I started my walk as always, at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Avenija Dubrovnik, my favourite indoors attraction. I make a straight line from there, over the motorways and the River Sava (past the statue, the National Library, the concert hall and bus terminal, through the 3 main squares until ever such a slight right to the Cathedral. It takes around an hour and a quarter if you don’t stop too many times to take photos!
Zagreb Cathedral is right in front of those hills – I can see it getting bigger as I get nearer but the camera cannot – and it was gleaming white on this, my second last day in the city. I am not sure why I left it until now to see the famous monument.
It was so warm that I was glad to get to the city square for some shade.
Zagreb was first mentioned in 1094 when it was made up of two settlements Kaptol and Gradec.
The Cathedral suffered terribly in the earthquake of 1880 and has been under repair, more or less, ever since.
The Zagreb coat of arms in brass on the street and in flowers
And opposite the entrance to the park is perhaps my favourite of the churches, the quiet chapel of St Francis.
It has amazing stained glass, some at least by the Croatian artist Ivo Dulčić whose work was so groundbreaking that it sometimes incurred the wrath of the church authorities of the time. The windows, which he made in 1960, depict scenes from St Francis’ song “Canticle of the Sun”.
I somehow could not find St Mark’s with its famous roof but here is the spire
Then I found all the other) tourists. They were sitting in the cafes with English and German names on the little streets behind the market and jostling to take photos with their phones on sticks.
Not a little footsore, I set out for Booksa to sit and drink tea and write some.
It was a picturesque end to the day.
There are better photos than mine of the interior of the St Francis chapel here.
There is so much else to see:
The Shrine of the Mother of God of Kamenita vrata (the “Stone Gate”), the patron saint of the city of Zagreb, is a place where people go to pray before a picture of the Virgin Mary which survived a great fire in 1761. The most important day here is the day when Zagreb remembers its patron saint and holds its annual town celebrations, 31 May.
Also, don’t miss the chance to see the south portal of St Mark’s Church in Gornji grad (Zagreb’s “Upper Town”), which dates back to the 15th century and depicts the saints in stone and wood. In the church’s interior you can also see typically powerful works by the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.
The two above paragrpahs are from this website on Religious Toursim.
A hike from Samobor through Cerje to Okic and part of the way back. November 2018, Croatia. Approx. 20kms.
Samobor is on the eastern slopes of Samoborsko gorje. Situated 20 kms from Zagreb, the journey takes about half an hour and cost 31 kun there (from the ticket office) and 28 kun return (from the driver) .
I took the tram to the bus station and then the Samborcek bus to Samobor, a regular service. Platform 610 is in the furthest corner of Zagreb bus station and it is just a matter of going and waiting there. Don’t expect to find anyone official to ask or see any signs – simply look on the ground for the number and trust!
There is not much of note along the way to this popular summer and weekend destination for those who live in the capital city and tourists.
It is a 10 minute walk from the bus station in Samobor to the centre – follow the signs to Centar.
I visited the market first, walking round initially to see what was on offer, and then choosing certain women for their fresh looking produce.
Long tables were punctuated with stallholders wrapped in shawls sitting in front of a handful of spinach, a pile of rosy apples or bunches of parsley. Without a doubt everything was local, seasonal, and had just been picked that morning.
It was very difficult to make myself understood, even with gestures and smiles. I wanted to buy from every one as they all seemed so keen, perhaps had come a long way with a paucity of goods, presumably relied upon sales for their livelihood.
I checked out a bakery kiosk looking for the speciality Fasnik, I had read about. It looked like a custard tart. What I found was yoghurt based and I was unsure if it was the right thing so I waited.
After a brief visit to the King Tomislav square with it’s cafés, and having failed to find the Tourist Information, I made my way towards a spire on the skyline (I had read a little before I came and had a list of places in my notebook).
From there I followed my nose, as they say, climbing through the woods. It was the lure of the red and white circles I think, reminding me of previous treks.
As I stepped up from one Station of the Cross to another I relished the fresh smell and feel of the soft earth beneath my feet.
