What in Croatian?!

Bono-giorno!

Another indescribable weekend in Europe filled with great food, great friends, and even better views.  Like Budapest, the trip to Split, Croatia was booked through Bus2Alps (a company that plans trips for students studying abroad and provides transportation, lodging and optional activities).  The 12 hour journey faced a few set-backs and quickly turned into 16 hours of being cramped on a bus with the person in front of me in my lap with her seat reclined all the way (sigh).  2 hours of sitting at a rest stop off the highway because the bus needed a piece replaced… 1.5 hours sitting at border control between Slovenia and Croatia because a girl forgot her passport back in Rome… Finally, we arrive in Split at 12 pm Friday afternoon.

What the locals considered a “cloudy” day was to me a perfect spring day – 65 and sunny.  The weather made for a beautiful walking tour through the historic part of the city.  Split is filled with beauty: Dicletian’s Palace, stray cats roaming the streets, crumbling stone architecture, quaint stores, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, fish markets, coffee stands, and of course, a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.

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Dicletian’s Palace had a familiar feel to it, as it should.  To my fellow Game of Thrones fans: The Children (Season 4 Episode 10) – Daenerys locks up her dragons in the catacombs.  This was filmed under Dicletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia.  Yes, I had a huge fan-girl moment. Look familiar?

Our tour guide said he feels proud that such a well-renowned show was filmed in his home town.  He recalled relaxing over morning coffee when he saw Daenerys and crew running back and forth from one filming location to another.  Ugh.

After a pleasant day exploring the city, laying on the beach, and indulging in delicious Dalmatian delicacies, a good nights sleep was well needed to prepare for a long day on the Adriatic Sea.

Saturday, we found ourselves on a boat departing from Split to the Island of Brač.  With Bus2Alps, we rented the boat for just ourselves, ate lunch, and hung out in the sun for hours.  It was a great opportunity to make friends with people studying abroad in different cities.

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The weather couldn’t have been more perfect (well, I guess I wouldn’t have complained if it was warmer).  Sunny and 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky.  Not ideal for getting my tan on, but it still felt amazing .  The Adriatic Sea is the most beautiful water I’ve seen so far.  Each body of water I see gets more beautiful than the last.  Absolutely crystal clear, blue and green hues, a little nippy, but refreshing after basking in the sun.  This was a day I’ll never forget.

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After a relaxing 2 days filled with the beach, we departed Split early Sunday morning and made a stop at Krka National Park.  This was easily one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.  It was rejuvenating to take a break from all the cities I’ve been to.  My lungs swelled with fresh air as we took a ferry ride across a lake and to the park.  The water was so incredibly smooth and still – the only movement on the water, besides the plethora of swans, were the ripples we made as we glided across the smooth, glass-like surface.

After departing the boat and reaching land again, I took a deep breath, slowly inhaling the fresh air my body has been missing.  Surrounded by the greenest foliage I’ve ever seen, we made our way up a path that brought us to a gorgeous waterfall.

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While largest at this point, this was just the end of the waterfall system. As I strolled further into the park, the smaller waterfalls and tributaries gushing into the system had me in awe.  Mother Nature at her finest – absolute serenity.  I tried to visualize the park untouched by man, without the bridges passing over, or the wooden planked paths hovering over the streams.  Imagine strolling through the forest hundreds of years ago and stumbling upon this wonder.  I took time to myself, wandering aimlessly, photographing twisted trees, floating ducks, stone cottages, and of course, the roaring water.  I have never felt so at peace.

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Croatia – I will never forget the unbelievable moments I spent with you.  A relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle is exactly what I needed, and exactly what I received.  Thank you.

Ciao for now!

Xxx,

Natalie

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