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Hvar, Split, Zagreb

Written on: Wednesday June 9th, 2010

A journal entry from: Adriatic to Amsterdam

We started off the day by taking a ferry to a town called Hvar, on an island of the same name. Hvar is a small swanky old port town with a history of olive trees and lavender fields. We had heard of the lavender fields and Tamsin was determined to see them. So as the day's heat subsided, we decided to take a 'jog' up the mountain. The path that was pointed out to us pettered out quickly and we found ourselves bushwacking up thorny brush and rocks until we came out at a small farm on a bench. The farmer spoke no english but the use of the word 'gift' as in the german word for poisonous, tipped me off that we could communicated in broken German. This would come in handy many times over our time in eastern europe. In any case he pointed us on our way, with the warning that there are poisonous snakes in the area which Tamsin was not stoked on. We arrived at a town that had the opposite feel of Hvar town - meaning absolutely no tourists. and we were stared upon. the lavender fields weren't as expansive as we had expected but the vistas were beautiful and the history of olive tree plantations, as evidence by the thousands of piles of rocks and terraces around us, was astounding. From there we had to run an addition 6 km back into Hvar and had run out of water.

We spent the evening in Hvar with a two-litre bottle of beer in the old town square and along the water which made for perfect people-watching.

The next morning I woke to Tamsin talking to a girl in our shared kitchen. She was from north Vancouver and after telling her that my brother lived there she asked, "is your brother Joel VanderMarel?". Well yes he is. Crazy! Pam played dodgeball with Joel and this reminded us of how small the world can be. We spent the morning going to the market and at the beach before boarding another ferry to Split.

In Split we went to visit the Diocletian palace (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletian's_Palace) of which the oldest parts were the most interesting. Many additions and modifications had been made and the area was laced with shops that repeated from shoes, bathing suits, jewelry and over again. We climbed a hill in the nearby park to get a better perspective.

That night we took a sleeper train to Zagreb. It baffled us how the 300 km distance could take all night to accomplish and we had a lot of sleepless hours to ponder this as the heat and the fumes from the diesel locomotive kept us awake for most the night. By morning it had cooled and we caught a bit of sleep before arriving in Croatia's capital. Not knowing what to expect we were pleasantly surprised by the charm and architecture in Zagreb. The downtown is beautiful with a mix of old architecture from different periods. We also found an amazing produce market at which we stocked up for our train into Slovenia.