*writers disclaimer: while this was one of my favorite places I’ve visited, I have struggled writing this blog. I hear from other writers that’s just the way it goes. In my semi-professional opinion, this is one of my shittiest blog posts and I don’t even know why I’m putting it up other than it took me forever and I just want to be done with it. It’s long and stupid. I’ll shorten it for you: Split is amazing and you should go visit there before it gets too tourist-y. If you still continue reading, I’m sorry. **
I had stayed in a wonderful hostel In Zagreb, called Mali Mark. The owner, Igor, was extremely friendly and easy going, and it seemed to attract those kind of people. However, since they were going to be closing for a few weeks, it forced me to buy a ticket out of there. Also, the weather had been cold and rainy for 2.5/5 days and I was freezing my ass off, so I decided to head south.
After looking at a map of where to go, and remembering hearing the name before from a fellow travel blogger I follow, I decided on Split. I caught a 5 hour bus ride here, which seemed to prove a little difficult for me.
I booked the ticket online thru FlixBus, which I had used from Venice to Ljubljana, and Ljubljana to Zagreb. They are bright green and you can’t miss them. As I stood at the bus 45 minutes early, I didn’t see the bright green bus. I went on a mission to find a restroom to pee, but that proved unsuccessful. I found one, but I didnt have any more Kuna (their money) on hand, so decided I’d wait for the bus.
After some great confusion and asking someone, I find the bus 2 minutes before it was supposed to leave. Perfect timing because I was going to burst. Problem was, when I got on the bus, I didn’t see a restroom. fuck.
I asked the man checking our tickets if there was a restroom stop along the way, he said “neh”, which I drew the conclusion meant “you’re screwed.”
I tried to sleep through the pain. If there is one true I really needed my narcolepsy come through, it was now. I realized I was risking waking up to a bed-wetting situation, but I had decided to gamble that. Two and a half hours later, I woke from my nap and ready to burst.
On the brink of tears, I made my way to the front of the bus and asked the man if we could please pull over. I was willing to pop a squat in front of everyone if that’s what it meant. I want to say he was going to stop anyway, but I think the look of desperation on my face sealed the deal. There were also many more stops along the way, and I cannot confirmed if those were pre-planned or he knew he’d have a bigger mess if he didn’t add those in.
I got into Split about 11pm at night. While I have adamantly tried to avoid arriving into any new city at dark, there was no other options for me It was a quick 15 minute was to my hostel, and quite beautiful along the way. I walked the coastline the majority of the way and took in the smell of the ocean. Nothing makes my heart feel settled more than the sight, sound and smell of the sea.
I stayed at a hostel called Wonderful World. The had been recommended it from a Canadian fellow I met in Zagreb. It seemed good enough and although it was 11pm on a Saturday night, I climbed into bed because internally I’m 80. Unfortunately, the three men in my hostel were not 80 and came drunkenly stumbling in and “whispering” at four in the morning until nearly six, so my sleep was pretty minimal.
The next following eight days are somewhat a blur. I had only intended to stay in Split for two nights, but when I wok e up that morning, I quickly knew I’d be changing my plans. The weather was perfect, the water was beautiful and cool, and the people were very friendly, both the locals and the new friends I made at my hostel.
One of the days I did a touristy thing and went to see a bunch of islands, including Vis, Hvar, and blue cave. Included is an unedited video of Blue Cave, it was one of those “I can’t believe what I’m seeing is real” moments.
We also hiked (reluctantly) to the Fortress at the top of Hvar. It was pretty awesome to look over the entire water, but I couldn’t find anyone to take of picture of me with the cannon as my dong, so here’s just the cannon. And the view.
Some of you are already updated on my overnight stay in Vis. For those of you that aren’t, summary is: I met a guy about 30 seconds before jumping on a ferry with him to a different island for a night. It was definitely an experience, and that’s mostly all I’ll say about that here. Except for when he went to hold me at bedtime it made me feel the feeling of safety and comfort that I hadn’t had in I don’t know how long, and also made me realize how much I neglect that part of my life.
I’ve had mixed feelings about it since that night. Perhaps because when I’m home I spoon my dog, I never think about not having that comfort of a warm body next to me. Added with that feeling of..I dont know.. safety? Protection? I don’t know how to describe that feeling, but I know it when I feel it. And that’s what got me to thinking about how rejected that portion of my life has come.
Words my dad told me keep coming to mind when I think of it. When I told him I want to travel the world (left out the blog part so he didn’t try to find it), he gave me his words of encouragement and wisdom… “You can have anything in the world you want honey, you just can’t have EVERYTHING.” I hate it when he’s right. And so, I pretty easily decided to continue tucking that “maybe someone IS out there for me” thought into my backpack, and I will trek on with the one love of my life that has never broke me:travel.
The next few days were spent with me wandering to the beach. One day I went biking with a fellow Washingtonian friend that was staying there (Tacoma, y’all! what are the chances?). We biked a big ole hill up the waterside and ended at the beach where we met our funny Scottish friend and lounged around the water. Life was not hard there, and I contemplated numerous times just staying and seeing what happens, but Roxie Heart’s face on my phone background changed my mind each time.
Two days before I left Split, I started talking to a local named Dragan. He was one of the first people to joke around with me and I could tell I enjoyed his humor. We had decided to meet up at the beach, which I had pretty much made my home base. While one the rocks on the beach, I met an older man (65 years old) who was from the area. He spoke a little broken English but told me he works near there and the best way to get in the water without getting stabbed by the sea-urchins.
As I got in the water he held his hand from the rocks to help me in. I slowed my pace getting in because it was at crotch level and pretty chilly at first. He started to splash a little water over me and I thought that was him being nice. I felt a bit uncomfortable, but pushed it off as him being a foreign old man just trying to help me. Then, I felt him kiss my shoulder from behind. The thought of the cold water no longer slowed me and I jumped right in and kept a distance from him in the water.
When I got back to my towel he kept talking to me and asked if I was staying in a hostel. When I said yes, he offered his place for me to come and stay. I thanked him for the offer but said I had friends there and needed to stay. After his continued comments on my physical appearance, I told him I was going to take a nap. He nodded that he understood and said “yes, you relax”.
I don’t know how long I was asleep for, but I woke up to the feeling of a finger tracing the line of my stomach down to my bathing suit bottom. I sat up immediately and grabbed my knees to my chest. At this point, I looked the other way and said my friend should be here anytime. I text Dragan and told him he was going o be my boyfriend for today and what happened. He agreed and also told me to tell the guy “fuck off”.
I’ve had lots of advice and questions since this event. Mostly “why didn’t you hit him or tell him to fuck off or leave or yell or something?” And the answer I have is shit, but it’s true. I froze. I’m terrible at communicating when it’s in anyway confrontational, even if that’s when a strange man is violating my personal space and touching my body.
Since then, I’ve reflected on that time and gotten more and more angry with myself. I have promised myself to try and work on speaking up. Although I’d just prefer for people to be decent human fucking beings and not violate someone’s space. Girl can dream..
Dragan and I spent a couple hours together and he came back to hang out at my hostel later than evening. We shared a lot of commonalities in our beliefs, and feelings on the “traditional” lifestyle of mortgages, marriages and babies, that we have both actively avoided. All in all, he was a nice guy and I enjoyed his humor.
Split has significantly increased in it’s tourism the last few years, and I anticipate as more people find out how beautiful it is, it will continue to grow. For now, it was a perfect getaway with the perfect weather. I would recommend anyone go there as soon as possible and take in one of my favorite countries to date.