Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue? Perhaps deemed rudimentary by any science boffins reading this, it is a simple but captivating question I just had to ask myself on a recent trip to Split, Croatia.
If I’d paid more attention to my teacher than my split-ends during my science lessons (no pun intended), I would have learnt about light waves, molecules and spectrums of colour, but it was not to be. Even Google failed to provide a satisfactory explanation.
Maybe my question was more of a rhetorical one; all I know is that as I stopped to gaze out at the Adriatic Sea on the coast of the ancient city of Split, the shockingly true blue expanse of cloudless atmosphere above me begged the question: how can the sky be that blue?
I wandered around the surprisingly sturdy skeleton of the ancient Roman Diocletian Palace, which sprawls away from the shore in a riddle of narrow lanes and passageways, in a state of perpetual disorientation. It is not often that one hopes to be lost, but it is a desire found to be particularly prevalent in a certain breed of person: the traveller.
If I had possessed a map, I would never have stumbled upon the hole in the wall (literally) from which I purchased the most divine pizza I have ever eaten. I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of slipping on slimy fish innards at an early-morning seafood market. I would have been looking down at my hands, rather than up at the one, unmoving constant: the cobalt ceiling of sky, framed by marble and limestone.
The palace was built in AD 305 for the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s retirement. I can see why he chose such a spot to while away his final days. With 2600 hours of sunshine a year and a sparkling sea view, the palace today – which is the world’s most complete remains of a Roman palace – offers as much pleasure to its curious visitors as it no doubt did to Diocletian himself.
Ancient arches of smooth, cool rock tempt you to peer through and move deeper into the labyrinthine network of corridors. Centuries of history echo in the halls, blending imperceptibly with the continuous hum of chatter from the stream of tourists admiring the grand architecture. The air is thick with the aroma of Mediterranean cooking, salty air and dust; the atmosphere is palpable.
This is a living museum, a stunning snapshot of a bygone era, where past and present collide; as you lose yourself within the walls, you lose all sense of time.
As the palace released me back onto the waterfront, back to where I had started, I had no clue how I’d managed to come full circle. I didn’t know where the day had gone. The sun was starting to set, burning a pink and violet path through the sky behind a candyfloss cloud; I had no idea how my beloved blue was melting into shades of red and orange (it’s actually something to do with the distance of the sun from your position on Earth being greater in the evenings…) but quite frankly, I didn’t care.
Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.
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