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Saturday, September 14: Day 145 – Splittin’ a Split in Split

I woke early in order to soak my sore muscles in the bath. We haven’t seen a bathtub in a long time. It was fun to take a bath in this same place that Roman baths existed!

After a nice breakfast, we checked out and headed to our Airbnb in Split.

The big three in Croatia are grapes, olives and figs. We went to an olive oil bar for an olive oil tasting. There were five of us from the USA and Ivana was our hostess. It was her first tasting presentation.

The difference between virgin and extra virgin is the time of picking which is mid-November when they are plump with moisture.

The extra virgin are harvested when the olives are half green and half black. (Virgin oil is made from black ripe grapes.) They must arrive for processing within 24 hours. The olives are cold pressed. Heat destroys the olive oil taste.

There are 1 million olive trees in Brač of the 4 million in Croatia.

Tasting is done in small blue glass cups. This is to prevent the color from affecting your thoughts about the taste. Prior to tasting, the small blue cup is put in the palm of one hand to warm up the oil and the other hand covers the top to keep the aroma in the cup.

Next, remove your hand and smell. Try to define the smell: peppery, buttery, green, etc.

Next, take a sip and draw air in through your teeth to coat your tongue. Then swallow.

We were tasting virgin oil first. At this point, I started coughing. In the back of my throat, it felt peppery and had a warm sensation. I wasn’t a fan of this virgin olive oil.

Extra virgin is very sensitive to light, so it should be in a tinted bottle.

Uje is the Dalmation word for oil. It is also the brand name of this Croatian olive oil company.

When you combine olive oil with vinegar, use red wine vinegar for a smoother taste. Balsamic vinegar is too tart. When making a salad, use extra virgin oil and red wine vinegar.

We added flower of salt. It was delicious and crunchy. It is VERY expensive.

Flower of salt is a special type of salt that floats on the top of salt water, so it is hand harvested early in the morning or in the evening. It makes a shape like a flower. It should only be used as a topping and has extra flavor.

During our tasting we also had goat and sheep cheese topped with fig preserves. Some put additional pepper on this. I did not care for that although Rob was a fan.

(One of the other tasters recommended raspberry jam on Gouda cheese for a Dutch version.)

The older Croatians like the heartier flavor of the virgin olive oil whereas the younger generation likes the smooth delicate flavor of extra virgin oil.

Did You Ever Wonder?

We have been running into the word, Dalmatian. So I wondered if there was some type of connection to the dog breed. Sure enough, the breed is from Croatia although I have not seen any. Read more in this link:

Dalmatian Dog

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Those that have been reading the blog know that I left ALL my pants at our Airbnb in Kotor, Montenegro. Rob mourned with me (mainly inconvenience and $$) and I tried to move on!

However, my dad has a motto that has served him well. “Find a way or make one!” I have one which is “You don’t ask, you don’t get.” With these two mottos in mind and discarding Rob’s numerous mottos as not applicable: “Move forward”, “What goes down has to come back up.” and “It is what it is!” And it’s twin, “It isn’t, what it isn’t.”, I decided to contact our Airbnb hostess to see if she could offer some assistance.

Lydija was able to find them and sent a picture to confirm. I had put them “out of the way” where I kept my shoes.

Now what? Rob suggested a train, boat or bus. Lydia said that the bus was our only option.

Lydija wrapped up the package of pants and found a lady who was traveling to Zagreb with a stopover in Split. The woman agreed to deliver it to me. The bus would arrive in Split at 1:20am but Ivan told me that it would be late up to two hours as there would be border crossings.

We headed to the bus station at 1:00. Fortunately, we had planned to watch our daughter’s volleyball team play from 1:00-2:30 so that helped pass the time.

After 3:00, we were the only ones sitting outside. It started to get chilly. We joined other sleepy would-be passengers in the waiting room.

At 4:00am, a bus pulled in and I was hopeful. I saw a sleepy-eyed lady look through the window that looked like the photo. I approached her as she came off. Rob said that she wasn’t the lady. How embarrassing!

I backed off but looked again at the package that she had in her hand. She didn’t speak English but was reluctant to give me the bag. (How many people could be waiting here at this bus station?) I had a document queued up on my phone that said PANTS FOR BRENDA STREET. This seemed to satisfy her. There were happy hugs all around and we were all on our way once again. We skipped off to bed for a short night sleep. I am sure that there was a smile on my face. It was worth all the hassle to get my pants back!!

Split

While in Split, Rob and I found a fun place to have a banana split. We decided to split it (although I could have eaten the whole thing!) We didn’t split the bill.

Later, we saw a woman doing the splits in front of a large sign of Split. I told her to further her theme by having a banana split. As she walked away laughing, I wondered if she had split ends or lived in a split level house!!!

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