This is the first of seven new posts about our recent visit to Croatia. Previously, I have posted a panoramic account of my walk along the walls of Dubrovnik, and my shared my opinions of the suitability of a coach tour as a way to explore Croatia.
Maggie and I arrived in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, early on a Sunday afternoon and more than 24 hours before our rendezvous with our coach tour. Our hotel was located in what is known as the lower town which, as is often the case in old European towns and cities, was developed much more recently than the upper town.
We spent an hour or so walking the streets of the lower town and found it strangely quiet and somewhat deserted. (Two days later, on our guided tour, the area was very lively, with office and shop workers, students and residents from outlying suburbs.)
On the Monday morning, with the tour due to commence that evening, Maggie and I used the efficient local tram service to make our way to Jelačić square, where the upper and lower town meet. From there we explored the many interesting streets and public places of the upper town.
Some of the sights we saw or visited included: young women, dressed in traditional costume, selling colourful hearts, a symbol of Zagreb; the long strip of cafes, bars and restaurants in Tkalciceva; the Church of St Mark, with its roof adorned with four Croatian coats of arms; the bustling Docla market under a sea of umbrellas in the traditional colours; and the remarkable Museum of Naive Art, housing the world’s largest collection of naive (self-taught) art. The third of our photographs – cameras were permitted – shows the original of the work which, much enlarged, hung behind the reception desk at our hotel.
On our last evening in Zagreb, following another delightfully warm day, we returned to the upper town and enjoyed a simple meal of chargrilled meats and vegetables with a side dish of frites. The restaurant Katedralis sat just down from Zagreb’s cathedral and we sat overlooking a quiet space, some attractive buildings and the rising moon.
We had not known what to expect of Zagreb but, after three days of varied, interesting and enjoyable experiences, we feel able to recommend it as a destination in its own right.