Once we realized that spending 9 days in Dubrovnik was way too much, we headed down to the bus station and bought tickets to Split. One five hour bus ride and $30 later, we were in Split. Fionn had been there a few years earlier during his solo backpacking days, but we decided to give it a try and see what was going on for New Year's.
Split has a very interesting old town. A huge part is taken up by Diocletian's Palace, the residence of a Roman era ruler. But rather than tearing down the Roman bit, the people of Split just built around it. So you end up with a mish mash of Roman architecture, temples to Roman gods, trophies from campaigns in Egypt (like a real Egyptian sphinx) alongside medieval streets, soaring church belltowers, and lots of knick knack shops.
It's pretty cool.
We paid to climb the bell tower, which gave us an incredible view over the city. I love the juxtaposition of mountains and ocean. Fionn said it reminded him of California.
The one thing we didn't like about visiting this cool ancient city with its tiny narrow streets were the fireworks. Once Christmas was over, it seemed like every Croatian boy in the entire country was running around throwing firecrackers everywhere. When we visited Split on New Year's Eve, the firecracker attacks had reached a fever pitch. Fionn and I felt like we were in a war zone with explosions in every directions.
It didn't help that these boys were tossing firecrackers into the city streets as people walked by, and then cackling gleefully as the noise reverberated on the narrow streets of the old city.
Honestly, I was a nervous wreck by the end of the day!
Despite the annoying kids, we continued our walk and tried to stay away from the crowds (since that seemed to attract the kids). We were rewarded with some gorgeous views all to ourselves.
Perfect day: History all to myself
We heard rumors that there was a really famous Croatian pop singer ringing in the New Year with a giant street party that night. But as night fell the fireworks increased and once a kid threw one at me, we were both pretty done.
So Fionn and I spent New Year's Eve cuddled up watching a marathon of the Mummy (in English!!), stepped outside to watch fireworks from afar at midnight, and then shared a kiss and some cake.
And that was pretty dang perfect.