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Finally making it to Split, Croatia

Posted on April 19, 2009 at 1:12am Madrid / 7:12pm Cincinnati by Kelly Larbes

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It’s been sunny, blue skies, and about 70F everyday for the past 10 days. No one in Split owns dryers and clothes are hung out on the balconies to dry in the fresh Adriatic air. We did our first load of laundry today. It’s been raining all afternoon. Of course, laundry day was ruined before the rain; Jay accidently bought fabric softener instead of laundry detergent and all of the stores are closed today because it is a national holiday. In his defense, everything in the bottle is written in Croatian.

Getting settled in to our new Croatian home has been an adventure full of ironies from the start. We arrived April 1st, twelve days ago, and that already feels so long ago. My spirits rose with excitement as the plane glided closer to Split, Croatia and I could see the red roofed houses dotting the land. I didn’t have expectations for the airport in Split, but considering it is Croatia’s second largest airport, I was surprised to find we landed on the only runway and there was a one building terminal smaller than a Walmart. As the plane came to a stop, we did a full 180 degree hair-pin turn and taxied back down the runway to the terminal and exited the plane. Exiting was chaotic because both the front and back doors of the plane were opened and for some reason half of the people in the back wanted to exit in the front and half of the people in the front wanted to exit in the back. Everyone was trying to wheel their hand luggage down the same narrow aisle past each other. Eventually someone had to give in and move over; it was usually us. At least baggage claim and customs was expeditious; our passports were quickly stamped without a word exchanged.


Tony, my new boss, met us at the exit. We recognized each other right away and greeted each other with an awkward smile and handshake. I really wanted to throw my arms around him in a big hug, saying, “It’s so good to finally meet you and we’re so happy to finally be here,” but I just stood there quite uncharacteristically sheepish, waiting for him to make the next move. I think the wee 30 minutes of sleep from the plane the night before was catching up to me.


Tony informed us that the van he had planned to have for our luggage had fallen through and, of course, our four large suitcases and hand luggage did not fit in his car. He said he had a plan, so we waited while he spoke in very animated Croatian with a bus driver. Tony returned saying, “In Croatia, you can negotiate for anything with anyone, except for that guy.” He wanted the bus driver to take just our luggage and stop along his route near our temporary apartment. The driver said it was impossible because he wasn’t allowed to make any stops. So, Tony decided we would ride the bus with half our luggage and he would pick us up at the Riva, the bus’s destination downtown by the port. The bus made five stops along the way for other passengers, but we finally did make it to the Riva and then to our temporary apartment.

8 Reader Comments to “Finally making it to Split, Croatia”

  1. Betty Bone on April 20, 2009 at 10:17pm Split / 4:17pm Cincinnati

    Okay, hard not to have a dryer but the fresh smell your clothes will have (baring dead fish stink from the ocean…we had that in Savannah every now and then) will be awesome. I’m a bit surprised at the lack of color. Oh well, you’ll get to that.

  2. CKron on April 21, 2009 at 5:16pm Split / 11:16am Cincinnati

    How energy-savvy to dry clothes outside – love it! I’m actually thinking of building a clothesline in my yard too!

    Anyhow – so glad you guys made it safe – what a paradise to live in!

  3. Alexander Kintis on April 21, 2009 at 9:23pm Split / 3:23pm Cincinnati

    Congrats my friend! Good luck and best wishes!!

  4. Pat Tarplee on April 22, 2009 at 9:45pm Split / 3:45pm Cincinnati

    so what do you do if it’s raining and you really need to dry your clothes?

  5. Jay Larbes on April 22, 2009 at 10:39pm Split / 4:39pm Cincinnati

    Pat – well, our balcony is semi-covered, so we may still be able to hang things out there. I noticed yesterday when it was lightly raining all day everyone still had their clothes out. Confused me, but I guess they still dry? Or, we can just hang them in our bathroom. We have this portable clothes-dryer rack/stand/thing that we lay out our clothes on. see these two photos for examples!

  6. Casey on April 23, 2009 at 3:16pm Split / 9:16am Cincinnati

    Are your clothes more or less wrinkled when you hang them out to dry compared to using a dryer. Also, have you found your things not as soft as when you used a dryer. Growing up we always hung our clothes on a clothesline–outside in the summer and in the basement in the winter.

  7. Kelly Larbes on June 11, 2009 at 10:30am Split / 4:30am Cincinnati

    Our clothes are definitely more stiff after being out in the sun to dry, but they loosen up after we shake them out. And things seem to be more wrinkled. I am not a fan of ironing, and I think I have used the iron more here than I have in my entire life.

  8. Elisa on January 14, 2010 at 6:31pm Split / 12:31pm Cincinnati

    Don’t you love doing laundry? I have never ironed so MUCH in my life!!

    Welcome to Split (from one expat to another)