Really I had one day in Zagreb after the starvation of the night before, so I made the most of it. Most nights I have been waking up around 10am and heading out around midday, but I decided against that. I really needed some breakfast, but first, some money. I walked to the recommended currency exchange in Josip Jelacic – a square in the north of the city where most of the hustle and bustle commences.
However, Zagreb’s a strange city. I found it very easy to get lost or go in the wrong direction any time I used my maps, but here’s the best thing about Zagreb: wifi everywhere.
Now those reading this may feel that that is a cop-out for any traveller or in fact any tourist and that it reflects badly on society when we can’t live without all the uses of our smartphones, but it also makes the capital a tourism-friendly place. If we are to be honest about Zagreb, it is often overlooked in favour of Croatian seaside cities such as Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split, Rijeka and even places like Hvar and Pula. So how do you pull in tourism to a city nowhere near the sea? Make it easily accessible. If you’re ever lost in Zagreb (which I have said, is easy), you can always look at your phone to get to where you need to. People are more likely to post about the city with free internet, people are more likely to visit all the tourism destinations if they can easily find them at a click of a button. It’s a smart move.
While roaming around the city, I got to witness the small parks scattered around. There is a lot of places you will go where you feel like you cannot get away from the urban style, but not here. Plenty of pretty green space and water fountains. So finally, I cashed in my £20 for kuna, exactly 8 to the pound so do the maths – that’s 160 kunas. First thing on my agenda was some food, so I went to a Spar, bought some fruit for my breakfast and so had two bananas and an apple as well as a bottle of coke. In fairness, this was around 11 o’clock. I wasn’t tanning the soft drinks at seven in the morning.
Then I did some errands that I had to sort out in terms of gifts before finding the tourist areas. First of all, I nearly visited the Museum of Torture, a museum dedicated to atrocities caused to people who were tortured, including witches and peasants. It was 40 kunas for an adult however, which was a quarter of my daily budget. I checked the free stuff and left because I had my eye on something else.
Tucked away near the Croatian Parliament lies the Museum of Broken Relationships. I mean, that’s my sort of thing. A museum with a hilarious idea, but also sentimental enough to be enjoyable. It exceeded all expectations. I had to pay to get in, but the student card came in handy getting me a discount – and it was worth the equivalent of the £2.50 I paid for it.
Each exhibit has a story of why the object is there. Most are to do with romance, but some are to do with family relationships. You find some heartbreaking stories of long distance relationships fizzling out and the person donating the jacket that she was given by her ex to the museum. Some are blunt like one woman who donated an old router that she had in her house with her ex as a symbol of their relationship in the end: “old and incompatible”.
Then some are truly hilarious. Long story short, this girl had a childhood sweetheart for a summer before going their separate ways. Around 30 years later she had just given up prostitution and had decided to become a dominatrix with her friend. She had one client forced to lick her stiletto before realising that he was her childhood sweetheart. Haven’t laughed so much in my life. The guy asked to keep one of her stilettos as a souvenir and she later donated the other one to the museum. It’s basically a museum that is in no way laborious or boring, but constantly interesting in every story.
I then headed up to take a picture of St Mark’s Church and look at the Parliament which was nice. I went home to recharge my batteries (and my phone’s batteries too) before heading out. Most of my roommates from the night before were gone, but I met new people, most acquaintances because of the nature of staying in Zagreb, short and sweet.
However, I met a German guy, called Robin, who had walked from his home in Freiburg to Zagreb on his way to Asia. He isn’t planning to use transport until he gets to Azerbaijan, which is an amazing trip in itself. We headed out for some food where we found a small bakery chain called Milcnar (I think) which is basically the Croatian Gregg’s. You got this big piece of pizza for like 10 kuna, so I happily got a couple of slices and we went to the supermarket to get some beers. Note, beers aren’t that cheap in Croatia. In fact most things are only a tad cheaper than the UK.
When we came back, we met two Irish girls who had hitched hiked through Italy and Slovenia and they told me about some of the funny moments from their journey so far. I was speaking to three people who were doing some crazy travelling and I felt like a bore just taking the train. Around the same time, I realised that two of my friends from university, Callum and Lewis, were going to be in Zagreb that night and so myself and Robin met them for a couple of drink in and Irish bar (which are always expensive) but they had cool outside beanbags so I couldn’t complain.
After a long day of sightseeing and relaxing we all called it a night. I was up early the next day to move onto my next city and hopefully meet more friends along the way.
If you want to follow Robin’s journeys, you can find them here: https://www.facebook.com/Robinsadventures/?ref=br_rs
Callum and Lewis don’t blog, but they aren’t too interesting anyway 😉
GROCERIES: (Apple, 2 bananas, 500ml Coke) 11.50 kuna
MISCELLANEOUS: 8.80 kuna
MUSEUM: 20 kuna
BEER: (three beers, one big bottle of water): 31 kuna
DINNER: (2 slices of big pizza) 21 kuna
Total: 92.30 kuna (£12)
Croatia total: 110 kuna (£14). Maybe budgeted too much here. A little too much.
BREAKFAST/LUNCH: Apple, Bananas. DINNER: Pizza