Well Zagreb itself was not bizarre. We visited a few bizarres, well markets, making it a bizarre trip! Zagreb is wonderfully quaint with the locals living a more traditional life than other areas of Croatia. Zagreb also has great craft beer!
Where we stayed
We were very lucky with our accommodation in Zagreb. We are booking most of our accommodation with Airbnb and tend to go for lower cost options and hope for the best. In Zagreb we were staying only 1km from the main bus station and another 1km from the centre of the old town. This meant we could walk everywhere very easily. It was also delightfully clean, a significant contrast to out previous accommodation in Venice. Check out that post here. There was also a washing machine which allowed us to catch up on our laundry, a mundane joy!
Life in Zagreb
The locals appeared to live a simple and quite traditional life. The central vegetable market was teaming with people buying fresh vegetables and there were few people in the supermarkets. They brought there fish from the fish market and meat from the butcher. There was a beautiful flower market and locals were always walking around, carrying big bunches of beautiful freshly cut flowers. The other big difference we noticed was the number of people popping into the cathedral to say their prayers.
Our time in the city
We had 2 days in Zagreb and we were pretty lazy about it. On both days we slept in, worked out and started the day slowly. This meant we didn’t start exploring until late morning. You could probably visit all of the major attractions in a day if you were short of time. We spent our whole time in the old city. The new city boasts good shopping. Our favourite spots to visit were:
Ban Jelačić Square
All of the old city’s tourist attractions are an easy walk from the main square. Here you will find a statue dedicated to ban Josip Jelačić, who is remembered for his military campaigns in 1848 and for getting rid of serfdom in Croatia. We always found plenty of fun buskers to listen to here and on the weekends they have a few historical reinactors and other tourists posing with them to photos.
Any one who knows us or has been reading along knows that we love a good market. In Zagreb you will find the fruit and vegetable market, fish market and flower market right nextdoor to each other. The flowers were so beautiful and cheap that it would have been fun to get some if only our stay was longer. We did buy some beautiful fresh tomatoes, though we nearly ended up with 3kg when trying to buy 3 tomatoes. The man was happy to compromise with 1kg. There is also apparently a great antique/flea market on a Saturday morning. We forgot to get the address when we had WiFi so weren’t able to visit!
The cathedral was yet another example of a stunning, very old European church. It was heavily damaged in a 1880 earthquake and they have restored much of the building, stone by stone. We only took a few snaps inside as there were so many people praying that we felt a bit bad for touristing.
We also discovered that on a Saturday at midday there is a cultural show. Men lined up in traditional dress and had a very slow sword fight to the beat of a drum while more men watched on horseback.
Saint Mark’s church
I know, I know, another church! We just can’t get enough. Maybe it’s that we’re from New Zealand, where the only thing as old as European churches are the hills! Saint Mark’s is worth a visit, even if you don’t like churches. It’s roof is amazing!! It is tiled with the coat of arms of Zagreb and of Croatia. Unfortunately you can’t go in but the roof makes a pretty good view.
Taking a stroll in a picturesque park
Old Zagreb has lots of wonderful green areas where you can take a walk away from the business and heat of the steep cobblestone streets. The park pictured below is called Ribnjak. We enjoyed a lovely stroll here and even saw some red squirrels!!!
Museum of Broken Relationships
Just down the street from Saint Mark’s church is the Museum of Broken Relationships. This was a real highlight of our time in Zagreb. It came highly recommended but we were not sure what to expect. The concept is a bit bizzare (see the theme) but we ended up spending about 3 hours here. Entry was 40kn. The museum houses a range of quite random objects that have been submitted by members of the public and symbolise the breakup of the relationship to that person. Each entry has a small description, written by the submitter. Some were lengthy and some were just a sentence. Daniel commented that he had expected something more dramatic and didn’t think it would be so ordinary. It was the ordinariness of the objects and the stories which I thought was so great. I really enjoyed reading each blurb. Some we’re really happy and some heart wrenching. Some didn’t even mention how the breakup occured, just shared the story of happy time together. My favourite object/story was a toaster, with a blurb thet read something along the lines of ‘we broke up. I took the toaster. Now you can’t toast things’. Daniel’s was a axe (no surprises there). The owner of the axe had demolished his ex’s furniture, one piece per day, while she was on holiday with a new lover she’d known for 3 weeks.
Craft beer scene
Anyone who has known Daniel for about 3 seconds will know that he loves craft beer. In fact he brewed all of the beer for our wedding. You can read about our here. Being gluten free I don’t drink beer but Daniel was very keen to try out some local brews. We headed to a bar called Valhalla, a rock bar with over 100 beers on the menu!! Daniel loved the local Novarunda C4 IPA. The barman would not sell me a wine, as he said “it is shit wine!” Instead I tried a couple of local fruit brandys, called Rakia. I lover the apple, it had hints of cinnamon. Two other nice craft beer bars we found were Hop Inn and Beerjita.
Once again, our destination proved fabulous and we had a wonderful time. I do feel that a day would have been enough time to see everything we wanted but it is always nice to have time to wander.
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Chloe and Daniel x