Sunday, October 28, 2012
October 26, 2012
Old town Split is quirky and interesting. Although we have a Rick Steves tour book, we decided to hire a local guide, Nick, and he turned out to be great! We paid €10 each for a two hour tour and it was worth every cent. His cynical yet humorous take on his country's history and future was sobering and provided a different perspective on capitalism, which he seemed to think is the cause of the ruin of his country - and he's probably right. He says that tourism, while saving his town from ruin, has also caused all the locals to move away, as the profit motive is now the reason for every decision regardless of the consequences to its citizens. Kind of like the US. It's always eye-opening to talk politics with locals and hear their thoughts about the impacts to them and the world; it seems like Americans are the least politically aware people in the developed world.
Split is a wonderful mashup of Roman, Renaissance and modern architecture. We loved just walking the narrow, cobbled streets and picking out the various genres. Nick pointed out one wall with three windows, stacked vertically: one from Roman times, one medieval, one from within the last hundred years. He explained that Croatians are not wealthy enough to replace all their windows at once, so they will do one at a time. It's actually quite charming. He also led us into a private set of apartments and showed us the shared kitchen sink (a plastic bucket arrangement) and shared toilet. Sobering.
Next we stopped at the Poseidon restaurant, whose fleet of fishing boats provide a bounty for their fisherman's platter, supposedly for two but plenty for the four of us. Two whole fish, a lobster, two squid, a dozen or more whole shrimp, and several dozen mussels, plus I probably forgot some. Totally delicious! All for €39, roughly $50, including a couple of beers for Mary and a carafe of wine for the rest of us. Of course, we still had dinner just a few hours later!
I haven't mentioned the food on board yet, but it is excellent.