Our week on the Atlantia ended this morning. A minibus picked us up in Omise (??) and drove us the short distance to Split, where we parted company with the other passengers–hugs all around and promises to email. We really lucked out–the crew was exceptional and the passengers were uniformly great companions!

The old city of Split is more extensive than we anticipated, and no taxis or cars are allowed; it is entirely pedestrian. Our minibus left us on the edge of the old city, and we wheeled our luggage past the dock and into a labyrinth of structures that had once been the huge, sprawling castle built by Diocletian. A couple of questions of helpful passersby and we found it.

We are staying at the Vesibul Palace, a sleek, contemporary, 11 room hotel carved out of the walls of Diocletian’s palace. So far, Split is spectacular. We wandered through tiny, winding “ways” lined with cafes and shops and bars; unlike the islands, where one or two places might have Internet, hot spots are–incongruently–everywhere in this nearly 2000-year-old city.

And like everywhere we’ve been in Croatia, it is stunningly beautiful.

Not only is the country physically magnificent, we are repeatedly impressed with the people. One illustrative example: I went into an Internet cafe yesterday, and prepared to pay, when the owner noticed that I had my IPad and needed only wifi. “It will be better for you to go to cafe” he told me, motioning to one down the street. “with a coffee, wifi will be free as long as you need.” This sort of thing has happened over and over. Tips elicit seemingly heartfelt thank-yous.

If you are reading this and come to the conclusion that we really, really are impressed with Croatia, you’re right.