in hand, we set out to explore Split.
Courtyard in front of Diocletian’s Palace
Diocletian’s Palace and Mausoleum (I think..)
Diocletian’s Garden (note the bag of trail mix)
The fish market in Split
The streets of Split
We stopped for lunch at a very non-touristy restaurant (or so we’d like to think), which the receptionist at the tourist information office recommended for authentic, traditional Croatian food. Then, we decided to find the beach. Always a good decision when it’s sunny and warm out.
Stuffed Pljeskavica, grilled minced meat steak stuffed with cheese and served with ajvar (the red pepper paste above) and onion
View of the train tracks leading into Split (on the way to the beach)
Beautiful, clear Croatian water
The beach – what better way to enjoy the perfect weather?
Soakin’ up some sun on the other side of the Adriatic
After we had our fill of laying out under the sun, we decided to go to Trogir, the historic town just a half an hour bus ride from Split. It was a quiet little town with less of the cruise ship tourists and not terribly much to see — but worth a visit nonetheless. We took our time just wandering around until sunset.
The ‘boardwalk’ in Trogir – not nearly as buzzing as in Split, but beautiful nonetheless
A soccer field, old fortress remains, and mountains (with the ocean just to the left). Just beautiful.
Sunset in Trogir
After sunset we headed back to Split for dinner, which ended up being one of the best meals I’ve had in Europe thus far. We shared a champagne and smoked cheese risotto and that night’s special, a lentil and sausage dish, while sitting outside in one of Split’s many cobblestone squares. The rich and creamy risotto was perfectly balanced by the simple yet hearty lentils…delicious.
A delicious (and complimentary) cheese spread for our bread
Champagne and smoked cheese (gouda?) risotto
Lentils with sausage
It was the perfect ending to our long first day in Croatia. Next up: day 2/3 in Plitvice Lakes National Park and Zagreb!