Callum’s 2015 Adventures: Interrailing pt. 9 Zagreb, Croatia

‘Don’t take life seriously, you will never get out of it alive!’ – Anonymous

Day 20: Zagreb 04.09.15

Plan of Action:

  • Explore Upper Town
  • Visit the useum of Broken Relationships
  • Wander down to Zagreb Main Square

Zagreb is a city that I didn’t see enough of. It’s a shame really, because it has gathered an unfair reputation of being one of the more boring Croatian cities for a traveller to visit. I would dispute this. In fact, if I was to go back for a leisurely few days I can imagine it being a city that I could easily count amongst my favourites.

Looking back on it, there are two things about my time in Zagreb that stand out for me. The first is that we did everything in the wrong order, the second is that I regret not taking more pictures.

After a journey from hell to Zagreb from Budapest the day before, Faye and I decided that we’d treat ourselves to a fancy breakfast at one of the restaurants in the little square around the corner from our hostel (Chillout Hostel, if you were wondering). We lost track of time at this point, being brought around to the fact it was midday by Zagreb’s Grič cannon which goes off daily. Worried that time would escape us, we decided that our exploring of both Zagreb’s Lower and Upper Town could wait until we had visited the one place that had caught our eyes prior to arrival; the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Winner of the 2011 Kenneth Hudson Award for the most innovative museum in Europe, Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships is nothing like anything else you will see. It’s more akin to a touring exhibition which – funnily enough – is how it has gained such an expansive catalogue. It even visited London back in 2014 and will soon be going to Cologne, Germany! However, its base of operations is, and will continue to be, Zagreb.

As previously mentioned, its touring is how it has built up its catalogue; the museums asks for donations from residents of the countries it visits. Usually these are a physical, symbolic presentation of the person’s “broken” relationship, coupled with the circumstances behind it. When it truly dawns on you that everything you are reading is not a tale of fiction, but one of reality, that’s when you realise just how harrowing and tragically beautiful this whole exhibition really is.

To read more about my visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships, click here.

If you read further into my visit of the museum, then you’ll better understand what I mean when I say the contents of this museum left us extremely sensitive and highly emotional. In fact, even without reading it you may have gathered some clue. As a result, after spending a couple of hours in that museum we both felt deflated, and exploring Zagreb really wasn’t at the top of our to-do list. Instead, we went to a pub around the corner to talk about what we witnessed and how we felt. I even wrote a blog post to help create a cathartic release (which you can conveniently read here).

It was late by the time we had finished, so we had dinner before heading back to the hostel to book our spaces on a trip to the beautiful, amazing Plitvice Lakes the next day.

It was quite a pleasant evening after that. We ended up playing cards with a couple who we actually found out were staying in the room next door to us before Faye headed up and I stayed downstairs in the bar where – despite several attempts from the other travellers – I resisted the calls to go on the Friday night pub crawl.

Day 21: 05.09.15

Plan of Action:

  • Visit the Plitvice Lakes

You can read my full blog post on the Plitvice Lakes here.

It was an early start. A very early start and the weather certainly did not favour us. As such, I would love to re-visit the Plitvice Lakes when the sun is out, however we made do with walking around in a torrential downpour.

When we began to head from the lakes back to Zagreb, we were all soaked to the bone. Upon our return to Zagreb we were still soaking. I even ended up walking back to the hostel from the drop-off point barefoot after feeling the need to throw away my shoes. The first port of call was getting warmed up and changed. The second was meeting our “neighbours” at the hostel bar before trying to find a restaurant to eat at together. We ended up at a place specialising in buffalo – something new to us all.  All in all, it was a lovely time.

After the meal I headed up to get some rest before our journey to Slovenia the next day whilst Faye stayed down at the bar. As I was getting ready to settle down, I met our new room-mates; two lovely Asian-Americans, at least one of which was a doctor.

Zagreb was a great place to recover after the nightmare of Budapest and I will be going back.

 

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