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.