Saturday, October 30, 2010

Produce Market

One place that Julia and I visited almost everyday while in Split was the 'green market' just outside the palace walls, called the Stari Pazar. The market is open everyday from 6 AM to late in the evening. We purchased quite a few things from the market, including pomegranates, mandarins, grapes, vegetables, home-made cheese and sausage, walnuts, pastries and honey. It was interesting to see ladies selling home-made olive oil and wine in plastic Coke bottles. We didn't know this at the time, but there were women who would walk among the crowds and call out 'cigareta'. Found out later that they were selling smuggled cigarettes. Everything was delicious and it was the perfect time of the season for juicy mandarins and pomegranates, which we ate quite a bit of. The produce was relatively cheap; mandarins were about 4 kuna per kilogram (about $0.35 a pound). Everything was either home-made or locally grown.

This will interest our Slavic readers-- there were old ladies selling something out of huge blue plastic barrels. We couldn't tell what it was, but could definitely smell it from a ways off. It had a very familiar smell, and it wasn't until we looked inside that we realized it was 'kisla kapusta' (similar to sauerkraut), just like the kind my grandma makes. We both enjoyed walking around the market with the locals, purchasing local organic produce, listening to the bustle of people and trying new things. 


Friday, October 29, 2010

Fish Market Video

We wish we could pass along the smells of the fish market for you to get a full experience, but a visual will have to do.

Split Fish Market

While in Split, we had a few people tell us to check out the fish market which happens everyday from 6:30 AM til about 2 PM. The fish market is situated on a square next to the Marmontova Street in the heart of the Old City. So Julia and I headed over to check out this fish market. We could smell the fish and hear the people before we even rounded the corner but it was quite a sight to see. There were tons of tables with all kinds of fish, freshly caught that morning, some still wiggling. Some of the most popular are picarels, sprats, mackerels, sardines and anchovies. But you can always find someone selling something that made you question whether it was a fish or not. 

We had a great time just walking around and seeing all the different fish for sale. The market was packed with people, mostly locals but it was easy to spot the occasional tourist here and there with bewilderment in their eyes. Sanitation wasn't a top priority and people don't seem to mind, I'm sure the USDA would have a field day if this were in the States. None of the merchants wore gloves. They usually had a cigarette in one hand and were putting fish on the scale with the other hand. As we strolled through one row of merchants, a giant eel, still alive, jumped out of his case on the table, and slithered right toward Julia's feet, much to her horror. The man grabbed it with both hands and plopped it back on the table for sale. The floor was slimy and it obviously reeked like fish but it's not often you get to experience something like this, so we took it all in as best we could. 

No, we didn't buy any fish... maybe next time.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Power of Hair

My husband was starting to look a little ragged after a month of traveling, so we bought some scissors and I did some work on him today. Here's a little visual. 
The photo in the middle is an absolute riot. There's just something fishy about that mustache! He looks like he ought to be driving a white van with no windows and wearing big outdated sunglasses. 

And now that it's too late to go back, I'm thinking the "before" shot is looking rather sexy.

- Julia

Exploring outside the city walls

One of the most magical things about Split was beautiful Marjan nature park just outside the city. A few days into our trip, we walked in the opposite direction of the town center and spent an entire day exploring the huge park, which is situated on a small peninsula that juts out into the sea. Yuriy mused how cool it would be to grow up in the city of Split as a kid and have such wilderness in your backyard. Dirt trails took us up and down hills and ended at the sea shore. Along the way, we ran into a few tiny stone churches overlooking the big blue sea that have long since been abandoned and boarded up. I couldn’t help wondering how the elderly of the congregation got to church walking up the hills and climbing the stone stairs. And what made them decide to build a church so far away from the town center? Maybe they feel God’s presence more out in nature. I know I do.

On the way back, we walked along the coast and peeked into people's yards and gardens in the countryside, climbed over big boulders because we're too cool to stay on the path, and perfected our stone skipping techniques in the Adriatic Sea.

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is nudge Yuriy and say… I wonder why this? I wonder why that? Why do you think they do this? Why do you think it’s built like that? Then we muse about the people who were here long before we were. And we always have a list of things to Google about the places we go and the things we see.   

- Julia