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Split – Salona, Thursday 9th June

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Thunderstorms, lightning and quite a lot of rain during the night, and rain this morning. I fished out the weather report and it seemed it was going to clear in the afternoon. Just as well, we needed some clear skies for our Roman ruin walk.

Coffee this time was on the esplanade, where tourists pay double to be sniffed at by waiters. Double is still less than $4 for two coffees.

The imperious information centre woman disdainfully marked an ‘x’ on my map to show us where to catch the bus to Salona. For $2 you mix it with the locals, jogging along on a wonky old second-hand bus (still with its operating instructions in German, but with the glass safety hammers all missing).

Back out through the ugly part of Split, then groan up the hills. The bus driver got where we wanted to go, and although he had no English, made it clear when we needed to hop off.

Last time I was here this part of town was deserted, and I hardly saw anyone all day. This time the ticket office was open, a café bustled at the entrance, and two buses and maybe 20 cars were in the carpark. Salona was a Roman town that peaked at 60000 people. It was the biggest city around and the Dalmatian capital. The ruins are extensive, both in quality and the amount of turf they cover. You hike around quite a lot to get from feature to feature.

The chap who unearthed it last century had a Christian agenda, so much of the interpretive stuff was about the early Christian church. Diocletian had it in for the Christians, and martyred a few in the mini-coliseum (seats 18000).

Next to the ticket office is a shady garden, trellised on old concrete columns. A salvaged solid stone table and four seats made from column bases. A good spot for our lunch of cheese bureks and a cheesy sunflower-seed stick.

Then we hiked about, from one end of the old, old town to the other. Over time farming plots have taken over some of the space, and fruit and vegetable gardens line the road out to the coliseum. Walk out on the remnant road to the forum and public theatre, and you are 50 metres from the new freeway. Everywhere there are wild herbs, presumably escapees from the Roman gardens.

Walk, walk, walk….on the return trip we stopped in a shady seat and had a drink and a rest. We timed it perfectly. Another 30 seconds and we would have missed the bus back to town. As it was it pulled in just as we arrived at the stop.

Internet café to top up the holiday blog, icecream and we were done for the day. I’ve pretty much shown Sylvia everything I liked about Split, and its good timing to be leaving tomorrow. The one thing I did want to show her was a bar. It’s a simple hole-in-the-wall place with a stand-up bar inside, and two bench seats outside. For $10 you get two beers and a massive, two handed fresh bun each, stuffed with 4-5 cevapi, paprika sauce and raw onion.  

I couldn’t remember the exact location, and every time we were in the vicinity we were too tired to be scouting randomly around Splits’ crazy, curved and zig-zagged laneways. But today it fell into place: it was around the corner from the internet café, and when I spotted it I realised we had walked past it yesterday. I was too busy looking at the architecture.

Like last time, the proprietor appeared to be astonished that foreigners would come here. A local woman nodded to us, and in English confirmed we had come to the best place as she finished off her own roll. I explained how I had come here by chance three years ago and had brought my wife back, and she approved.

We took our beers outside, sat on the bench in the sun and really enjoyed the rolls.

Tomorrow we are heading out on a ferry, to Lastovo. Lastovo is way out, it’s a five hour trip to get there, its isolated, “wild”. Foreigners were banned up until recently as it used to be a Yugoslavian military base. The plan is to get off the ferry, follow the locals to the bus and try and make it to the main town, (also Lastovo).  In theory there’s a dive centre there, and accommodation. And that’s about it.

Might be quiet.

Written by wurstofvienna2011

June 9, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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