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?
.. the lip of light beneath a sill.
Women Who Run With The Wolves, Bluebeard commentary Claudia Pinkola
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!
If I am making a long journey I spend quite a time looking for cheap ways to do it. This time I plotted Paris to Zagreb on Google maps, saw the stop-offs it suggested I made, and from there checked the airlines for who flew where. In the end I found a cheap flight to Milan from Paris which was straightforward, and then took Flix buses the rest of the way.
That part was arduous with local transport from Milan Airport to Monza to get the bus, which was delayed so that was already 10.30pm, although the wait was made more enjoyable with a conversation with a masters student studying in Padua. She told me where to go when I made the change there. I think this was my first 11pm – 1am sightseeing trip!
Then the over night part in the hottest bus I have ever ridden was quite a challenge, plus we had to get off twice at the Slovenian – Croatian border for passport checks despite it being the 32nd country to enter the European Union. Is that what we have to look forward to now just enough British people have voted to leave? What a calamity.
However, I did eventually get there and was met by the wonderful dancing Lea (who I met in a woman’s dormitory in Graz last year and kept up with on Facebook).
‘Croatia was, and still is, the hottest piece of geographic real estate in Europe. Croatia is the gateway between north, south, east and west in Europe.’ From inavukic.com (no longer available).
During my first day I stayed close to where the apartment is and look what I found: Bundek lake with woods in Gradski Park, and the Museum of Modern Art on Avenija Dubrovnik (all less than 15 minutes walk).
The familiar smell of Autumn, insects and wildflowers I am used to, sunshine on my skin.
I sat back against the tree and relaxed my pelvis. Smelling the rotting earth at my feet, I reflected that it is hard to write when I am unsettled. I relax and exhale, feeling myself let go.
I walked around the lake shown above and there was the other side of it – all open and sculpted.
Like Norway, I am in a country where I speak none of the language and cannot make sense of the signs around me. I quickly learn please and thank you by asking shop owners to teach me. I smile a lot.