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Sightseeing Zagreb in Croatia – Day 60
Tuesday 29th September 2009 – Croatia
I set my alarm for 6:30 this morning and was up promptly, showered and dressed and out of the door without barely making a noise and waking anybody.
The air was cool this morning, and there was a mist hovering above. It was a little surreal walking along the side of the river when it was cool and quiet like this. I strolled to the train station, still very itchy, and waited on the platform for the train that was late, again!
We boarded, and set off on the fairly short journey to Zagreb, Croatia. It was a lovely trip today alongside the river. A layer of mist hovered slightly above the river, concealing its beauty from me. Only as we passed by did the layer lift, and the true wonder was revealed to me. Glorious glistening water travelled to the sea on an endless voyage, and I wondered what it would be like to be a drop of water on such a journey, and what new worlds would be discovered along the way.
At Zagreb we got off and I entered the Zagreb train station. However, my usual routine was somewhat disrupted today for a few reasons. The first being the fact that I was treated quite rudely, and all I wanted was information. I try to speak a little of the language but sometimes it is thrown straight back into my face.
I asked one guy something, he told me to go to the girl next to him, she looked at him and laughed. When I asked her she said no in Croatian, then they laughed again. When I asked her again she just put a leaflet in front of me and said nothing. It was a small map of the city. I went to the ticket office for tickets to Venice, and as it turns out, there is only one train a day that goes there, and it leaves at 11:35pm every night. A night trip! With having already booked the accommodation, I decided to go to Venice tomorrow overnight and stay only one night in Croatia. The ticket guy just threw the tickets at me, and my credit card also, which nearly flew off the counter. I don’t seem to get on very well in train stations.
I left feeling a bit sick of this country already, and got bumped out the way on the pavement as I walked a couple of times, which is fairly easy to do with my backpack on my back. First impressions of this place were not very pleasing I have to say.
I carried on walking using the map the information people had given me and eventually wound up in the area the hostel was suppose to be situated. But I couldn’t find it. I walked and walked up and down several streets getting very hot and bothered, but couldn’t see the place anywhere. I even asked the postman who looked at the map with a bemused expression on his face. After about 2 or 3 minutes of just staring at the map, I thought I should prod him to make sure he was still awake, but he just shrugged his shoulders and pointed me in the direction of the city centre. I decided, even though I knew he was clueless, to go to the city centre anyway and ask the tourist information people. (Not in the train station).
As I retraced my steps to the centre, I immediately came to a small brown box on the side of the road. I say small, it was big enough to be a tiny office, and that’s what it was. It is for Police use. They sit in these boxes during the day for reasons I’m unsure of, but it was a big relief for me either way. I poked my sweaty head through the small window and said hello. I proceeded to point at my map at the hostel icon with a confused look upon my face. The Policeman looked puzzled himself, and phoned his office for guidance. A little while later he ended the conversation and began to lock up the small office. He then walked me to where he was told the hostel would be, which was incredibly kind I thought, and took me straight there. I said thank you as best I could and he was on his way again. At least the cops were helpful here. The hostel, incidentally, was nowhere near where it was suppose to be, as shown on the map.
The hostel itself was nothing more than a house, and the signs didn’t indicate that it was an HI Hostel, which is what I have been using up until now, but it was the right place. I rung the bell and was greeted by a friendly face. Check in was painless, although not the usual formal way, it was more personal, more friendly. I like how you get this from smaller hostels. You don’t get the quality of the bigger places, but you get more quality of service, and you feel more at home. I was taken to the room where I dumped my bag and made my bed. Being very cautious now, I checked around the bed for bugs, but found none. It looked OK.
All being done, I got some pointers for sightseeing on the map by the reception guy, and headed off back into the city. As I was leaving the next day I thought it best to do as much as possible today. I looked around the park nearby, then used the map’s tourist trails to see all the main sights. There was plenty to see. As it was lunch time now I thought I should fill my tummy before I venture off too far. I was around the area of bars and restaurants, so this was as good a place as any. I got a pizza in a nice little place, sitting outside in the cool breeze, sheltered from the hot sun. The pizza was great and set me up well for the days walking I had ahead of me.
Many things did I see along the way, and much pretty architecture. Lots of important buildings as well. I found myself lost once or twice, but this is the norm now, and it means I see a little more of the not so touristy bits that I otherwise would not have seen. But as the day went on I got tired and started to make my way back to the hostel again. I had seen everything I wanted to see today. A particular water feature they have here is quite cool. It has a periodic water jet that fires water into the air, not high, then releases the pressure to let the water crash down. It repeats itself many times until the cycle ends, and all is still. Except the water inside the fountain, which swings from side to side like a little wave pool, never quite stretching itself enough to tip over the sides and onto the floor, no matter how much I was willing it to.
Back at the hostel I sat for a while, then nipped to the shop before it closed. I got a sandwich and ate it in the hostel as I wrote my diary and surfed the web. A couple of other guys joined the room late on, then went straight back out again. I figured as it was now late that I should go to bed, so I did.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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