I’m back with part two of our Croatian adventures! The boyfriend and I went on an eight-day holiday to Zagreb back in September. I’ve decided to write two blog posts about it, because too much stuff happened to cram into one post. If you haven’t read the first part yet, you can do that here.
We got up fairly early for this one, since we wanted to go to an antiques market on the British Square in the morning. It was a dreary day, as always, and there weren’t too many stalls, but we still enjoyed taking a leisurely stroll and just browsing through the various items that were on display. Some of them were really cool, others… Not so much, haha. But we did pick up a fancy-looking piggy bank for my parents (they collect pig figurines – don’t ask). I also saw a lot of items that would’ve made awesome blog props, but since we still had to take a flight back home and we only had our hand luggage, unfortunately I couldn’t bring anything with me.
Next on the agenda was lunch at La Štruk, where they serve a Croatian delicacy: štrukli. We honestly had no idea what to expect, but from what we’d read online we thought we were going to be served some delicious treat. It’s safe to say we were pretty disappointed. With štrukli, you have a choice between savoury ones with cheese, and sweet ones with various flavour combinations. The cinnamon-apple one spoke to us the most, but when it arrived it didn’t look very appetising (as you can probably tell from the picture). It was also a lot bigger than what we’d expected; almost like a cinnamony lasagne. And boy, was it cinnamony! I could hardly taste the apple in it, honestly. I didn’t manage to finish mine, partly because it was just too much, but also partly because I really didn’t like the taste – at all. I don’t like being negative on here, but I also don’t want to lie. So there you have it: I don’t think štrukli are for me. Of course, there are lots of other flavours to choose from than just apple-cinnamon, so maybe I would’ve liked another one beter, but I don’t think I’ll be trying another one any time soon (and not just because I won’t be in Croatia in the forseeable future). I still say definitely try one, though. Like I said, there are many different flavours and people have different tastes anyway, so you might really like this!
After that slight disaster we didn’t really have any fixed plants, but as we left La Štruk we noticed that the sky had completely cleared and the sun was shining. Finally! Since Plitvice Lakes we hadn’t really seen any sun at all, so this really was a blessing to us.
We stumbled upon the cathedral completely by accident (we were actually so unprepared this entire holiday), but it was so lovely to get to enjoy it in such lovely circumstances. We took the time to bask in the sun a little and take some lovely pictures, before heading inside.
As we entered, there was hardly anybody inside. I’m guessing most people were still soaking up the sun outside, haha. We took a moment to just look around and be awed – because it really is a beautiful cathedral. Breathtaking in its simplicity. Then, as we wanted to start taking pictures and maybe film some footage for the vlog, of course the crowds started to pour in… So typical! We quickly snapped a few pictures and left, planning to maybe return at a later time (spoiler: we didn’t).
Our plan was to then head back to the apartment to grab our sunglasses and dump some of the extra layers we were wearing (because as the sun had made its appearance, the temperature had gone up quite a bit), but the moment we were ready to go out the door – you guessed it – it started absolutely pouring down again. Oh well, at least we got to enjoy the sun for a little while. The rest of the afternoon was then spent basically lazying around in the apartment.
Another early morning! The Airbnb kindly provided us with two bikes, so we really wanted to use them at least once, and a visit to Mirogoj Cemetery seemed like the perfect opportunity since it was a little ways out of the actual city centre. I was kinda worried, though, because we’d obviously seen the traffic over the past couple of days and, let me tell you, it was not always a pleasant sight to behold. Bikers were on the sidewalk, weaving through pedestrians at high speeds, and cars weren’t really paying attention to what was happening around them… Nevertheless, we wanted to give it a go. I think we got to the end of our street before we decided to dump the bikes (we did go back to collect them afterwards, of course!) and just walk. It was simply too stressful; I was literally shaking. Part of it was having to get used to the bike since it was so different from my own, but a huge part of it was definitely the traffic! I felt so much better once both my feet were back on solid ground.
Since we decided to walk, it did take us a lot longer to get to Mirogoj – about 50 minutes, I think. So almost an hour. But it was 100% worth it. This place honestly looks like something straight out of Game of Thrones. I felt like I was walking around King’s Landing!
Then, for lunch, something we had been looking forward to since before the start of our holiday: Burger Monday at OXBO Urban Bar & Grill. I mean, who can say no to burgers? I know we definitely can’t. The concept is basically that you order a burger at half price, and get a glass of beer with it. Now, I’m not really a beer fan, but I was willing to try a nice Croatian beer and have a delicious burger for lunch (I was definitely doing it for the burger).
Again, we had to walk for about an hour to get there, and when we arrived we noticed it was a lot fancier than what we’d expected. I mean, if a place does “Burger Monday”, you’d assume it’s just some casual pub where they serve all sorts of junkfood, right? Wrong. OXBO is apparently in the middle of some sort of industrial zone, with business men and women having lunch meetings or working on their laptops – I even saw an assembly of the US Embassy. Oops. We had been looking forward to this Burger Monday for too long, though, so we just headed inside and grabbed ourselves a table.
