We arrive by bus inside the old lively city walls of Split, Croatia by way of Zagreb. Split lies on the Mediterranean Sea, a sea port along the Dalmatian Coast, where the Roman emperor Diocletian once built his palace in the 4th Century AD.
The bus station rests here in the heart of town, where trains, ships and buses intersect transporting the likes of backpackers, families and couples ready to embark on an adventure among this happening little city. Cafes, bars, restaurants, street vendors and an outdoor market sets the stage. Cruise ships, catamarans and boats of all shapes and sizes dot the landscape, far and near, offering trips to the local islands.
Ives, our host, greets us with a great big smile and a wildly vibrant sense of humor. It only takes a few minutes to find her, as we catch a glimpse of a woman wearing a flowery dress, looking the description of the one photo we had to go by. Plus, she appears to be looking for her long lost friends. Us!
We hop in her car with our luggage happy to catch a break from the sun, as it is a bright and sunny day. Tyler jumps in the front seat, I in the back. Ives points out places of interest along the way, offering a cliff notes version of this bustling and colorful city. We zip around the narrow streets leading to Ives home and our new nest.
Ives pulls the car over temporarily to the side stopping to graciously school the tourist ahead on how to park. He listens. A spot opens up. We park. Stepping out from the car, sounds of locusts greet us with rattling and humming from the canopy of the pine trees, filling the air with sweet harmonies.
Ives leads the way downhill, where we are met by several groups of steps, steps that have been smoothed and worn by wandering soles dating centuries old. We turn right and duck inside an ancient narrow street, as Ives points further on downhill towards the city just several footsteps below.
Ives takes out her keys and opens the door to her family village. She invites us into this colorful nest, established decades ago. Inside the courtyard, we are greeted by a sweet little garden, with two homes facing each other. Hers to the left, and our little guest studio to the right. A bright yellow hammock meets between the two.
Out jumps a boy and girl around the ages of five and six. They are swinging upon the hammock laughing and giggling. Thoma, a spitting image of dear Mowgli from the much loved Lion King and Rita, a girl as cute as can be, kissed and adorned with hello kitty and princess tattoos from head to toe. We remember the wise words Ives left us with in the car. “My kids are like flies, once they attach, they hang on. “Good things we like kids,” I reply.
Sounds of a vibrant beach city awaits us from below, while a magical pine tree forest invokes from above. We catch some rest before making the short pilgrimage into the city where we will dine on traditional Croatian cuisine for the evening, a diet rich with vegetables, whole fish, blitva (swiss chard and potatos), boiled beets, local olive oil and red wine.
Life is good here in Split. To our surprise, English is the second language spoken here, offering several spontaneous opportunities to converse among the locals.
enjoy the photos! more to come….thank you for visiting!
Ali Sun Trees