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August 16, 2002
|We left Bosnia through the Croat territory in the southwest; we couldn't tell we were in Bosnia with so many Croatian flags flying everywhere. The border barely checked our passports and without much ado our bus continued on a dramatic ride along the Dalmatian coast. The scenery here equals the coastal views offered by Italy's Amalfi Coast or California's Big Sur. We stopped in Split, a town made famous by Diocletian, the emperor who thought Christians served as a vitamin supplement for lions. He also became the first emperor to voluntarily abdicate and retire, so it sounds as if he was an innovator. His summer palace dominates Split; it's so big the palace transformed into a town, complete with many cafes, hotels, and a town hall. We stay in a hotel built over the remains of the emperor's quarters, overlooking the Temple of Jupiter.|
Diocletian's Palace, one of the imposing Roman ruins in the world, served as his retirement home. Before him, Roman emporers only retired in cemeteries. He ended up buried here as well, in a mausoleum that is now a Catholic church (over Jill's right shoulder).
Split's harbor serves Croatia's largest port city. It's the heart of the Dalmation province; from here ferries go to islands along the Adriatic coast.