Thursday, 7 October 2010

Adriatic Cruise, Part 3.

(You should start with Adriatic Cruise Part 1.

18 September 2010; Saturday: Split (Croatia)

Split was another of those visits where we could have walked across the road from the Harbour straight into the Old Town inside Diocletian's Palace. However, this time, the excursion gave real added value - trouble is, you can never be sure unless you've done extensive research beforehand.

Our tug for Split (I like tugs)

Anyway, we took the tour again and were taken to a sculpture galley on a hill above the town. This was a beautiful modernist building, holiday home of the sculptor Igor Mestrovic and is now filled with his sculptures; bronzes, stone carvings and panels and some wood carvings.

The house itself overlooked the bay with the best views in the city. This was one of the occasions when, had we not taken the excursion, we would not have visited Mestrovic’s house or seen the sculptures and would certainly have missed out on a great experience. It’s a very difficult choice to make when you don’t have enough information.

The sculptures seemed to fall into 2 categories, or 2 periods of his life. The first was very classical, representational and almost brutally realist and the second a more stylised almost art deco style. They were stunning and one in particular made a great impression on Marea.

Alabaster panel: Madonna

Caryatid in traditional Croatian dress

The dining room

Bronze panel

Bronze of Mestrovic's wife

Stylised alabaster panel

This is the bronze that impressed Marea

Wood panel

Orient Queen in Split Harbour
We then went down to the old city inside Diocletian’s Palace walls. We followed the tour for a while but went our own way after visiting the cathedral and temple of Apollo.

Split 'promenade' the harbour's on the right and Diocletian's Palace on the left (behind the parasols)

Entering through the basement
There was such a lot to see but we also found time to sit in a café and have a drink. From the harbour, you enter the palace through the basement area where there are shops and stalls. Marea bought a couple of pairs of silver earrings for about £25 and we also bought a replica of the Mestrovic statue that had so impressed Marea earlier.

The Forum

Inside the Cathedral
Photography is forbidden inside the Cathedral but no-one took any notice. I have to say I do not understand why they make these rules when the art inside is supposed to belong either to God or to the whole world. If they charged a small fee, say 1euro, to take photos, they could spend the proceeds on conserving their appalling paintings which have never been cleaned in centuries.

The Temple of Apollo

Forum Cafe
I rather enjoyed the fact that this sort of trading, stalls and cafés must have taken place here since the time of the Romans.

We ended with a beer and iced coffee in a pavement café, then walked back to the boat (which, by now had moored in a previously occupied berth) for lunch on the open Boat Deck in very high winds but it was still very hot.

As we sailed, it was beginning to cloud over and, before long, the sun had gone. Still warm enough to sit out with a G+T, though. There’s a thunderstorm on the way during the night.

Tomorrow: Venezia!

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