f

Thursday, 3 March 2016

BACKPACKING EUROPE: Zagreb, Croatia

Croatian traditions on the streets of Zagreb 


Sunday 26th April, 2015

Quite a magnificent setting for somewhere so close to a train station was my first thought, as we stepped out onto the streets of the Croatian capital and were greeted by a courtyard of towering, baroque buildings.

As Jack and I meandered down the streets unenthusiastically, it took me a while to appreciate that we were in Croatia, the place I was most looking forward to but honestly, how can you appreciate anything when you're sweaty, confused and astray? We were desperate to check into our room so instead of following road signs and our best judgement, we decided to take the easy way out and follow Google Maps instead, as Croatia is very generous with its Wifi.

We booked a private room on Airbnb for just £8.50 a night, which worked out cheaper than a hostel so of course we were going to take advantage. We had our own private bedroom and bathroom, a shared kitchen and lounge area, and best of all.. A wash machine (whatever, I'm a saddo!). After my eyes unfocused from the trance of free washing powder, I realised that we had been greeted by a very sweet Croatian lady named Bozena, who was the mother of Ivan, the guy who owned the apartments. Bozena was kind and friendly and made us feel so welcome, I was already prepared to extend my stay! I think we sat with her for over an hour, talking as if we had known each other for years.

Once she had finished telling us about the city of Zagreb, we realised that we didn't have the right currency for Croatia, shit! We asked Bozena where the nearest exchange place was but as it was a Sunday and the banks were now closed, she kindly offered to swap us some Euros for Croatian Kuna... We were so grateful but also a little bit surpised at how generous a complete stranger could be. Not wanting to take advantage of the offer too much, we decided to just swap enough Euros for a trip to the supermarket and stay in tonight. The look of our bed and the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves made me feel happy with this decision, I was looking forward to having a night in with some homemade pasta and catch up with family on Skype, even if the pasta turned out shit.

Beautiful hand painted souvenirs in Zagreb







Monday 27th April, 2015

After exploring Croatia's capital for a couple of hours, I decided that this was my least favourite city so far. Everything kind of felt scattered and random and nothing really stood out. I'm not saying that there isn't plenty to see in Zagreb because there is but I was pretty disappointed with how plain the capital was, I felt that Zagreb didn't represent Croatia as well as it should have but saying that, I still enjoyed being a tourist. Also, we must of liked it more than we thought because we ended up staying in Zagreb for 4 nights instead of just the 1! (This was only because of the accommodation we had, getting an extra night for free and one day we spent a travelling back to Ljubljana to get more Euros out before we could continue through Croatia).

So what did we actually do in Zagreb? Well, we ate at a Spanish Tapas Restaurant called 'Mio Corazon' (as you do when you're in Croatia) and we tried some crazy-ass cocktail called 'Voodoo Sangria', which says on the menu, "will turn you into a zombie." I mean, WTF is that supposed to mean? So we decided to find out... Turns out it does turn you into a Zombie, or something like that.

Once the effects of this zombie-like cocktail had worn off, we visited St Mark's Church, which had a spectacular mosaic roof and then we stopped by the 'Museum of Broken Relationships', which was very, very interesting and completely unique. I would actually say that this place was one of my highlights in Croatia. The museum made me feel so many emotions in such a short space of time, I was completely warped into other peoples lives from the moment I walked in. The many stories, which paved out our designated route, had been donated by members of the public, along with relevant objects, which tell a story about a particular relationship in their life, which they chose to share with the world. It's a museum full of memory and truth, and passion and pain, and wondering and regret, and it's truly profound.

'Voodoo Sangria' and Tapas at Mio Corazon 
Time for tapas in Mio Corazon, Zagreb
Love the homemade menu at Mio Corazon
St Mark's Church, Zagreb
Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb
Souvenirs in the Museum of Broken Relationsho
After the museum, we wandered through the streets looking for some local cuisine. After 10 minutes or so of walking around trying to find a place that felt right, a guy called Abdul, who must have overheard our indecisiveness, interrupted us to recommend a really good place so we followed him. He seemed like a genuine and nice enough guy and we were right to trust him because he was really cool. He took us to a really great restaurant, where we tried one of the nicest and cheapest burgers ever (doing really well at trying the local food so far). We found out he was from Leicester (practically our neighbour in England), had his own architectural company and was splitting his time in both England and Croatia, as he had a Croatian girlfriend who lived in Zagreb. He even offered to give us a ride to Zadar in a couple of days time, as that was our next destination and both him and his girlfriend were also heading there for the summer. It was a 3 hour drive so of course we weren't going to say no.

After many hours spent in the Mediterranean climate (which I was totally loving by the way), the sun was setting and we were eager to see what the nightlife was like. As we walked through a strip of bars, sampling a few here and there, whilst accompanied by a couple of musicians performing out of their bedroom window, we settled in a blues bar called 'Booze and Blues', which was really cool. There were drums hanging from the ceiling, the walls were decorated with familiar memorabilia and there was a saxophone for a beer tap! As the night came to and end and so did our budget for the day, I was excited to get back to the apartment, to jump into that big-ass bed and sleep for days.

Wandering the streets of Zagreb
Booze and Blues Bar, Zagreb

Saxophone for a beer tap at Booze and Blues Bar
A record shop really taking advantage of its recycling 
Wednesday 29th April, 2015

So after wasting a whole day travelling back to Ljubljana to get Euros out and another day spent lounging around the apartment, it was our last day in Zagreb so we decided to check out some museums. Nothing too fancy, just the architecture museum. We were pretty bored of Zagreb now and eager to leave, our new friend Abdul was taking us to Zadar tomorrow and I was excited! So overall, I would recommend going to Zagreb but only for one or two days. It's not the best city in the world but it's still one to see!

The National Theatre, Zagreb
Beautiful flowers compliment the streets of Zagreb
Aw, just like the movies

Share:

No comments

Post a Comment

Have a great day ॐ

© WANDERING IN THE NOW | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Crafted by pipdig