Following our day in Makarska, we decided to venture across the water to explore one of the many islands accessible from Split.
Supetar in Brač is one of the closest islands in proximity to Split, and takes a little under an hour to reach by boat. Tickets are available from a hut situated at the end of the pier in the harbour, and cost a very reasonable 45 kuna (£4.50) one-way.
The boats to Brač are huge car ferries, and are operated by ‘Jadrolinija’ – one of the main operators from Split harbour. They feature a reasonably priced bar which sells alcohol, soft drinks, ice cream and the odd bit of food. It was a smooth and comfortable ride, and Joelle even got the chance to see some dolphins on the way out (I was too indulged in my ice-cream).
The struggle to get on and off said ferries is however, very real. GOD people are impatient – be aware of angry people with heavy suitcases who like to wave them around very closely to your unprotected flip flopped feet.
Brač is really popular with the tourists, but after about five minutes of walking around, we had fled the crowd and the island instantly felt really relaxed and subdued.
The island has a lot to offer in terms of sports, including quad bike and buggy hire. Mopeds seem to be the main method of transport, although apparently helmets are limited, as we witnessed someone whizz past and steal a helmet sat on top of a parked motorbike.
We toddled down to one of the many beaches after getting lost for about half an hour and parked ourselves on some sun beds. Joelle and I aren’t very good at sitting still and after about twenty minutes, the inner child in us was let loose and we hired a pedalo WITH A SLIDE (again ridiculously cheap – 40 kuna for an hour). After about ten minutes of gentle pedalling past the giant inflatable total wipeout course, and admiring the gorgeous scenery past that, we were approached by four very drunk American girls, who were taking a break from selfies in the sea.
They swam up to our pedalo and asked to use our slide. Already amused by how crazy they were, we of course said yes. The first girl climbed up the stairs no problem, slid down, and landed rather gracefully in the sea.
Girl number two climbed up the stairs, rocking the pedalo with each step, to the point where I began to feel seasick – reached the top, and fell backwards, hitting every.single.step on the way down. To make matters worse, her friends holding the waterproof camera she had previously been taking selfies with, caught the whole thing on camera. Priceless.
After pedalling back to the coast, grabbing something to eat and taking lots of touristy photos, we headed back towards the port to catch the ferry to Split. During the ride back we concocted a plan to go out and get drunk, and so headed straight back to the apartment to get ready.
Following even more olives and bread and some lethal cocktail which tasted like paint stripper; we stumbled upon a food festival with live music – which later became our favourite stomping ground. Beer, tequila and more beer later, we retreated to the apartment to get some shut eye for our first full day in Split.
Hangover, breakfast and an ice cream later, we were on our merry way to Hajduk Split FC’s stadium to see what all the fuss was about. It was a fair walk in the heat, with hangovers, but we soon arrived at what I can only describe as an old burnt-out spaceship.
We walked the perimeter, less than impressed by what we were seeing. Although absolutely massive, the stadium clearly hadn’t been renovated from the outside since it was built in 1979. Split is the oldest football team in Croatia, so we were expecting something quite spectacular.
However, our minds were quickly changed when a strange looking man approached us and asked us if we wanted a tour of the inside. For 35 Kuna. Just the two of us. Alarm bells ringing, we accepted regardless. YOLO and all that.
Turns out this guy was an official tour guide, and apparently just waits around the stadium all day to see if he can lure anyone into a guided tour. And I’m so glad he preyed on us. He was extremely knowledgeable, gave us access into the three huge trophy rooms, and took us pitch-side, patiently waiting for us to snap as many photos as we wished. After finding out we were Derby County and Manchester United fans, he began name-dropping as many players from each team as he could during our tour, including Igor Štimac who I never knew was Croatian, let alone played for the national team.
After waving him goodbye and spending the next five hours exploring Split – including yet another visit to the food festival, and snapping photos of Diocletian’s Palace – which is truly historic and wonderful, we returned back to the apartment to get changed and prepare for the hike up Marjan Hill.
Expecting a restaurant at the top, we climbed the stairs up Marjan Hill excited and hungry. We had been told about the panoramic views of Split at the top so were looking forward to dining with such a view. Unfortunately the restaurant had been closed and reopened as a bar, which would have been disappointing had the views not been so spectacular. I’d definitely recommend the walk, for the views alone.
Day four complete, we headed home – eagerly anticipating the following day’s trip to Krka National Park – which turned out to be the highlight of the entire trip – stay tuned!