Saturday, December 9, 2017

A glimpse of Zagreb, Croatia

I recently visited the city of Zagreb in Croatia for a day of work. Zagreb isnt the most touristy or preferred part of a tourist's itinerary in Croatia - the beaches and Dubrovnik (of Game of Thrones fame) are. But I enjoyed exploring the little bit f Zagreb I saw - the experience of visiting a new place was and is still always enjoyable for me 😊.

The airport felt quite small and efficient. And they have Uber in Zagreb, so Croatian travel already felt very safe and easy to me! While driving towards the office, I passed by a lot of green and forested areas. And a lot of suburban and rural areas which were sparsely populated. Most of them had the typical red/orange roofs which have been shown in Game of Thrones in so many frames. There were also some small mountains nearby, including surrounding Zagreb on the other side.

The whole place had some kind of a warm feeling about it, a feeling of calm and satisfaction which is very difficult to explain. Its the feeling I generally get when I visit developing countries. Where things are not perfect, but they are always warm 😊.

Most of my day was spent inside the office. It was a great idea too as the weather had already gotten cold. I got some time to explore the city in the evening for dinner and then for an hour or so in the morning before taking my flight.

National Theatre
In the evening, I walked towards the old town which was about 10 mins from my hotel. It was like any other European town. Cobbled streets, cafes and restaurants and some grand buildings dotting the centre. The central city was quite empty which was surprising but given that it was a surpisingly cold evening in October, it might have been due to that.

Zagreb Cathedral
I walked past the National theatre, through the shops and cafes, up some stairs and towards the cathedral. They all looked yellow in the night lighting and pretty too but I was too cold to appreciate them fully 😜. I quickly walked past them, looking for a nice restaurant to eat. I was surprised though that some of the shops were open, even at 9 pm. I walked into a few which seemed to have interesting (and am sure cheap) stuff. But as I said, it was late and I was looking for a restaurant, so I did not explore much.

I finally found an Italian restaurant nearby, called Boban which surprisingly had a table available. It had an outside casual dining area and an inside fine dining area which was quieter. The food there was tasty and I had a nice dinner before going back to the hotel and working.

The red roofs of Zagreb
The next day the weather was gorgeous, just when I was ready to leave! It was sunny and 23 degrees! I ended up waking up late as I had worked late the previous night, but I did enjoy the skyline from my hotel room. The houses again had the sloping red/orange roofs, and I got a glimpse of a pre-cursor to Dubrovnik, perhaps.

Alleyway to Upper Town
I then walked to the old town again and it looked so much more brighter and colourful than the dreary night before. People were chilling outside, sitting in cafes and eating breakfast. And the city seemed so much better and welcoming in daylight 😊. This time, I walked up to the upper town through a narrow alley, enjoying the view and feeling like being back in old Europe.

St Marks Church
I walked to one of the touristy spots, the St Marks Church. It was a normal European church except the tiled roof which I found very unique. It had big colourful tiles engraved with the Croatian coat of arms. And the sun being out made it almost shine. I walked around that area for a bit, the upper town again was all cobbled and full of the typical grand buildings of old Europe.

Anyways then it was time for me to go to the airport, again admiring the rural countryside through the drive. It was a nice city break for me, mostly work but I liked what I did see of the town. Zagreb felt like a nice little European town, and the old town was fascinating, worth exploring more. I wish the weather had been better on the first day though rather than the second!

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