Sunday, 24 September 2017

Split Archaeological Museum

The archaeological museum is the one sight in Split to which I ventured that isn't in the old city. Its a bit of a trek. And from my experience at the end of a day of sightseeing, not many people make the trek. It isn't particularly well signposted. And indeed the one bloke in charge - seemingly in charge of both security and admissions - seemed almost surprised that I wanted to come in.

Also disappointing is that the interior only has two rooms, albeit one is a very large gallery.

 I admit, I do have a thing for classical bronze helmets. Don't titter.

Most of the best stuff is outside.

And most of this isn't in the open courtyard but in a gloomy arcaded courtyard, at least gloomy by this time in the evening. There were lights, but they had evidently not felt it worth turning them on for the paltry number of visitors. In any event, these photos look rather better than anything looked in real life, my camera being better able to adjust to the low light levels than I was!

So that only left time for me to find my way back to the apartment, meet up with the guys after their afternoon on the beach and head out for dinner and a few drinks on the waterfront. Split is well worth a visit. Biggest contrast from my previous trip in 1990 is that it actually caters to tourists. Back in 1990 it had a tourist trade, but being the end of the communist era visitors were still seen as an inconvenience on whom minimal effort should be expended in order to obtain some hard currency. In particular, it was no employee's job to actually please anyone. They just did the absolute minimum to fulfil their job description. So a waiter would bring out food and a bill, eventually. But just when he felt like it. Food would be edible. Just. One of my favourite memories from my previous visit (as part of a tour group for the 1990 European Athletics Championships) was the waiter at our resort who could speak barely any English and couldn't add up. We would always leave him the challenge at the end of the evening of working out our bill for beers, and then tell him the right answer at the end. It was all a bit of a joke, we could have been ripping him off half the time, but he didn't care. No one did.

But such a contrast now. This is an upmarket place. Food is excellent. Everyone speaks English and really good conversational English too, not just enough to get by. Streets are clean. It is just so much a better place. Amazing what escaping from a socialist system can do for overall well-being. Transformation.

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