We flew from Istanbul to Zagreb, Croatia with Air Serbia. Despite being delayed for about 45 minutes, Air Serbia was a decent airline, providing us with complimentary sandwiches, sesame and sultana cookies and icy cool water (a traveller’s luxury in summer over here!).
In the lead up to planning this trip I decided I was most excited about visiting Croatia and Greece. So far, my premonintions are coming to life. Kos Island in Greece was amazing, and Zagreb is a very nice city. With a population of just 800,000 Zagreb was pleasant, well structured, clean, and easy to get around.
Upon arrival we likened Zagreb to a European version of Canberra. We have read online that it is similar to a calmer version of Budapest – we’ll have to see when we visit Hungary. For now I can say that it was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of Turkey’s capital, and while I am much more of a hot sunny day kinda gal, the little bit of rain we had, and the need to wear a light jumper was refreshing. I even went for a jog while it was sprinkling this morning.
We only had one full day in Zagreb, so we got up relatively early at 9am (for backpackers that is), popped our joggers on and made our way into the city centre on foot. As Jase’s brother Mark would say, we paid ‘noob tax’ for the cable car ride up to the upper town Gongi Grad (the old town). It was only cheap – the equivalent of $1.60 for both of us, but it ended quicker than you could say #ijustpaidnoobtax!
Note for anyone trying to save on BPD, there is a handy set of steps to the right of the “ride” that you can walk up to the top in about 30 seconds. Visiting the Gongi Grad area is rated as the number 1 thing to do on Trip Advisor currently, and it is probably right. It has a view overlooking the city up there, and is home to a nice restaurant called Triloji. We stumbled on this place after looking around for a cheap cafe. It was a bit more fine dining than we have been eating at recently, but it was raining and we both looked at each other on the steps trying to avoid getting wet and said – YOLO!!!!
I had actually read about this restaurant the night before, and the reviews were fairly accurate – okay service but great food in a swanky ‘cave’ type setting with a verbal menu. We shared some kind of fried cheese with a side of balsamic cabbage salad, I had a mushroom risotto and Jase had pork chops for the main course. The waiter was so run off his feet, seemingly being the only person looking after the whole floor, so it was probably the reason he neglected to tell me about the bed of anchovies tapenade that the cheese was sitting on.. ew! Aside from the stinky fish dip on my plate, it was a nice couple of hours that we enjoyed splurging on our BPDs.
In the afternoon we walked around the city centre, utilised the free wee fee in the main square, bought our bus tickets for the next day, did some shopping and then went back to our loft apartment. For anyone travelling to Zagreb, the Luxe Apartments are about 3km from the main drag, but worth the stay. For 22 Aussie dollars it got us a fridge, air conditioning, a kitchenette, our own bathroom and a good night’s sleep on a comfy bed.
It was worth booking our bus ticket in advance (thanks for the hot tip Megs) as it was full to the brim when we arrived to catch it. Buses run all day in half hour intervals from Zagreb station so you will always be able to catch one with a fairly minimal wait time. However some are cheaper than others and take detours which means it will unnecessarily take you longer to get to your destination. Like good little back packers we bought pre-cut fruit and salad for our trip. All in all a pleasant day of travel as the views from the bus on the road from Zagreb through to Split were beautiful. Words cannot describe how excited I am for the upcoming week – Croatia Sailing Week – yeah baby!!!!!!
Stay tuned for more, D x