jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 77 [16 Apr 09] – Zagreb

Posted in Zagreb by jn82 on April 16, 2009

This morning, we did the second walking tour of the city as outlined by the tourist information booklet. The “lower town” route appeared on the map to be much longer than yesterday’s route, but the estimated walking time was shorter, probably because today’s route was all on flat ground. We started at Marshal Tito Square where the Croatian National Theatre and is, and headed South towards Roosevelt Square where the MIMARA Museum is.

Croatian National Theatre.

Rectorate and the Law Faculty of Zagreb University.


MIMIRA Museum.

Further along to Mažuranić Square is the Etnographic Museum.

Ethographic Museum.

From Mažuranić Square to M.Marulić Square, named after the Renaissance poet from Split, Marko Marulić, who, in 1501, wrote “Judita”, the first epic Croatian language.

Marulić Square.

Statue of Marko Marulić.

The next stop was the Botanic Gardens, which I guess is pretty nice for a garden right smack beside a busy road and the train tracks.

Botanic Gardens.

We were getting slighly tired at this point because it was really hot, so we just continued along the path of the walking route but could not be bothered to read about the buildings. This route was by far the more boring of the two, as during yesterday’s route we saw many different things like churches, markets, small streets and big buildings, but today, it was just big building after big building on main roads.

Zrinjevac Park.

Croatian Academy of Arts and Science.

We ended up at the main square at the end of the walk, after which we went for a cheap lunch at the same place as yesterday. Zagreb is really a beautiful city with so much to see, and it is a bit of a pity we are a bit tired of sightseeing if not we would have really tried to explore all the sights a bit more. Croatia is a good choice for a tourist destination as besides Zagreb, other coastal cities like Split and Dubrovnik are supposedly even more beautiful and good to sight see and chill out, but it is too bad these two other cities are a bit out of the way during this rail journey of ours.

Off to Budapest tomorrow morning on a six hour train ride!

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 76 [15 Apr 09] – Zagreb

Posted in Zagreb by jn82 on April 15, 2009

This morning, we followed one of two highlighted walking routes of Zagreb’s old city as listed in tourist information book we picked up from the hostel. We walked around mostly the part of the old city called upper town, as it is located on a slight incline, leaving the second route of lower town for tomorrow.

The weather was 20+ degrees with the sun shining fiercely, so it was actually pretty hot walking around. In spite of that, we could still appreciate the beauty of what the old city had to offer. Starting at the main square Trg bana Jelačića, we headed eastwards along Jurišićeva street and saw a few well known buildings such as the main post office, the former stock exchange, and the exhibition pavilion.

Trg bana Jelačića.

Main post office building.

National Bank of Croatia (former stock exchange)

Typical mammoth building in Zagreb.

Next on the walking route was along Vlaška street, where we walked past the statue ofthe famous Croatian poet and writer August Šenoa and got to the city’s landmark, Zagreb Cathedreal.

Statue of August Šenoa.

Zagreb Cathedral.

Some departed holy man everyone goes in to pray to.

After exiting the cathedral and walking westwards, we reached Dolac market which was just another of those open air markets selling anything from fresh produce to clothing and miscellaneous items.

Dolac market.

The next stop was to a pretty unusual one, a small chapel right smack inbetween an old city gate with roads running on either side. According to legend, a great fire consumed all the wooden elements of the Stone gate in 1731, except for the painting of the Bledded Virgin and Child, which was found in the ashes, miraculously survived. The legend itself inspired a belief in the miraculous nature of the painting, and many people still come to worship it.

Entrance to Stone gate.

The painting behind the metal grilles.

Such a weird sight seeing pews, burning candles and people praying under a gate along tarmac roads. Anyway, after the Stone gate, we headed westwards Kamenita street to another landmark of Zagreb, St. Mark’s Church. The church dates back to the 13th century, and has undergone reconstruction on several occasions. The multicoloured tiles on the left side of the roof represent the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Croatia, Dalmatia and Salvonia, while those on the right side represent the coat of arms of the city of Zagreb.

St. Mark’s Church.

Further on from here was Lotrščak Tower, the last point of the walking tour. We did not actually go up the tower because we could not be bothered as the sun was too strong to take any nice pictures of the city below.

Funicular from lower town to upper town (base of Lotrščak Tower).

Ilica street below.

For lunch, we went to this cheap place that sold Šiš čevapi, a grilled minced meat based dish with Bosnian and Macedonian origins, that is very popular in Zagreb because it is tasty and cheap. It was very nice, as the meat had lots of spice in it, but it was also pretty unhealthy as it looked pretty fat. Returned to the hostel early around 4pm after lunch as we wanted to just chill out for a bit.

Šiš čevapi.

Today’s pictures here.

Day 75 [14 Apr 09] – Bled to Zagreb

Posted in Zagreb by jn82 on April 14, 2009

After chilling out in the hostel till after lunch, we made our way to Lesce-Bled train station to catch the Euro-city 211 to Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor. The train ride was pretty uneventful and I spent it battling with poor mobile phone reception and just eventually watching some downloaded shows. This would be our first venture outside the European Union in slightly over two months, so we were subject to passport checks at both the Slovenian and Croatian boarder train stations. The police officers seemed pretty interested with our Singaporean passports, and from this I guess they do not see many Singaporeans taking the train from Slovenia to Croatia or vice-versa. I think this also made them unsure whether Singaporeans needed a visa to enter Croatia (which we do not).

Upon arrival at Glavni Kolodvor, I finally felt like I was in Eastern Europe. From the imposing concrete structure of the maintrain station which was probably built during the socialist Yugoslavia era and seemed out of place and needing maintanence or some updating for the 21st century, to the many scruffy looking homogeneous Croat people on the train platform, this is what I always imagined Eastern Europe to be like, a bit cold, old and unpolished. While Slovenia was beautiful and green, it was very similar to Austria and did not have to essence of the East.

Once out of the train station and walking along the streets, the same feeling remained, but you could also get a feel that the city is now so much more than its socialist past. Everywhere you looked, you could see internationally recognisable brands and fashionably dressed people which would not look out of place in any other European city. If not for all the old buildings and infrastructure, you might not actually know that you were in Eastern Europe. Indeed this is a clear sign of how the fall of communism in the East has led to more homogeneity in Europe over time.

As we got into Zagreb after 5pm, after making our way to the hostel and checking in, it was time to grab some dinner. We headed to this place called Kaptolska Klet, which was both recommended by the girl at the hostel and Lonely Planet for having good traditional Zagreb food. For a starter, we had Zagorska juha, an local soup which had some vegetables and pork in it. It had a pretty nice meaty flavour to it, but was a bit oily. For the main course, we had Teletina pod pekom, which was traditional oven roast veal served with some baked potatoes. The meat itself was very tender and tasty, however it had quite a lot of fat among the lean bits.

Zagorska Juha.

Teletina Pod Pekom.

Looking forward to the next two days of sightseeing in Zagreb.

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