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Today we were in Split, and we were booked on an excursion, Sights and Sounds of Split Riviera. This consisted of a drive to Trogir, a guided walk around Trogir, a visit to the cathedral there, a refreshment break at an old mill, and finally a quick walk into old Split and an introduction to Diocletian’s Palace. Unfortunately, we found the excursion disappointing.

To be fair to our guide, the tour did everything that was advertised – we did go to Trogir, walked around it, we visited the cathedral and we had some free time there. Then we did indeed visit the old mill and had refreshments, and finally we were walked to a point in Split where our guide pointed out the best entrance to Diocletian’s Palace. Unfortunately the delivery was disappointing. It was perhaps unfortunate that it’s Saturday and that therefore the roads and towns are very busy – we were delayed about 15 minutes getting into Trogir. Once we collected ourselves our guide walked us into the centre of the old town and gave us a commentary along the way. Unfortunately it seems to mainly consist of advice on good places to get Croatian Kuna, the best places to buy gelato, and please avoid this (actually, very obvious) piece of street furniture as you walk along. Fair enough, I thought. Then came the visit to the cathedral. Unfortunately we weren’t able to enter it. Instead, we stood in the porch and received a lecture about the architecture of the stone carving around the main doorway. There were two other tour groups there at the same time plus locals and other tourists so everyone was in everyone else’s way. We then had some free time but because of the delay arriving it was cut short.

The Old Mill was not a happy experience. Again, it did what it said on the tin but whereas I’d been hoping for a relaxing hour or so in a quaint historic mill building, in fact the mill is located on the edge of a coastal marsh – it was the run-off from the marsh that drove the mill. And the refreshment was just a slice of bread with prosciutto and cheese, plus water or wine. Here we did get plenty of free time, sat in the sun!

Finally, on return to Split we were quickly walked round to the entrance to Diocletian’s Palace, shown the way in, and pretty much left to ourselves. And of course the Palace was very busy and very hot. Not the excursion’s fault, of course, but it made the experience even more disappointing. We couldn’t help thinking that we could have done it all on our own and been much happier.

So we consoled ourselves with lunch in Split, and a glass of wine in a wine bar – La Bodega. The choice was extensive, the wine was good, and the price was reasonable, so we salvaged something from the day. And there are branches of La Bodega in Zadar and Dubrovnik, which are both among our remaining calls…..

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