November 4, 2009

Croatia - Day 5

November 3 - today is Richard's 75th birthday. We celebrated in style. Our tour guide, Jasmina, was kind enough to help me arrange for a birthday cake. We surprised Richard with the cake after lunch. The "candle" on top of the cake was more like a blow torch - he was totally blown away! This was a our first day of rain (and according to the weather forecast we can expect a lot more), but it didn't dampen the birthday celebration. The cake itself, as you can see, almost defies description. The top was covered in shaved dark and white chocolate. The filling was creamy. It was a huge cake and everyone loved it. There was a bit left over, which we left for the restaurant staff to enjoy.

After lunch, we continued on to Split which Croatia's second largest city. The main attraction in Split is Diocletian's Palace. He was a Roman emporer at the end of the third century A.D. and one of the few emporers who retired rather than being assassinated. He spent the last 11 years of his life at the huge palace built by slaves. It was really more than a palace. It represented a good part of the city at that time. Some of the treasures include 30 sphinxes imported from Egypt, including one that had been a temple guardian over 36 centuries ago.

Diocletian persecuted and killed thousands of christians. After his death, his mausoleum was ironically converted into the present day Catholic cathedral which is still in use today.

This magnificent 24 hour clock was built in the 16th century and still keeps very accurate time.

Split is a seaside city. Many wealthy people live here. This area is called "Beverly Hills."

We went to a neighborhood bar for dinner. The food was non-stop and delicious. There were only 5 of us dining there, but we had enough grilled meats and vegetables for 10!

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