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In which SWMBO is happy to be sad.

Minimalista does laundry, Split

Minimalista does laundry, Split

Today marks an important day in the Zombie family’s travels: we are one Zombie down.  This morning Fahbio and I drove to the Split airport (which is actually located in Trogir) and bid adieu to Firstborn.  She is flying from Split to Paris.  And from there home to Canada.

Doorway, Split

Alley, Split

As you move through life you experience in your heart things that you have known about for years.  But until you feel them, you do not really know them.  Things like falling in love, being truly afraid, getting old.  Parenting is like that.  You start out with a baby who shoves slobbered-on food into your mouth.  You blink and you are picking that cherub up from pottery camp.  You blink again and you are driving to the weekend babysitting course.  You blink once more and you are hugging someone at the airport – someone taller than you who is lugging a green backpack and a laptop.  Your brain tells you that it has taken seventeen years to get to this point but your heart knows it all happened in 36 hours or thereabouts.

Monochromaticista only wears clothes that match his house, Split

Monochromaticista only wears clothes that match his house, Split

Today was a really big day for me because I didn’t just watch Firstborn get on a plane.  I saw her launch into the world.  I will never have her back again.  Not really.  Not in the way I’ve had her for almost two decades.  We’ve been so blessed to have her 24/7 for the last 5 1/2 month and to have been able to spend that time all together as a family.

Diocletian's Palace, Split

Diocletian’s Palace, Split

At home, Firstborn is a social person who is relatively private with her family.  She spends most of her time out and about the city and let’s just say that she’s not the type to have her parents as Facebook friends!  So I know I really enjoyed having a couple of her friends join us for parts of our trip.  It was so nice to watch her in her element.  Firstborn – if you are reading this – hvala for coming on this adventure with us and I hope that life brings you the future adventures you dream of.

Nice place to have a coffee and enjoy the "palace"

Nice place to have a coffee and enjoy the “palace”

So, one person split and six people discovered Split.  In the early 3rd century, Romans conquered and destroyed the Greeks settlements in the area.  At the end of the 3rd century, Emperor Diocletian built his retirement “palace” on the Adriatic at Split.  Except it wasn’t a palace like you are probably imagining – it was a massive complex as you can see from the model below.  It ended up being the centre of a settlement of about 10 000 people located close to the much larger town of Salona.  When the Roman Empire split, the area came under the rule of Byzantium.

In 614, Salona was destroyed by Slavic invaders and many citizens fled.  People started hiding out and living in Diocletian’s “palace” and over the years the palace and the city became intertwined.  In 1420, over three hundred years of Venetian rule began.  The distinctive Venetian architecture of this time was added into the mix.

spalato_model_mnscr

Model of Diocletian’s Palace (livius.org)

Today Split is one of Croatia’s top tourist attractions.  It has a great location in the middle of Croatia’s coast and offers many ferry routes to the islands and Italy.  It has lots of beaches.  And of course, people come to stroll around Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  FYI, Trogir 25 kilometres from Split and the location of the airport is also a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the Mediterranean’s oldest continually inhabited cities.

Venetian tower, Split

Cathedral of St. Duje bell tower, (Venetian architecture) Split

Just outside the palace walls is a huge green market.  We spent some time wandering around looking at everything.  Most of the things we recognized.  Tomatoes.  Olives.  Plums.  Watermelon.  Cheese.  But what were these things that looked like dried, flattened rotten bananas?  The lady told me to try one.  It was so hard and dry, how was I supposed to eat it.  But when I crunched into one it was sweet and tasty.  Interesting.  I decided to call it overripe banana split (get it?!).

Bean or fruit or pod, Split

Bean or fruit or pod, Split

And what was this object on the counter?  Look closely.  It is kind of hard to see so Paris blew the photo up for me.  Still hard to see so I will describe it to you.  Some kind of inflated animal part (pig stomach?) that is open on one side.  Unfortunately that would be the side facing the guy.  And in that opening, there is a metal scoop.  The object is filled with something and this guy scoops it out to customers.  What the heck could it be?  Could it be bacon bits?  Parmesan?  Ham and cheese smoothies?

Mystery object on counter, Split Green Market

Mystery object on counter, Split Green Market

Still mysterious…

Still mysterious…

As we’ve ascertained before, people travel for different reasons.  One of my favourite reasons is to discover things I had no concept of before and to use these new discoveries to challenge my existing perception of the world.  Today, Split delivered big time in this department.  Hvala Split for taking my mind off my missing Zombie!