This was our first stop, to kick off a 12-day adventure in Croatia. It was 8 p.m. by the time we reached city center from the awe-inspiring architecture of Zagreb Airport. Have you seen it? It looks like a techy surfboard attempting to swim in air like a floating seaweed.
Coming from Paris, we expected Zagreb to be a smaller city but it was equally charming oozing a certain Eastern European mystery. Croatia has been through hell and back, while its capital shines as the cosmo metropolis which juxtaposes the coastal Dalmatian vibes that breathes through Split and Hvar.
In Croatia, if there’s a street, there’s an outdoor cafe. And Zagreb is no exempt. We walked, and we sat, and we sipped. Then we repeated the whole cycle again. Four times a day, at least. It was delightful, despite the chilly evening breeze. The fall of Yugoslavia is evident through the city’s modernity. But Zegreb sets itself apart with architectural influences from both Austria and Hungary – Croatia’s northern neighbors.
I walked up Ulica Pavla Radica, a charming shopping street no traveler will ever miss, and I see a blonde girl in tall strappy heels in front of a fashion boutique. She looked at me, and I looked at her. She did another double take because I had sunglasses on. I also took a double take because I suddenly knew exactly who she was. In the middle of Zagreb, I ran into Adriana, a former Jetset Times contributor who I first met in London which was also where we last saw each other. Unbelievable. We were both shocked with glee, and I realized how small the world really is.
Zagreb Cathedral, Museum of Broken Relationships, St. Mark’s Church, Dolac Market, Lotrščak Tower are all must-see’s that you can do in one day. The imprint that Zagreb left in my mind, however, is the perfect opening chapter to our journey in a country that appears to have healed from its battle wounds. Just look at the millions of tourists that flock to Croatia every year. But the scars are still burning, if you’re empathetic enough to see beyond the most welcoming smiles.
Have you ever been to Zagreb? Share with us in the comments.
As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!