After 10 days, we sadly had to say “Ciao for now!” to Italy. It has been a wonderful time and we have learnt so much from many special people – we hope to return one day.
This map shows the places we will be visiting over the next 13 days on the Mediterranean. We sailed on the Viking Star from Venice late in the afternoon, out into the Adriatic Sea.
Croatia put on a magnificent sound and sky show for our arrival early in the morning – lots of thunder and lightning!
But by 10 am, the sun was shining as we walked into the seaside town of Split which was named as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites way back in the 1960s.
These photos show parts of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s “retirement palace” built in the 3rd century. One part is now a cathedral, the original living quarters are a hotel and the underground storage tunnels are used for a market.
We walked back through the ‘green market’ – it’s always interesting to see where the locals buy their fruit and vegetables, and what is in season.
Overnight we sailed further south to Dubrovnik. It was so peaceful to watch the sun’s rays slowly light up the red roofs of the homes dotted around the hills of this walled medieval town. In complete contrast, the sky was a mass of criss-crossing contrails – they are definitely on the flight path to everywhere!
Walking through the town was an unexpected pleasure! Instead of cobblestones (beautiful to walk on but really hard on the body), their Stradun pathway is paved with limestone. It has been finely polished to a smooth surface over the centuries. Not sure what happens in wet weather though – we suspect it could be a very slippery experience!
The alleyways were fascinating as always, with graffiti dating back to the 1500’s on the walls and pigeons and feral cats doing their best to make a nuisance of themselves.
There were also some lovely spots down by the sea.
Our local guide spoke passionately about the impact of the “last war” in 1992-93 when parts of the town were destroyed, 13 000 people were killed and they were without potable water for months.
Today local people find it hard to make ends meet and there is very high unemployment. It is common for families to bunk in together so they can rent out their homes to tourists during the summer. However we felt very safe, welcome and enjoyed our time in the lovely country of Croatia…. have you been there?