Another 4 hour bus ride and we arrived in Split. This second bus ride provide a few complications. First the bus was late and when it did arrive it did not have Split listed as a destination. It appeared that half of the people were going to Split and half were going to Dubrovnik – both in opposite directions. About an hour into the trip the bus stopped and we all had to change bus. As the bus was mostly full of tourists, no one had any idea what to do. Once we were all on the right bus going to Split the journey was relatively smooth apart from the crazy driving. We arrived in Split just before lunch and our ferry to Italy wasn’t due to leave until 8pm so we stored our luggage for the day and headed out in search of good sights and good coffee.
Split is situated on the site of the Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian which dates back to 305AD. Remnants of the palace remain and halls that were once walked by Diocletian are now full of shops (shoe shops), cafes, and apartments.
We found Split to be much more pleasant than Dubrovnik. There were still the expensive restaurants however this time there were much cheaper options available, and fewer crowds. The coastline was also once again stunning. We found a great bakery called Bobis that had wraps for 25kuna (approx. $5 aud) and reasonably good coffee. We are missing large coffees. A large coffee in Europe seemingly equates to a small back home. A reason why we have caved and gone to Starbucks a couple of times. The coffees are large and relatively consistent.
We explored the area around Diocletian’s Palace and headed into the Split Museum which was small but provided enough to keep us interested for an hour or two. After we’d seen most of the town we found a great wine bar where we had a couple of glasses of a great Croatian red. Our days seem to be planned around what to do between coffee and wine which is Ok by us. That night we spent the night on board the Marko Polo, part of the Jardrolinijia line to get us from Split to Ancona in Italy. We had booked a basic cabin in the hope to get some sleep. What we had instead was a ferry that had no stabilisation. There doesn’t seem to be much information about the ferry companies online so will save a full review for later, but in a nutshell it was a very average experience for a very average price. We arrived in Ancona 12 hours later looking forward to our train to Venice. Ancona is just an average Italian port town and not wanting to be exhausted by churches before our Italian journey starts we decided to just wait a few hours out at the train station. In true Italian fashion our train was 50 minutes late but on the upside if your train is 50 minutes late you get 25% of your ticket back.
Finally we arrived in Venezia which was of course met with canals and gondolas. Having previously dreaded the hordes of people and tourist scams we were pleasantly surprised with what we found as we explored the unique, waterway city.