Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia

17 - 18 Sep 2017

We took the 2.45pm bus from Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb today, and arrived in Zagreb at 5.15pm. From the bus station, we walked to our apartment - Cute Apartment For You (EUR 35 per night, about 11 min away. Our host, Milena was waiting for us and she explained on the places of interest and recommended places to eat around Zagreb.  As per the name suggested, the apartment is cute indeed!
our host Milena

That night we wanted to eat at Sofra, a Bosnian restaurant to try the elusive klepe, but apparently the restaurant closed early on Sunday. We actually walked from our apartment to the restaurant only to find it closed. We then walked to the bus station and bought the vegetarian pizza from the bakery for our dinner, with the last packet of our instant noodles brought from Malaysia. We had dinner back at our cute apartment.

The next morning, we left our backpacks at Milena's parents in law's, just above our apartment before venturing out to Zagreb town. We would collect back our backpacks in the evening, then catch our flight back to Skopje at 9.15pm

We took the tram from Drziceva to Trg Bana J Jelacica station, at the city centre. We bought the tram ticket from the driver and had it validated on the machine inside the tram. The tram ticket cost HRK 4. At the Ban Jelacic square are buildings from the 18th century. Josip Jelacic, whom the statue was erected for in 1866, was an army general who led the 1848 revolution for independence from the Austrian empire.

Ban Jelacic statue

From Ban Jelacic square, we walked to Zagreb cathedral, an early 12th century neo Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral. It is also the tallest building in Croatia. We didn't enter the cathedral though, just viewing it from outside.

Zagreb cathedral

Mary column outside Zagreb cathedral

Next we went to Dolac market, not too far from the cathedral, which is an open farmer's market selling fruits, vegetable, crafts and souvenirs. We bought some souvenirs and grapes hare. The souvenirs at the market is slightly cheaper than the ones in shops.

Dolac market selling fruits

Dolac market selling souvenirs

the Zagreb red heart is a trademark of the city

We then continued to walk along Opatovina street and Ivana Tkalcica street, then climbed up the narrow alley of Male stube, reaching the uphill Radiceva street, then finding ourselves passing through the Stone Gate, a medieval gate with a Virgin Mary shrine, taking pictures of the sights along the way. The next discovery was yet another unique one - St Mark's Church - with its distinctive tiled roof, which was originally built in the 13th century.

Male stube

Radiceva street

Stone Gate

St Mark's church

We continued to walk along Cirilometodska until the end of the street, where the Zagreb furnicular operates. The furnicular was built in 1890 and its track is only 66 meters. You get a view of Zagreb city from up here, although it is not really a vantage point, as you can only see the tall buildings from here. You can also climb up here from Ban Jelacic square walking the stairs of Zakmardijeve stube. Next to the furnicular is Strossmayer promenade, named after the Bishop of Djakovo, Slavonia, political party leader and founder of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.

view of Zagreb city from the furnicular station

Strossmayer promenade

Walking along Strossmayer promenade, then down Zakmardijeve stube, we reached back Ivana Tkalcica street, then walked to Skalinska street to get our fix our strukli, a traditional Croatian dough with filling at La Struk cafe, as recommended by Milena. We ordered the cooked salty cheese and gratinated sweet cheese strukli. It was really filling and the portion is big. We should have ordered only 1 dish actually, but we managed to finish it. The cooked strukli tasted better, in our opinion.

Zakmardijeve stube

cooked strukli

gratinated strukli

After the late breakfast of strukli (La Struk only opens at 11am) and a bit more souvenir shopping at Dolac market, we made our way to the Zagreb mosque, taking the tram from Trg Bana J Jelacica to Borojve station, then walked to the mosque. The mosque was opened in 1987 and is the largest mosque in Croatia. After performing our prayers there, we walked to Sofra restaurant nearby (this is a different branch from last night's), and to our delight, the klepe dish is available here. So we ordered klepe and the last round of Sogan dolma. Sofra is a Bosnian restaurant though.We met a retired Malaysian couple here, who was also travelling the Balkans on their own, taking buses and trains. Much respect to them!
Zagreb mosque
inside Zagreb mosque

Sofra near Zagreb mosque

klepe - cheesy dumpling

Sogan dolma

After a filling lunch, we made our way back to Milena's to take our backpacks and proceed to the airport. It was still early at 5pm, but we didn't want to take any chances of missed flights. We took the airport bus from the bus station and arrived at the airport around 5.40pm. The airport bus station is just next to the intercity / international bus station. The bus ticket costs HRK30 per person. You could also take the tram to the airport, which is cheaper, but it would be a hassle with the packed crowd in the tram.

Zagreb airport bus terminal

Our flight back to Skopje arrived as per schedule and we arrived at Skopje around 11pm. We took a taxi (not really a taxi, but more like a tout) for EUR 20, which is the same price as the taxi rate displayed at the airport, to our Aloha apartment (EUR 35.10 per night, Tomorrow we would be spending another day in Skopje before our flight back to Malaysia the day after. Again, we didn't want to risk our night flight from Zagreb being delayed to the next day and missing the connecting flight the next day, so we'd rather spend another day again Skopje.



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