Friday, April 06, 2007

Split - Trogir - Žedno

Still life with hair and Roman architecture

A slow 20km through roadwork to Split, from where I follow signs to the "centar"or Diocletian's Palace.These lead me into what seems to be a residential cul-de-sac, the thin-end of a wide traffic funnel. I think I must have missed a sign, but the volume of traffic behind me suggests not. The road is 2way but barely wide enough for one vehicle, so I have to back up a few hundred metres to extricate myself, and then after some minutes of random navigation, find myself closer to the real central parking area. Once in line for the gate there's no exit, so I end up driving a long slow loop behind some other cars, finally submitting my entry ticket to the guy in the booth who can't understand why no one is staying for more than a few minutes.

Eventually I find somewhere to leave the car and we walk back towards the main attraction, Diocletian's Palace, dating back to the 3rd century. Some centuries later it became a residential area within the Split city and now it's a semi-walled area of Split centar combining residential and commercial properties. Like Trogir, the seaside promenade is being heavily renovated, but is now mostly closed off to pedestrians. I'd say come back in 1-2 years when the infrastructure is less chaotic - it must be a total mess during peak months.

We walk around a church in this Diocletian quarter, with scattered Roman ruins all around. Some guy in a slightly shiny tracksuit (I think selling souvenirs at the church door, and possibly the only person on the Adriatic trying to fleece tourists without any English) objects loudly to my having Bondi near the church - he's of such a mind that even St Francis and his bird-fancying friends would be pigeona* non grata in this area. He's probably less of a mind to remember Leviticus 19:19 "...neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together" or Matthew 21:12 etc etc. That's what you get from too much Sunday school (not that I can remember chapter and verse). (*yes that should be columba, but I didn't get any Latin). Anyway Mr Shiny Tracksuit seems to care less about the well-dressed man urinating against the church/ruin walls a few meters away. Maybe he was just trying to remove graffiti.

Inside Diocletian's Palace; Saruman's Tower at Isinglass?

While having coffee in one of the city squares, I end up talking to Owen & Andrew, a couple of Aussie lads. Owen has been living in Split for two years, and has brought a bit of down-under renovate-and-rent-it-out expertise to the area. Andrew is working in London, but says there is less casual work for Aussies there now as the Poles provide the new cheap workforce.

Trogir church spire over the little canal separating the islet from the mainland.

Behind every great patron saint is a ...

One last visit to Trogir town in the afternoon. It's much sunnier today but still nothing to do there.

Views north from Žedno

Immediately before my hotel entrance there's a road leading up into the woods, and as it seems, to the top of the island. At the top, near a little hamlet called
Žedno, just before the road became too pot-holed to continue, there are terrific views up and down the coast. I'm sure there'll be some big resort there sooner or later.

Also behind the hotel is work on a cross-Ciovo tunnel, a 2km long waste-disposal tube for the Trogir area. That drilling work starts quite early each day and so sleep time at the hotel is rather curtailed. Between that and yellow paint-dust settling on everything I have (including Bondi) I elect to check out a day early and try my luck tomorrow either in Plitvice or Ljubljana.

View to the east (Trogir/Split-wards)

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