We awoke, refreshed from our nap and raring to go, and made our way to the saloon where we were to meet our English-speaking local guide for a walking tour of Split at five o’clock. While it was still cloudy, the rain had so far kept away, and we hoped it would continue that way. 🙂
Our guide arrived, and introduced herself as Yanna, and advised us that two more couples had just joined the Solaris in Split (rather than Trogir) and they would be along in a few minutes. One couple was British while the other couple were French. Meanwhile, the German-speaking party went off with their guide, and we all trooped down the tiny gangplank and stepped ashore.
It all looked very familiar. We had only been here 11 months ago, so we recognised the area, including one of the bars/restaurants, called “Terminal F” where all the staff dressed as airline pilots and cabin crew, and in which we’d enjoyed a delicious meal last year while watching the yachts arriving and departing. Now, we were on one of those yachts! 🙂
Yanna advised we would be visiting Diocletian’s Palace. The palace was built by the Roman emperor Diocletian as a retirement residence in the 4th century, but we wanted it large enough to house his army and his servants. The palace absolutely dominates Split, and today many shops, bars and restaurants have established themselves within the palace walls and, rather than a touch of the modern day spoiling the ancient ruins of the palace, it all seems to work together very well.
What is interesting about the palace is that it wasn’t all built at once. Parts had been added on over the years and you could see the different styles of architecture and building materials used. Some was stone, some was brick and the window arches, ceilings and rooms all had an eclectic mix of designs. It was a bit like “the house that Jack built”. 🙂 Here’s its Wikipedia entry; it makes interesting reading. You can read more and see some more photos in my blog entry from last year, at https://ocean-waves.net/land-based-holidays/the-splendour-of-split/
Modern shops and buildings mix with the ancient Roman constructions.
We had about an hour to explore the palace, with our guide. Afterwards, we had some free time, but as it was now about 6.30pm and dinner was served on the yacht at seven, it didn’t give us much time at all. As we’d be here in Split overnight, we decided we’d go ashore again after dinner. 🙂
Back on board, we had to get washed and changed in record time, before making our way to the dining room slightly late, where everyone was already seated. We sat down at a table that already contained three other couples; two fellow Brits, a German couple from Munich, and an Austrian couple. We didn’t really speak each other’s language, but a lot of polite nodding and smiling went on. 🙂
Dinner was a set meal; we started off with mushroom soup and fresh bread; we had to serve ourselves from the large tureens that were placed on each table. It was then followed by the unusual (but quite delicious) dish of meatloaf with mushy peas (!) and followed by a delicious creamy custard dish topped with fresh berry coulis. It was washed down with water and, in our case, a cold beer. 🙂 Not exactly what you’d get on a larger “cruise ship”, but tasty and substantial nonetheless.
Afterwards we decided to go ashore and try to find one of the bars we’d frequented on our visit here last year. But as we made our way down the gangplank we were assaulted by drops of rain and gusts of strong wind. I pulled the hood of my cagoule firmly over my head, but the wind kept blowing it down again as the rain lashed into my face and exposed head. We therefore decided to give up walking into town, and we returned to the shelter and warmth of the Solaris, where we each enjoyed another drink and I made a start with this blog. 🙂
Outside, the wind increased in force and the rain came down with a vengeance. 🙁
The saloon emptied out fairly quickly; everyone must have still been tired after their travelling. We returned to our cabin around 10.15pm (very early indeed for us when we are on holiday!) where I had intended reading for a while, but tiredness overcame us and we soon settled down. As we turned off the light, we noticed that the ceiling of our cabin was designed to look like a sky with lots of sparkling stars – how lovely. I do like to go to sleep in total darkness, however, so we turned the “stars” off. For people who don’t like the dark, it would have been quite comforting.
Thus we fell asleep on our first night on board M/S Solaris, and we hoped the weather would improve for our next port of call tomorrow.