On my first full day in Croatia, I took a boat tour to Kornati National Park. I have a dedicated slideshow with photos of the unique islands and stunning water.
Zadar, originally a Roman city, followed traditional Roman town planning where the forum is located at the intersection of two main streets, the cardo, which runs north-south, and the decamanus, which runs east-west. This view looks west along the decumanus to where the peninsula connects to the mainland. A slideshow with more images of this Roman-planned town can be found here.
The Peristyle of Diocletian’s Palace is the heart of Split’s historic center. I arrived early in the morning and was able to savor a rare tourist-free view. To see my slideshow of photos from my day in Split, click here.
This week I traveled by myself to a country I hadn’t yet visited but friends had given great reviews. I spent Tuesday morning wrapping up some last minute tasks before catching a bus to the airport and flying off to Zadar, Croatia. I arrived in the evening, took a bus into the city, checked-in to my hostel, and took a short walk through the historic center before calling it a night.
The next morning I woke up early because I took a boat tour to Kornati National Park, an archipelago in the Adriatic Sea known for its impressive karst limestone formations. Shortly after we departed, I made friends with a group of nine German medical students and spent some time with them throughout the tour. We got a simple ham and cheese sandwich and wafers for breakfast and rode two and a half hours to the first stop where we swam for almost two hours. Back in the boat we were given grilled fish for lunch, which we finished just in time for our arrival at the second stop which featured cliffs and ruins. After an hour of exploring this island, we headed to the third stop, a fisherman’s village, where we spent some time walking around. We then returned to the boat for the last leg of the journey back to Zadar, during which a small dinner was provided. Once back in the city, I walked around to see some of the sites before the sun set. After regrouping for a bit in the hostel, I treated myself to ice cream while taking an evening stroll.
I spent most of the day on Thursday crossing the rest of Zadar’s landmarks off my list. I began by walking through the markets and strolling along the park created atop the fortified city walls. I visited numerous churches and climbed the cathedral’s bell tower for a birds eye view. I spent significant time reading on the steps of the “Sea Organ,” a public art piece that uses the sea breezes to make music. While sitting on the steps of the “Sea Organ” I could faintly feel them humming from the pipes beneath. I overheard a tour guide saying that during strong storms, the “Sea Organ” can be heard throughout the historic city. After enjoying a Croatian lunch and ice cream dessert, I caught a bus to Split. Upon my arrival, I checked into my hostel and completed a few tasks before calling it a night in order to be well-rested for an exciting day of sightseeing in a new city.
I woke up early on Friday which allowed me some time to walk Split’s historic streets before it was overrun with other tourists. Split originated as Roman Emperor Diocletian’s retirement palace. Over time newer construction seamlessly melded with the Roman structures and the area remains the town’s historic core. It’s fascinating to see how the ruins are preserved in a living, breathing city. This link has a historic reconstruction paired with aerial views of its current conditions. The most notable features of Diocletian Palace are its substructure, the main square (known as the Peristyle), and the dome space which precedes the Peristyle (known as the Vestibule). The palace also hosts a few Roman structures which still stand but with altered functions. The building intended to be Diocletian’s mausoleum became the cathedral, and the Temple of Jupiter became the cathedral’s baptistry. Like in Zadar, I climbed the bell tower to get a picturesque overview.
I then explored the historic city just beyond the palace’s walls and grabbed lunch. After eating, I hiked through the Marjan Forest that rests on a hill on the peninsula that extends westward from the city. From the top of the hill, I enjoyed the view over the red roofs and bay below. I descended the hill in order to go swimming on the peninsula’s shores and read on the beach. After relaxing in the sun I returned to the city center to catch the sunset and see the city aglow.
Saturday was rather unglamorous, as I spent almost all day traveling. First by bus back to Zadar, then by taxi to the airport, followed by plane to Munich’s smaller airport, then a bus to Munich’s train station, and finally the subway to my stop, all with a good deal of walking in between. I finally arrived safely and happily back to the comfort of my room to reflect on yet another incredible opportunity! In order to do each day pictorial justice, I have separate slideshows for each: the Kornati boat tour, Zadar, and Split.