G'day.....yes I know, but we are nearly home!!! So thought I better practice!
Enough of the bad news.......leaving Malta we headed to Split (2nd largest city of Croatia) and it was a lovely surprise. A seaside city that seems made for leisure and pleasure for both tourists and locals alike! We landed on a Saturday and the place was packed, the few thousand extra cruisers just blended in! There is a long promenade on the waters edge with parks, cafes, bars, shops and markets to be strolled through before you even enter the old walled city (yes, another one) which, shock oh horror, has churches, bell towers and beautiful alleyways and houses in great condition! I might be sounding jaded, well I'm not, these places can be magical. I have always loved architecture and even played with the idea of studying this at uni, but my clever father taught us kids to travel the world for an education and, for one time in my life, I actually did what he said and was travelling Europe by the age of 18!! The amazing part of this is that much has not changed, well with the architecture anyway! The churches all end up blending into each other but I love the houses, the windows, the balconies, the corner details, the cobblestones, the ornate decorations, the worst and sometimes desolated buildings and even the door knockers (do I need to get a life? Nah, I think I'll keep this one, thanks). Each of the aforementioned has a long history and many tales to tell, hence my love of older things....no pun intended Kev!
Split has a youthful cosmopolitan feel, very hip and trendy nestled happily in her ancient surrounds with the added attraction of the very blue sea, many lovely boats, palms and sunshine (well part of the year and still there when we arrived mid Autumn, thankfully). I can see why the Brits have started coming to Croatia instead of the traditional destinations of France and Spain. A driving tour of Croatia (or Yugoslavia, as know then), which I did when I was 18 travelling in a combie van, would still be very tempting again but some luxury hotels and a small but comfy car (roads are skinny, to say the least!) would need to be substituted as (you won't believe this!)18 was a few years ago!! I remember driving the Dalmation coast in 1973 during Autumn and, when not thinking we were going to fall off the edge of a mountain, it was one of the prettiest sights I had ever seen. We did glimpse this from the ship but not the same as driving through the small villages (like the one where the men wore what looked like large egg shells on their heads? And they thought we were weird..see below...the town was Pec, (see.. not all the brain cells have gone) and having the locals think 'where the hell do these young aliens' (70's remember!) come from? Now, I guess, it is 'here comes those day trippers' from that very large invading ship, to disturb our lives! To some of these cultures especially the older occupants we probably still look and act like aliens!
The next day we stopped at Zadar another lovely town in Croatia but not as lovely as Split and I think chosen because it was on our way back to Venice, where we all had to walk the plank one last time!
Don't get me wrong cruising is a great, great spoil and definitely worth doing for many, many reasons (see attached photos) but as time has taught me "life" is a compromise so my own ship, with my own crew, going where I tell them with a car and chauffeur in each port is not to much to ask for, is it? There will be room for friends and family on board, so I'm not being totally selfish!
One more adventure (and travelogue) to go, a small medieval city in Umbria called Orvieto for 3 days on our way to Rome airport to head home (oh, via 4 days in Bangkok to rest up!)
Love to all and hope to catch up soon,