What a dreadful night. Was woken about 2am by a continuous loud alarm going off. Jason got up to investigate and it was a bus next door. The alarm went on for nearly 2 hrs until the battery ran out. Felix was woken by us stirring and thought it was morning so took ages to settle. Later was woken by dogs barking and loud motorbikes racing. So NOT refreshed this morning!
The kids had a wonderful time playing on the equipment on the beach. It is nice to be back in the tent and camping. It's such a nice thing to do and great for the kids.
Late morning we caught the bus into Split and spent a few hours looking around. We stopped in a Market initially to find some socks as em's new shoes were rubbing. The harbourside was lovely, palm trees and benches to sit on by the water then a strip of white marble promenade before the row of shopfronts - souvenir shops, bakeries, ice cream and cafes with tables and chairs ballooning onto the promenade. A very riviera-like feel.
Behind the waterfront area is the old city and the Diocletian's Palace. The palace itself you can only make out from above as people have built inside it over the centuries. The streets are marble like Dubrovnik but a little less shiny. The whole place is less uniformly historic as it has been overtaken by 'the shiny shops of a big city and a healthy tourist trade. One of the first shops we passed was a Birkenstock shop! Jason picked out some new sandals as his are too loose now. Emily kept trying on shoes telling the saleslady that she definitively wasn't buying. Then of course she found a pair she liked that fitted and it was "Please mummy, could I buy them?" in her sweetest honey voice! No matter that she talked us into a new pair of shoes only 2 days ago! Then she starts muttering that she's like to have a mummy who had millions of dollars and could buy her truckloads of shoes and an automated car. I asked her if she'd prefer a nasty rich mummy or me - luckily she answered correctly!
We found ourselves in a square courtyard outside the church and museum, almost like an amphitheater with steps up the sides and some cushions to sit on. Jason and I had a coffee and the kids ate some lunch then I took the girls to climb the bell tower. Now we have climbed lots of towers thus far, but I must say this one was worrying me. It began with a narrow steep marble staircase, where the steps where mostly half meg's height. Once we reached the bells themselves, an open metal grille staircase began that wound around the four insides of the tower. The tower itself was no longer fully enclosed but was made of tall stone arches. This meant that as you climbed the stairs you could see not just through them, but out and downwards to the ground outside. And there were only two railings on the stairs. Emily started saying she was scared and I thought she was transposing dad's fear of height onto herself so kept telling her to come on and not worry. But halfway up the metal stairs she sank to a platform and refused to move. Can't say I blamed her but megsy was thrilling to reach the top so I covered my feelings and shepherded her up. She's so little and I felt she would just slip through the rails. We spent a brief moment up the top then came down to pick up ems.
Once we had everyone together again we visited the church - not terribly impressive - and went through some old underground markets back to the promenade. It was such a lovely day we got icecreams and sat by the harbour.
Since we were right by the ferry port we walked to the ticket office and booked our boat trip to Italy for tomorrow. That accomplished, we successfully got the bus back to camp by about 4. What bliss to have the time to watch the kids play and cook dinner unhurriedly. The girls met a new friend at the playground, a little girl called Mya who was from Canada but travelling around Europe for 6 months with her parents and 11yr old brother. She was 7 but very slight and seemed much younger. I think both she and our girls were so pleased to have a friend they could understand they played beautifully and had a wonderful time. She came over to our tent and I was talking with her. She said she was born in china, and that her brother had chosen her because of her chubby cheeks! What a sweet way of telling about an adoption. The girls then headed off to her campervan to see her iPad and play. Her mother Leslie came to chat while I was cooking dinner which was nice. We had a nourishing pasta bolognese for tea, wonderful after all the eating out of the last week. It is certainly getting darker early, sunset between 5 and 6. Happily though, it means an earlier bedtime while camping.