Croatia (2013)

The Marjan park

Due to the lovely Croatian weather we head into the park and take a dive. We also hold a workout session by lifting a few logs.

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The first proper day of our vacation; we have an easy start and sleep in. The windowblinds are quite effective, as the the shutters with built-in luxaflex block any sunlight from coming in. Opening the bedroom doors has me blinking for about ten minutes, but once my eyes adjust to the light I see that Vonne, who got up a few minutes before me, has started setting up breakfast—including the bluest tea I have ever seen, courtesy of the blue berries giving the drink its flavour.

We go out, but head in the opposite direction we went yesterday. Further out on the peninsula on which Split is situated is supposed to be a forest and according to appartment owner Ivica a nice beach as well. Less good than the beach next to the harbour, which he described as the most beautiful on the Adriatic Sea and the Copacabana of Split, but not nearly as busy. With a bit of luck, we will find a good place to swim.

The Marjan park

It is the warmest time of day, so we stick with walking for now and a short while later find ourselves in the Marjan forest/park. Which turns out to be a popular destination for the sporty section of Split, for we encounter many runners and cyclists. There is also an entire workout tour set up through the park: follow this trail and you pass by a variety of “fitness equipment”. Among the things we encountered were a rack of logs for weight-lifting, a raised bar to do pull-ups on and a set of rings to break up the monotony of running with making a bird’s nest (scary flashbacks to gymnastic classes in high school!).

I can see myself graciously and gracefully landing face first onto the rocks.

Sporty as we are, we lift a few logs like it is nothing and pull ourselves up a few times, but I draw the line at a bar set up to do somersaults on. I can already see myself graciously and gracefully landing face first onto the sandy rocks on the other side. The fitness route is a good idea, although we do wonder how much it is actually used, although we do see a lot of runners and cyclists alike taking breaks at benches to do some stretching and situps.

Several paths lead up the hill through the forest and soon we arrive at the top and enjoy a beautiful view over the bay and marina with the rolling hills of the Croatian mainland on one side, and the peninsula Čiovo with the islands Šolta, Brač and further out Vis on the other. On the north end we also spot the beach Ivica must have been talking about, although all along the rocky coastline we see people lying on the rocks and swimming in the clear water. As it is quite an enticing prospect in the warm afternoon sun, we return through the other side of the park. Picking up a few groceries on the way back, we arrive at the appartment and change into swimming gear.

Linea recta we return to the park and find a quiet spot along the water. As the afternoon is steadily progressing, slightly more people are heading towards the park after school or work, but it is still quite a long way from crowded. We place our towels and clamber over the rocks into the water. It is lovely cool and indeed crystal clear: you can easily see the sea floor up to about two meters. Until well after eight, when the sun starts to set, we swim around and lie on the warm rocks reading a book. It is a very idyllic location and I am already almost sorry to have to leave Split for Šibenik and Zadar.

View along the coastline from the Marjan park.

We head into town for dinner. Ivica recommended two restaurants, but we find neither of them where we remember him putting circles and crosses onto the map in the appartment, so we settle on a terrace on the boulevard instead. There is quite some liveliness, activity and music, which together with a schnitzel Zagreb style (cordon bleu) and a slice of grilled tuna, makes for an excellent late-night dinner which runs until almost midnight. While outside. Try doing that in the Netherlands…

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