As promised, we got the Angus beef burger at half price – which was perfect, because the bloody burger usually costs you €13 (a little over £11/$15)! I do think that’s a bit excessive for what you get, but oh well. I also expected there to be more choice, but they only have the one burger for the Burger Monday deal (and maybe even on the entire menu, I’m not sure). The beer, though… We didn’t get. I don’t know what happened. Maybe we should’ve specified that we were there for the Burger Monday thing, but then on the other hand they did give us the burgers at half price. I didn’t really miss it since I’m not a beer drinker anyway, but it would’ve been nice to get what the deal specified. On top of that, our burgers were kinda cold when they finally got to our table. I’d seen them put two burgers on the counter, ready to be brought to a table (I didn’t know for sure if they were ours), but they sat there for a long time before anyone realised and finally brought them over to us. So yeah, it’s safe to say our experience at OXBO wasn’t the best. But hey, at least we got a burger at half price!
After that slight debacle we headed back to our apartment for a little while to chill, before going to the Museum of Broken Relationships. We took the funicular to get there, only because we wanted to have experienced that at least once on our trip. It’s not really worth it, though, because you’re literally on it for less than a minute. But I guess for the more lazy among us (ahum, me), it’s a great way to get to Upper Town without having to climb the hill.
The concept of this musem is very cool and different. They basically ask people to send in any object (and I really do mean any) that reminds them of a past relationship for one reason or other. The objects are usually accompanied by a little not from the person that sent it, explaining why they chose the object or simply talking about the relationship and how/why it ended. Some of these are really funny, others are heartbreaking and others are somewhere in between. The section that got to me the most, was the one with objects and notes from people who’d lost a parent. I actually nearly cried right there, in the middle of the museum. If you ever get the chance, I really recommend you go here. It’s so different from your typical art museum and it really puts you on a kinda rollercoaster of emotions. I was even tempted to maybe send in an object of my own…
This day did not turn out as planned. At all. I don’t think it ever stopped raining… We’d planned to do a romantic walking tour of the city we’d found online, but it wasn’t too clear where we had to go and the rain wasn’t making our time outside any more pleasant. So we headed back to Otto & Frank to grab a nice, warm drink. That drink turned into lunch and we basically spent a few hours in there just killing time, waiting for the rain to stop. In vain, of course. Lunch was really good, though, so at least there’s that.
Since chances were very small that it was going to stop raining any time soon, we decided to just brave it and go to the Museum of Illusions. By the time we got there (it was a long walk), my feet were soaking wet because that was the day I realised my shoes weren’t water-tight. Don’t you just love it when that happens? Yeah, me too. Anyway! The museum itself was a lot of fun. I think we spent almost the entire afternoon in there without getting bored. What I loved about it was that is was so interactive – you’re not just walking around looking at art (which is fun in its own right, of course), but you’re actually doing stuff and trying stuff out. Some things were absolutely mindblowing, whereas others were downright hilarious. Definitely stop by this museum if you ever find yourself in Zagreb!
On our last day we still had a few hours to kill between check-out and take-off, so we decided to take advantage of that opportunity to quickly visit a few places we hadn’t had a chance to go see yet – and I’m so glad we did! We found a few not-so-hidden gems that you definitely have to check out if you’re ever in Zagreb.
The main event on our agenda was the cannon shot that is fired every day at 12pm. Fun story: on one of our first days in Zagreb, we were very close to the tower where they fire the cannon shot without realising it, and apparently it was 12pm because we suddenly heard this loud BANG and for a few moments were very scared and confused about what was going on. Until we realised – oh yeah, this is normal around here.
To be completely honest, the firing of the cannon is not super spectacular. It’s just a guy pulling some lever or whatever (accidental rhyme there), followed by a very loud bang. And that’s it. However, it is something that’s quite unique as I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it, so I am very glad we got a chance to do this on our last day.
After the cannon shot, we decided to go up to the top level, where you get a lovely panoramic view over the city.
Next up was a quick tour of some of the street art. We’d seen online that there were some incredible perspective pieces and we really wanted to check those out. Unfortunately, though, they were doing construction work on the site, so we were only able to take a picture of one of the art works (the turtle, which you can see below).
We also finally took pictures of some of the statues we’d walked past multiple times already. The reason we waited until the last day was basically because it had been raining so much, we’d never felt like taking out the camera before then.
Eventually we rushed back to our apartment, because our Uber was coming to pick us up at 2:30pm. To our surprise, the Airbnb host was there to see us off. It was so lovely meeting her, and she’d even brought us a little present, which we didn’t expect at all. But now we’ll always have something to remember her and Zagreb by.
As I look back on our holiday, I realise a lot went wrong and it wasn’t exactly the vacation I’d envisioned. Regardless, I still enjoyed just spending time with my boyfriend and having a few days entirely to ourselves. I do think I definitely want to go back to Croatia, but maybe in Summer when the weather is hopefully better! Apart from maybe going back to Zagreb, I definitely also want to visit Dubrovnik and Split at some point (Game of Thrones, anyone?) – we’re not done with you just yet, Croatia.
Have you ever been to Zagreb? If so, what was your experience like?