The second Chapel (St George’s) was plainer and round the back was a young dog who barked at me. The man with him had made a beautiful yet simple sculpture of stones and sticks which complemented the architecture and natural surroundings.
There is probably a magnificent view from up there but my tummy turned over at the thought of it and as there was zero visibility I didn’t feel too bad.
In fact the sun was beginning to stream between the trees as I got higher and it was warm on my cheek. It was breathtaking. I couldn’t help myself going on and on.
Suddenly I was on a road and soon a sign indicating the village of Cerje. I was still going steeply uphill but the red and white waymarkers continued to draw me.
People were working on the land and apples littered the path which I juicily enjoyed. I skipped from side to side where there was a pavement, to be safe on the tight bends.
Note to self: learn legilimency (as J K called it) to develop the ability to push out the unhelpful memories and worries, once acknowledged!
I spent time at a bus stop because I knew I was on a one-way walk and that the daylight of course ends at 5pm here in November. I photographed the timetable and carried on, confident I would get back to Samobor that way (a bus had passed me earlier).
The homesteads were strung out and I began to wonder if I might actually turn back if the trail was going to continue on asphalt.
A sign to a café with a stunning view didn’t yield the desired result: open from 5pm, presumably because it is dark by then and there needs to be somewhere to meet up during the long evenings.
I had to retrace my steps sometimes because the way is generally so well marked that as soon as 10 minutes passed without a sign I knew I was wrong.
There were lots of trees down blocking the way, but walkers or cyclists had been there before me if I looked carefully.
It was downhill at times at this stage and tantalising signs to Okic, which when I looked on Googlemaps said it was a tourist attraction.
As I neared, worrying a bit about the time, I wondered if it would be worth it.
I didn´t let myself stay long (although long enough to admire the woman with the chain saw) and her produce. I rather rushed up the hill, despite my tiredness, and almost immediately lost my path. What made me plough on regardless I do not know, but I ended up in one of my fixes – very steep, knee deep in nettles, several dead ends and my head started to popund. In the end I went over a fence into someone´s garden and out through their front gate, only to hear a loud noise behind me – a bus. I was not at all sure where I was but I flagged down the bus and begged and, yes, he was on his way to Samobor.
Slowly I calmed down, somewhat embarrassed , and my head stopped throbbing. I was all but out of water. Up and down and round he drove at top speed, letting people off, driving round the village square and going back the way he had come through pretty places with shops, bars and attractive churches.
Until we arrived back where I had started at the bus station in Samobor. I could not quite face a traipse back into the town, so instead I drank my green tea in the station cafe (full of smokers, so I sat outside) where the waitress the age of my daughters spoke customarily wonderful English and refilled my bottle adding ice. I marvelled at the table tennis room, the pop-up cinema and creche, all making up the modern station complex (free, clean loos as well!)
There more to see if you visit: a museum, a cave and a castle for example.
It was a misty morning when I set out to walk into the city of Zagreb.
Holjevac was born in Karlovac, at the time, in Austria-Hungary. He joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1939.
Up until now they have been shut (holiday, weekend etc) and yesterday was no exception for the one on the left. The brusque security guards reluctantly let me use the toilets, but although there were lots of people there they wouldn’t let me in.
This is an exhibition which aims to to keep alive and use the ancient Glagolitic alphabet.
Such elevated status of Angular Glagolitic rests on the hardworking hands of stonemasons, weary eyes of scribes, zeal of Glagolitic priests, skills of Croatia’s oldest master printers, dedication of researchers, and the creativity and vision of enthusiastic individuals working in the creative industries. From the website
Near where I am staying there are a series of underpasses which take you from one side of Avenija Dubrovnik to the other and, half way between, to the tram stops. I go there for the graffiti…
…and I am always hoping to hear more busking like the violinist who was there a few days ago. It may have come from the symphony byDora Pejačević (10 September 1885 – 5 March 1923) who was a Croatian composer, a member of a noble family. Her Symphony in F-sharp minor is considered by scholars to be the first modern symphony in Croatian music.
