Manuela: Split 1

202 x 152 narrative

The Adria - I was born in Split Croatia and moved to Berlin, Germany in 1989 when I was 12 years old – just before the war in ex-Yugoslavia started. I lived with my grandmother for three years while my mother was in Berlin paving the way for me to join her and start school there. Most of my school summer holidays were spent going back to visit my gran – we were very close.

During the war most of my friends left Croatia, so summer was the meeting point for all of us scattered to different parts of the world. I would spend all day outside with friends on the beaches and only come back home when I was hungry and had to sleep.

The Adria Sea and its incomparable beauty have spoiled me for life. No other sea can come close to being this beautiful; its calmness causes me to lose myself in it and the balmy temperature makes me want to swim in it forever. The colours of the most beautiful shades of blues, combined with the rough feel of the pebbles on the feet make me feel at home. My heart bursts every time I get in it - filled with love and gratitude, and I feel an instant reconnection to it whenever I come back. Especially now that I live in Cape Town, where the ocean is wild and cold. It makes me love and appreciate the Adria even more!

Manuela: Split 2

202 x 152 narrative

The Riva – the main promenade in Split – with the old town behind it makes the perfect picture! It looks so pristine and beautiful that one just wants to jump in to have a swim. But the irony is that the stretch of Riva where this image was taken is a disgustingly dirty sea because the sewage pipes from restaurants and houses in the old town lead into the sea right there.

In the past few years it has been redirected deeper into the sea, but the memory of the smell lingers. The rest of the Riva, however, has always been the place to be, filled with busy restaurants and cafés. It’s just beautiful to sit in the shade and watch people passing by and ferries and yachts gliding past.

Manuela: Split 3

152 x 152 narrative

Cobbled roads are called ‘kale’ in the Split dialect. They are narrow, shiny and slippery and usually filled with people. It’s a web of roads in the old town, inside the remains of Diocletian’s Palace. One walks in between monuments and ruins, past museums and shops with loads of restaurants and bars.
I just love walking around the old town – walking the hidden walkways and taking shortcuts from A to B makes me feel like a local again. And having a sneak peek into people’s day-to-day lives in the old ruins of the palace, listening to people talking, couples fighting, and inhaling the passing smells of whatever they are cooking. Their homes are tiny in these buildings and living there is very noisy due to the buzzy seasonal life.

Unfortunately I just missed a photo of the lady who was hanging up her clothes. It’s a clever washing line system that connects two apartments with two completely different family life stories.
Somehow I don’t have the same feeling I have for Split when I’m thinking of Berlin, although I lived there for 17 years and call it my second home. I made great friends there and know both the West and East part of the city very well, but due to it being a big cosmopolitan city I never feel melancholy about it in the way that I do because of my deep love for Split.

It’s not so much the people that I deeply connect with in Split, more the landscape and the old town where I grew up. In fact, I don’t actually like what Split has become after the war, so I don’t have many new friends there.

In Berlin it’s the exact opposite. Berlin shaped me and made me open-minded, taught me to be strong enough to go anywhere I wanted and do whatever I like. I arrived into a whole new culture there as a teenager, not speaking the language and amongst people with a different mentality, and made it my own.