Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hey Dude, Where's a Museum?

Being jet lagged has a number of disadvantages, chief among them, the desire to sleep all the time, during hours which are at odds with that of the normal waking populous. Thus to Splt, a gorgeous city built entirely within the walls of the former palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletion. Imagine my joy at finding our apartment was actually built into the walls of the ancient palace. Imagine my trepidation when I came to realize that we were also adjacent to the giant Catholic Cathedral replete with many, many bells. The Catherdral was placed in the centre fo what had been the mausoleum of Diocletion. This is kind of ironic, given that Diocletion and Nero were two of the most outstanding emporers in terms of persecuting Christians etc...Guess Jesus got the last laugh there on that one.

We decided therefore, on the first full day in Split, which was a Sunday, that we would not waste our vacation by sleeping too much but get up bright and early and "carpe diem" so as to see the museums. This was made more difficult by the fact that Croatians feel museums should only be open for a brief morning window of say 9am to 11:30am after which they all shut down tight leaving one nothing to do but sit in cafes and drink.

The idea of rising so early, when one is jet lagged weighed heavily upon us, especially so since our normal hours of sleep resemble nothing so much as that of a sullen teenage boy.

My concern over our proximity to the church was borne out as massive bells started peeling at about 5:30 am, by a bed shaking din. They persisted in ringing thereafter for a joyous 5 minute spell each time the priest exclaimed thanks to heaven. Catherine began to wonder why they kept ringing the bells so much, for so long and so frequnetly. I assumed it was to get you, by force of sheer annoyance, out of bed and into mass.

Imagine our horror, when after forcing ourselves out of bed, sans even a coffee, we went charging through the streets of Split, running to hit the museums during the brief window of opportunity, only to discover that entirely everything in the country, except cafes where they only serve wine and beer, were closed for the national holiday...

As for the church bells, perhaps the enthusiasm with which the Splitsons pursue worship might explain what also appears to be a local and rising enthusiasm for Satanism from what one can see in the graffiti about town.

Even I was shocked, when, coming out of the Cathedral, I saw someone had carved "Death to the Church" in the wooden doors. My uneasiness was finally eased when I realized that it must have been written by the last person who had our room and had tried to sleep in on a Sunday...


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