Is it really only Wednesday?!?! Guys, I'm so tired. Monday night, I made the most disgusting bowl of mac and cheese in the history of ever (pro tip: vanilla almond milk is not a substitute for normal milk) (pro tip #2: it also doesn't mix with hot sauce) (sorry. are you going to go vomit now?? I almost did.) but I was so ravenous and exhausted that I threw my hands up in the air, shouted IDGAF, ate the whole box, gagged, showered, and snored away into the early morning.
It made me hate my Croatia self.
Because that self... well, that self's biggest problem was a 4am wakeup call in Naples, followed by a train to Rome, then another train to the Rome airport, then the longest ticketing line, a delayed flight, finally getting what felt like 20 minutes of shuteye before starting our descent. But then I forgot all my troubles because my eyes fell upon beautiful Croatia for the first time, and I was completely and utterly charmed:
For a graduation gift, my sister generously put us up at the luxurious Le Meridien Lav Split. Swanky and posh and ritzy, the only caveat was that it was located in Podstrana, a good twenty or thirty minutes away from Old Town Split, and about forty minutes away from the airport. Which meant that grabbing a taxi was the only way of getting there.
We only had 600 Kuna on us (about $100 USD) and our eyes widened and our muscles twitched as we stared without blinking at the meter the entire way to the hotel. Within five minutes, it showed 200 Kuna. Within fifteen, it showed 350. We frantically wrote out messages on our phones for each other to read: what if we don't have enough?!?! Can we borrow money from the bellhop?!
Luckily, we arrived with just enough kuna to spare because I don't know how we would've explained ourselves to the Croatian-speaking-only driver. Starving, Cassandra and I braved jayrunning through a busy street to get to the lone supermarket, where we stocked up on necessities. Lost in translation moment: when the cashier kept telling us "twenty cents" and Cassandra kept on repeating back to her "it's okay, we don't need it" thinking that she was trying to muster up change for us. She finally waved us off and hours later, we realized that she was trying to communicate to us that we still owed her twenty cents. #thieves
Proceeded to feast on our bounty. Croatian wine that we chilled in the ice buckets brought up by butlers because all we had to do was Whatsapp for requests. Could this exist in my day-to-day please. Cheeses. Bite-sized bruschetta chips. Croatian chocolate. Salami.
^ The view from our balcony
Having had our fair share of history and culture in Italy – or so we sayyyy –, we decided that all we wanted to do was explore the private beach and pools on the property.
Would you just.
Right as the sun was to set for serious, we raced back up to our (air conditioned) (hallelujah) room because nothing could beat the view from our own little balcony.
I swear to you on blanket scarves that, besides the first picture, the following sunset photos are absolutely #nofilter with the exception of some sharpening. I can't even.
That cluster of lights in the distance marks Old Town Split, and curious as to what it's like up close, we set out the next day in search for adventure (after the best breakfast buffet of all time which included peppery juice shots called eyeopeners or something of that nature, and a flute of raqqia which we'll discuss later but BLECH).
The hotel shuttle dropped us off around noon and wouldn't return to pick us up until the early evening. If we were smart, we would've spent that time on an island like Hvar or Vis. That's what Beyonce does. Actually, scratch that. That's what everyone who goes to Split does. But we hemmed and we hawed and we worried that that's not enough time on an island or in Old Town, so we took a raincheck. Kickin' myself still today.
Old Town Split is mainly made up of Diocletian's Palace, the markets and stores directly circling it, and then the Riva waterfront promenade which is the transportation hub.
We spent the entire day roaming Diocletian's Palace, retracing our steps on the narrow, slippery paths and looking above us in wonder at the hanging laundry and the Roman influence apparent in the architecture.
And in the people still, apparently?
Old Town is very small, so after about two hours' worth of active exploring, the rest of the time was spent sitting on benches staring at the sparrows circling low overhead, finding ice cream that matched our outfits, writing postcards, and chatting up Roman impersonators who just got off duty protecting Caesar or whoever and who pointed us in the direction of an alleyway to find a cafe that locals favored. Which was evidenced by the hoards of Croatians sitting on the pillow-lined steps of the alleyway, smoking as much as their lungs could take.
Before too long, it was time to head back to Riva to catch a Coke and our shuttle.
Seriously, why am I not being sponsored by Coke.
Treated ourselves to a fancy-pants dinner at a fancy-pants restaurant on hotel grounds, next to their private beach and along a tiny port where private sailboats docked. The avocado was abysmal by Californian standards, but the black squid ink pasta and seafood pasta were more than enough to make up for it.
Oooh, and pina coladas too of course. When in Split.