Friday, June 12, 2009
To conclude the train trip to Split, we made it onto our sleeper car about 11 PM last night. Each car had 2 berths, an upper & lower, 1 sink and about 6 ft of width. But it was quite comfortable – particularly compared to the plane a few days ago - The next morning, as the sun came up and we approached Split, I peered out to watch the terrain roll by. It was remarkably different from what we last saw at sunset. Gone was the lush greenness, now replaced by a much more arid landscape with rolling hills, reminding me of the Sonoran desert in Arizona or central Mexico.
We had breakfast at an outdoor café on the waterfront where ferry ports, bus lines and the railroad converge, reconnecting with our new friends Eric & Opal. Afterwards, we made our way to our accommodations for the night, the Villa Matejuska, situated an easy walk off the waterfront promenade and tucked behind St. Marys, the nearby Catholic cathedral, where we were periodically serenaded by the tower’s Carillion. (As I draft this, I’m sitting outside our apartment on the balcony. The sun is just coming up, pleasantly cool, lite breeze, birds are everywhere and sunlight bathes the walls of the courtyard.) The Villa was a very pleasant surprise. Having only 6 rooms, ours are the only ones on the top (4th ) floor …. thus the balcony. Inside, the rooms have pitched, exposed pine ceilings, giving the space something of an Alpine feel. We’re very pleased.
From what I’ve seen, I’m very impressed with the Croatians we’ve encountered. They all seem friendly, down-to-earth and accommodating. After dinner last night, we walked down to the Promenade, where a group sang apparently Croatian folk songs. The crowd was into the music, swaying to and fro. The most striking scene to me was a young lady dancing to the music with her cat and a red umbrella, shortly to be joined by another lady, in her 70’s.