Croatia, Zagreb

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The last few nights it seems as though we are the only campers out there, have been parked up by ourselves. A strange feeling at first in strange locations, never a hundred percent sure about how secure we are but we do try and pick spots that are by streetlights.

The Zagreb site was no different in fact was a very busy carpark servicing the rowing and triathalon clubs as well as close to the tracks around Lake Juran and its associated bars and restaurants. The sheer number of people walking. Running biking rollerblading swimming  here is huge and is obvious that there are not a lot of alternative places in this city for this.

Now no electric hook up for a few days has meant we havnt been able to charge camera battery so the nice security guard was quite happy to lend us a socket for a couple of hours while we went to the pub. (This was after a full 8km bike around the park, so it’s not as though we are not exercising).

Morning time we are awoken again by fitness freaks, running and biking and swimming and the prospect of another 30degree day.

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Not to sure about how much to do in Zagreb but allowing the day here anyway. From the Lake area it is quite an easy stroll to catch the #17 Tram to the City Centre a trip of about 25minutes. But a lovely day and feeling slightly guilty about sitting in the pub last night watching all these fitness types, we have decided to bike in following the tram tracks. A very easy ride with dedicated bike lanes on all the streets, now one thing we have learnt about biking in these cities is to make sure we have a really good visual as well as GPS mark on where we leave the bikes (only takes 1 hiccup to learn this wee trick).

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See, bikes left by the little weather thing in the big park thing, guaranteed not to lose these.
Once we find the city square and do the obligatory stop at info centre we set off at our own pace on city tour. Another impressive cathedral with some interesting info on the restoration process necessary due to ongoing erosion of the original stonework.

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One of the original spires vs one that has been restored in the past 20 years.

Zagreb is essentially 2 cities as are most of these old European cities, the old city generally on a hill and surrounded by a wall or the remnants of one. Zagreb is no different however one of the city gates Known as the “stone gate” it is the last of the original medieval defense gates( built 1266). According to legend all wooden parts of this gate were burnt in the fire of 1731 ( big earthquake)except for the painting of the Virgin Mary and Infant Jesus. Because of the significance of this the local population built a chapel within the archway of the Old Stone Gate, this has become a pilgrimage shrine to many.

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Also a must see was the Dolmat Market, another outdoors market of flowers and fresh fruit.

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Within the Old City amongst the little streets filled with bars and restaurants is the St Marks Square (the political capital of Croatia) and St Marks  Church, with is impressive tiled roof depicting;

  • The Zagreb coat of arms ( white castle on red background)
  • Triune kingdom of Croatia,Slovenia and Dalmatia

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The old city also includes the Lotrscak Tower, where the old city bell used to be rung twice daily at opening and closing of the city gates, today however since 1877 a canon is fired at midday and has become part of the daily tourist routine. Very impressive it is too, Susie got such a fright she actually got the perfect photo and I have the video as well.

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As with every other European city you need two hands to count the museums and every 2nd building is a bar or restaurant. I havn’t worked out yet which way the supply demand curve works here, whether the number of establishments are required to meet the afternoon chill out or whether the chill out comes from the ease of finding somewhere to sit with a beer.

 

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By 3.00PM we had pretty much seen what we had wanted to see so decide to make our way back to he camp and chill out for the afternoon.

As I have stated earlier we have parked up in the middle of fitness central so decde to take the two best parts of Zagreb and combine them, we chill out on our deckchairs under a tree and have our own triathalon, Beer, watermelon and a book. This afternoon people watching is swimmers and cyclists, enough lycra to last a lifetime.

The late afternoon saw a massive thunderstorm hit us direct so we scurried for cover and to shut all the doors and windows on Miss Stella. For some reason it didn’t seem to faze the athletes, however there where some very wet sunbathers and young families sent scrambling for their cars.

Family observation of the day, you can tell a lot about family dynamics when it comes to getting toddlers and strollers into cars in the pissing down rain, kids>wife>stroller>husband in that order looks as though it will last, however, Husband bolting across carpark with kid both jumping into backseat> wife and stroller left behind> wife folds up stroller then banging on carboot to get it opened> stroller into boot> then she gets into car, yeah not good. may as well write out alimony cheque now.

A very quiet evening had as everybody gone home wet and for some reason leisure battery hadn’t charged properly today on solar and after 4 days freecamping we run out of lights about 9.00pm.

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Just a quiet game of cards, 3.00pm outside the Railway Station.

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