Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enjoying Excellent Weather on Marjan Hill

Marjan Hill is a 178 meter tall hill right next to Split's city center.  It's dense Mediterranean pine forest is completely surrounded by the city and the sea, making it a unique sight.  As early as the 13th century this hill was regarded as a municipal forest.  Cutting down trees from this hill was not allowed way back then, nor is it allowed to this day.  It has served as a retreat for picnics and recreational activities for the citizens of Split for hundreds of years.  

On November 6th, with the sun shining and temperatures in the low 70's we decided to start walking up Marjan Hill to see where our adventure would take us.  Our hike began by walking up through the streets of the city.  We then entered the park area where no cars were allowed, but we were still walking along a paved road.  Shortly after we reached a point where trails led us through the woods to the very top.  At the top of the hill we found a really fun playground.  Since Amelie and Liam had hiked up the hill like champs, we spent time playing on the playground.

Bobby cracks me up.   I was waiting for him to throw up or fall on his head while spinning with Amelie. ;)
The views at the top of the hill were amazing!  With the playground being near the openings for incredible views, I found myself just staring soaking up the beauty and the sun's rays.  There were a couple of joggers at the top and I remember thinking that if I ran to the top, then I would definitely take time to reflect and relax with such incredible scenery!

If you look close enough you can see a white dot of a sail boat in the center of the picture.  
Also at the top of Marjan Hill is Split's claim to Europe's smallest zoo.  It has a sordid past with animal rights groups as the cages were quite small.  This was a very sad zoo.  Amelie and Liam did not think twice and enjoyed seeing all of the animals.  There were hundreds of peacocks and roosters walking around freely.  The size and the melancholy of the zoo led to very few pictures taken.  The baboon was very aggressive and would show it's teeth and growl.  Our only separation from the baboon was an old chain link fence and our desire not to have our fingers bitten off, and I was certain that we were going to have poop thrown on us.  He did turn his butt towards us a couple of times, but we escaped clean!  There was an otter that ran right over to the glass and stuck it's paw through a little opening in the cage to us. We were able to see pigs, llamas, a wolf, an owl, vultures, Guinea pigs, ducks, sheep, bears, goats, and geese.  I liked the view too!  The vultures were sitting at the edge of their cage looking over the mountain...kinda sad though...

This huge brown bear did not have much room to roam.  It paced back and forth. 

Amelie and Liam tickled the pigs noses with hay.
A building at the zoo used for food preparation.
The red vines growing on the building really stood out to me.
Anyone want a bathroom break?
How would you feel if the hole had a bunch of bees inside?
*Note:  no one was stung in the process of taking this picture or using the facilities.*
Liam and I sat to wait for Bobby and Amelie as they were checking out a different trail.
Walking back home through the streets of Split.   Living near the tall tower has been amazingly helpful for me as it can be seen from almost everywhere.  As long as I can find the tower, I can find my way home! ;)
After walking all morning, we sat along the Riva for a pizza picnic lunch.

Amelie and Liam had fun feeding their crusts to the pigeons.

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