After leaving Plitvice Lakes and driving through the beautiful countryside of Croatia, we arrived at the seaport village of Split. There wasn’t a lot to see since it was dark when we arrived, but descending down into the city in the dark, it sparkled and twinkled with yellow lights and shimmering reflections on the water. In the morning we headed back out to explore. All morning it threatened to rain, and rain it did, from time to time. We still had fun though, wandering around and exploring. And when we realized we had arrived just in time to see Split’s Carnival celebration, we were a bit surprised. This would be our 3rd Carnival celebration since leaving Moscow! Did the party never end? It did end up being our last Carnival, and it was certainly much different than the previous two we’d been to in Slovenia!
When we realized there was to be a Carnival celebration at night, we found out what time it was supposed to start at, and then set out to explore the city. When the parade was to start, we headed back towards the beginning of the parade route, and waited. And waited. Finally we found someone who told us the parade start time was delayed by an hour, so we set off to kill some more time. When it was almost time to start, we were intrigued by a huge doll/woman who was sitting nearby and appeared to be part of the parade set up. I asked the apparent MC of the event who she was supposed to be, and he told me she represented the EU. And sure enough, once they got her set up and unfurled her dress, it was a huge EU flag! We of course had many more questions for him after that.
The whole procession took quite a while, so we set off to find the lone Chinese restaurant in town, while they finished the parade and had their concert and awards. Near 10 pm, we set off again to find the waterfront and watch the conclusion of the event. [along the way we met a girl who insisted on walking us the entire way down to the water when we asked for directions. Even though she had been walking in the completely opposite direction! I think she wanted to practice her English and we had a hilarious conversation where she would start out in English and then ramble off and finish the entire sentence in Croatian. Then she'd look at us for a response and we had no idea what to say since we didn't know what she'd said. We laughed a lot about that later].
We had heard Miss EU was to be burned at 10 pm by the water, and sure enough, she was. That spectacle certainly didn’t disappoint! It was such a frenetic crowd that marched her down to the water. It felt like we were part of a real live mob on our way to a burning or lynching or something, such a weird feeling! When they finally lit her, everyone erupted into cheers as she burned and embers began flying everywhere. It was practically raining embers!