Zagreb 1

Paris – Milan – Padua – Zagreb: October 2018

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.

This painting is by Croatian hyper realist painter, Jadranka Fatur whose work is on show in a temporary exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Zagreb. Although painted in 1975, it is still exactly like this!

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.

Passport check. I was shouted at for taking photos, just like when I visited Bulgaria with the school in 1984

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 (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).

As always I gravitate to nature. It grounds me after travelling and arriving in a new location

The familiar smell of Autumn, insects and wildflowers I am used to, sunshine on my skin.

There was traffic in the distance

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.

Smooth round pebbles at and under the water’s edge
Shadows thrown by the low Autumn sun
The roots emerging from the ground and the glorious yellow of the leaves
Dandelions and spears of grass protrude between the dead leaves
The Weeping Willow droops her fronds almost to the earth

The wilder side of Gradski Park, Zagreb, Croatia
Ripples caused by unseen creatures which almost appeared from underneath the water and from the wind.
Just like Paris! Someone camping or possibly living in this beautiful place

I walked around the lake shown above and there was the other side of it – all open and sculpted.

Gradski Park
Gradski Park, Zagreb, Croatia
Bumbina Lavada by Damir Matausic akad kipar with Ljevaonica Umjetnina
I spent some time at a nice cafe in the sun. It had WiFi and green tea, charming staff but no food, so I had to move on

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.

In the morning, the Museum of Modern Art looked as if it was disused, and indeed the cafe and restaurants are shut for renovation
Round the side of the building there were colourful hoardings
Inside it was very much open (11am – 6pm Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays and holidays (it is civically owned), 11 – 8pm on Saturdays. 70 kun for permanent and temporary exhibitions for one day
The red kites in the shop attracted my attention
Also from the hyper realism exhibition. Selfie with a difference, two differences!
Outdoor sculptural comment on the waste in our oceans and the effect it has on sea life. Clearing leaves in the background
Temporary exhibition of industrial photographs by Toso Dabac (1907 – 1970). 1,5000,000 Volt accelerator, Boris Kidric Institute of Nuclear Science, Serbia. Before 1957

BBC Croatian Timeline

Museum of Modern Art, Zagreb