Split or no Split; that’s the question.
We were pondering whether we should go straight from Plitvice lakes to Hvar Island or whether we should half the car journey and spend one night in Split. As my Father-In-Law was travelling with us, we finally decided we would stop one night at Split so as to make the trip less strenuous.
Split with a population of 200,000 is Croatia’s second largest city. Home to Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Split offers a wealth of museums and Roman ruins with a dramatic mountain backdrop, and a large promenade facing a vast expanse of the blue sea.
We arrived Split on 7 May, which happened to be the high point of the Saint Domiuus Festival (Sudamja) of Split. It seemed that the whole town has come out to greet us. They were all out on the Riva (the seaside promenade), celebrating their festival.
This festival, which is also the Day of the City commemorating the martyrdom of saint Domnius, has been celebrated for hundreds of years. Thousands of residents are on the Riva taking part a big celebration with street festivals, music, and religious observances. The streets were filled with festive Croatians.
The promenade was turned into a big playground for the open-air bazaar. There are all kinds of stalls selling traditional household products, hand-crafted artwork, embroidery, musical instruments, toys and snacks. People enjoyed their day with the simple pleasures of eating, drinking, singing, dancing and laughing. Nowhere in Croatia have we detected any traces of the civil wars from 1991 to 1995. The Croatians we met and talked to seemed very happy with their lives. In a way, we find them sweet too. On this day, they were jovial.
We returned to the Riva after having the best seafood dinner we ever have in our whole trip. The whole town was ablaze. The outdoor concert has already started and thousands of people jammed the promenade.
Split, is well-known for their musical tradition and passion. On that night, it seemed that the whole town was singing and enjoying the musical performances and concerts. We could feel every bit of it. The festival was drawn to a spectacular close with a colorful display of fireworks above the waterfront.
While heading back to the hotel, we were happy that we have made the decision to stop at Split.