Pond Jumpers: Spain

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Our new apartment

Posted on January 29, 2010 at 2:19am Madrid / 8:19pm Cincinnati by Kelly Larbes

head shot of kelly

Last weekend we left our beach house for the city. We decided it was time for a new apartment closer to town, so we moved to Varoš, an old suburb of Split known for its small and narrow winding streets just outside the city walls. The move was bittersweet.

Why we moved

The main reason we moved was to be closer to town. There was a lot we loved about our old place, but without a car, we were a bit isolated in our neighborhood. It was a 20-minute walk into town, and everything that we routinely did was beyond that point. If it were raining we usually avoided going out. And walking to work in the cold wind and rain was miserable. There was a bus, but it only came once an hour and it wasn’t consistent. We eventually decided we would be much happier if we were living closer to town. It’s only been a week, but we definitely like it here better already.

What we won’t miss about our old place

We obviously won’t miss walking into town in dismal weather, but there were a few other things that were easy to say goodbye to also. We won’t miss how cold our old apartment was. It rarely gets below freezing in Split, so I guess many people don’t bother to build houses with proper insulation. We could never seem to get our apartment warm enough and mold had started to grow in the corners of a few rooms.

We also won’t miss our awkward toilet that functioned like a faucet; we had to turn a knob to start the flush and wait there to turn it off when it was finished flushing. It was extra obnoxious if I used it in the middle of the night and had to wait for it to finish when all I really wanted to do was crawl back into bed. (Yes, I’d wash my hands while it flushed, but it was really slow.)

What we will miss about our old place

We are really going to miss our gorgeous sea view and beautiful sunsets. It is what kept us from moving sooner. We almost felt like we lived in a vacation home, with our terrace boasting an unobstructed view of the Adriatic Sea and several Croatian islands off in the distance. It was so nice to enjoy a meal on the terrace or even just sit out there while I chatted on the phone. I don’t know why, but there is something so peaceful and comforting about the sea.

We’ll also miss how much space we had in our old apartment. It was really a bit too big for just the two of us, but it was nice to have room to spread out.

Kelly and Jay on the balcony of our old Meje apartmentOne of our last sunsets from our Meje apartment balcony

What our new place is lacking

The main thing our new place is lacking right now is internet! We were supposed to have the internet up and functioning before we moved in, but everything seems to take longer than it should in Croatia. We have a line going into the house and a modem, but T-com, the provider, is sooo slow in getting it turned on. We’ve heard stories that it usually takes them at least a month to come around, which seems like a pretty horrible way to run a business if you consider that they are missing out on month’s worth of fees for every customer they have.

Our only saving grace is that our landlord’s father has a friend who works at T-com and he is supposed to get them to come on Monday. (This blog won’t actually be posted until we get the internet). For now, Jay has had to go back to our old apartment to work everyday. Luckily we overlapped our lease agreements for two weeks in case we had problems like this (because there are always logistical problems in Croatia).

The only other thing our new place is really lacking is space. It is about half the size of our old apartment. The family room, kitchen, dining room, and Jay’s office are all in one large square room on the ground floor. And we have two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. We are adjusting to the smaller space and it is really only inconvenient when we bring our clothes drying racks inside – then space is tight.

The Kitchen/Dining Room/Living Room/Office of our new apartment in VarosOur master bedroom of our new apartment in Varos

What we will love about our new place

The best thing about our new place is how close we are to almost everything. It takes just 3 minutes to walk to the center of town (instead of 20), 4 minutes to walk to work (instead of 22), 8 minutes to walk to salsa class (instead of 30), and the list could go on and on. And now Jay isn’t so isolated since he works at home. I can stop by at lunch or we can run out to do a few quick errands. It is so convenient, and it is still a quiet location.

We are tucked on the backside of a four-story stone building down a typical narrow Croatian alleyway. Our street is about the width of a mini-van. Our kind friend, Joel, helped us move with his mini-van and he couldn’t make it all the way down our street. And it is still a two-way street.

