Our wonderful stay at the farmhouse was followed by a rather hot but short drive to Zagreb. Once we arrived in the city, we checked into the snappy looking Hostel Shappy for the night. While it’s a good hostel, the rooms were misleadingly small. But then again, who hangs out in their rooms at hostels? To its credit, the hostel had a beautiful terrace and friendly staff. It was even reassuringly clean. As we attempted to cool down our body temperatures after the drive, by fiddling around with an airconditioner that didn’t seem to want to work, we got our trusty Lonely Planet out to decide what to do for the day.
We first took a stroll through the Upper Town (Gornji Grad), that houses a series of beautifully cobbled streets, a farmer’s market, a few churches, a massive cathedral and countless museums. We spent time admiring the collossal Zagerb Cathedral, the tallest structure in the city, that dates back to the 11th century.
From there, we continued on to St. Mark’s Church with its mosaiced roof, through the Stone Gate. We even found the oldest pharmacy in Croatia, dating back to the 13th century, right opposite the Stone Gate. It’s still in operation.
We were keen to check out the quirky Museum of Broken Relationships. So we headed to this small museum, which initially started out as a mobile exhibition put together by two individuals that once used to date. They decided to showcase everyday objects that meant something special to people who used to be in relationships, things they had little use for after their breakups. Contributions have been gathered from all over the world, and while some of the objects are thought-provoking and convey a sense of the intensity of the relationships they resulted from, many are kitschy. Nevertheless, it serves as an interesting look into the things people keep as mementos from relationships.
The walk through the city quickly tired us out. We luckily stumbled upon the leafy Strossmayer Promenade with a beer garden, where we procured a much needed drink before seeking out our dinner spot for the evening.
A highly recommended restaurant that we wanted to try was Vinodol. The huge restaurant offered a cafe area in the front and a semi-open terraced area as the restaurant. The setting was beautiful and the food equally delicious – incredibly large portions that are worth the money.
Zagreg is a city that thrives on its cafe culture. We decided to grab a drink at one of the cafes in the squares and we were hard pressed to find a table. Croatia has a good wine selection an we wanted to try some of the local specialities. Funny thing about ordering wine in Croatia is that while it looks deceptively inexpensive, they serve portions by the deciliter. In western Europe, you’ll mostly be served wine by 0.2 liter portions, but all over Croatia they go by the deciliter rule. So if you start to wonder why you’re drink has run out so quickly, it’s because there was never much of it anyway.
Zagreb is very much a place you soak in the chicness of the trendy city people and indulge in the coolness of its cafes. Croatia had been wonderful, but we were ready say goodbye and head to Slovenia for the last leg of the trip.