Saturday, 5 March 2016


Orientating yourself in a new city is always a bit of a challenge, but doing it under the eyes of two guests is even harder. Although I am nominally playing hostess, I feel like a bit of a fraud because I actually have no idea what I'm doing or where I'm going. So I am doing it the old fashioned way; winging it. And hoping for plenty of distractions for them.

Luckily my little flat is in the centre of town, in easy reach of the port and the Marjan forest - not to mention the museums and what have you. Again, it's not that we are purposefully avoiding the art in these stunning places, just we are enjoying being *in* the architectural landscape. For instance we went for a walk around Split old town the night before last to enjoy the twilight blue and streetlamp gold. We saw the Peristil and the Temple of Jupiter in their peopleless splendour. We had already lined up where we were going to eat, so it was nice just to amble. Having the city to oneself is really quite special and I sense that is going to become a rare occurrence.

Likewise the restaurant was quiet, was just us and a couple, although a single gentleman wandered in later. Unlike the lovely place in Volterra, the flirty one was sadly unable to catch his eye, as we ended our excellent fish based supper on the homemade cherry liqueur. Everything had been cooked to perfection and we rolled away happy to take the party home.

With this in mind, I opted to test the new running route this morning. After a spell of utter laziness my back is starting to make itself known and the last thing I want is to be unable to move. Have you seen the stairs I have to climb to bed? So I took myself off for a gentle first run whilst the lazy ones got their arses in gear. Before they knew it, I was back, all glowing and full of sunshine. This place is a pure joy to run around, notwithstanding the hills. At least once you're up, you can only come down again, as the image shows, running down the hill put me into full on red and speedy mode! I'm already looking forward to the next one to offset all the fabulous food.

We prepared breakfast, with the mandatory jam and cock bread, and eventually decided what we wanted to do. We previously discussed a trip to Hvar Town but decided that four hours on a ferry would be too much, so we compromised and went to Supertar on Brač. This is a pleasant 50 mins each way, with plenty of time to admire the views and have a coffee - oh and run backwards and forwards across the deck in pure excited pleasure. The only other person doing that was an 6 year old in pigtails. Pffft. Where are people's sense of fun?

We arrived in the bright sunshine and the sea murmured its sweet nothings to me; I remain as seduced by this place as much as ever. The island town gave my companions a taste of what my summer accommodation would be like. We strolled round the beach promontory which afforded the most incredible views of the snowy mountains. These aren't visible from Split but take a step back and suddenly they are there, a cold reminder that we have a couple of months of potential chilliness before the endless warm nights of summer.

I interrupt these ramblings to go do a quick note about a cocktail. Or two, as it turned out!

Some conversations are just too interesting to be blogged so therefore I join you the next morning after toast, jam and tea. It's a slow start, and although I'm slightly envious about their drive up the Croatian coast and overnight stay on Krk, I'm relieved it's not me having to pack up. I've loved the road trip experience but it's also reminded me why I like being in one place for some time. A bit like going to an art gallery at home versus one on holiday. In London I could see my Arnolfini portrait every week and know it intimately, but a brief trip to the Louvre, and you have to gorge yourself on as much as possible. Exhausting!

Anyway, back to yesterday! From the icy heights, to the delectable warm blue ripples of the little beach just around from Supertar; we sat having a giggle, turning slightly pink in the sun whilst looking at the spectacular view. A gentle walk around the beautiful cemetery near the sea, and we then took ourselves to a seafront bar and ordered beers. It was absolutely wonderful. The activity levels around the place rose as the ferry came in and we decided to head back into Split to continue the party.

Given we'd had such a lovely dinner out the night before, and I had a stack of quite naughty food and beers in the fridge, we opted for home-cooking. Our third had not tried the local delicacy of ćevapčići and ajvar so we were disgraceful and scoffed a lot of meat and chips. There was salad as a nod to health. The post dinner conviviality continued as usual and we enjoyed some quiet writing time. I kept being distracted, hence the hasty finishing of this today. The final distraction was running out of wine so we started being creative with the honey grappa.

In my new quiet, I'm going to miss the old quiet. I need to find a whole new set of distractions...

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