Today we don’t set the alarm but wake up gently to the natural sunlight and sounds of the farms. Hens softly clucking away. Stella the dog chasing a cat. A rooster crowing his morning song. It is truly blissful. A one night stay is not enough. We pay for our room, and the evening meal, and are pleasantly surprised to be given a gift of herb brandy from the owner Anita. This will find its way into Ma and Pa Lee’s drinks cabinet back home.
Before we make our way into Split we decide to spend the morning in Sibenik. Like everywhere else we’ve been so far, this is a lovely little coastal town but parking is metered and we only have two hours’ worth of change. But this gives us sufficient time to wander around the town, peering into more beautiful little alleyways and courtyards, and even to briefly climb up for the magnificent views from the battlements of St Michael’s Fortress – now used to stage music and cultural events.
We’re soon back on the D8 coastal road to Split. It’s somewhere around here we took our magical mystery tour drive into the mountains but this time we continue to hug the coast – the sea is on our right-hand side now, so it’s easy to pull over into laybys and admire the view. We stop off at a supermarket to pick up a picnic lunch – bread, ham, cheesy breadsticks and tiny vanilla cream filled croissants – and we eat overlooking the clear blue sea. It’s not the worst picnic spot in the world.
Soon we’re heading back into Split, through the built-up areas that we passed last week. We’re driving down a main road when our GPS abruptly tells us that our destination is on our left. We see nothing but a parking lot. And as we sail past, I spy our hotel. On our right. We take a long and convoluted detour before we’re back on the same stretch of road. This time we’re ready…we indicate right…but there is no vehicle access? As we sail past once more, I note that the parking lot we’d seen on the left is exclusive to our hotel. Third time lucky. Except the car park is chock-a-block full and cars are already double parked. I hop out, leaving Mr Fletche in the middle of the car park and prepare to use my best rudimentary Croatian and miming to explain the situation at the hotel.
Me: “There’s no space in the car park”
Man at Hotel: “For you we have a space”
Me: “No. Mr Fletche is currently in the middle of the car park…that is not a space”
Man at Hotel: “For you we have a space”
Man at Hotel is soon running across the road to manoeuvre several cars out of the way, and the Fletchemobile is soon parked up where there wasn’t a space five minutes ago. It’s like one of those puzzles where you have to move all the tiles around to make a picture, when there’s only one space at a time to move to…Man at Hotel is now also lugging our suitcases across the road. We’re impressed with the customer service here already. It’s a small hotel, but clearly very customer-focused. It also has its own restaurant, which we didn’t use but we would have got a 10% discount as guests of the hotel. It’s on a main road but the noise doesn’t bother us, and we’re only a 10 minute walk away from the Old Town one way and the beaches the other. Crucially, we’re also handy for the ferry port on Tuesday morning (assuming we can get the car out of the car park of course…).
It’s a quick change and then we’re off to the Old Town for the rest of the afternoon. Despite the outskirts looking a little grim, the Old Town of Split itself is beautiful, and you’re walking around among some amazing old buildings and history which now form a lively and bustling hub…a living museum. I of course insist of checking out the quality of the local Aperol Spritz at a café bar in People’s Square (hmmm, a little weak for my liking…is that Prosecco or just normal white wine? Is that soda water or just sparkling water). However we consider that this could be a good spot to watch England’s final group match tomorrow night (Spoiler. It wasn’t).
The weather has turned a little grey since we arrived in Split after a beautifully sunny morning, so we decide to visit the We decide to visit the cathedral. Now, we may have missed something, but we pay for our tickets, visit one beautiful but small chapel, and then emerge blinking from the dark, back out into the main square. Was that it? We’ve been in the cathedral for less than 5 minutes! Maybe it’s like a reverse Tardis as it looks much bigger from the outside. Disappointed by our brief spiritual adventure, we seek sanctuary elsewhere. Literally. There’s a bar called Sanctuary. Fab cocktails and craft beers. I’m not used to being asked how I want my Margarita served. “Er, in a glass?” I ask what my options are. Apparently my margarita can be spicy or non-spicy. This is new to me so I opt for the regular old non-spicy version.
It’s time for dinner now and we can’t decide what we want to eat tonight. It’s starting to rain, and there is one single table available under the awning outside Mama’s so we opt for good old-fashioned burgers and beer. Considering we chose it on the spur of the moment it seem quite popular, with people even being turned away. We walk around a little after dinner, but we’ve been out in town since we arrived early afternoon and we’re exhausted. We have a final drink at a bar just outside the city walls – another option for tomorrow night’s football? – and head back to our hotel. We’re only here for one full day so we want to make the most of tomorrow!