Disclaimer: This blog post is in no way chronological, it basically highlights the sights I’ve seen in no particular order. The problem is that I’ve been in Zagreb for about 5 days now but haven’t done anything substantial within the city itself, but here goes…
The reason I came to Zagreb was mainly because a couple of friends I knew from my time in Prague actually live here, and if they like it so much to live here then it must be really good. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that’s not the case.
I took a walking tour to discover the main sights of the city and it felt like the tour lasted about 10 minutes. There is a lot of history to the city but not many notable talking points. There’s a funicular railway, a cathedral and a main market square. Apart from the numerous museums and statues around the place, it didn’t really grab my attention. As we finished the walking tour though, we did go through the tunnels. They were, in fact, the one sight that really grabbed my attention. The original concept of the tunnels was to be used as an bomb shelter but after the war and subsequent war of independence from Yugoslavia, it fell into disrepair and now is just used as a walkway. It did feel quite odd walking down the alley as it was pretty much abandoned buy it did give a sense of the fear they must have had if there was any attacks as it quite claustrophobic in the tunnels. Leaving the tunnels we ended up back at the hostel so I relaxed for a while.
I arrived into town on the Monday but didn’t actually do the walking tour until Friday, the week itself, I mainly spent waking around. I met up with an old friend on the Tuesday and we went to a park on the other side of the river and then went for a drink and had a good catch up. On the Wednesday I wandered around the Upper Town district of the city. It’s mostly museums and Embassies in this area so there’s a lot of police and security officers strolling around. The main cathedral is also up in this part and so I took a walk up to that. In front of the cathedral a photoshoot was actually in progress but unfortunately they didn’t want to photograph me. I took a turn around around the back of the church and walked back to the hostel. Instead of going in the hostel, I actually sat in the park just outside. It was really nice weather so sitting on a bench and watching the world pass me by was actually rather relaxing.
The Thursday was the only day I actually did something worthwhile. I joined a group on a trip to Plitvice National Park. We set off around 9am and first headed to Rastoke, this is a little village with waterfalls everywhere, some even flowing through the houses. This was only a brief stop before continued to the National Park itself.
We got to the park, paid entrance and boarded a boat to the other side of the lake. The top half of the park was unfortunately closed due to the water level, the boat wouldn’t be able to moor on the bank so we could only see the lower half but still this was immensely impressive. We disembarked from the craft and started walking into the park. As it’s mostly water we walked along wooden planks on the riverbank. The further we walked, the higher the water levels rose and as we walked across the boardwalk we could see that the water levels got so high they actually flooded the path. Some of the group, myself included, thought we could attempt to get across the water. We took our shoes and socks off and started to wade our way but the further we went, the more we realised it was a mistake. We headed back to dry land and put our shoes back on. With sodden feet, we had to find another way to the other side.
Backtracking along the path we came across a route along the mountain and so we climbed up there and actually reached a restaurant/meeting point. Following directions, the group and I continued down the other side of the mountain, through a natural cave, and to the Big Waterfall. This was the main highlight of the parks, an 80 metre high waterfall and the splash from it was so intense; my bare arms actually stung after visiting it. We sat down for lunch just around the corner before making our way back through the park to the van. Exhausted, we drove back to the hostel and simultaneously collapsed.