Monday, December 21, 2015

The Coast of Croatia, Part II: Split, Trogir, and Zadar

Note: I’m sorry that I don’t have many observations to offer about our explorations of these towns. We found them very attractive, but stayed there only briefly and sadly, didn’t have many interactions with the local people, who were nonetheless friendly. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Having a rental car made it easy to travel the Croatian Coast. The tiny town of Trogir, and the larger town of Split are about half-way down the coast between Rovinj and Dubrovnik. We stayed in Split on our way south and spent a night in Trogir on our way back north.

Inside the walls of Diocletian's Palace.
Split is the home of Diocletian’s Palace, built during the 3rd and 4th Centuries, A.D.  Today, shops, restaurants, and apartments fill the emperor’s former home, which also includes a museum and art gallery at the foundational level. It’s a massive building, covering over 32,000 square feet. More than 3,000 people live in the ancient structure, which has been built on during successive periods.

Life in the city: deliveries and the "Roman soldiers" ready to pose with tourists for a few kuna (Croatian currency).

It’s great fun to explore this port city on the Adriatic. We sampled some local specialties at a restaurant not far from the palace.  Because I didn’t know the word for “goat” in Croatian, which I suspected one dish contained, I made horns with my fingers and pointed them off my head to the delight of the waiter, who informed me in English that “No, it was made with beef, not goat!”

Rachel tries to overcome the language barrier.
Split was warm and pleasant with  lovely harbor views and many cafes along the waterfront.

But we had to be on our way, planning to reach Dubrovnik the next day. (See following post.) All the little bays and towns along the coast delighted us and made us long to explore them.

Note the fortifications.

We couldn't resist this town. We stopped here for a coffee.
On our return from Dubrovnik a few days later, we stayed in Trogir, which is only a short distance from Split.  

Trogir offered its own charms. We had a very nice apartment within walking distance of the harbor.  Founded by Greek colonists, Trogir was a major port during Roman times. Today, it’s a pretty, sleepy village when tourists are not around. It has been continuously occupied for 2,000 years.

A person could do a lot worse than settling into this little town for a few days. I only wish I had a photo of the kind man in the market who gave me a free tomato from his garden. Like the town, it was sweet to savor.

The other coastal town we visited, Zadar (Zuh-DAR), offers a couple of tourist attractions that at first I thought were somewhat gimmicky: The Sea Organ and Greetings to the Sun. But I quickly became captivated by them. 

Zadar has medieval and Roman ruins, much like the other Croatian coastal towns, but The Sea Organ and Greetings to the Sun are modern attractions. The Sea Organ consists of holes in the rock platform that form soft, almost eerie sounds as the tide sweeps water under the seafront. As the wave intensity increases, the sounds change, but at least when we were there, they were always melodious.

The holes in the platform are part of the Sea Organ.
Greetings to the Sun, the other modern attraction in the same area, includes several circular solar panels that absorb the sunlight during the day. They aren't very interesting in daylight, but at night they become intense colored lights that flash in abstract random patterns. Kids, dogs, and adults all seem drawn to their magic.

In the end, we decided we really liked Zadar's contemporary attractions, and we wished that we could have something like that when Seattle redesigns its waterfront, assuming the new tunnel, which has faced endless delays, is ever completed!

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