Nearly Xmas. Phew! I thought I might miss out on reindeer shop displays if I was away from home, but no.
There is a handy pastry and bread stall immediately outside for breakfast if you have been on the all-night bus from Milan like I had. It is just by the tram stop. Thanks to Léa for treating me.
Public toilets are open, lit up at night and come in a nice shade of green (which would make my friend L happy).
Tickets 4 kun from tabacco kiosks which you can find on many street corners (though lots are shut on Sundays).
Brits: Look left when you cross the road! Although there are lots of one way streets – basically beware. I had a very close shave when a most apologetic driver ran over my left foot. Lucky I had my heavy duty walking boots on.
Booksa is a book club. Warm and friendly, you must pay an annual fee of 10 kun (£1.20, 1. 35 euros) to join. There is a small library including books in English, newspapers, comfy chairs, wifi and a cafe.
A book is to a man what a binocular is to an astronomer or a microscope to a medical student – an instrument improving observation ability. Matko Peić
They also have book readings etc, mostly in Croatian. The staff speak great English. Like all cafés in Zagreb, there is no food on sale, nor alcohol, but the jasmine tea (proper tea leaves) and hot chocolate are fab.
Without realising quite how wet it was, I set off to walk into the city centre as usual (approx 1 hour from Sopot where I am staying), but the rain was torrential. The bus was quick and straightforward although I still had to walk for 20 minutes or so and therefore arrived at the Museum of Broken Relationships in a completely soaked state. The money in my purse in my bum bag was wet and the stamps stuck together!
It is a most unusual and very popular place, particularly frequented by young people. The exhibits have all been donated by the public, made up from a collection of sad stories with connected items and memorabilia. Well curated, there is perhaps unsurprisingly a sombre atmosphere. The cafe is smart with WiFi and expensive. 40 kun to enter (cheaper for students or older folk).
I took a river walk – after 2 days of torrential rain, I was happy that it was fine again, though cool and misty. The mountains in the distance had however disappeared.
There are white paths stretching in both directions beside the Sava River. Between them and the banks there are expanses of grass which I guess are often deluged because there are mud covered plants there.
I walked to the Botanics and they are gloriously free to enter, bijou and bonny.
Here are some slideshows of plants, fungi, flowers, vegetables and the dome with the giant (up to 2 metres wide) water lilies from Souzth America inside it. Despite winter being right around the corner, there was plenty to see.
Botanic Gardens The Zagreb Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located in downtown Zagreb, Croatia. Founded in 1889 by Antun Heinz, Professor of the University of Zagreb, and opened to public in 1891, it is part of the Faculty of Science.
The Privredna Bank: It was dry and warm, and when I got to the counter the currency exchange was smooth and straightforward. I got a much, much better rate of kun to euros than I did in Italy. But. I have almost never had to wait so long for anything. Ever.
The Post Office: In contrast there was no queue at the post office and although the willing woman had almost no English I managed to make myself understood. Stamps to the UK cost 5.80 kun for a postcard.
Bars and cafes do not serve food. Many allow smokers inside rather than making them go out, even though most have nice awnings with cosy blankets now in November.
Getting around: buses and trams both seem to be very efficient. Buy tickets from tabac kiosks, 4 kun each, in advance and when you get on (you can use any door), go right to the front to find the little yellow box attached to one of the chrome uprights. Insert your ticket with the silver part towards you and wait for it to make a noise. Beware! most tabac kiosks are shut on Sundays so you might get stranded without a bus ticket. I asked and was directed by friendly waiters outside the theatre.
Maksimir Park is in the north east of the city, well served by trams 4, 7, 11 and 12 (same fare wherever you travel). The park was full of people. There are wilder parts and very well frequented paths with street lighting as in Norway. I saw two cafes but only the Gazebo one was open. The Swiss House must be a summer only venue.
Basically I was in heaven!
People ran and cycled and wandered.
They played and kissed.
Some seemed to be preparing for the camino with 2 walking poles a-piece and going at a fair speed.
There are several open air theatre type spaces.
