Our second day in Zagreb started with a plan to drive to Budapest the next day. We had to get a hotel lined up and a car rented but due to Susy’s in-depth planning, we were soon on our way to see what was left in Zagreb. We wanted to get a late breakfast so we decided to try one of the “outdoor cafes” seen in almost every street. We soon found out that the “outdoor cafes” were not “cafes” at all, but “bars”. They didn’t serve any food, only coffee, wine, etc.. It seems the Zagreb people spend a lot of time sitting, drinking coffee, etc. and little time eating during the daytime. It was, however, very common to see them walking down the street eating something, most of the time a large piece of pizza.
Let’s start at the “sidewalk bar” we found on this street:
Of all these bars you see only one had croissants and here’s Susy enjoying our morning breakfast:
You might ask what these people do in the winter; do they sit out in these open air bars and freeze to death? The answer is, in the winter they all crowd into the little bars (you see two behind Susy) and the chairs, tables, and umbrella’s are stored away until the spring.
We did a lot of walking in our two days in Zagreb so I would like to give you an overall impression of the city. Let’s look at a few sites along our walk, first building graffiti:
Now look at a typical street door:
If you just glanced at the photos you would say that the city is dirty and in poor condition. Well look closer, the city is in poor condition, but dirty it is not. They have street cleaners everywhere, not trucks with water cleaners, but individual men and women with garbage pails on wheels and brooms going up and down the streets keeping them clean.
Sorry for the diversion, getting back to our tour of the city we finished our breakfast/lunch and headed across the main square:
Look at that building on the left, the window trim is very interesting up close:
Crossing the square and up a short back street we come to the most beautiful church of the city, the Cathedral Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
The Cathedral looks 19th Century Neo-Gothic, but it dates to 1094, with construction continuing through the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. The church was rebuilt in the 17th century in the Baroque style and then in a huge earthquake of 1880 it was enormously damaged, being rebuilt this time in it’s present Neo-Gothic lines. Two unique features of this Cathedral are outside of it. First in the plaza in front is a golden statue of the Virgin Mary:
This statue is said to have survived the earthquake of 1880 unscratched so it was brought out to the front plaza to look over and protect the rebuilt church. The other outside structure is a turreted outer wall built in record time between 1512 and 1521 to protect the church from the raiding Ottoman Turks. It surrounds the church like a horseshoe, and is said to be the best preserved Renaissance defense in Europe, here is one wall:
I could show you dozens of pictures of the inside of this beautiful Cathedral but two will have to do:
We left the Cathedral and just walked around the center of town. We came across a small Protestant church and I want to share with you the beautiful interior:
Look closely at the candelabra just above the cross in the center, they’re real candles.
As we came to the end of our day, and stay in Zagreb, I have to show you one more picture of a typical street with outside bars:
a beautiful park in the center with white birches:
and finally an Art Museum at night as we walked back to the hotel:
Well that’s it for Zagreb. For Croatia’s capital and biggest city it was interesting. The people were very friendly, especially for a big city. Men will love this city because there are a great number of beautiful women. Even Susy commented she had not seen such a large quantity of lovely women. And fellows, between us, Zagreb women can compete with New York and Buenos Aires women any time.
I’ll leave you now, and see you at our next stop, Budapest.
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)