Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trogir. Oh so quaint.


T
rogir ("Tro-geer"). What a c-u-t-e little town! We had planned a 3 day, 4 night stay in Trogir as it was to be our home base for our visit to this part of the Dalmatian coast. The photos in this posting are a compilation of the shots we took over our entire stay in Trogir.

Lei and I flew out of Istanbul bright and early on the morning of October 20th. After a short layover in Vienna, Austria, we landed into Split. As the plane began its descent into Split, I snapped some photos of the islands that make up Croatia. Tiny dots of land surround by the crystal, turquoise blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Such stunning landscape - even from high above. I couldn't take my eyes away from the window.

We landed safely into Split. We cleared Immigration, got our luggage and wandered out the airport in search of the bus to Trogir. Our Lonely Planet guidebook recommended that the easiest way to get to Trogir was via city bus 37. Problem. We had no idea where the bus stand was. We couldn't find any sign of where to stand and there was no one in the airport who spoke enough English to point us in the right direction - a sign of things to come as we would find out during our stay in Croatia. We decided to leave the airport grounds and made our way to the main road. While I waited, Lei went in search of a bus stand. Many minutes later she returned with a local Croatian girl who told us she was going our way and to just stand where we were - the bus would stop. Okay. I didn't know how the bus would know to stop but I figured we were standing with her and she would make sure it stopped! Sure enough, a few minutes later and a bus pulled up - it was city bus 37.

We boarded. I had no idea how much the fare was so I handed the driver a 50 kuna bill. He gave me 12 kuna back and two tokens. Bus ticket for each of us came to 19 kuna which with the exchange rate was just over $3. I then had to insert the tokens into another machine to get them stamped. Not sure I understand the system with having to stamp the tokens. Anyhoo, we sat down. What a difference from the buses in Turkey which felt like luxury vehicles in comparison to this local bus in Croatia which was a bit of the crickety side - slightly old and dilapidated. We settled in for the ride. Had no idea how long the ride would be or where we would get off.

It was the local bus, not express, so we stopped everywhere along the way. About 30 minutes later, the bus pulled into the bus station in Trogir. We got off. Now we had to figure out how to get to our hotel. I convinced Lei to spring for a cab. We found a taxi stand and negotiated with the driver to take us to the hotel for 60 kuna. Little did I know the hotel was about a 10 minute walk from the bus station. A two minute ride by taxi for 60 kuna. What a rip off! We never took the taxi after that.




We arrived at the Villa Sikaa - our hotel for the next 3 nights. We had picked the hotel mainly because of the view of old town Trogir from the room. So naturally, when we got to the room, the first thing we did was look out of it. This is what we saw. Postcard, picture perfect old town Trogir, situated on tiny Ciovo Island.

























We quickly got settled in and headed out to explore the old Town. A short 1 minute walk from the hotel is the bridge that connects Ciovo Island to mainland Croatia.


The day that we arrived, the skies were actually very overcast....and yes, we had rain gear but in our excitement to get out, we left everything behind in the room. Oh well. Rain never hurt anyone so we decided to brave itOld town Trogir is separated from the water by a pretty little promenade. Even with threatening skies above us, we strolled along the promenade. Pleasure boats as well those that are available for charter were anchored alongside the promenade.
























Metal benches provide seating. What a great place to just sit and watch the world go by.























From the promenade, we could see the facades of two churches. For some reason, we never made it in inside any of them!
























At the far end of the promenade, which was probably less than 10 minute walk from the bridge, is Fort Kamerlengo. We couldn't find any entrance so we just admired the structure from outside.








Part of the old town is walled. A plaque above the entrance proudly proclaims Trogir as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Pass through the entrance, and you find yourself in a labryinth of narrow cobblestone streets lined with buildings of stone. Private homes, schools and churches are interspersed with commercial establishments like hotels, restaurants and shops. The streets are too narrow for vehicular traffic and even scooters were a rare sight. Narrow twists and turns and nooks and crannies were commonplace. It was easy to get lost but fortunately, it's such a small area that eventually you do find your way out :-)









































We explored all the little alleyways, doing a bit of shopping and every now and again, looking upwards to admire a window that would capture our attention. During our short stay in Croatia, Lei fell in love with the windows and I think she ended up taking more photos of them than of us. If you think I'm kidding, check out this entry on Lei's blog.







Of course, the most famous windows in Trogir are those of the Cipiko Palace.












On our last afternoon in Trogir, we walked by the Trogir Cathedral. It was closed but we did manage to see Radovan's Portal which was built in 1240 AD. Beautifully carved, it's simply stunning and I am glad that it survived the decades of war that raged through this region. Radovan's Portal consists of four parts. On either side of door jamb are naked sculptures of Adam and Eve atop lions. Carved into the arches that surround the tympanum are numerous reliefs depicting everyday scenes, hunting scenes and scenes from the life of Christ. Finally, in tympanum is the Birth of Christ.























At the end of every day, I would look out our hotel window and marvel at the view of old town Trogir, all aglow from street lights. Such an enchanting place...even in the dark of night.



Trogir. A little gem of a town in a country that we would soon discover is full of such gems!