Croatia. Always was curious. Now I can say….I have been.
Zagreb. Never knew it existed. Didn’t really desire to go but, it was a necessary
time killer stop, before visiting a friend who worked in Zadar.
My gut instinct is usually pretty good when telling me if something is going to be a good or bad choice.
Zagreb… ZA Greb… ZAGREB… yeeeeehhhh I didn’t have much of an exciting feeling going into it….. for good reason. I’ll begin with something that most people probably think of, but don’t really grasp, until you are living it. LANGUAGE!
OH BOY! Croation is HARD!
I have mentioned in previous posts that Tim and I are quite ok when it comes to picking up the necessary basics for the places we visit. NOT Croatia! We spent a total of almost 4 wks, in all of Croatia, and barely got the basics down.
If I were to be quizzed today, on what I learned, I would most definitely fail!
Here is a handy link I keep in my pinterest arsenal!
Now, this is where I get really into it, the complaining….
We arrived at the Zagreb Bus Station round Midday. My first impressions were of the underwhelming kind.
Outdated, unorganized, filthy, & unhelpful.
Now, BEFORE you dismiss my views as ignorant, hear me out! I wasn’t expecting the most modernised city, nor the most touristy, but I wasn’t expecting the smoke.
So allow me to inform you of something I wasn’t made aware of before booking my ticket to Croatia. It is still completely LEGAL to SMOKE INDOORS!
Right!? People who don’t smoke were expected to sit outside, while smokers sat inside. MADNESS! It was absolutely freezing! So we went to the ticket counter to purchase our ongoing travel to Zadar. NO English. Challenge accepted!
Eventually we needed an interpreter. Haha!
→ For anyone interested: Tickets from Zagreb to Zadar in October, via bus, will set you back €25 each.
By this point, I had to eat, bitch was getting Hangry! So, naturally, NO ONE spoke English. I bought the first thing I thought I understood. Some pastry filled with dried red meat (meat source unkown). Totally did not rate it. But I DID find what was the European equivalent of Twisties! Not a total loss 😀
I imagine you are getting the picture that I wasn’t in the best of moods.
I’d love to say that this was the last of my gripes with Zagreb, unfortunately, it isn’t.
But I do have some positives from Zagreb. So, please, read on.
We jumped on a tram, only €2 p.p, and it was a sweet little tour of the city. Lucky for us the tram stop was right outside our hostel!
Checking in to ‘The Swanky Mint’, however, was not really helpful in swaying my mind about Zagreb. Staff appeared to be untrained in the procedure of basic check in information. The power cut out in the entire hostel 4 times that 1st night! I had to shower in the dark, and of course, the door handle broke off and I was stuck. Naked, soaked, & freezing!
To top it all off, there is a bar right under the room we were in & the band played til about 3am! 😫😫😫
→ (Reading current reviews seems to show they have upped their game since we stayed)
On the plus side – FOOD IS CHEAP!
We ate at a nice little pub in the main tourist part of town. Burger and a beer for only €6.50 each! The old part of Zagreb was turning out to be relatively new and clean!
Tim and I decided to exchange
moods places the next day. Choosing to explore the city, on our own, in different areas….
I dropped off our laundry with the in house laundromat & didn’t like that I couldn’t wash them myself, as it was only allowed to be hostel staff washing it, I left care instructions for certain garments & set off for my day. It was raining on & off so not alot of places were open to explore.
I’d heard a couple of people at the hostel talk about the Museum of Broken Relationships. So I ended up checking out the cafe attached to it, waiting to see the exhibition for when Tim was there.
Turns out the guy at the cafe appreciated my attempts to speak Croatian, but they were unnecessary, as he spoke perfect English! He said that Croatians know how difficult the language is, so the smart ones learn English, to encourage more tourism!
Thank god! Cos I was struggling!
AGAIN eating out is SO cheap!
I got a large (delicious) coffee, 2 cookies, & spring water for only 10 Kuna (€1.30) 😍
Tim and I met up in a square nearby for dinner and we were treated like royalty!
Our server was so nice! (a welcome change from Vienna and Czech Republic)
We managed to get a Bruschetta, 2 Steak mains, 2 beers & 2 coffees for €30 TOTAL. Amazing!
Day two had really readjusted our perspective.
Too bad day 3 had to have such an awful start to it……..
So after a rough nights sleep, thanks to the ground shaking snorer, we went & got our laundry back, and it would seem no one actually listened to the care instructions we left with them.
50% of our clothing was destroyed (ridiculously shrank, melted, faded, graphics stuck together) and most of it wasn’t cheap stuff!
Needless to say BOTH our bad moods had returned with Tim being absolutely ropeable. He demanded to take care of the situation, (which I contemplated letting him as it would be nice not to be the complainer for once), but his attitude wasn’t going to get us anything in return.
So I handled it. After playing phone/counter/legal tag with the Manager for half the day we eventually came to an agreement. They reimbursed €80 (the cost of our stay) if I signed a waiver agreeing not to ‘slander’ the hostel publicly.
Does this count as slander???
First time for everything! Tim wasn’t satisfied but it was the best outcome we could of hoped for.
We set off to try and cool off from the situation, a gorgeous walk and checked out the Museum of Broken Relationships.
This had some amazing stories. My favourite would have to be the Dog Collar Light. It brought a tear to my eyes.
This one was disturbing. 😥
Some, like this one, made me chuckle…. hehe, penis 😋
And then there were some that were straight to the point!
All in all, for €3.50, we got our monies worth and enjoyed some more of the Cafe’s delights.
Before heading out to explore more to the Old Town. Appreciating the Church and its tiled roof (much more impressive in real life).
We got lost around an outdoor chapel. Very odd place for prayer that was literally under a bridge/ passageway.
This picture doesn’t really do it any justice. But that was because people who were worshiping were ‘tut-tutting’ me for taking pictures. Like, for eg, behind those metal gates EVERYTHING was a brilliant gold! And so ornate.
We found shelter from the rain in a retro looking Burger joint called Rocket Burger that (at the time we went) was owned and operated by two Canadians!
Wings were ah-mazing! The Burgers were even better! And an Ice cold beer to wash it down. The conversation the chef/owner had with us was nice & left us having more of an appreciation for Zagreb. (Finally!)
We finished up the night packing, as our bus to Zadar was an early one. But before that we managed to grab some fresh Dutch Pancakes! YUM!
So while we didnt have the BEST time in Zagreb, we did see its potential. The Museum is a MUST if you do go!
The rainy days & hostel mishaps were only happening to us. So the✨atmosphere✨ and sightseeing in Zagreb was overshadowed by our turn of poor luck.
Someone else out there may not have such a terrible time
Next up, we visit a friend in Zadar! Another place I never knew existed but was told I would love it….
NB: Majority of images are my own, however, some pictures sourced from google image search.