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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Day 6 & 7 Split

We arrived in Split around noon. The drive from Šibenik was easy on a major highway. There was a gas station just before we left the highway so we could top up the tank before returning it to the rental company. Finding our hotel, the "Bajamonti 5 Luxury Rooms" was a bit challenging since it is set inside a walled square. Joe stayed in the car while Monica walked around looking for the hotel. Their concierge came back to the car to help us find a parking spot and transport the luggage. When we arrived at the hotel she also carried both heavy bags up the five flights for us. The concierge was charming and very helpful. Our room was small with a bathroom that may have actually been a bit bigger than the bedroom. But it was nicely decorated and comfortable for our short visit.

After checking in we had to bring the car to the rental office, which turned out to be on the other side of the city. We then had to take a taxi for about $20 to return to the hotel.

The hotel is situated right in the centre of the old town. The architecture has lots of old roman empires flavour and is quite enchanting. There are however thousands of tourists, even this late in the year. We frequently encountered groups of tourists obediently following a guide holding a flag.

Our concierge recommended two restaurants. We headed to the Knoba Fetiva for our lunch the first day. This is a marvellous restaurant. Lots of local people and "real" food. We shared Scampi (which were almost the size of half lobsters and they were delicious - but messy to eat. The local white wine was cheap and quite nice. We liked this restaurant so much that we went back the next night for another great meal.

After lunch we wandered around the town and then went back to our hotel for a rest before dinner. We ate that night at another restaurant recommended by our hotel. This one was less successful. "Chops" specializes in steak. They have steak from Ireland, Australia, the USA and many other countries, but only one Croatian offering. If you like steak and don't care about tasting local food then you may like this restaurant. We would not go back.

Next Morning

Breakfast is included with the hotel. It is provided by a restaurant in the square that shares the name, but not the management of "Bajamonti". The food was fine, the service was terrible. Waiters for the most part were rude and indifferent. And when we asked for an extra shot of espresso in our cappauchino  the waiter said only if we paid for it! This same restaurant wouldn't let us drop in the night before for a drink without also having supper - despite the fact that they were half empty.

After breakfast we continued our exploration of the old town. When we were in the centre of the Palace we found a tour guide and arranged a private 90 minute tour of the Palace. We discovered it was originally built by a Roman Emperor as his retirement home. The architecture is fascinating. Large beams were transported to the site by ships. Today many of the rooms are occupied by private families. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and personable. It was a good decision to hire her.

After our tour we visited the very small synagogue which is located in a small alley.  The fellow who runs the place (not a rabbi) immediately told me that I did not pronounce my last name properly and proceeded to tell me what it should sound like-expressing the German tones. I laughed and told him we were of Polish decent. There are only about 100 Jews in Split and although they come together for a Friday meal they are not religious. In fact they eat shrimp and pork at these meals. He was a fun fellow. Also was nice to see the synagogue was kitty corner to a mosque.

For dinner we returned to the Knoba Fetiva and enjoyed another fabulous meal. We shared a first course of tiny whole fried fishes followed by a large wheel grilled fish. We also said hello to a British couple who we had met the previous day.

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