I didn’t really expect to find 101 of them. But no matter where I looked, I couldn’t come up with one.
Brown dogs, black dogs, fuzzy dogs, small dogs and big ones, were walking the streets, on and off leash.
We were in the city of Split from Monday morning ‘til midnight. This is legendary Dalmatia, but there were no Dalmations – that is, none of the canine variety, not even at the fire house. If there ever were any white dogs with black spots around, they had long ago (ahem) split.
Split is pronounced like it’s spelt. It was our second port call in Croatia, formerly Yugoslavia, and in this part of the country also known sentimentally as Dalmatia.
It’s also claimed that the necktie was invented in Split. There were also few if any of those in evidence here on this bright Monday market day.
Split prefers to be known in the tourist world as a community that has cleverly incorporated an ancient Roman imperial palace right into the urban grid. You can even have an apartment in the palace if you’ve amassed enough kuna. (Croatia is not yet a member of the European Union, so its currency is not yet the euro.)
We joined fellow Aegean Odyseans, all of us wearing our radio-controlled “quiet boxes,” so we could better hear our guides as we wound our way through streets, hallways, and the emperor’s bedchamber. These walls were built by the Roman emperor Diocletian so he could spend his Golden Years back in his old home town.
Today’s Split seems a prosperous kind of place. There were dozens of cheerful sidewalk cafes on one of the widest sidewalks I’ve ever seen.
We saw fewer pan-handlers than in any big city in the U.S. Actually there seemed to be only one. He was a cheerful part-time musician. When he saw me, he began to serenade the street with a small squeeze box while accompanied by a single pet pigeon. At least it seemed like a pet, resting alternately on the man’s head, on his lap and even on his instrument according to some avian whim.
There was nothing in man’s basket, so I contributed a Yankee dollar as payment for taking his photo. He smiled his thanks, though his feathered companion seemed unimpressed.
“Split gets up early and parties late,” according to a local tourist newspaper. The Aegean Odyssey was due to leave at midnight, so a group of us decided to split the ship and join up at a local restaurant for a change. The meal was good – but no better than that which we have been enjoying daily on board.
When the time came to get back to the pier it was raining heavily so we had to run (here it comes) lickity Split.
April 16, 2012
Photos by Robert W. Bone