It took a full day of travelling to reach Split, where – with delicious aptness – Josh and I were set to part ways. He had a new job to get back to, and the price of late summer airfares were leading him to regret not booking a return flight, while I was off to explore parts of Bosnia.
I didn’t much fancy spending time on the Croatian Coast – since it would inevitably push me back into the world of expensive accommodation and flashy food – but I took the hit since Euroventure apparently wanted some research done there….
Well, I’m pretty glad I stuck around because it’s glorious: both Split itself, and the hundreds of kilometres of Croatian coastline you pass on the approach. We didn’t even stop in Dubrovnik – a kind of wonderland for fans of old towns – or any of the dozens of enticing islands you can see from the coastal road. Split entrances you almost from the moment you arrive. The seafront was developed into a huge medieval fortress amidst the Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, so walking around the city centre feels like being in an open-air museum, except one where you get to spend all day tanning yourself and eating nice food, instead of pretending to take an interest in old shit.
Being there does give the impression of being fired straight back into Western Europe, although I suspect this is more a reflection of mass tourism than the realities facing the country as a whole. Almost everyone in Split at this time of year is a visitor, but you feel it’s just about enough of a proper place to manage them all.
Also, they seem at the gentle end of the tourist spectrum. Based on extensive research – two days of sitting in cafes, working on my laptop and talking to almost nobody – I’d say this is the kind of place where people who like culture, and hen parties who are trying very hard not to embarrass their nation, go on holiday.
No doubt there is a rowdier side to Split. My dorm in Adriatic Hostel had the following unique notice printed on the door: ‘Feel like vomiting? Please use the toilets. If you vomit on your bed, we will charge you for the damage. Thanks!’
Erm, pardon? I don’t think I’m being presumptuous when I say that no one intends to vomit on their bed. People do intend to get blind drunk, which may lead to it accidentally happening. However, I doubt that when deciding whether or not to go on ‘Split’s number one pub crawl’ – as advertised in numerous flyers around the hostel – many guests think to themselves “Well I would, but I haven’t factored into my budget the cost of cleaning my puke off the bedsheets”….
And, by the way, just adding a smiley and a picture of Stewie from Family Guy doesn’t make the notice fun and friendly – take note, Adriatic Hostel.
It was a hostel that offered little to write home about in general, but don’t worry because Euroventure won’t send you there anyway. That said, I cannot speak for the vomit policies of the hostels Euroventure does send backpackers to. Perhaps you can ask them to include a puke-bag in your travel essentials pack, just in case…