Zagreb, Croatia

I arrived in Zagreb Thursday afternoon. I wanted to relax and figure out my plan for the city as well as more visa stuff so I sat at my hostel for several hours collecting my thoughts. When I first arrived, I thought I was the only one in the room at the time as I was showed around without care. It wasn’t until I got settled with my laptop out that I realized that someone was taking a nap in one of the beds- all I could see was their feet. This happened to be, P.

I settled into my hostel- Old Town Zagreb. It is an interesting place. I really enjoyed my stay, but it has more of an apartment feel than hostel, which was nice. The manager is excellent! I was in an eight bed room and out of my 5 nights, which was a Saturday, it only filled up once. It is pretty centrally located.

That evening I toured the city with a new friend, P, once he got out of bed and I finished what I was doing. He was from Argentina and if you have read my past posts, you know I love Argentina. I was very excited. I became more excited when I found that Zagreb was hosting the Davis Cup, a tennis match, and Argentina and Croatia were in the finals. Meaning there was a lot of Argentines in the city. It was fun to hear Argentine slang/words in the streets and seeing their colors everywhere. There was even a cafe in town that was named Argentina.

Thursday also happened to be Thanksgiving in the US and it was nice having dinner with P to help celebrate my holiday- a friendsgiving.

Another Argentine arrived at the hostel, S. But he currently lives in Germany. There was also a Chilean. A woman/friend I immediately clicked with was G. She was from the US, but had been traveling for 9 months and was looking to move to Scotland. She was funny and our conversations were great.

I walked around the next day and took in the beauty of the city. The tourist office and at my office had this small booklet with a self-guided walking tour. With that and my own book, I made my way around. There are also free walking tours in the main square at 11.

A friend I made at the hostel in Brno was also in Zagreb, V, from Australia. V was staying at a different hostel, but we met up for drinks and toured around the city. It was nice meeting her in Brno then again in Zagreb- it is always nice to see familiar faces once and awhile. We have similar visa issues (Schengen area’s 90 days) and now she is planning on getting a visa to work in Germany. So we are definitely on the same path. We had some awesome drinks at a bar/cafe called Mio Corazon. The decorations were awesome! High heels on the ceiling and barbies on the walls. It was fun.

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This weekend too was the opening of the Christmas markets in Zagreb. It was rated number one in Europe last year and  apparently they wanted to maintain that so they made this year’s bigger.

Saturday day, V, S, and I went to Madvedgrad. A medieval fortress near the city. One has to take a tram or bus then hike about an hour to get to it. It was very foggy so the view wasn’t that great, but it added charm to the ruins. Though most of the walls were reconstructed with red bricks.

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Then V and I went to Mirogoj, a cemetery. According to my book, it is one of the prettiest out there. It was beautiful, but I wouldn’t call it the best.

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When I returned to the hostel we had more people. We all gathered to go to the opening of the markets together. There was one market very close. I think it’s the prettiest of them in Zagreb. However, because it was opening night and a Saturday, it was jammed with people. V and I lost the rest of the group. We got some mulled wine and walked around taking photos.

Upon coming to Zagreb, I have heard about a museum called the Museum of Broken Relationships. I wanted to go and P said he wanted to as well so V and I went back to get him then headed to the museum. Unfortunately, we arrived late enough that we wouldn’t have had enough time so we just walked around the other markets. Though there were so many people, I was still so happy to be able to participate in these markets. When V and I were taking photos, we were laughing at how touristy we were. This was especially true when P wanted to take a photo with a man dressed in religious clothes.

We stopped in a bar for a drink, but V was feeling tired so she headed back. P and I sat there for awhile then headed back ourselves.

It was hard having both V and P because V didn’t speak Spanish and P didn’t speak much English. So no matter what language I spoke, someone was getting left out and I can only translate for so long. Though, I have to admit, I was impressed that I was able to switch between the two fairly well. Of course there were some slip ups- saying Spanish when I wanted to say it in English. It was also difficult the later it got as I was getting tired and my brain was shutting off my Spanish.

The next day, another hostel mate, E, and I went to the museum. It was great. I really enjoyed it. It showed how no matter the language or culture, we are all human and want the same thing in love or do the same things, such as cheat or enjoy a brief fling. The items included a shoe, letters, music, a wedding dress, etc. Many made me laugh. Only one made me really sad.

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This museum travels and it has different items at the different exhibits. If you hear this exhibit is close to you, I would recommend that you go. E told me that back home, Finland, they had this museum (when it was traveling) and her friends said it was great, but she didn’t go when it was there. So now she was glad she got to see the permanent one.

E and I then went to see Fantastic Beast and where to find them. I am a big Harry Potter fan and was very excited. The movie was excellent. It was interesting as previews took 25 minutes…. it seemed longer than at home. No complaints actually because E went to get popcorn and it took her that whole time to get one.

We then proceeded to walk around some markets again. It was a lot less people! I could actually see some of the stalls. It amazes me how many of the stalls sell sausages or the same things. How do they all make money?

We returned to the hostel and talked with another mate, D. We drank some tea while I checked the tennis score. Argentina won in the end. P and S returned and wanted to celebrate so D and I joined them. Being a Sunday evening, however, a lot of things were closed, but we did manage to find a bar to get a beer.S and I had a great conversation about a variety of topics. Hopefully we can see each other again, especially if he continues to live in Berlin (being close to Prague).

D is from Australia and she is traveling around for a bit. She was a lot of fun and we ended up going to Plitvice Lakes,  a national park in Croatia, together. There were many waterfalls. It was beautiful! We got the bus at 7:30am and the next one for my company was at 5:50pm. D took a bus to another city from the park. While I waited for my bus, 3 other people came. South Korea, China, and Brazil. Waiting in the other direction where 2 girls from China. They came over to my bus stop and got an earlier bus back to Zagreb where they were then going to get a night bus to the city they wanted to go to originally.

We were all worried because it was dark and cold, but finally our bus came and I huddled by the heater the rest of the ride back into the city.

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Moving on to Sarajevo this afternoon, the capitol of Bosnia and Herzegovina (B and H). I am working my way south towards Dubrovnik, Croatia where I will be meeting my friend that lives there. However, it seems that D and I will be meeting up in Mostar (my stop before Dubrovnik in B and H). D is also planning on doing a working holiday visa from Australia in the UK so we might see each other again in the future.

It was awesome spending a long weekend in Zagreb with the same people. Even talking to the manager, she also said it was nice we all clicked, as it was not often, with one another and as I sit here waiting for my bus, the only one left from a fun weekend, I will miss them.

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