After three days of cramming in historic sites and three nights of shoving loads of food into our mouths Chris and I were ready for the slower pace of Croatia. I definitely got my wish. Kind of funny when your wishes come true – they usually do not unfold the way you envision. I will get to this picture above in a bit.
After we flew into the Split airport we took a taxi to Trogir, the next stop on our honeymoon. Just a piece of information the Split airport is much closer to Trogir than Split. But after reading more of my blog you might see why staying in Split is a better bet.
Trogir, is a UNESCO world heritage site – the entire city. Although I should tell you the entire city is about half the size of a New York City block. It’s very quaint and the streets are still very medieval. You can touch both sides with your hands and they are stone cobbled. A very cute city. After settling into our apartment at Stafileo Palace, we headed out to dinner at Konoba Idra. Most Croatian eating establishments start with Konoba. It’s essentially like the Italian Trattoria. Usually this means the restaurants is family-run and might even grown some of the vegetables on the menu. Sounds good, right? My verdict is still not in. We started off with a Croatian specialty – Dalmatian smoked ham and olives. It was ok. It suffered from the Italian antipasto syndrome, a lack of real care and thought. It was just there. For my main course I ordered a tuna steak and a mixed salad. The fish was ok, it had a real strong fishy smell. Which, as most of you know, fish is not supposed to have. My salad was perfect. A nice blend of cucumbers, cabbage, shredded carrots and a very light white wine vinegar dressing. Chris ordered a pretty heavy meal of a rump steak with a mushroom sauce and a side of grilled veggies with a side of cream sauce. Both were ok. After eating we headed to the small town square and had a beer. We then headed home early.
A few hours later it started. I got up about five times during the night. No need to go into what happened. Let’s just say all the food I had eaten was gone from my body. The next day I felt a little better so we headed to downtown Split by bus. Now here is why it’s better to stay in Split. The bus service from Trogir is a nightmare. No one knows when the buses are going to be there. We got charged three different prices on three separate occasions and if you miss a direct bus you have to take the local # 37 bus. The quick 20-minute jaunt turns into an hour and a half long, bumpy ride. And when your stomach is in upheaval that ride is torturous. When we got to Split we walked around and enjoyed Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built around the turn of the fourth century AD by Roman Emperor Diocletian as his retirement residence. Now only a few walls stand, but it’s a very cool sight to see. Most of the town is essentially built into the walls so it’s very much a living monument. We grabbed a light lunch, which turned out to be a bad decision. So we headed back to Trogir on the local #37. And I spent most of the time bent over trying not to faint. After getting to the room Chris ran to the local Pharmacy before it closed to get me some medicine. He also grabbed some water, chicken soup and beer (for him). And thus began my five days of no eating.
When I say no eating, what I really meant was not eating good foods. Oh, I tried and with very bad consequences. There was the pizza, the ice cream, the muesli cereal. Here is what I learned – if you have a stomach virus or food poisoning do not eat cream or cheese. Actually just stick to tea, saltines, broth and rice or noodles. Luckily, most places to stay in Croatia are apartments. So we were able to buy groceries and just cook at our apartment.
After spending two night in Trogir we headed to Hvar, an island situated approximately an hour away by ferry from Split. While in Hvar we stayed at Apartment Bicanic owned by the fabulous Miro. We thought he was great. And our apartment was cute, but I would suggest not getting the apartment we got (#1). The bathroom was pretty awful. But the apartment is in a great location and it is definitely affordable.
I was very excited about Hvar and desperately hoping my stomach issues would go away so I could enjoy this beautiful island. I had so many plans – a bike ride around the island, maybe a visit to some wineries, a ferry ride out to the Pakleni Islands. Hvar is also known for fun night life, there is a club located near the palace on a hill, it is also home to the cool cafe/bar Carpe Diem where George Clooney was spotted. Pretty much none of this happened. We laid around, read books, watched lots of German television and visited the bathroom.
I want to spend a couple of sentences stating how wonderful my husband is. During this time he made me soup, never complained, reassured me I was not going to die and eventually took me to the hospital when we both realized I was not getting better. After spending most of the Croatian portion of the honeymoon sick we went to Hvar’s hospital (fortunately Chris’s fear of us being quarantined because of the Swine Flu did not occur). The doctor gave me an IV, told me to stop trying to eat and gave me a prescription. Her verdict was a stomach virus. I am still not sure if it was a virus or the fish. But hey, she’s the doctor.
After visiting the doctor and getting the IV I felt much better. I had actually thought about just packing up and going home. But instead we decided to leave Hvar early and heard for Dubrovnik. While Hvar was beautiful we just found the town to be a bit boring. Mostly because I did not feel well enough to get off my ass and we went out of season. In many parts of Croatia the time to go is in July and August. I would bet that June and September are pretty good months too. But May is not the right time. The weather is still cool, the residents are a bit stand-offish and the mood is just a little down tempo. So I would still recommend visiting Hvar, I would just state that it’s best to do this during the season.
So one early morning at 6 a.m. we boarded a ferry to Split, hopped on an 8:30 a.m. bus and headed for Dubrovnik.
Stay tuned for the final installment of our honeymoon blog… Dubrovnik and London.