September 30, 2016


Press HERE to see a slideshow
of Zagreb (100+ photos).

The Fountain in the Jelacic Square
Fountain in the  Jelacic Square IMG_1309

Sculpture at Ivan Mestrovic Atelier

Sculpture at Ivan Mestrovic Atelier IMG_1333

Varazdin Castle

Varazdin Castle IMG_0642

Before talking about our exploration of Zagreb, I want to start by saying what a wonderful city Zagreb is. Zagreb is a city of about 900,000 people, which I think is a near perfect size. The people are very friendly and extremely helpful to travelers. Most of the people we met on the street could speak English. It was great. The public transit system is extensive. No car is needed. Buses and trams move the people around. There were only two draw-backs, which are actually common to all of Croatia. One, people smoke a lot and they smoke everywhere. Two, there is graffiti on the walls and fences of far too many buildings.

We arrived by bus in Zagreb on the Wednesday, the 21st of September. We went to our first couchsurfing host in Croatia. Marko is a very interesting man. He left home at an early age and made a very good life for himself. He has traveled to almost every country in the world. He worked extensively in the UK and Ireland. He was an app developer with an early success for an iPad app called Devolution. We talked some and eventually took a bus to the city center. Marko brought us to a restaurant to eat a Croatian specialty called "strukli." It was a hot dish made of dough and salty cheese in a cream sauce. The best of local comfort food.

On Thursday we went to the old town and the information office. In the office we got some great info about the city. Besides a good map, we got a very good walking tour guide. We would used it nearly everyday. We started with the cathedral. and worked our way into the upper town, which is on a hill that looks down on the main square and the rest of the lower town. I will let the pictures speak for our trekking through the town. We made our way back to Marko's apartment to chat and pack, as we were going to stay with other hosts.

Jo and Lucy's Favorite from Zabreb
Public Scupture

(laught out loud)
Public Pissing Scupture IMG_0590

We stayed with two marvelous hosts, Ana and Dom, for the next two nights. Ana speaks perfect English and Dom was nearly as good. She teaches English and had lived for a year in California. Dom works for Zagreb television. They were incredibly kind and helpful. Dom was instrumental in helping us find a small apartment. While staying with them we continued our exploration of the old town of Zagreb. Again I will let our pictures speak for us.

Friday we visited two museums. I really liked the Museum of Naive Art. While developed in the 20th century, the pieces are very much like folk art and none the less just stunning. We also visited the studio of the famous sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. His house and studio were beautiful and we took many photos. We were by St. Marks Church and that is were we saw the young man, Antoni, playing the Hang. See my YouTube video to hear it.

We booked for the first time on AirBnB. We found a nice flat for $23 per day and booked it for a week. It is on a bus route, so getting around is a breeze. Bus fares are $1.60 each way.

Sunday we visited the cemetery. It is VERY large and has many interesting graves. After this we did some wondering in the lower town only to return to the cathedral at 5:00 pm for a concert of of organ and trumpet music. The trumpeter produced the most beautiful sounds. The organ was built by the Walcher Company in 1855 and is a work of art in its sound and its vision. Here are links to two recordings of what we heard. This link was my favorite piece. And here is a link to other parts of the concert. Please give a listen to them.

Tuesday we visited two more museums: The Gallery of Modern Art and The Museum of Arts and Crafts. The modern art museum had a good representation of Croatian painters and sculptors of the past century and a half. Some pieces were wonderful, others not so much. For me the best part of the Arts and Crafts Museum was the furniture piece. They gave me lots of ideas for things to make.

Dom, Ana, Betty and Bill
Dom,  Ana, Betty and Bill IMG_1411

On Wednesday the 28th we rented a car for the day and drove to Varazdin. Varazdin is a lovely little town about 60 miles north of Zagreb known for its Baroque architecture. We had lunch and walked about the town ending with a castle, which was once surrounded by a moat. From Varazdin we drove to the Trackoscan Castle to take a look. We returned to Zagreb just after dark, our phones dying before we got back to the rental office. Thank goodness we brought a small GPS to use in the car.

The best part of Thursday was taking Dom and Ana out to lunch. They are such a great couple and soon they will have their first child. We went to a recreational area on a lake within Zagreb to eat at a restaurant called Helena. We are becoming friends. It was a really lovely afternoon.

Now, we are getting ready for our next part of this journey. We will leave for Ljubljana on tomorrow morning.

View from Gradec
View from Gradec IMG_0562

Posted by bill at September 30, 2016 05:11 AM

Fantastic adventure - very interesting - we love reading all your posts. Thank you

Posted by: Brian and Judy at September 30, 2016 06:10 AM

Read your post just now. 0620 am PSTSep 30. I really enjoy your posts and admire your ability to maneuver with such ease in a completely foreign environment!
Thank you for sharing your travels with us.

Posted by: Luella Golder at September 30, 2016 08:24 AM



Posted by: lise at October 30, 2016 10:06 AM