Although I’d really enjoyed my time on the coast, when I arrived in Zagreb I was happy to be back in a city. That made me pause and wonder why because I don’t think of myself as a city girl and I realized that actually I love being in the countryside, on the coast and in big cities. That is probably why I can travel everywhere and why I struggle to find places I don’t want to go.
I quickly decided to get a Zagreb Card for my time in Zagreb as it gave me the dual benefit of access to the places I wanted to go and free public transport. Zagreb has trams, I like trams; unlike buses I always know exactly where I’m going due to the virtue of running on rails. And they tend to be above ground so you can see stuff as well.
The Zagreb Card also covered the funicular that connects the lower town with the upper town. Only takes about a minute but there are lovely views over Zagreb at the top and you can then wander to the many sights (and restaurants) of the upper town.
The first museum I visited was the Museum of Broken Relationships (recommended to me by a friend) and it really was fascinating, from the mundane to the heartbreaking. The mementos people had chosen to donate to the museum really highlighted how the strangest things can become very important to us. I was particularly struck by the the stuffed caterpillar who had been partially dismembered.
I had a lot of fun one day exploring Maksimir Park. It’s situated a longish tram ride outside of the city center just opposite the Dinamo Zagreb stadium. As well as being a nicely wooded park, Maksimir is home to Zagreb Zoo – the first zoo I have every visited with a homo sapiens enclosure. My grandad would have been thrilled – every time he took me to the zoo it was with the aim of “seeing if they’ve got an empty cage to put you in”.
I loved the food in Zagreb and found a new favorite restaurant: Otto & Frank’s. I found that the best variety of restaurants can be found on Tkalčićeva in the upper town and so that’s where I headed back each evening for dinner before wandering back down to Trg Bana Jelačića in the center of Zagreb to catch a tram home.
Another place I went on the tram was the Museum of Contemporary Art. They had a temporary exhibit on Braco Dimitrijević , an artist I’d never heard of although I did come to realize I had seen some of his work before. I followed the usual pattern I follow when I discover a new, interesting artist – “okay…well, that’s an interesting idea…I’m not sure…ooooh…OMG this is incredible”. Many of his ideas were very simple but the outcome incredibly thought-provoking. And, as art museums go, this one was pretty special – it has slides!
All in all, it was nice to have a little city break in the middle of my trip. And Zagreb was a nice little city to have it in. A lovely end to my stay in Croatia.