Alzthough I smiled, almost everyone looked straight through me without changing their expressions – bioth here and in the city, although in the shops and museums they are friendly when I make an effort to say my first word – hvala, thank you.
Lots of ancient oak trees, with beechm birch, chestnut and many others. It is the trees which are the spectacle here. The trees and the lakes.
There are ducks on all the lakes, and birds singing in the trees.
There is some more information and extra photos here on the Zagreb 4 blog.
For Nicky, my mum, from whom I learned to love plants and photography.
In the southern part of Zagreb´s lower town, it extends from the Miramarska road in the east to the Runjaninova street in the west, along the Mihanovićeva street and the Marulićev square in the west, with the rail embankment in the south.
The Garden is principally open from 9 am till sunset, at the latest by 7 pm.
Monday & Tuesday: 9 am – 2.30 pm
Wednesday – Sunday: 9 am – 7 pm (5 pm*, 6 pm**, 4 pm***)
*Early spring visiting hours in March (till the first Wednesday after the summer time change)
** Early autumn visiting hours in October (till the first Wednesday after the winter time change)
*** Late autumn visiting hours in November (from the winter time change)
The fragrance hit me as soon as I walked through the gates.
Sunday afternoon couples strolled arm in arm.
Mostly Croatians from what I could hear. No crowds or English.
Bird song all around me.
Late afternoon – the sun setting by 5pm now.
I noticed a man with a shopping trolley. He settled himself and started to paint.
Meanwhile as I stand under the tree, individual leaves waft past my nose.
All Saints Day, 1 November 2018 – a walk to the centre, including King Tomislav and Nikola Subic Zrinski Squares.
I walked from Sopot to the centre for the first time, taking the straightest route past the Gradski City Park (details on Zagreb 1), over the fast flowing River Sava, and past the National and University Library (which was closed due to the National Holiday, and is where they are holding The First International Conference on Green Libraries very soon).
I discovered the bus routes end point and underground Garaza shopping centre (also mostly closed) out of which you emerge in the King Tomislav Square (trg kralja Tomislava) by the Glavini railway station (Kolodov). This brought me to a whole other side of Zagreb I had not yet seen – national monuments resembling Vienna but less overtly grand, more comfortable somehow.
Halloween 31 October 2018: Museum of Contemporary Art, the permanent collection.
Not to be confused with the Moderna Galerija which is a Baroque building, Vranyczany Palace housing art works from the 19th century and after, the Museum of Contemporary Art is (during the day time anyway) a modern block of uninspiring concrete in Novi Zagreb, at the crossroads of Većeslava Holjevca and Dubrovnik Avenues. Do not be put off! It has a modernist interior with sharp, clear lines and is beautifully designed to show off its collection of post 1950s performance and Retroavantgarde art.
I got carried away by the red line theme.
The red neon is in the foyer of the Museum; the red tube which starts on one floor and hooks over the edge of the next level up is Red Line by Ivan Kozaric, 2011; the block with a thin horizontal line (part of a bigger work) is Circles between Surfaces by Dalibor Martinis; and the drawing is part of the presentation for the 32nd Venice Biennale in 1964.
I am currently writing about death so was not surprised to find a number on that theme.
There was an interesting ‘sculpture’ in the Gradski Park – photographer Romeo Ibrisivika has been ‘pulling the wrecks out of the environment’ (dragging rivers, that sort of thing), and then there was a sculpture in the Museum which reminded me of it.
There were two which took a Scottish theme: a video Midges by Dorothy Cross (2000) and these two photos (from a series of three).
I seemed to be picking up on a theme of doorways – what is behind? what will come through?
There was a twisted two-slide shute which must be really fun and doubles up as an art work (which was not working). Then everywhere I looked were coils of metal and chrome.
A poster I saw in Padua reminded me of Lea (before she changed her hair colour!) whose hospitality here in Croatia has been amazing, and the art work in the gallery – Untitled by Antun Motika (1943-44).
Shots through windows.
Even the toilet door signs were related to an artwork!
Tiles like this one are in all the lavatories.
Free admission for all visitors on the first Wednesnday of the month!