split, croatia: the earth <3
It is nearly impossible to put into words or photos the beauty of the country of Croatia. After arriving from a 24 hour train ride, I stepped off at sunrise to be greeted by this view at the marina. The sea, sun, islands, mountains, greenery- all visible in one glance. Later in the day, my new friend Kristen, perfectly described the feeling: "it's like a country giving you a hug!!"
I arrived at my hostel, Split Guesthouse, to be greeted by Grandma. She cooks the most amazing breakfast for everyone in the morning (even includes a Nutella crepe!!). Josko (the owner) arrived soon after and is the most welcoming, hilarious person, ever. He looked at me and said "Are you coming to the waterfall?" "Sure!" I said and with that 8 others and myself were on our way to Krka National Park.
Our drive to the park was incredibly entertaining as a variety of entrances were closed so Josko improvised to get us there. After a lot of laughs via cliff u-turns, off-roading detours, finding boats and more- we made it! On our hike to the waterfalls, we walked along the greenest water ever!! Once we got to the waterfalls, we hiked around (beautiful docks and paths around endless falls) and went swimming!! SUCH a beautiful, majestic, fairy-tale place!!
After the park, we stopped at Klis- a thousands of year old fortress on top of the hill. The views are incredible and our instructor took us on an amazing tour explaining the history of Klis. He even gave us lessons in archery and sword fighting and we got to practice! Some Game of Thrones scenes have been filmed here so it was so cool to see it in person.
Our last stop of the day was at the ruins of the old Colosseum. It was perfectly timed at sunset and my new friends and I climbed along the arches. We all looked at each other in complete awe and could not believe the day we just had. I, especially, was not expecting it, however, am so grateful for these amazing memories and this beautiful world.
My hostel was incredible. Only 14 people stayed in 3 rooms so it was very cozy. This last photo shows the hostel walls, which are covered with great vibes and phrases from all over the world documenting their amazing time at the hostel. The common theme was the family-like atmosphere, which was felt immediately. The next day, my 5 new friends from my hostel and I went to the park nearby Split. We walked along the edge overlooking the sea and the islands. We found a secluded rock spot to spend the day swimming, listening to music, uncontrollably laughing, laying and jumping off of the rocks. We had the whole place to ourselves and had the best time ever!
We ended the day at the marina at sunset and then capped it off with ice cream. I accidentally took out the equivalent of $300 for $1 ice cream as I thought the ATM said "other amount..." Oops!! :)
The next day, I went to find a cafe to blog a bit. I ended up stumbling upon an amazing patio for lunch overarching the sea and a beach with yet again, the clearest water ever. I sat in awe as I watched people and dogs swimming and playing in the water, birds chirping above, the clouds moving within and out of the sun and the smells of the grass around me. All of my senses were completely heightened.
I proceeded to walk around the old town and then went on a run to the viewpoint in the park at sunset. I sat at the viewpoint from day-time to sunset to night. Watching the evolution from day to night was so beautiful and moving. I sat there meditating and reflecting and it was one of those "feeling on top of the world" (literally) and existential moments. What a beautiful world we live in....
Also, these are solar panels that can charge your phone that are seen throughout the city. So cool and environmental!
At the end of the day, I got a wrap at Sexy Cow (great name, right?!) My veggie wrap and fries were delicious and I sat for awhile talking to the owner, Ramona, and another customer, Jason, from America. This is one of my favorite things about traveling alone. Just making new friends wherever, whenever, so unexpectedly! I loved hearing their stories about Split and Croatia and travel. I am so grateful I got to know them so impromptu! Lastly, I hung out at the hostel with a guy from the UK and we made a sign to add to the wall. Such a beautiful week filled with the best scenes and best people.
A lot of my trip thus far has been in major urban cities. I absolutely love that and there is so much to experience with the culture, diversity and history. It has been so amazing now to be so immersed in nature. I think back to last week when I was on top of the mountain in the alps and now I am swimming in the sea. We are so fortunate to have such an incredibly beautiful world. It is so so so so so important we each play a role in protecting it, loving it and taking the utmost care of it!!! <3 It is everything!!!