Activities in Split by Stephen Raleigh

By on 10-24-2013 in Croatia 2013

Activities in Split by Stephen Raleigh

A couple of weeks ago we took our first excursion to Split, Dubrovnik, and then to Ston. We rented two rental cars and we were off on our journey. Our first stop was Split. Split was my favorite place we have visited. Split is at the Mediterranean Basin on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Split is the second largest city of Croatia and the largest city in Dalmatian. The city is considered one of the oldest in Croatia. There was a ton to do and see in Split. I was able to see and enjoy a lot of these.  The main attraction in the center of Split is the Roman Palace of Emperor Diocletian. We were lucky enough to get a tour of Split and go through half of the remains of the palace.

During our first night, we got a wonderful tour of Old Town Split and Diocletian Palace. Our tour guide was named Dino and he was great. He spoke English very well and was rather funny. The palace was full of so much history. The fact I thought was most interesting was that Emperor Diocletian was the only Roman Emperor to die of natural causes. He retired from being the Emperor and then came to Croatia where he lived the reminder of his life. The palace was amazing. There were many ruins to observe. The fact that at one time water had come to the edge of the palace was awesome. The throne room and library were huge rooms. We also learned a lot about the history of the palace. The palace was actually preserved by poop. The people that moved into the area after Diocletian didn’t like him and built a sewer system and drilled holes into the palace. When you looked up you could see the holes in the celling. We went through the different rooms. Each room had its own unique feature.

We also took a tour of the outside of the palace to see the sights of Split. The one thing that I really liked was that they recycled everything. They broke the stone sphinx. They then used it as a fountain piece. The tour showed us different things like the Cathedral of St. Domnius and the bell tower, and the Split city museum.

The next day we had free day. I went into the other half of the palace and found an even bigger section. As I was walking from room to room I kept thinking to myself what would it be like to live in this palace. I then walked out of the palace and went into the Cathedral of St. Domnius. I was able to get a deal for 10 euros I could do the Cathedral, Bell tower, temple of Venus, and the temple of Jupiter. Inside the Cathedral you couldn’t take any pictures but the sights were amazing. I walked through and was able to the treasury inside of it. The treasury had all kinds of artifacts and relics. These were the relics of Saint Duje. They had gold treasures and other artifacts. The cathedral itself was smaller than what I thought. It was very humbling to be inside it. Outside of the cathedral was the bell tower. The bell tower was a huge building that you could look out and see all of Split. The surrounding mountains and then the sea provided a spectacular view.  The two temples were both interesting, but my personal favorite, out of the two, was the Temple of Jupiter. The Temple of Jupiter displayed a large monument of St. John. Our next stop  was in Dubrovnik.

Scotland Excursion

By on 10-24-2013 in Croatia 2013

As we are here in Croatia, we have the opportunity, with Professor Davison’s approval, of course, to go on excursions to different countries. My name is Dwight McKell and I have Scottish ancestors and so I have always wanted to visit Scotland and visit a Scottish Castle and so I convinced Nate Eshleman and Stephen Raleigh to come along on the trip and we went and visited Culzean Castle. We had a great time and here are a few pics from our little journey to Scotland.

Paklenica

By on 10-24-2013 in Croatia 2013

A few days ago 3 of us, plus Professor Davison, went to Paklenica National Park where we were about to hike up to the top of one of the peaks. The road went partially into the park and we parked inside of a valley between two of the mountains. We got out of the car and saw rock climbers going up the side of the mountains. There were varying degrees of difficulty, but from what we saw, all the “routes” to the top were pretty steep. Apparently Paklenica is one of the premier rock climbing locations in Europe. After admiring the climber’s skills we began our hike. The beginning was really pretty. You walk along a wide path going slightly uphill while walking beside a stream. We followed the stream for a little ways before we came to a Y in the path. We took the steeper of the two paths. Before to long the path turned into a switchback winding back and forth up the mountain. One of us thought it would be a good idea to try to cut through the undergrowth and go straight up the mountain and try to reach the next part of the trail. It was not a good idea. After that little escapade, we all stayed on the path. We soon reached our halfway point which was located at around 500 meters high. There was a cave there, but it was closed. We rested and ate and then continued our hike up the mountain. After that cave, the trail was much steeper and much less traveled.  It was definitely more strenuous than the first half. We enjoyed ourselves however and eventually made it to the top of the mountain. The view was spectacular. From up on the peak we could see the Adriatic Sea. I found this impressive because we had driven directly away from the sea for about an hour in order to get to the park. Unfortunately the pictures could not capture the sea. The picture, for whatever reason, could not see through the fog, but I will never forget what I saw up there. There is just something about being on top of a mountain that is exhilarating. The peak was 836 meters high, according to our map. After we took some video, and many pictures, we began our descent. The descent was definitely much faster than the ascent. Once we reached the Y again, we decided to follow the trail that we had not been on yet. Professor Davison knew that there was a sausage restaurant down the way at some point. We continued walking along the stream and after forty minutes or so we came to the place. We each ate our sandwiches, they were delicious, and then started the walk back. We did stop shortly to take some pictures of a pool of water in the stream. One of the guys really wanted to jump in, so he did, as did Professor Davison. The other two of us did not go in because the water was probably around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be 13 to 15 Celsius. After their refreshing dip into the pool we walked back to the car and drove back to our home in Zadar. Overall it was a great experience, and I would definitely do it again were I given the choice.

London Days

By on 10-24-2013 in Croatia 2013

Visiting London & the Big Ben & Buckingham Palace blog

Even though we only stayed for five days it was a great experience all in it’s own.
The second day there was pretty shaky to start, but then we received a tour of London that made everything se much better. The tour guide told us everything we wanted to know about London and more. After one of the best tours of my life the day ended with a burger and fries half price thanks to the tour guide. That was day two.
Day three consisted of visiting a museum with tons of history in it and them exploring more of the city. We got to look at some stores in the area. Wow we’re they huge..Day four was a trip to the London aquarium that had penguins being feed, octopus and even tiger sharks in the aquarium. This aquarium was awesome we had a blast and later that night we got on the London Eye. This was a huge ferris wheel and at night time it had lights on it that lite up so from a far that you could see it from other areas of town. While on the London Eye it displayed a tablet that could tell you more about the monuments in London and also on the ferris wheel it had places to stand to take the best pictures of the city. In all the ferris wheel took 28 minutes to do a full rotation. This was a great ride with great views. I can’t forget the Buckingham Palace this place or palace should I say was huge, but surprisingly not heavily guarded. The tour guide told us that it only had four guards in watch of the palace. How surprising such a big palace with the queen in it, but only four guards that’s London for you surprisingly different from any place I’ve been before. Our five days in London was something special.