Washy, Washy

 

Our first port on the tour was Split, Croatia, located in the geographic center of the Adriatic eastern coast. Its mild climate, with 2700 hours of sunlight per year, make it an inviting oasis that is sheltered from the wind, only not in late October. The temps were in the low 60’s F. with partial sun. A large part of the morning was spent with Iskra, our tour guide, as we followed her throughout the Palace of Diocletian. The Roman emperor worshipped as God, reigned from 200 CE until he abdicated his throne in 305 CE. There were sixteen towers with four main entrances, or gates. Within the walls of the palace were factories for the production of army soldiers’ uniforms, as well as private apartments and religious centers. Olive oil was produced within the substructure. The upper area no longer exists, and many chambers throughout served no other purpose than to represent the power of the King. A highly resistant stone recipe binded with egg whites can be found within every cathedral in Croatia. Four altars inside were dedicated to local Split saints, among them, the most famous, St. Dominus, who is credited as the founder of the Croatian language. His raised finger symbolizes that he was the first to make the language official.

 

The enormous statue was transported in three parts to the square located outside of the rear gate, and today a foot rub on the greenish patina is a sign of good fortune. Interior statues of lions appear on either side of a staircase and are symbols of Venice, where parts of the facade were moved. The perimeter walls were for sea invasion protection. What was once a Bishop’s palace is now a gallery, and located outside the palace walls are forms of Gothic, Venetian, and Vienna Secession Style architecture. The subterranean cellars today house displays of tourist souvenirs as well as works by local artists. I kept returning to see the embossed works of one of the printmakers, Marinko Jelaca, and ended up with a purchase. Post-tour sketching and lunch followed along the promenade prior to boarding the ship in mid-afternoon.

 

Part of the daily ritual to which we would become accustomed was hearing the staff welcome us upon our return to the ship by saying “washy, washy” while squirting our hands with antibacterial gel. An evening invitational cocktail party with the captain and crew was followed with dinner with the Perky Perth group within the main dining room.

We closed out the evening in the Martini Bar, returning late to our cabin, knowing that the next day’s excursion did not meet until 10:30. Amen to that!

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