Wednesday, 17 October 2007

STEPH Split to Stobrec 16/10/07

Today we breezed out of Split mid-afternoon, as planned. We bailed on the tour of the city . . . joining a tour crowd wasn’t our thing – we wanted the guide to ourselves! So we never did find out why people line up to stroke Thumbledore’s toe . . . but I did find out, from a Scottish tourist with a guide book, that Thumbledore is actually Gregorious of Nin and he did something biblical in Croatian . . . struck down a thousand Venetians with one dash of his pointed finger no doubt.

Ben’s fab new business cards burning holes in our pockets, we headed out of the city via the nearest waterfront, stopping for lunch by a marina. I swear, Croatia has more boats than fish in the sea. As for lunch, seafood risotto; mmm-mmmmm. We walked around the shoreline towards the edge of the city, a parade of rollerbladers and lovers keeping us company; 10 minutes later Ben thought it was time to rest. We sat down in the dirt by the water and he promptly fell asleep, flat on his back in the sunshine.

It was lovely to sit. Just sit and watch Adriatica’s blue tide run . . . church bells ring in the distance . . . a chainsaw purrs on a building site . . . a woman swims off shore . . . two large boats float at anchor near the faraway island . . . dirty smudges of cloud hang low on the fine line between sea and sky.

I have lain on a thousand coastlines just like this.

It is a beautiful day.

It is late when we rise from the dirt and load our packs onto backs. We make our way to the highway and spend the next hour walking along the main road into Split’s grumbling peak hour traffic. We spy a sign for our campground. We always knew this would be far enough for today, five kms from town.

We pitch tents on ground so stony that we have to dig holes for the pegs. We make a fire on the stones; there are pine cones aplenty and each of us scores a slim branch long enough to keep us warm well into the chilly evening. We eat bread and cheese for dinner by the fire. The sickle moon sets low over the headland. The lights of Podstrana sketch orange and blue crayon stripes across the water.

A puppy comes sniffing in the dark. We welcome her to the fire. She squirms and wiggles, lying low, as if waiting to be told off and soon we find out why – I turn around and she has demolished my tent, her small black face peering out of the billows. She is scouting for food. We laugh. We shoo her off.

Ben crashes early and it’s just me and the fire and the moon and the water . . .

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