Thursday, May 1, 2014

119. Moving on from Zagreb

Well my four weeks here in Zagreb are up and it is time for me to pack my bags + wiz around the apartment + polish up my traveling boots and think about heading off to my next destination where a new adventure is waiting for me.

But before I go here are a few last impressions of this interesting city Zagreb ...


On offer in Zagreb are a staggering 22 museums and 53 art galleries ... now obviously I didn't have the time nor the energy to visit them all - so it was not an easy task making choices ...

The stunning Art Pavilion Gallery 

 
 inside ... exhibition of Nasta Rojc paintings from early 1900's

The beautiful Strossmayer Gallery - wonderful exhibition of Old Masters - very dark galleries though, so difficult to photograph - no flashes allowed ... sorry ...

interior shot of Strossmayer Gallery

 
 found this sculpture in a park - can't tell you anything about it 
but think it wonderful - full of so much energy and power

 

The Croatian Arts Centre - building designed by Ivan mestrovic ( see previous blogs ) - inside a very interesting exhibition of photographs by Peter Lindberg - "Images of Women and the Unknown" ... sorry no photographs allowed ...

The city has lots of open-air markets to explore - including this huge used car and flea market in Hrelic ... never seen so many used cars in one lot - all with their owners vying for for a sale ... also hundreds of stalls beyond the cars selling everything from new clothing + machinery + second-hand stuff + garden produce etc - but no treasures to be found unfortunately ...



Then there is the daily produce market in central Zagreb  with beautiful fruit and vegetables etc on sale at better than low prices ...  

 

Other markets include a nearby flower market, a huge undercover daily food market, a second-hand book market every Thursday and a great antique market every Sunday - both full of wonderful treasures ...

My landlord in Zagreb kindly left me his very up-market bicycle to use during my stay ...
Now I have to say that I hadn't been on a bike for many years so I was a bit apprehensive to start with - wheeled it to a nice grassy patch for my first ride ( just in case I feeled off and hurted myself ... ) - but it was all go from the very start - and by my final ride today I was flying along zooming past all those youngsters on their rollerblades ... !!! ...


About 300m from where I am staying is the huge Jarun parkland with a 6km road / bike track around it - very flat and an enjoyable breeze to cycle around - in the centre of the park is a large lake used for regattas and swimming etc ( ... including an official nude beach !!! ) - and around the shore are dotted several bars and cafes so it is very civilized to ride for a few kms then stop for a coffee or beer or take your clothes off for a spot of skinny dipping ( ... water still too cold for me ) ... was also a good opportunity to stop and chat to locals ... 

 
 2km regatta course in centre of Jarun

 
 
 Lots of cafes around the lake - this one deserted after thunderstorm ...

my fav pit stop ...

Zagreb is mostly very flat so I did quite a few long rides into the city and outer suburbs over the past four weeks - great fun and I'm feeling very fit and ready for my next adventure ... 

The city has many grand 19th century buildings ... some have been restored back to their original beauty - but there are many more still waiting for the renovators to move in ...





The central square in the city ...

 Lots of smokers - in spite of the health warnings on the packets ...


... and like most big cities - lots of pidgeons to be fed by kind old ladies ...

Also in the centre of the city are the beautiful Botanical Gardens - and this time of year is very special with the deciduous trees coming into flower and leaf and lots of tulips and other bulb flowers in bloom.

Information Centre in the Gardens ...






After all that walking, my favourite spot in Zagreb is the Aida Cafe - serving great coffee and extraordinary cakes and sweet-treats imported all the way from Vienna ..



And a night at the opera in the beautiful Croatian National Theatre to see Bellini's "Norma" ... it was a very interesting and enjoyable production by this very professional company.

 




Zagreb is serviced by a brilliant network of fast and efficient trams ... I had a stop only two minutes walk from my front door - trams every ten minutes - then half an hour ride into the centre of the city - and fares are very cheap ...



On the outskirts of the city is the huge Maksimir Parkland. Set up at the end of the 18th Century and covering just under 320 acres, Maksimir is one of the oldest public parks in Europe. With its meadows, lakes, streams and forests it has become a haven for many endangered bird and animal species from the regions - as well as a great retreat for the stressed and endangered human species to wander through and commune with nature ...





In the centre of the Park is a large mound with an bronzed eagle atop - The Mogila. This man-made structure was formed in 1925 to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Croatian Kingdom. It is made up of soil lumps brought in from 155 places in various Croatian regions in which some important historical or cultural event has happened during those 1000 years ( ... what a great idea ... ).  



So, after four weeks exploring this beautiful city and many of the cultural sites on offer, it is time for this wanderer to gather up his possessions and head for the big blue and black chariot that is waiting with engines purring for me to climb on board, settle down and be whisked away to another exotic land ...

Stay tuned ...