Once our study abroad program ended, Megs and I decided to book a week of travel together before we parted for 10 days on individual journeys. We divided up a week between us two, and each chose a location that was on our bucket list and do-able in the time period. Megan picked Split, Croatia while I picked Edinburgh, Scotland. We then became “in charge” of that location, booking all activities, lodging, and transportation. It was so much fun, and something I definitely suggest for any group traveling together.
Sad to see our days in the Czech Republic at a sudden and bittersweet end, we hopped on a quick flight before arriving at our next destination. Our first few hours in beautiful Croatia entailed beach lounging, disco dancing, and exploring the breathtaking "old town" - alive with a comforting mix of active tourists and locals. The area resembled a maze, weaving you in and out of humble restaurants and kitschy shops. It felt like holding a scratch ticket.
The next day we woke up early and hopped on a tour bus to Krka National Park in Domatia. Though the weather was rainy and dreary, it was whimsical to walk through the forest and see all the waterfalls - the reason for this parks popularity. We stopped and explored the small town of Sibenik on our way back and even got to partake in a surprise wine tasting in the countryside. Megan and I enjoyed a delicious late dinner in Old Town before stumbling upon a wild hedgehog right outside our hotel door! He was oddly friendly, letting us get within a foot of him without even hissing, curling up, or scurrying away. It was a wonderful end to the day as drowsiness overcame us to a peaceful, disco light lit sleep.
Another early morning greeted us with a boat tour to the surrounding islands. We were fortunate enough to be with a group of about 15 incredibly friendly and outgoing strangers from around the world, which made the trip all the more rewarding. Our first stop was a blue cave, entered on a smaller boat through a perfectly proportioned hole at the entrance of the rock. The walls were close and ceiling low, but after a few seconds the cave opened up to a glowing blue atmosphere. It was incredibly mesmerizing, and my photos don’t do it justice at all, but the natural relationship between the water, rocks, and small stream of sunlight made me awestruck. We next stopped for some swimming and less than half of us brave souls jumped into the chilly water, myself not included. Despite the sunny weather, the entire day was absolutely freezing, drenching us in 15 degree water consistently throughout the day as the boat rode along the waves. My shorts and t-shirt could have easily been exchanged for a winter coat, but it was honestly a blast. I commend those who had the tolerant body temperature to take a dip. We stopped for a break in a cute little town and while Megs went shopping, I went for a little solo hike and stumbled upon a random old church-like structure in the middle of the woods before making my way back down. I adore how traveling gives you the opportunity to seek out hidden gems like this.
After a very long day, we began to the 2ish hour ride back to Split where our boat of course ran out of gas in, well, the middle of nowhere. Luckily we had excellent boat guides who knew where to go, and we enjoyed an hour break of ice cream on the edge of the water as we waited for fuel and dried out. By this time we were all ready to get home, and to our surprise, ran out of fuel again about 15 minutes outside of town. As frustrating and late as it was it was, the sun began to go down and we caught one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. The light reflected off the water, just slightly peaking over the rugged landscape, and we caught a glimpse of the entire town of Split bathed in golden light. It was almost as if it were meant to be, and made the 13 hour day one I’d do over again and again if given the chance.