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Don’t touch the rice

45 minutes for waffles

Hey everyone, Kayla and Katie here! For our last day of the trip, we started off the day bright and early with breakfast at 7:50 at the hotel and began our excursion up the mountains at 8:30. After a short walk through the city, we trekked up 51 flights of stairs, with many up-hills roads as well, accumulating around 4,900 steps total up to the highest point. After a lot of heavy breathing and sweating, we drank some cold fountain-water and gazed out on the breathtaking view of the city of Split. As Ms. Healy read off a few fun facts about the city, we caught our breath and cooled down before running back down the stairs, stopping at a playground on the way.

From there, we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up a bit and change out of our sweaty clothes. At that point with stomachs grumbling, in our own small groups we made our way back to the city for free time and lunch with many of us stopping at Silk (the same restaurant we were OBSESSED with in Korcula at their Split location).  After chowing down on kimchi fried rice and udon noodles, we walked around window shopping for a bit. While strolling through narrow alleyways with small shops lining each street, Meghan stopped to look at some rings placed strategically in a flowerpot of rice. As half the group kept walking, a woman popped out of nowhere and whisper-yelled “Don’t touch the rice!” We quickly shuffled on to meet the rest of the group at the main square of Diocletian’s palace to climb up (more stairs, very, very steep stairs) to another beautiful viewpoint. Although the tower had some of the original stairs, much of the tower was under construction, so the stairs were mostly scaffolding.

Next up was a tour of the underground tunnels beneath the palace, which are from around 300 AD. We were able to explore the tunnels to the east and west, and journey at our own pace through the many stone halls, all the while making friends with a few cats and pigeons along the way. These underground structures were connected to another underground market that sold all sorts of trinkets, art, and jewelry. One aspect that caught all of our attentions was a company called “For Gas” that sold interesting prints and other art pieces. After talking with the woman at the counter of the stand, a few of us decided to check out the store a little way into town during our upcoming free time. After admiring the native Croatian art, both of us bought souvenirs to take home along with an informational pamphlet about their store. Keeping with our theme throughout the trip of talking with shop-owners, we found one of the men at the counter originally lived in Chicago and informed us more about the store. After more free time and even more gelato, including a red bull flavor that we all had a taste of, we made the walk back to the hotel to cool down and relax a bit before dinner.

 On the walk to dinner, we passed through the old city, and sat on a street corner, waiting for our table to be prepped, entertaining ourselves with hair-tie slingshot games. Dinner included pork ribs, hamburgers, soup, risotto, and more. Shortly after, we went back to the coast by the water, where some of us stopped for gelato and a Peppa pig balloon on a stick. We also stopped to pet a cute dog, and take pictures in front of some fancy cars that were a part of a car show that we happened to stumble upon. After handing the Peppa pig balloon off to an excited little girl, we ventured off again for free time.

To end the busy day and our two-week trip, we debriefed in a park across from the old city and shared our favorite memories from the day and the trip. Some including making friends with an abundance of cats and dogs, talking to a veteran from the Bosnian and Croatian war, eating lots of gelato, and just experiencing the different cultures of the countries. After that, we walked back to the hotel for our last free time before our early wake-up tomorrow morning for our flight home to New Jersey. Although we will miss the trip and the friends we made throughout this adventure, we are definitely excited to come home to our own beds, showers, and restaurants that give free water. 

Signing off, 

Katie and Kayla <3 :)

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