Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diocletian Palace Landmarks

The ancient Romans brought their love of the Egyptian sphinx to Split.

A sphinx guards Jupiter's Temple

An old clock tower in the Diocletian Palace

Diocletian Palace

The Roman emperor Diocletius built this palace in 305 A.D. He hoped it would be the palace that he would call home in his retirement.

The Diocletian Palace

The old and the new come together in this courtyard that shows occupied
apartments and grafitti
and visible parts of the lower level of the palace.

The Vestibule


Dubrovnik is the famous cousin but Split is its richer and cooler relation. Unique boutiques and designer stores fight each other for attention. In the middle of the madness, there is an ancient Roman ruin. Our hotel was two miles away from the center of town. With the space, you can see the mix of Adriatic Sea and spiky mountains beyond.

This former history major loved the atmosphere of Dubrovnik but the vacationer in me prefers the flash of Split.

This area reminds me a bit of Lincoln Road in Miami Beach.
This is outdoor seating for restaurants that sit next to the clear blue Adriatic Sea.

These little buttons separate parking spaces from the sidewalk
and add a little color to the street.

Here is the up-close view of one of the parking humps. They are swimming for life.

Old Town: The Shops

Altitudes dip and rise quickly in Croatia. Here is a street scene in Old Town. The center of Old Town includes souvenir shops, crappy restaurants, foodie paradises, bars, cool boutiques, and art and history museums.

The tiny streets from Middle Ages remain.


View of Old Town section of Dubrovnik from the wall around the area. The Adriatic Sea flows right outside the wall.

The wall has traveled about two miles around the
Old Town section of Dubrovnik since the 1400s.

A fortress next to the Old Town walls.

Within the walls, sat churches, monasteries, stores and homes.
Today, museums sit where they once lay and people live in the ancient homes.

Palm, orange and lemon trees grow throughout the small Old Town.

World Tour - Croatia

I left Philadelphia International Airport on March 16 at 11:30 at night, stopped off in London for four hours and touched down in Hamburg at 5 the next evening.

I came home to the apartment and met Susie from high school. Susie had not been in the same room since graduation from high school. But we got in touch about two years ago and have been email besties since then. She mailed me several pounds of pecans that I used to make several pies. Yes!

Like always, I was nervous. I am always nervous. Would things be as cool in real life as they were in virtual life? At first blush, things were great. As things moved along, we were not a perfect match but we were two mature adults and we were great company for each other in Dubrovnik and then in Split, the second-largest city in Croatia.

Croatia rocks! Everyone needs to go there. The people are friendly, the red wine is great, the shopping is magical, and the landscapes are unbelievable.

I am so glad that I had such an adventurous traveler with me. We have different approaches to life but no one threw up their hands. I discovered that I snore terribly. Susie was amazing and patient. I moved my bed and we got separate hotel rooms after sharing a suite. She is much more of a morning person and a chatterer than I am and she didn't hate.

Croatia focuses on the late spring and the summer. So many activities were not possible but it was great to see the Old Town section of Dubrovnik. We walked along the walls. Susie was patient with my fear of heights. We were like 100 feet above the Adriatic Sea and I was terrified. At one point, I crawled down steps on my butt because vertigo would not let me attack the area on my feet.

The retirement home of a ancient Roman emperor, Diocletius, is located in the middle of Split. It was amazing.

Croatia uses history, instead of putting yellow tape around it. At one point, people moved into the upper levels of the Diocletian Palace. In the 1970s and '80s, drug dealers called the warren of streets home. After the "Recent War," the label that everyone that all the native Croatians gave the 1990s domestic war in Yugoslavia, the government decided to treasure the ruin. Instead of kicking everyone out, people and businesses still call the area home.

Croatia reminded me of Italy. There was lots of pastas, wine, olives, relaxed atmosphere,flash, and shopping.

Plus, it is cheap.

I miss Croatia.