Our new apartment's backyardJay showing how wide our new apartment's street is

We also love that almost everything in our new apartment is newer and contemporary. Everything, including the sinks, toilet, shower, beds and kitchen table, is nicer. We even have a little yard that we share with the four other apartments in the building. It isn’t pretty and manicured like American lawns, but it has a few pretty trees and a grill for barbecuing. And we have an outdoor table and chairs for our front porch for when the weather turns nice again. It’s not as nice as the sea view, but it will do. And we can’t beat the location.

Click here to view more photos of our new apartment in Split’s Varos neighborhood.

14 Reader Comments to “Our new apartment”

  1. Jay Larbes on January 29, 2010 at 2:31am Split / 8:31pm Cincinnati

    Just a couple of quick thoughts tonight…

    I will definintely NOT miss the walk to and from town – especially the gigantic hills we had to walk. I was usually not a happy camper about the long walks – Kelly was much more of a trooper than me.

    I can’t decide if I will or won’t miss interacting with my landlord. If you remember, I speak with him solely in German. It was definitely fun sometimes, but was very difficult because my vocabulary is so poor. translate.google.com is one of my favorite web sites!

    Our toilets – I will never forget them! I think I got a bigger kick out of them than most people. But yes, Toilet A you had to twist a knob to turn it on, wait 45 seconds, then turn it back off. And Toilet B, you had to push and hold a trigger-like device (like what you’d find on a kitchen sink sprayer) until you decided it was clean enough.

    And last but definitely not least – we made sure to still get a two bedroom place. So we still have a free place to stay for any and all visitors!! (And if the bunk beds aren’t for you, our sofa opens as another double bed.)

  2. Mick on January 29, 2010 at 1:07pm Split / 7:07am Cincinnati

    I’m happy you two are closer now. We’d love to see your new place once you’re all settled in :)
    we got back last week btw…

  3. jonathan on January 31, 2010 at 11:11pm Split / 5:11pm Cincinnati


    just came across your blog and have found it to be a very interesting read.thank you!

    me and my girlfriend (english/russian-canadian) have recently arrived in Split with the intention (maybe) of moving here permanently (subject to a whole range of factors).

    For now we are looking for an apartment!

    You mentioned Jay plays soccer. I would love to play as well – where does he play?

  4. Jay Larbes on January 31, 2010 at 11:51pm Split / 5:51pm Cincinnati

    Hi Jonathan,

    Welcome to Split!! Thanks for the nice comments about our blog. If you need any help or advice looking for an apartment, feel free to reach out to us — I sent you an email with my contact info. We’ve done the ‘search for an apartment’ thing twice in the past ten months, so we have at least a little bit of understanding about how things work here.

    I play soccer here with a group of internationals. We play on Mondays (at 6pm) and Wednesdays (at 8pm) at a soccer complex over by Poljud stadium and Hemingway bar. I haven’t played in a couple of months because I’ve been a bum with the colder weather. But I hope to make it this Wednesday. I can give you more information about that over the phone as well.

    – Jay

  5. Craig Bishop on February 1, 2010 at 12:20am Split / 6:20pm Cincinnati

    Jelly!! (That’s your celebrity communal nickname in case you’d never heard it…which I’m sure you have),

    I LOVE this blog! Truly! MUCH better than that cruddy old larbes.com one. Ugh.

    Anyways, I’m so glad to hear that you guys are continuing to love the life and times of living in Split. We certainly miss you here, but it’s great knowing you’re having fun and experiencing what sounds like a truly amazing adventure. I’m also glad to hear that you’ve upgraded to a better toileting facility. I, personally, don’t know how I’d be able to handle living in such conditions. Honestly.

    I, too, am super excited about LOST returning on Tuesday, so we’ll have to keep in touch and discuss it. I’ve spent time over the past week rewatching some of my favorite episodes and poring over articles about the essential episodes, ideas, themes, etc. of the show. It seems like premiere time is when I always find myself getting knee deep in the mystery and theories and craziness of the show. Hopefully the conclusion will be something satisfying and not a giant letdown. This guy, Doc Jensen, a writer for Entertainment Weekly, provides some really great theories including this one: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20313460_20337825,00.html# Worth a read!

    Alright guys, hope all is well with you. Have a great rest of the weekend and happy “LOST” day!


