Apologies for being so behind on my blogging! Most of you who read consistently also follow me and Jake on other social media platforms and have probably noticed that we have visited a lot of places recently that haven’t been up on the blog. For one, I’ve been lazy (but I rationalize this by saying it’s my last time in life where I have the excuse of being lazy!). Also, my computer charger broke and I had to find a new one. Which, thankfully, I was able to do. For a couple days I thought I was going to be stuck carrying around a dead computer for the remainder of our trip!
So where did we leave off? Oh, Croatia.
The whole reason we came to Croatia was because Jake had bought tickets to a music festival for my birthday that took place in the city of Split. The city is on the coast of Croatia. Surprisingly though, our favorite memories of being in Split have nothing to do with the music festival. That being said, I’ll give you a quick synopsis of our experience at the festival before going into my adoration for the city of Split itself.
We attended the Ultra Music Festival in Split. It was a three day festival and we camped for five nights during our stay with hundreds of others attending the festival. The first night of the festival was cancelled due to high winds. This was a bit of a disappointment seeing as the main people I was excited to watch happened to be on the first night. However, I got over it. What I didn’t get over was having to sleep in a tent in these high winds. If a festival that is held in a large football (soccer) stadium is cancelled because the winds were too strong, just try and imagine what sleeping in a tent during these winds would be like. I’ll give you a hint: NOT FUN. Needless to say we didn’t really sleep. In the long run, we were fortunate that our tent and belongings didn’t blow away like a lot of others at our campsite. Day two and three of the festival were fun. There were definitely some ways of operation that Jake and I were surprised about and it made us appreciate the way events are run in the US. For more details on those, I’m sure Jake would love to give the low down to you. Overall I am happy with the experience, and even happier that the festival brought us to Split.
After the festival we checked into a hostel in Split to spend three more nights in order to experience the city. We met some great people in our room on the first night. Two of them (a guy from Canada and a guy from New York) we would end up spending the entirety of our remaining days in Split with. Making connections and getting to know these two while exploring all that Split had to offer was some of the most fun we have had during our trip so far! (Probably because we had more people to talk to than just each other.)
Split is absolutely breathtaking. A hidden gem that many have discovered, but many have not as well. Which is why I think it is still beautiful. Being that the city is on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, there are beaches everywhere, and the climate is made for those who long to lounge beach side during their vacation. The beaches are pebble, except for one with sand which is absolutely overrun by tourists. But the pebbles aren’t so bad. Especially when you see the view of the sea out in front of you.
During our stay we walked to a large park with stunning views of the city, went to the beach multiple times, and traveled to the Krka waterfall. It was a busy three days, but it was nothing short of amazing! One day on the beach we decided to rent a paddle boat that was shaped like a Ferrari with a slide at the top that dips into the water. You’d think that sounds lame, and we were originally going for the jet skis, but the price for these boats couldn’t be beat. (Croatia is one of the cheapest places I have ever traveled to). We all rented the boat for an hour and had the best time sliding into the water and taking in the views of the islands and mainland around us. Tip for those thinking of this as a possible experience if given the opportunity: Don’t go out too far. You’ll spend half of your time at sea trying to paddle the boat back in!
Another amazing (and interesting) experience was going to the Krka National Park. We all decided to give in to one of those adventure tour companies that you always see in tourist destinations. Trying to push you to see or experience different aspects of said city at an inflated price. However, paying the money makes your life easier in the long run so we decided to do it all together. Being that we paid for this “tour” I expected all the specifics of travel to be seamless and easy. I shouldn’t be so naive. That being said, getting to the waterfall was an experience in itself. When we arrived at the ferry dock, the line to get on a ferry had a multiple hours long wait. Probably the longest wait of any line I have ever seen. Due to us being on a tour, we only had a set amount of time at the waterfall- so this was not ideal. However, our tour guide took it upon herself to push us all onto the next available ferry. She had multiple workers telling her no (actually waving their fingers in her face), but she chose to ignore it. Instead she executed the largest line-cutting operation I have ever witnessed or been a part of. She single-handedly pushed a group of 30 people in front of a line of hundreds of others in order to get us to the waterfall. She is my hero and I have renamed her “Mama Bear” for the rest of time because of this moment. I felt bad for those that didn’t have this lady advocating for them!
The waterfall was absolutely stunning (just like everything else in Croatia). The only annoyances were how much it cost to enter the national park (over $20 per person) and the amount of others visiting the waterfall that day. It felt like the Portland Zoo on a Saturday in the middle of July. However, we found a spot that was less occupied to get in the water. The water was cool and refreshing. The current was strong and the rocks that made up the ground under the water made maneuvering a bit difficult, but it was well worth it to be in the water and see this beautiful natural waterfall.
Overall, making new friends and spending time with them throughout our time in Split greatly increased our love for this city and enhanced our experience. It was fun to have others to joke around with and to learn more about. It was also nice to connect with those who were from the same types of cultures (mostly) as us. It helped build stronger connections and made conversations interesting all of the time. Traveling with one person for an extended period of time (especially a significant other) is truly rewarding, but also challenging at times too. This is to be expected and isn’t a negative whatsoever. However, I think we both appreciated the time spent with new faces. It renewed us for the next leg of our trip together. Next stop, Italy!