Central Europe: Croatia - A day in Split

By Cubie - December 09, 2014

Hello Kitty has invaded Split
We took an early bus out to Split, I paid with euro this round as I was running out of Bosnian Mark and it didn't seem feasible to get more Bosnian Mark currency as we were travelling out. The bus ticket was €14 and luggage storage cost 8Kn (approximately 2KM or  €1). They accept Bosnian Mark, Euro as well as Croatian Kuna. The journey took about 3 to 4 hours. It wasn't any express bus but very much local with many stops.

Crossing the border from BiH to Croatia, the bus stopped for immigration check. Everybody in the bus handed over their passports or ID to the immigration officer, he had a look and returned back to them except for one lady. Then it was our turn. K and I passed him our passport. He had a very, very long look and held on to it, together with the other lady's ID. He then left the bus for the longest time. Despite I was confident it should not be an issue as my first flight was to Zagreb. The officer in Zagreb airport stamped my passport and let me in without a blink.

After a long wait, he came back and returned us our passport and the lady her ID. We were relieved but at this time the bus driver was away doing other paper work. Then the officer came back again and asked for our passports again. Even with language barrier, there was no mistake that he was asking for our passport again. Then he left the bus again with our passports after saying something to the rest of the passengers. At that time, I assumed he probably told them to tell the bus driver that he still had our passports. Anyway, the bus driver came back and thankfully the passengers who understood what the officer said make a lot of noise and relayed some messages to him. Everybody continued to sit and wait for our Malaysian passports. The officer finally came back and returned the passport to us. This time, we were allowed to leave holding on to our passports and entered Croatia by land. Phew~

One of the first view which greeted us in Split
After sorting out our train tickets departing Split the same night and safe locking our luggage in the coin locker, we were off to have our first meal of the day. One of the girls we met in Hostel Miran, T joined us for a bit.

Split is very touristy, after all it is a stop for cruises along the Adriatic Sea and much more expensive comparatively. T wanted to have breakfast at a place with wifi as she needs to look for an accommodation for the night. We settled outside a cafe, definitely not the most economical option. A simple omelette and coke set me back by 53Kn (~ €7). One of the cheapest in the menu.

By the time we were ready to leave and wander about, it started to pour.

So we sat back down and had a beer. It was then that I realised the hole in my shoe soles will give me trouble every time it rain. I was in the shade at all times but rain water on the floor actually seeped through and my socks were soaked wet. = ="

I seem to have shoes issues in Europe...
So the balance of the day was spent walking around Split, in wet socks. Not the most comfortable but if that's how it is....
T left us to hunt for her accommodation. K and I decided to continue with our sightseeing with the main attraction being Diocletian's Palace.
We paid €6 for entrance to cathedral, crypt, baptistery, bell tower and treasury. Let's just say it was not the best €6 I spent.

Diocletian was a Roman Emperor and Split was his retirement palace. The ruins are now integrated with the city's street plan, so Split is a bit like old Roman city in modern seaside city. The current day Cathedral of St. Dominus was Diocletian's mausoleum, built in the fourth century. After the fall of Rome, it was converted into the town's cathedral. Photography is not permitted in the cathedral and treasury as well from memory, but there isn't much to shoot in the treasury.

The only one of slightly more exciting was the Bell Tower. This construction of Bell Tower began in the 13th century and it took 300 years to complete. One have to queue and pass through a small entrance before climbing up to the Bell Tower. The good thing was they do try to restrict the number of people going up at one time to avoid too big of a crowd.

From here, there's more steps to go but rest assured, promised the view was great. However, these 183 steps are not for the faint hearted, part of the steps are quite narrow.

After visiting the Bell Tower, we circled over to check out the Crypt since it was included in the entrance fees we paid. It was dark and musty, said originally used to level the foundation of Diocletian's mausoleum. This was later turned into a chapel.

The last monument included in our entrance ticket was Jupiter's Temple/St. John's Baptistery. Diocletian believed himself to be Jovius, therefore there was this temple. At about the same time his mausoleum was converted to a cathedral, this temple was also converted to a baptistery.

According to Rick Steve's Eastern Europe guide book, the engraving on this baptismal font inside this temple showed a bishop on the left and the king on his throne on the right. Under the feet of the bishop represent a submissive commoner. This was to illustrate the social structure of the Middle Ages. Standing above the font is a statue of St. John the Baptist counting to four.

Not included in the entrance fee (because it is free entrance) was Diocletian's Cellars (Podromi). These underground chambers is free to enter because it is now used for art exhibits and has a nice little strip of souvenir stands.

Other things to do in Split including strolling the Riva which is the town's promenade and around the People's Square. (Psst, by the way there are free wifi spots scattered around the square in Split ;)

We took the overnight train out from Split, which I fell asleep in no time, waking up the next morning in Zagreb.

Side note: What do you usually buy for Secret Santa for work?

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  1. OK sorry.

    I just got distracted by Hello Kitty ;)

    1. hahaha.. I know.. when I was the postcard in post office (nonetheless), I was "wow... this is rather unexpected.." :P

  2. Hello Kitty?! That damn cat is EVERYWHERE!

    Right, let's focus. (I have the same problem as Lina.)

    I loved this post because I'm planning a trip to Croatia next summer. You've given me plenty of ideas.

    PS: Those stairs should perhaps only be attempted when fully sober ...

    1. That cat sure has travel far from Japan...
      PS: Oh well, no drink and climbing of stairs!