Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Solo Travel to Split

When we were booking flights and figuring out logistics on how to get me to Split for the Ladies Trip, it proved to be a lot more difficult than originally planned. It was easier for me to get to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa than it was for me to get to Split.  wut?  Add in the fact that Mike and I had already planned a trip to Croatia the following week to meet up with some friends on their honeymoon (don't worry, they knew we were crashing their party) and the decision was made for me to spend a few extra days in Croatia solo. After heading to Ghent overnight a few weeks ago, I knew some tips and tricks for solo travel.  I don't think I'll ever be one to jump on the opportunity to travel by myself, but I am feeling more and more comfortable.

I had four days in Split by myself and honestly, I was exhausted.  I loved every minute of the Ladies Trip, but for little introverted me, the sound of four days by myself after a weekend full of people sounded absolutely wonderful.  Add in the lack of sleep accumulated and I entered hibernation mode.

My apartment was in Bascivice, which was a 10 minute walk from the old town of Split and Diocletian's Palace. When I was researching where to stay beforehand, this area was described as the beach area with tons of restaurants and bars.  It sounded great. In reality, there was the beach about ten minutes away that had a row of restaurants and night clubs.  My apartment ended up being in the middle of the neighborhood.  This was fine for me since I wanted some peace and quiet, but I could see some people being disappointed.

The biggest issue I had was with my debit card.  In Turkey, I was getting paid in cash and never had to withdraw money.  I guess at some point, a hold got put on my debit card and I never noticed.  Then, the week before I left for Croatia, I was unable to withdraw money.  Since I was living overseas and leaving in a few days, I wasn't able to get my debit card in time.  I was pretty freaked out, but luckily, it's really easy to transfer money via the interwebs nowadays and Mike and I were able to transfer money to Jen on the Ladies' Trip.  She withdrew money for me before we parted ways on Tuesday, but I knew that the cash I had on Tuesday had to last me until Saturday (along with my credit card).  At first, I was pretty nervous about it, but quickly realized that almost everywhere takes credit cards and primarily using my credit card would not be an issue.
When I arrived on Tuesday, I napped and it was wonderful. I felt like a whole new person.  That night, I ventured into Diocletian's Palace for dinner and to scope out the scene. Diocletian's Palace is really cool. I thought it would be a castle that you walk through and take a tour of, but it's actually the entire old town.  There are restaurants and shops throughout the palace walls.  The streets are so small that cars aren't allowed to drive through, so it makes it feel like an old town. I didn't do a lot of sight seeing that day since I knew  I had three days ahead of me, but it was a good introduction to the city.

The food in Split is actually INCREDIBLE. I had no idea what Croatian food would be like and was pleasantly surprised.  It's a lot like Italian food, with lots of pastas, with lots of seafood mixed in.  Every meal I had in Split was delicious and savory.

This meal was by far my favorite.  The pesto chicken with grilled vegetables was so good! I still dream about it...

Wednesday, I wanted to check out the palace and do some actual sight seeing. I went into the cathedral in the palace.  Fun fact: Cathedral of Saint Dominus is regarded as the oldest Catholic church in use in it's original structure.  Cool!  I also climbed to the top of the bell tower, which had some breathtaking views of the city.

inside the cathedral

My fear of heights was setting in at this point...

Getting higher!

Thursday was a beach day which was nice and relaxing.  The beach is rocky, unlike the east coast of the United States, but the water is clear and warm, which was so nice.  I did a lot of people watching that day.  It was fascinating! 

Friday was a fun day! There was another Olmsted family visiting Split (the Bronders who live in Poland) and we had been put in contact with each other via another lady on the Ladies Trip.  We planned to meet up on Friday and check out this mini submarine that goes out of the harbor in Split.  They have three kids under the age of eight, so this was the perfect activity.  Plus, it was something that I wouldn't do by myself, but sounded intriguing, so we were all excited.  

Our submarine ride for the morning.  Mike was super jealous....not!  I think he's enjoying a break from the submarine life.

It was fun to go down and see the sea floor.  We didn't see too many fish, but the kids loved it and we did end up getting to see the coast line from a different perspective, which was interesting.  We even passed Tito's (former leader of Yugoslavia) house.

Tito's house

Jen, her daughter Emma, and I on top of the submarine. 

After our submarine ride, we wandered around the palace some more

This cracked me up.  I was tempted to go in to check out what a stuffed frog museum looked like, but figured I should save my money.

This guy has a gold toe that gives you good luck if you rub it!  So obviously, we all rubbed his toe!

The Bronders were staying outside of the city and it was getting to be nap time, so they headed back to their hotel and I headed to the beach.  I had a lot of fun meeting up with Jennifer and Justin and their kids and exploring the city with them.  It was a great last day in Split. 

Like I said before, I don't think I'll ever be a huge fan of solo travel, but after a fun and busy weekend, it was nice to have a few days to myself to relax and recover.   By the time Friday evening rolled around, I was ready for Mike to arrive!