When you stroll through the public park in Zagreb, Croatia on a summer’s evening after the heat of the day has cooled, and you realize you can hear Elvis singing in the distance, you know you’re in for an interesting experience.
Party in the Park!
We were supposed to spend two weeks in Croatia. Our plan was to explore Zagreb for a few days then travel to Split, on the coast for several days, and then back to Zagreb for a couple of more days. But in an effort to simplify our itinerary a bit and avoid the intense heat of Lucifer, we opted for a quick weekend stop over in Zagreb on our way to Ljubljana, Slovenia. And, as it turned out Saturday was a national holiday in Croatia – Homeland Thanksgiving Day – hence Elivs singing in the park. Party in the park!
Welcome to Croatia
If you’ve been following our journey across Europe you already know that our experience crossing the border from Hungary to Croatia was less than ideal, but once we stepped off of the train into Zagreb and realized our guest house accommodations were less than a block away, the stress of the day fell away. Well, that and downing about a gallon of cold water to cool our body temps. And, we were delighted to discover our guest house was literally across the street from a beautiful park and each evening the fountain waters splashed in subtle color. It was lovely. So much so that on one of our evenings we ate a picnic dinner in the park.
Still battling the last days of the intense global heat wave, we shade hopped our way around Zagreb and although I hate to admit it, we shadowed an English-speaking tour group just long enough to find our way to the war tunnels. We’re sneaky like that.
Before we arrived in Zagreb we had no idea the tunnels even existed, but once we did know, our curiosity was piqued and we knew we had to explore such an unusual site. From what we understand the tunnels were built during WWII by Ante Pavelic, a fascist dictator who used them as escape tunnels and connections to bunkers. There are several entrances/exits open to those who wish to explore a few of the tunnels, it’s actually pretty interesting. We found it a bit bizarre to hear Michael Jackson piped in as we walked the tunnels. Although, I did read that the tunnels were used as a RAVE venue in the 90’s, so maybe it makes sense.
Changing of the Guards
Although we often plan out many of our days right down to the minute, we also fly blind a lot of the time. I’ve said before we spend a lot of our time just rambling. We leave our accommodations and just let our feet find their way. Sometimes we find incredible views…
and sometimes we find ourselves in the most interesting places at just the right moments. You would think we would have heard the daily town cannon boom each day at noon (yes, there is such a thing) but you’d be wrong. I don’t know how we didn’t hear it, but there you go. We did, however, find ourselves watching the changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard in the town plaza and it was fun to watch the procession.
Our visit to Zagreb was a brief visit, but it was a good visit. I enjoyed my first ever crispy poached egg, curiosity got the better of me with that one. We climbed up the hill to take in the views and rode down on the funicular. I think we did that backwards. We wandered aimlessly throughout the historic core of the city and came across a pretty little chapel where we had a rather interesting albeit strange conversation with an elderly man who wanted to impose his political views once he knew we were from the US. And, he wanted to know why I wasn’t Catholic, which reminded me of my conversation with Carl on the Camino de Santiago.
We stayed in the nicest little guest house hosted by the nicest couple with a cutie little boy. We rode the efficient tram system around the perimeter of the city just because we could and because we wanted to get the big picture. We visited the farmer’s market on more than one occasion, we sat and sipped, and we ate our fair share of gelato. And, we ate delicious burgers and even ordered a second round of fries because they were that good. Thank you, Zagreb, we had a grand time!
To learn more about Croatia, check out The Travels of BBQBoy and Spanky, expats living in Split.
Our Zagreb cards were sponsored by: