June 22 –29, 2018
The summer before my freshman year of college, my family took a wonderful trip to Croatia. It was my first trip out of the United States in four years, literally since the summer before I entered high school, so I was super pumped.
This trip was amazing because it was so different from previous trips my family had taken. For the first time, we weren’t rushing around every day, trying to fit in every tourist sight possible – it was truly just a simple, relaxing vacation in a mellow spot.
Day 1: Arrival
We all know that international travel is never easy. The night before June 22, we hopped on our first flight (out of three) at 8pm to Frankfurt, Germany. Although it was nine hours long, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds, since each passenger had a nice television with a ton of new movies, so it was easy to keep busy.
When we landed in the morning, we were, of course, late for our next flight. I’m not sure if any of you have experienced the ~wonderfulness~ of the Frankfurt airport, but it’s probably the most confusing place I’ve ever been, and the fact that it is HUGE does not help. We literally sprinted through the entire airport to get through customs, but eventually made our flight to Munich.
After landing, we got on our third and final flight to Split, Croatia. We arrived, went through customs, then my grandparents drove us to our beautiful house that might as well have been a castle. Its architecture was beautiful, and it had a giant pool, hot tub, and best of all, the most gorgeous view of the Adriatic Sea. Because we were all so jet lagged, we took it easy for the rest of the day.
Day 2: Exploring the Palace
After fourteen hours of sleep (yes, fourteen), I was ready for my first full day in Croatia!
During the afternoon, we walked to Diocletian’s Palace, which was basically a stone wall that the Roman emperor Diocletian built as his retirement home some many years ago. Now, it’s a touristy area filled with shops and restaurants, and the path running through it leads right into the water of the Adriatic Sea. So, we just explored the shops, and of course, ate yummy gelato.
After working off the gelato on our walk home, we rested a bit before dinner, then headed to a restaurant called Fife. I ate Veal Risotto and calamari, which, yes, did taste as good as it sounds. It was a short, but happy day.
Day 3: Tremendous Trogir
On our third day, we slept in again, but by 12:30pm, were driving to Trogir, which is another beautiful touristy spot with restaurants and shops. After arriving, we ate lunch at a nice restaurant (I ate a delicious cheese pizza, of course) and then spent the afternoon exploring the incredible city.
Trogir had amazing views of the extremely blue water that was so beautiful, it looked artificial. At some point during the afternoon, we visited an old castle fortress built back in the 1400s, then ended the day by climbing to the top of the Saint Lawrence Cathedral.
On the way back to Split, we picked up two of my cousins from the airport, then ate a simple dinner at home and rested up for our fourth day.
Day 4: More Shopping & Swimming in Ice Water
I spent some more time at Diocletian’s Palace with my mom and sister. We walked around some more shops and I ate a nice acai bowl for lunch with a view overlooking the gorgeous water.
After getting back, I took a lovely swim in the freezing cold Adriatic Sea with my cousins. The water wasn’t as inviting as it looked, and I was in there for all of maybe 30 seconds before caving to swim in our pool.
For dinner, we ate a delicious Bouillabaisse made by my grandparents. Another wonderful day in paradise!
Day 5: A Ferry & Family
This was one of my favorite days on the whole trip. We woke up early to catch an 8:30am ferry to Jesla, a different Croatian island, where we spent time with my aunt and cousins who had already been in Croatia for a few weeks. After catching up with my extended family, we picked out a lunch spot where I ate a yummy pasta dish, then we toured the rest of the town.
Jesla reminded me a lot of Split and Trogir, but the architecture of the buildings and houses was even more stunning, giving us amazing views to gaze at while checking out the shops and restaurants. Later that afternoon, we headed over to a restaurant with some cabanas for some drinks, fries and rest before leaving for the day.
Day 6: Hiking
Tired from our journey to Jesla, we slept in super late, then ate a late brunch when we woke up. Eager to explore more of Croatia’s nature scenes, I hiked a mountain trail near our house with my mom, sister and cousin. It was tiring, but really fun, and when we reached the top of the mountain, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Adriatic Sea.
In the afternoon, we went to Diocletian’s Palace (again). We ate gelato and shopped a bit, then headed home for a delicious homemade spaghetti and ratatouille dinner.
Day 7: Ice Water Pt. 2 & A Victory Dinner
Our last full day in Croatia – in the morning, we all decided to once again try and brave the cold, cold sea. I was the last to get into the water, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least try to swim. I faced my fear by jumping straight into the water, and it was a lot easier to adapt to the cold temperature that way.
One last time, we headed to Diocletian’s Palace in the afternoon to finish our shopping and pick up last-minute Croatian souvenirs. For dinner, we had a reservation at a nice restaurant called Zinfandel, where I ate ravioli with fig, which I remember being the best meal I’d eaten in a long time. To end the night, we had to finish the trip with gelato, of course. We went to bed early before a long day of travel ahead.
Day 8: Departure
We woke up at 3:30am (yes, 3:30am) to be on time for our 6am flight out of Split. Our first of three flights was to Zagreb, Croatia, the second to Frankfurt, and our final one to Tampa.
I was ready and excited to return home, but the more I reminisce on this trip, the more I want to return. I’ll take any chance I can get to explore a new country, and I love European culture, especially their food and architecture.
I can’t wait to return to the beautiful land of Croatia and explore more of what their cities have to offer!