Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Split, Meh

It just turned out that I booked most of the hotels through one booking site; two were through two others. The hotel in Budapest, one of the alternative booking agents, was fine, the accommodation in Split from the other alternative, less so.

It wasn't clear that it was rooms in a private home; the name of the place, ______ Inn, was not indicative. And until two days before, when they emailed me to offer airport transportation, I had assumed that like everywhere else, I would be paying via credit card.

Driving in from the airport, I saw loquat trees, pink oleander, fig trees, backyard grape vines, and a number of plants I realized that I hadn't seen since I left Cape Town. I was immediately predisposed to like Split.

As we approached town, I was slightly dismayed at the big box stores, the graffiti, the traffic, the look of careless industry, but I was still sure I would love the place.

Our driver dropped us in an alleyway, and we followed a woman up stairs, around corners, along alleys, and eventually entered a somewhat decrepit back door where we were led up to our rooms. The twin room was sweet in a rather spare way, with a kettle, a couple of mugs and bowls, a fridge that wasn't plugged in, and an adequate en-suite bathroom, but the double room, cute though it was, had no tables, closet space, nothing to put anything on or in, and the bathroom was in the outside hallway.

The very friendly proprietress showed us on a map where everything was, and recommended a couple of restaurants, and after settling in, we set off to explore.

To be sure, it had recently rained and was overcast and a little chilly, but hey! Cute seaside town! What's not to like?

We eventually ended up at one of the local restaurants where my excellent attitude started to degrade a little. The olives tasted pretty much like the cheap canned olives I avoid at my home supermarkets. The bread was homemade and good and the sheep cheese wasn't bad though. The vegetables were boiled, rather too much (and oh yeah,potatoes are not really vegetables). They clearly hadn't heated the oil for the fries to high enough temperatures, as they were limp and drenched in grease. The njoki (gnocchi) were doughy. The fish was greasy and unseasoned. The beer was apparently tasteless.

Jennica wasn't feeling well, so we came straight home. I found shutters to make the room dark - I like that! - and slept quite well, but not long enough, especially given that (a) it's my birthday and (b) we were meeting for breakfast at 10.

Then I showered, and approached the end of my goodwill.

No soap except for three-quarters empty travel-sized shower gels clearly th leavings of previous guests.

The. Hot. Water. Ran. Out. Before. I. Had. Finished. Soaping. Myself.

I cancelled the second night and extended our stay in Hvar, and we organized bus (to Dubrovnik on Friday) and ferry (to Hvar) tickets, wandered around Diocletian's Palace

and the fish market

and old town,

ate an overpriced but tasty meal (sigh. At a tourist restaurant. I'm now leery of the local cuisine) and here I sit on the fast catamaran to Hvar, which I am determined to like. I'm hoping for a delicious birthday dinner.

Indoors. It's chilly and drizzly.

I think I'll take my birthday some other time, since this one just isn't working out so fabulously.


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