Day Eight. No Sea Kayaks for the Adventurous

The three of us were feeling pretty ambitious when we planned to be at a Split walking tour for 10:30 am this morning. We forgot about the realities of a pub crawl, and the morning after a late night like that. To be fair, we were up by about 9:30, but that wasn’t nearly enough time to shower, eat breakfast, and get to town in time. We decided to skip that and to take the day a little slower, so that we wouldn’t have to stay overly rushed all day. We also planned to go to Diocletian’s Palace after the walking tour and then directly to a sea kayaking tour afterwards as well. Skipping the walking tour, we made ourselves eggs and sausages, and some wraps for the road.

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We headed into town and stopped at Diocletian’s Palace, in order to get ourselves back on track. It’s been there, in varying stages, since at least 305 CE. A huge fortress, it’s worth a look. The parts that exist were formerly the substructure of the palace, and were kept in really good condition due to the fact that after a few hundred years, it was filled with debris and garbage. Somewhat ironic but a good twist of fate for the building. Diocletian must have been a pretty impressive guy, not only to have been a caesar, but to get this built solely for his retirement.

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After the visit, we came out into the main courtyard, where plays are performed or bands play most evenings. We sat for a half hour or so and finished our wraps, but then decided to go book our kayaking tour and to get ready for that. We had a promoter for it come up to us even as we sat eating, so we were sure that there would be spots for us. Getting to the office, we asked to book the tour for that day, and the receptionist turned us away, saying that not only the tour was full, but that you have to reserve a minimum of two hours ahead of time, which is written no where. Not wanting to make a fuss, we went on our way and tried to make a new plan for the rest of the day. We were left extremely impressed by the private beach we were at yesterday, and decided to repeat that endeavour. We swam for a couple of hours and tried to enjoy the lovely weather for the rest of the afternoon.

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Walking back to town, we decided to go for a nice dinner, as the kayaking and the tour both kind of didn’t work out today. We found a lovely little place right off the main boulevard, and sat for a couple hours just talking the night away while we watched the sunset. Deanna ordered herself some fish and spinach, and Nastassia and Jan decided to share a meat plate that sounded delicious. The food was pretty great, and the company even better.

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Finishing the night off on a sweet note, we noticed that a gelato place had ferrero rocher flavoured gelato out, and we couldn’t resist. Delicious, sweet gelato to wrap up a good time in Split while staring at some twinkly lights over the water. All three of us went home perfectly content and now we just have to spend a little time packing up all of our stuff and making sure that we are ready to go for out 6:15 am bus tomorrow morning!

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Spavati zbijeno!

Day Seven. Beaches, Sun, Tanning

Wanting some serious beach time today, the three of us had a quick breakfast, made some wraps from leftover burgers the night before, packed some towels and some beers and hit the road. We walked through the old town to get an overview of all that it had to offer before going to Marjan Park to enjoy the sunshine. The hills in split, combined with narrow streets and the seaside architecture made for an interesting walk there.

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The park has many mini-hiking paths, as well as a great jogging trail, with the beach surrounding it almost from every side. We did an easy hike/walk for an hour or two just to explore the park and to find our bearings, and then set up camp at our favourite little beach that we’d seen along the way. As it was lunchtime already, we set up our feast on the table and dug in. The wraps tasted even more delicious when paired with the gorgeous view of the sea and the sun and the Croatian coastline.

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Swimming in the Adriatic sea, we took advantage of Jan’s waterproof camera again and spent the afternoon in complete bliss, just swimming, diving, and enjoying the perfect weather.


Walking back to town around 5, we stopped by Split’s biggest market to pick up some in-season grapes, peaches, and pears. We also picked up some walnuts and enjoyed them later back at our flat. Walking through the market, you can really feel a different culture than you’re used to, one where bargaining or selling is a way of life, and the fresh fruits were really picked within the last 24 hours and are really and truly fresh.

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This night we decided to go on one of Split’s pub crawls. Starting by the bell tower behind Diocletian’s palace, it took us to 4 different pubs and clubs around Split. We met a ton of other travelers, enjoyed some free pizza, danced at a seaside club, and played some flip cup with a bunch of fun people. Back at our flat at the end of the night, we felt a little bad that our panda mascot had missed out on all the fun the whole day, and we arranged him in a way so that he could have his own pub night while we went to bed.

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Day Two. Don’t touch little girl’s knees

Waking up in Budapest bright and early for a full day of wandering around and exploring the city. A fairly light and easy morning, aside from Nastassia doing an interesting taste test after adding 3 spoons of salt to her coffee, we got ourselves ready and out the door by 10 am.


We began with a free guided walking tour that leads through the high points of both Buda and Pest. After a quick Hungarian pronunciation lesson, BudaPESHT, we also were made to rub a little princess’ knees for luck. Crossing the Chain Bridge over to the Buda side, we passed into an area contributing an entirely different feel to the city.

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The day was a scorcher, but our lovely tour guide assured us that the tap water was extremely clean and fully drinkable, so we were saved from thirst or overpriced bottles of water by the convenient water fountains located all throughout the city. Climbing up to castle hill, which our guide mentioned wasn’t really a hill and also contains no castles, all three of us were charmed by the custom made Hungarian roofing tiles found atop the Matthias Church. Apparently fire resistant, self-cleaning, acid resistant, and water resistant as well, they are a Hungarian invention, proudly kept secret from all other manufacturers. If you want them for your home, you’re going to have to order directly from the Hungarian artisans.

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Done with the tour and not with the rubbing, we all looped back the way we came from to get a second look at some highlights. This pot-bellied police officer is here only to help you find a good meal, in exchange for rubbing his belly and mustache.


St. Stephens basilica is just down the road from this officer, and is the largest church to be found in Budapest. Formerly containing the whole right arm of St. Stephen, it now contains only the fist…or most of it, after some good old Christian relic-sharing. It also contains the burial places of several kings and queens, and a particular football star from the mid-1900s who helped break a 90 year British winning streak. Hungary is apparently no longer such a forerunner for football, and this is now an even touchier subject than their political history. As well, a curious note – this was formerly St. Stephen‘s church, but when the pope rolled on by, he made a side comment of what a lovely basilica Budapest had. No one argues with the pope, and so the church is now renamed.

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Stopping at a smaller vendor for a quick bite, some goulash soup and an enormous slice of pizza sets you back 950 HUF, or 4-5 CAD. Not too shabby! Escaping the heat by dipping our feet in a refreshing public pool – under which a club dubbed ‘Aquarium‘ is located (which we may be returning to later…) – we wrapped up our touristy part of the afternoon.


Handling the more serious, we stopped one of the train stations to book our tickets on our overnight train to our next location. This was supposed to be a quick jaunt, but turned into an hour long endeavor where our tickets for the international train in the capital of Hungary in a big major train station were hand-written by the woman at the cash. Warding off a few questions about whether we were having issues, we finally got the tickets and went merrily on our way to enjoy the rest of our day in Budapest.


Going for a lovely night walk, we found langos, a traditional Hungarian dish, and then washed it down with a few drinks found at their outdoor vendors. Tequila sunrises and Mojito‘s before bedtime? Can‘t say no to that!

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