Zagreb -7N & almost a World Cup
When you visit a place and like it so much a return trip is a must. This was my second trip to Zagreb and I arrived the day before the world cup finals which featured tiny Croatia against France. For this visit I rented a lovely little apartment in the heart of the city, Slobodan (firstname.lastname@example.org) the apt owner was great in responding to all my questions and even came to pick me up at the airport. The city was starting to party and the streets were filled with Croatian memorabilia, I even got a free T-shirt with “Godina Ponosa” which means the year of pride.
Day #1/2 Made my way to the town square and was surrounded but over 150K people with horns, setting off fireworks and waving the Croatian flag. Awaiting the start of the soccer game. The crowd went wild when Croatia scored but settled down and France went ahead 2-1. Even though Croatia lost the crowds continued to celebrate and the next day the team was to arrive @ 10:30. It turned out to be more like 20:30 and impossible to move anywhere in the main square.
Day #3 One of the fun things to in Zagreb is to find the plants in our solar system, Artist Davor Preis created metal models of the planets in scale with the established sun and placed them at relative distances around the city of Zagreb, finding them has turned in a challenge and fun game, so far 5 have been found. No iPhone just a map. The picture is of the earth marker.
Day#4 My Zagreb adventure continues, I discovered that the 16th degree Meridian passes through the city. So off I went searching for the monument. Doing a little more homework, I discovered that the sculpture dedicated to the 16th Meridian was created for the 1987 Summer University games.
Day #5 “These feet are made for walking” wanting to visit Samobar a picturesque town with a French flair and charming architecture not to mention it is famous for traditional Croatian eats. Took the 1hr bus ride from Zagreb and got to the Samobar bus station, I then started to follow the red shoes to get into town, however, the red shoes never told you how long you had to walk…Lovely town, great food and you get a lot of exercise following the red shoes. After our long walk we finally discovered the famous Gabreku 1929 restaurant and ate "wild boar".
Day #6 Mt Medvednica adventure; Just north of Zagreb is the lovely Mt. Medvedica and the nature park. I wanted to make a day of it, however, all instructions from locals and the tourist office were incomplete and lacked clarity, I even read that hikers spent many hrs trying to find the summit and were confused by the different trail signs. With some basic instructions we took the challenge and after about an hr by public transport, we had arrived. Yes, the trail signs are confusing but we just looked for a few landmarks and found ourselves at the lovely and historic Chapel of Our Lady of Sljeme, Queen of Croats. Following a small trail/path, we were at the summit and TV tower. We then made our way back to one of the authentic Croatian restaurants in the mountains, great food, and service. This was well worth the effort. You can reach the top via tram and bus.
Day #7 Invisible Zagreb; Wanting to depart from the standard tourist path I managed to make contact with “Branimir”(email@example.com) and he was able to coordinate us joining the “Invisible Zagreb” experience. This is an educational tour conducted by a formerly homeless person “Mile Mrvalj” who is now involved in assisting the homeless in Zagreb. A moving eye-opener experience. Since it was our final night we wanted to see the "street lamp lighter" which we were told would appear at a specific location at dusk, we waited almost 2hr for the street lamp lighter to appear but he must have been invisible. Put this city on your MUST list.