We drove through the Neretva delta in Croatia on the way toward our final destination of Dubrovnik and passed the city of Perković, which made me wonder if at some point, my last name did not include an “h.”
There are fruit orchards and vegetable gardens on one side of the delta and houses on the other. At the foot of the cliffs, the villages are arranged around the waterways, which serve as streets surrounded by marshlands. We stopped for a short break on a hot gorgeous day. Normally September is too late to find fresh figs, but my cousin found a bag at a roadside stand, and then we were off again. I realized that I had no idea what a fig tasted like, and I could not remember if I had ever eaten a fresh fig, which probably sounds odd coming from the vegan, but true.
After the first fig, I realized that I had found my favorite new food and quickly became obsessed. For those that have never had one, they taste like candy, but are much healthier.
After the delta, but before Split, we stopped at a fun beach full of young people; there was a bar right on the beach and the bluest water I have ever seen. I mostly sat in a lounge chair under an umbrella as a nice young man brought me drinks. But I did wander in to the ocean for a short amount of time, in my skirt. Not only was the water clear, it was very warm. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the town, but in my defense, we only spent a few hours there. Oh my goodness, the Adriatic Sea. I cannot properly convey how gorgeous the coast of Croatia is and if you have not seen it, you really should.
For those that worry about the cost of travel as I do, I must stress opting for apartments instead of hotels; they are the best choice when traveling on a budget, staying for several days, or if you want to feel like a local. The apartment we stayed at was just off the main promenade and a ten-minute walk to the ocean. Split was one my favorite coastal cities.
It is the largest Dalmatian city and the second largest city in Croatia. The city is built around the amazing Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian, constructed in 305 AD. As I walked around, I noticed that many people have apartments within the walls of the old structure, with many shops and restaurants off of narrow corridors. There are also large basements with stalls full of crafts, jewelry and art. While shopping, I found lavender, fig jam and candied lemon peels (yum-o), which are all local favorites. Surrounding the old city is a completely modern city with popular stores such as Zara and H&M. Also, there are a lot of bakeries, and Mediterranean and Italian food.
One night we sat on the steps outside of a café inside the Palace and listened to a band play. It was a warm night and I ordered a glass of Prosecco. When the drink arrived I stared at it for a moment, slightly confused by the pink color. I took a sip and found that it was definitely not what I had had in mind. What I had was a very sweet after dinner drink, not a dry sparkling white wine. I politely said that was not what I had ordered and the waiter said, “you ordered Prosecco or what we call Prošek,” which in Croatia is totally different than an Italian Prosecco. So, I did in fact order it, but it was not quite what I was looking for. I suppose this was my inadvertent attempt at adventurous ordering. Prošek is too sweet for me, but if you like a sweet wine – it is the one to order. After a great night, we headed back to the apartment for sleep, and the next morning off to Dubrovnik.