On the basis of the fact that I had money left from the last time I was in Zagreb, I made the point of bringing it with me, not in the hope of visiting Croatia, but in case I got a better rate of exchange over here. When I took my Rubles back to M&S money, I asked to change them in Euro’s, cos the rate was gid, but the lass refused. They had to be changed to Pounds then Pounds to Euro’s. It’s all a commision based scam in the UK. In europe, I can change from what I want to what I want.
Anyway, when I fecked up my train to Bar, it was Zagreb here I come baby! When I stepped off the train soooo many memories came flooding back. The Platza or main area right outside the train station was how I remembered. Walking up the street, I was looking for the doonstairs KGB bar on the left and I headed right up to Ban Jelacic square, to not only check out the fanzone, bit to remember the boozer Dejan had organised a disco party in, when we were here last.
I get to my gaff, get checked in and go for a ferrit aboot. I will try and keep it simple tonight, the main square for the fitba and the, wait for it, Croatia game. Every cafe bar, restaurant and bar on the way up is packed and so was the square. They have huts either side of the main screen, all the way down, selling beer @ €1.50 a pop – thank you ma’am, two for me please. I have had nothing to eat and I like ma grub. The name of the ‘Stella Restaurant’ catches my eye, so its some scran, a few beers and a couple of late Gin’s, considering they have a Premium G&T menu on the go. Oofftt, I’m ready for bed.
Up sharpish the next day and I have my ‘One day in Zagreb’ plan all written out. A quick Espresso (maybe 2), from the Cafe Bar over the road and I’m off to the Museum of illusions’. It was aptly named to be honest, as I walked past the bastard twice, before finally finding it. They advertise it as an amazing and unimaginable experience and to be fair, it was really quite fun and interesting. Moulds of Einstein, that when you look at them, they appear to be filling out and not moulds. Piccy’s that appear when you look at angles and pics when you glaze your eyes. Water flowing upwards due to the light, small to big rooms and distance perception, all mind blowing stuff. there is a play room and puzzle room, stuff in which you can buy from the shop. If you have kids, you need to take them here, it will blow their mind.
I stop for a spot of lunch, some beer, wine and Lasagne. It was in a square so you don’t know who you are really buying from, so imaging my surprise when I get the bill from Tom Tom Restaurant. My next stop is the Funicular. At 66 meters long, its the shortest passenger cable railway in the world and connects uptown (Christie Brinkley) with Downtown (Billy Joel). It’s been on the go since 1890, when it was powered by steam. It’s the easier way to get up to the likes of St Marks Church (I was in the Letham St Marks BB’s by the way), with it’s beautiful tiling, The historic Stone Gate, with its own built in chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary Doll, patron saint of Zagreb.
I take in the Old City hall, buy more pain killers from Zagreb’s oldest pharmacy, founded 1355 and scooted through the bloody bridge. Looking at the guide book later it tells me there was violent squabbles between Kaptol & Gradec, over right to watermills back in the day. Kind of like Perth Academy and high School rumbles. I catch a glimpse of St Stephen’s chapel and a golden Virgin Mary with Angels. I find the boozer we were at when the rain was pure teaming it down and round of my days trek with a quieter Ban Jelacic Square and the Mandusevac Fountain. It’s said the fountain was built above a natural spring, that witches used to use as their meeting point back in the day. One sunny day, an old Croatian war leader was returning from battle tired and thirsty. He asked a beautiful girl Manda to scoop up some water from the spring for him. The Croat word for ‘to scoop up water’ is ‘Zagrabiti’, so the spring got the name Mandusevac, after the girl and the town Zagreb after the scoop of water.
Hard to tell nowadays with the minks washing themselves in the fountain, ffs!!
A great day and a half in Zagreb and well worth another visit to see the Lower Town, the First Fountain, Gallery of modern art, Botanical Gardens, Kallina House and the Oktogon. Outside the city there is the Technical Museum, the River Sava and Mount Medvednica. If you and yer darling want a romantic long weekend away, you cant fault Zagreb. Beautiful, so much to do, very romantic and laid back and inexpensive as well. I have tons of change left over if you need it as well, free to a good home.