ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PALACE

6 November 2015

It has reached the point it usually does in these jaunts.  You start to reach information overload and can no longer tell Romans from Greeks, Turks from anybody, Gothic architecture from Medieval architecture, Doric from Corinthian, etc.  I think I have finally realized that a walled enclosure in the middle of a city is a palace and the building inside the palace where the ruler lives is a castle.

Again, it was a beautiful day to start our tour, today of Split, the 3rd largest city in Croatia (behind Dubrovnik and Zagreb).  The city gleamed when we opened the window and looked out on the port.

Today's excursion was called "Cetina River Cruise and Split Walking Tour."  I'm getting blas about these walking tours.  My feet don't hurt any more; now it's a battle of wills between my knee, my hip, and my back, but if I find enough places to sit down, it seems to be OK.  Bus drivers and other people are being so good helping me down out of buses...that last step is a killer!

We started our tour in the old part of Split, the first of four gates to Diocletian's palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spawned 17 centuries of construction..

As are all walled cities, this one has cobble stones and narrow streets that wind this way and that, though it seems larger than most, and I'm sure that Medieval residents didn't get neon signs directing them to the nearest loo.

In one of the shop windows I fell in love with a drawing of a little girl -- kind of like a Croatian Keane painting.  There were smaller versions, but the group was moving too fast and there was no time to buy it...and by the time we had free time I couldn't have told you to save my soul where that shop had been.

The palace had several courtyards, and the biggest one was actually pretty cool, with all sorts of architectural styles which somehow blended together nicely.

Note that I've circled a statue in the back.  It's a sphinx and it even has the nose worn off like the one in Egypt.

We finally got a chunk of free time and found another sidewalk cafe along the promenade to sit and have a cappuccino.

We're trying to get rid of our Kuna, so Walt and Char took stock on how much the drinks cost and how much they have left to spend before the end of the day today.

Then it was time to head for the Cetina River.  We really didn't know quite what to expect. The description reads, "drive to the town of Omis and the banks of the Cetina River.  On a 45 minute cruise, you can witness the natural beauty of Croatia as you drift through picturesque canyons."  The last Viking group that took this tour, maybe 2 weeks ago, did it in the rain.  We had the most perfect weather.

First there was a flurry of excitement.  Walt had to use the restroom, so went to the one on the bus...which the driver didn't realize. Everyone got off the bus and the bus took off, with Walt still inside yelling "Wait! Wait!"  By the time he finally escaped, the first boat (with the rest of us on it) had loaded and he was left at the dock to get the second boat.  As our boat pulled away, I wanted to shout "I can't come back!  I don't know how it works!"

I have to say this was one of the most beautiful experiences we have had.  Far better than the calanques in Cassis (and smoother water, too!), better than a lot of things on other tours.  It was autumn and the trees were changing color, the water was smooth and reflective, and we had no tour guide pointing things out to us.  It was just us, and the boat and the water and the beauty around us.  It was magic.  Linda became the keeper of the canes while Bob and I snapped photos like crazy.

We rode down the river to a restaurant, Kastilslanica. 

Walt's boat arrived shortly after we did.

They had food and wine waiting for us.  It looked surprisingly like our two winery meals yesterday. 


(They are very big on Prosciutto here!)

We enjoyed our snack and then climbed the stairs to the road so we could take the bus back to Split and to the Viking Star.  Linda, Bob and Walt went off to augment their lunches.  Char went upstairs to the lounge.  I had been feeling kind of "iffy" so I stayed behind in the stateroom to rest a bit until time for the ship's afternoon "tea," which I had not had an opportunity to check out before today...and today would be my last chance.  What a delightful event, and how glad I did NOT discover it until today, or I would have been there every day, calories I did not need!  We got there and every chair was set up, ready for tea.  There were a bunch of pots ready to be filled.

Then came a full tray of "tea" goodies, followed by scones with clotted cream and jam, and your choice of about 6-8 different flavors of tea.

We left there in time to get two floors down for the Captain's farewell.  We were among the first to arrive, and, remembering his greeting 2 weeks ago from the steps of the Atrium, I picked a spot with a clean view of the steps.  Only this time he talked facing the steps and by now the crowd was so thick I couldn't even see him.  After he talked, some of the crew reprised a number they had done at Halloween.

Then they had the entire staff of the ship paraded in to applause, including our stateroom attendant, Mohammed (third in line in this picture)

These two crazy ladies were on our boat tour this afternoon.  They were so funny.  We enjoyed them a lot, for the brief time we were with them.  The one on the right is named Elaine and she runs a spay and neuter clinic in Mississippi.  I never did learn her friend's name,

Next on this busy day we went to a beautiful dinner, with our favorite waiter (Angelo), who says he is very shy (don't believe it).

We topped off the evening in the theater again, with the Viking singers and dancers doing a tribute to ABBA.  I saw all these old, grey/white hairs, with walkers and canes standing and waving their arms and clapping like crazy teenagers and wondered what those young kids on stage thought of all of us old farts.  Walt pointed out that someone who liked ABBA when they were popular would be in his or her 70s or older now.

Next stop--Venice!  The end of the line.  We sleep here on the boat tomorrow night and then transfer to a hotel the next morning.  I hope to keep up the journal schedule as usual, but in case I disappear for a day or two, that's why.
 

FOOD OF THE DAY

Starter was something they called "fruit minestrone" but I thought it was fruit salad.
A delicious lamb dish followed, with yogurt and mint sauce
Dessert was Grand Marnier souffle.

When will I get food like this again???

 

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