Split, Croatia - A Press Trip with Icelolly Holidays

A few months ago a very exciting thing happened indeed and I won a holiday from the lovely folks at Icelolly Holidays at their Blog at the Beach event, which you can catch up on here. Fast forward to September and Vicky from Eat Sleep Love Travel and I were giddy little kippers as it was time to pack up and hoy our behinds to Croatia.

You know when you and your bestie haven't seen each other properly for ages without the presence of men folk or other friends and then you just don't stop talking for about 10 hours. Yeah, that happened, except it was multiplied over four days. The fact we made it out of the airport lounge, after quaffing a couple of glassees of wine and catching up, was some small miracle.
But our flight to beautiful Croatia was in and who were we to keep it waiting? Boy were we glad we didn't just spend our holiday in the airport lounge, as when we arrived in Split to sunshine, a toasty 29 degrees and a stunning town just waiting to be explored, we were bowled over.
We got acquainted with our digs for our trip, which was Diokles Studio, a delightful Air BnB apartment right in the heart of the old town. Contrary to its exterior, inside it couldn't have been more contemporary and had every convenience you could imagine. Being on the ground floor, they had made it very private by using blackout blinds but the funky led lights made it feel like a proper girlie party pad.
First up on our agenda was to meet Josko our lovely tour guide and get a guided walk of the old town to learn more about this charming place. The town is mainly within the old Diocletion city walls and one of the first ports of call was the daily market. Josko explained that the locals still shop at the market,as there is no major supermarket in Split, hence why it was so busy
 We got to sample some of the local delicacies such as Carab, which is a sweet fruit used in cakes. We also were offered figs, which have become quite the obsession for me lately. Whether eating them with goats cheese or wearing them in perfume, I am hooked.
Josko took us to outside the walls and explained that over 2000 residents still live in the Diocletian Palace, a Roman castle which dates back to the 4th century AD. Thinking that so many people still live there, when normally something that old would be sterile and preserved, was actually quite cool.
Being a massive Game of Thrones nut I couldn't resist the opportunity to stand where Khalesi once sat on her throne. Dubrovnik is well known for its filming locations but Split has some tricks up its sleeve too.
We moved into what was the dining room of the Palace and Josko surprised us by inviting us to dine with him where the emperor would have eaten all those years ago. Out came the home made cherry brandy, which was exceptional, and a bag of figs and there, among the ruins of the once grand and salubrious surroundings, we ate like kings and queens.
 At that the loudest chorus rang out above us and we went to investigate. The local Capella group sounded beautiful and the acoustics inside the walls really helped it echo, making for a very powerful experience.
 Continuing through the Palace quite the crowd was gathering and it soon became obvious it was for the changing of the guard.
Or rather the 4th century AD equivalent which is a fun little reenactment which happens at 12 noon every day during high season .The emperor made his appearance and the crowd cheered in response. All very good fun and a bit pantomime.
We then meandered and wandered down the narrow little streets which reminded me so much of my trip to Venice. It really shares so many similarities and you really need to go out and get lost to make the most of this fantastic place. 

It's got some cool cafes, shops and bars but like anywhere, get off the main square to find the undercover gems.
It all feels very Mediterranean with washing hanging high above the street between cobbled stone buildings. One of the enduring pictures of Italy in my mind is the white curtains billowing out of old wooden shutters and washing drying in the baking sun.

Josko then showed us the clock tower which had a really rather quirky feature - take 2 minutes and see if you can 4-see what is different about it. .
 We soaked up the atmosphere with gelato in hand, taking refuge from the midday heat.
 Before Josko gave us the lowdown about where to grab a beer once the sun goes down. This place was quite the enigma and could only be described as eclectic in style but looked like a lot of fun,

Soon it was time to end our time with Josko but not before he took us to this great local cafe for lunch and told us more about Croatia's recent history. Although it shares many similarities with Italy, there is a certain stoicism about the people which comes from many turbulent worn torn years.

It was fascinating to hear someone talk about it being in their living history. If you are ever in Split, I recommend you look Josko up as his tour was very intimate, personal and humbling.

And he knows all the best places to get some icy cold beers too!

Have you been to Croatia before? It's such a beautiful country and I'd love to take a longer trip there.

1 comment

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