In the morning it had stopped raining but it was one of those days when it was only a matter of time before it started again and judging by the clouds accumulating over the island of Brač just a few kilometres away in the Adriatic Sea we probably wouldn’t have too long to wait. It stayed fine long enough to have an excellent Pink Inn breakfast outside on the terrace and where Iveska explained that there had been a heat wave during the previous week but the forecast for the next few days wasn’t very thrilling and we cursed our luck for getting our timing wrong.
Today we were planning to visit Split but as we were preparing to catch the ten o’clock bus the clouds began their relentless march inland and the heavens opened again and we watched as first Brač and then Split itself slipped from view under a thick grey shroud. When it had slowed from a downpour to a drizzle I was sent to the shop down the road to get supplies in case we were forced to spend the day in the room, which at that point seemed like a distinct possibility.
At the shop I couldn’t remember which beer I preferred, was it Karlovačko, Ožujsko or Laško so I bought one of each so that I could try them all just to be sure.
By the time I returned the rain had eased and the horizon was much clearer so we made the decision to go to Split as planned and with umbrellas at the ready we set off for the bus stop nearly opposite the hotel. The short ride took about twenty minutes and it was worth the 10 Kuna fare just to avoid any parking difficulties and the bus dropped us off conveniently at the green market quite close to the old town.
Here there were lots of local people selling produce that they had grown themselves and the stalls were bursting with colour and groaning under the weight of freshly harvested crops. It must have been raining hard here too because the old ladies doing the selling were wearing plastic bags over their shoes and had black refuse sacks draped over their shoulders to keep them dry. Kim tried to take photographs of them but one in particular took offence at the intrusion and shooed her away with a scowl.
The sky remained grey as we walked along the recently improved pedestrian area next to the harbour with its rows of smart bars and cafés and immaculate gardens and lawns as we retraced our steps along the waterfront from the previous visit last year.
We were heading for People’s Square with its bars and restaurants and pretty medieval buildings and we arrived just in time to make the shelter of a pavement parasol before it started to rain again. This didn’t stop us sitting and having a beer and we sat and watched as people hurried past under the shelter of umbrellas and a young beggar with twisted legs made a sweep through the bars collecting coins from customers as he went. I am usually suspicious of beggars but this chap looked genuine enough so I transferred the loose change from my pocket into his begging cap and he moved on.
Suddenly a wind appeared and a sudden squall created chaos when it lifted the ivory coloured umbrellas right out of their metal stands and sent them all crashing through the tables and chairs with the bar staff frantically chasing after them through the windswept square. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time when seconds earlier they had tied them altogether to improve the shelter from the rain but it wasn’t so clever now as they all lifted off together scattering all of the customers in a panic.
We didn’t need excitement and danger like that so we finished our drinks and left and continued our visit.