Monday, December 9, 2013

More on Marjan Hill

Awaking to a beautiful sunny day, we were drawn to venture to Marjan hill again.  However, we decided to take a different path that led to the peak instead of traveling around the base.  We did a much better job preparing for the day by packing a picnic lunch and pulling up a good map onto the iPhone.  

On the eastern slopes of the Marjan, just above the city, is Split’s old Jewish cemetery. The gate was locked, but we learned that if you ask the neighboring coffee shop attendant to open the cemetery they will do so.  The Jewish community in Split has been established since Diocletian's era.  The Jews of Split were mainly merchants, physicians, and tailors.  The Marjan hill Jewish cemetery was first established in 1573 containing over 700 graves.  The last burial took place in 1945 when it was closed and protected as a monument.   We were able to read the headstones starting from the 18th century.   
Bobby is explaining to Amelie about the Hebrew writing on the headstones.
The gate which was opened for us by the cafe attendant.

We continued climbing up the hill, enjoying the views over the city.  Next we approached a small rustic early 13th century church.  The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas (Sv. Nikole), a favourite saint of fishermen.   We could not go inside, but we could look through the small opening in the door to see a completely empty interior.  Amelie enjoyed calling into the church to hear her echo.  Liam enjoyed running around and around the church.  We broke out our delicious picnic lunch next to the church.  If you've been reading our blog then you know that our favorite picnic consists of a baguette, deli meat, cheese, sausage, cherry tomatoes, and fruit.  

Bobby is wrangling up Liam while Amelie is entertaining herself and I am taking pictures. ;)
Picnic Spot
With food in our belly, we continued walking two and a half kilometers further along the south rim path to the fifteenth century church of St. Jerome (Sv. Jeronima).  Built into clefts of the cliffs directly above and behind St. Jerome are a group of Renaissance hermitage caves, first used in the 15th century.  We desperately wanted to explore inside the caves, but they were locked.   The southern side of Marjan hill is also a perfect place for rock climbers as there are 70+ routes mapped out.  Bobby and I were rock climbing instructors at a summer camp during college and really miss the sport.  Stopping and talking with the climbers made us renew our goal of getting into shape so that we will be able to climb with Amelie and Liam when they are old enough.  I guess we need to keep away from the fritules if that is going to happen! ;)

Walking up the quiet mountainside in the sunshine is a perfect environment to take a good long nap.
Liam missed seeing the hermitage caves.

The view from the courtyard of St. Jerome.
Amelie and Bobby had to do a little free climbing to see the 2nd cave opening.

As we were walking down the mountain, we overheard English speakers sitting on a bench facing the sea.  We stopped to have a chat with the young Canadian couple who were backpacking through Europe and the World for a year.  It was fun to swap stories and listen to their fast paced schedule and all that they have been able to see.  They couldn't believe our ability to travel with 2 little ones.  The girl commented that she rationalized she had to stop school to travel while she was childless, but that we have totally debunked that theory.

As we walked down the mountain, Bobby and I talked about how insane the events leading up to what we are doing really were.  Chasing after your dreams does not mean you do not have to sacrifice and go out on a limb.  I remember reverting back to my life motto of "just don't think about it" many times to get to the point of leaving the country to travel.  However, through it all, each step made logical sense piece by piece.  Owning an old house was expensive.  So we sold it.  Bobby was defeated and discouraged at the end of many days at his job.  So he turned in his letter of resignation.  Both of our cars were old and requiring maintenance.  So we fixed them up one last time and sold them.  The list could go on with big and little things.  In the end, are we glad we chose risk over redundancy?  Absolutely!  I know that you are probably sick and tired of reading this, but we are really thankful for this opportunity.  Our dream was to travel and we did.  If you feel like you aren't living a story worth telling, I hope our exploits might inspire you to chase after your dreams and write your own amazing narrative for you and your family.

We walked back along the beaches on the coastal path towards home as the sun was setting.  A perfect end to a fantastic walk in the great outdoors with a great perspective of thankfulness in our hearts.

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