Splitting up with my Camera

Splitting up with my Camera
Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

I decided to move slowly on Tuesday. Split is a small town, so its conducive to this approach anyway. I started off with breakfast at the hostel (have to get used to making my own food when youre travelling) and headed down to the port to try to sort out the ferry schedules. Another gigantic slab of that famous Croatian strudel jumped in front of me while I was walking, so, I ate it. Cherry this time. Once the ticket woman at the ferry dock was sure I was good and confused about when the catamaran was leaving for Hvar she sent me on my way (with flaky strudel crumbs on my face). Time to get my photo situation sorted out, and well, you already know how that went. I took my own walking tour of Diocletians Palace, which was fascinating but crushing with the massive amount of tourists squeezing through the narrow streets, clinging to the tour guides with their colourful umbrellas in the air. Not a bad little retirement home Mr. D. built for himself here. Whats most incredible about this Roman ruin is that it is still home to about 3,000 inhabitants, many of them direct descendants. Quite startling (and an important commentary) to be exploring elaborate, history-filled structures dating back to 305 AD and see Tuesdays laundry hanging from the windows. When I couldnt handle the crowds and the overpriced stores housed within the palace walls anymore, I took a walk up Marjan Hill. Hardly any tourists were up there, Im guessing because…its a hill. And its big. But what I now know and they dont is that aside from a fantasic view of the city, theres a tiny zoo at the top! A zoo, in Split. I wont go into details because it was a rather depressing endeavour to see abandoned-looking animals in stone enclosures with nothing to do. I didnt stay long. Being away from the crowds gave me a chance to gather my thoughts on a few subjects; one being picture-taking. Not having my camera for a few days caused me to re-think the entire ritual of photo-taking. Why am I doing it? What am I trying to capture, exactly? And for whom? It was revealing to see thousands of people milling about the Palace and surroundings, hastily snapping photos of this and that before moving on to the next location. I wondered: are they really seeing these things? They can look back at their photos, show their friends and say they were there – but were they truly there? A quartet of Dalmatian Klapa singers were performing and selling their CDs within one of the palaces. I stood in awe, with goosebumps on my skin and quite literally almost a tear in my eye, their sound was so hauntingly beautiful, echoing off the palace walls. And…people were taking pictures of them. I wanted to tell everyone to put their cameras down and just listen. I decided to put my own camera away for the most part yesterday (ironic, I know) and truly experience my surroundings. I ran my hand along the cracks and crevices of the stone carvings and 15th-century marble sphinxes and sat in the Peristyle, imagining what this life might have been like 1700 years ago. The fiasco with my camera might actually have been a good thing after all. Later, a stroll through the green market found me suddenly and relentlessly being chased by a fresh-grilled sausage on a bun, so, I ate that too. With cheese and some sort of pepper sauce. You can bet your Burek Im going to stay on top of all of this harrassing Croatian food. Chase me all you want, but I will eat you and I will win. Ha Ha! Elda and I hung out back at the hostel, doing laundry and chatting. Elda wants me to come work here in exchange for free accommodation. I will miss her alraeady. I spent another quiet evening, self-catering my dinner (more bread, more meat, more cheese, more wine) and heading to bed rather early once again. Next…off to Hvar!

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