  6. Jenny on February 1, 2010 at 4:03am Split / 10:03pm Cincinnati

    New apartment looks very nice! I’m glad you guys moved closer to town. Seems like it will be more enjoyable for the two of you.

    I felt like I should comment after Craig and share in the LOST love! YAY LOST! Can’t wait for Tuesday! :) Let me know after you guys watch it because I don’t have anyone here to talk about it with.

  7. jonathan on February 2, 2010 at 10:16pm Split / 4:16pm Cincinnati


    didnt get your email for some reason. what your phone number? id love to play tomorrow.

    thanks for the offer of help but we just found a place today! :) its japanese small but thats not surprising as its right in the center. in the meantime we are couch surfing with a guy who has a luxury flat that costs 1500 euros a month!! its does have a heated bathroom floor though so i guess its worth it :/


  8. Jay Larbes on February 4, 2010 at 2:52pm Split / 8:52am Cincinnati

    Hi Jonathan – I just sent you my phone number via email. If you don’t receive it again, send me an email with your mobile number to jaylarb [at] gmail [dot] com.

  9. Jay Larbes on February 4, 2010 at 10:49pm Split / 4:49pm Cincinnati

    Jenny and Craig – thanks for the kind words about our blog and our travels, we appreciate it! We definitely miss everyone back home lots too – that is the ‘worst’ thing about being here is being away from so many people who we care about and make life great.

    And we watched Lost — but not until Wednesday night. It was awesome. Can’t wait for the season to unfold!! Will be interesting how they explain the double phenomena.

    And Mick -we’ll definitely have to schedule a time to have you and Alice and Marko over. Much less of a trek now!

  10. Elisa on February 5, 2010 at 8:56pm Split / 2:56pm Cincinnati

    Yes, Kelly we share your thoughts: “pretty horrible way to run a business if you consider that they are missing out on month’s worth of fees for every customer they have”, we didn’t get ours installed after almost 4 (working weeks, weekends and holidays not included)LOL!

    Your new place does look cozy and inviting. and I see you have a grill. Cevapes anyone?? Kidding, I remember you aren’t a big fan Jay.

    See you guys on thursday in Znjan!

  11. Jives79 on February 7, 2010 at 11:06pm Split / 5:06pm Cincinnati

    Very cool! Congrats on the new digs. Funny, I have similar complaints about British toilets. It’s amusing the details you start to notice when you’re away from home. :-)

  12. Bari on February 15, 2010 at 6:19pm Split / 12:19pm Cincinnati

    Hi, we love your blog & will be visiting split in late Aug/Sept 2010. We are looking to rent an apt for 4-5 nights. There are hundreds. How do you choose? What should I look for? I am looking for a one bedroom, that is under 95 euros a night, closer to 60-85 or so. What do you recommend? Thansk

  13. Kelly Larbes on February 15, 2010 at 8:36pm Split / 2:36pm Cincinnati

    Hi Bari – Yes there are hundreds of private accommodations in Split. I would recommend the place we stayed our first week here: http://www.kamenicvit.com/en/. It is not inside the Diocletian Palace, but is just a one minute walk north of it. It’s not fancy, but it is clean, modern, and quiet.

    If not there, I would look for: 1. Inside the Palace. Location is very important. Public transportation is mediocre. Many people will advertise their place as in the center but they stretch the truth. I would make sure the place is inside the Diocletian Palace if you can’t find the specific street adress on a map. 2. Air condition. Sometimes Split can be very hot in August. You will appreciate coming back to a nice cool room.

    Don’t forget to negotiate. If you are staying for 4-5 nights, ask for a better price than what you see advertised. Many people will say yes. Good luck and let us know what you decide and when you finalize plans – perhaps we can meet for coffee when you visit.

  14. Robert on February 27, 2010 at 5:06pm Split / 11:06am Cincinnati

    Hi…..would like to meet you sometime as fellow expats living here! My wife, who is Russian, is visiting her daughter there, so anytime after March 8th would be good. We live in Cascade, near the green glass tower of the hotel that Kerum is building, so we are not far away. Let us know! Robert and Natsha