Split

Last week I took an impulsive four-night holiday in Split, Croatia. It was so nice to get away from the horrible so-called “Spring” we have been having here in England.

Split was the retirement home of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who originally came from a town several miles away. As a military man he built his palace along the same floorplan as a Roman fort. For me, a keen volunteer digger at Vindolanda, it was great to stay in a place of living history. Over the years Split has adapted and changed – there is now a Christian cathedral built on top of Diocletian’s mausoleum – but it still retains the same basic layout and traces of its Roman history are everywhere you look. We stayed in an apartment in the palace walls.

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The view from our window. This part of the palace was bombed (by the British) in the Second World War but has been partially reconstructed.

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Our roof terrace, actually one of the palace towers, looking out over the Riva promenade.

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A quiet moment inside the palace.

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Evening in Peristil Square. This was the main square, where a 3000 (or so) year-old sphinx brought back as a souvenir by Diocletian still watches over visitors to the square. In the evening a cafe in the square puts on live music and you can sit on cushions on the steps and drink wine or cocktails.

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Hot Romans stand a casual guard in the square every day.

Of course, it was not all about the history, it was also all about the holiday:

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Gorgeous view of Split from the Marjan peninsula.

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Finding a quiet beach after walking back down the hill, and swimming in the crystal clear water.

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The view from Bačvice Beach.

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Gin and tonic on the terrace.

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Going for a swim by a waterfall in the Krka National Park.

It was also all about the food:

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Our roof terrace overlooked a market selling delicious seasonal Mediterranean food. These were fresh red onions and pink garlic. I bought local strawberries for breakfast.

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Snickers gelato. Amazing (and so cheap at about 80p for a cone).

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I had fish for every meal. This was local river trout, and the side of potato and chard was delicious too.

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Carpaccio of fish with rocket, olives and capers was delicious, and something I want to try myself but I think I’ll need to get a really good fillet knife first (I was 20 and vegetarian when I was given my Henckels knife set, so a fillet knife was unnecessary).

It was such a lovely, relaxed place to go – not to mention warm – and I really want to go back now. I see an island-hopping adventure in my future…

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