Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unexpected Stay in Zagreb, Croatia: City #5 on Our Croatian Tour

So, our group of eight and the nice taxi driver arrived in Zagreb. We dropped off Wyatt, Emielia, and Michael at the train station for their return trip to Vienna. Then, the driver dropped off Chris, Andrew, Patrick, Jenn, and I at the bus station. He went on his merry way. We thought we'd be on our merry way back to Vienna, Austria that night, but that didn't happen.

When we went to the counter to pick up reservations for the bus leaving in a couple of hours, the unfriendly woman told us in broken English that the bus was full and there were no more reservations. We could check with other companies at the station, but otherwise the next bus was at 6am the following day. Well that was something we hadn't planned for ... The other bus companies were not helpful. So, we did the fifteen minute walk down the road to the train station. None of us had the EuRail pass anymore, so the train ticket back to Vienna would have cost 100 euros and up. Frustration was high, and we had to come up with a plan, especially before it got too dark to be roaming the streets of Zagreb looking for a place to sleep. We walked back to the bus station. There were two seats available on the 6am bus. Jenn and Patrick had projects due and a quiz to take the next day, thus they took those seats. Chris, Andrew, and I took three reservations for the following bus, which was at 3pm. If I remember correctly, Andrew and I didn't have class, and Chris decided to give the seat to Jenn and miss his class.

It was time to find a place to sleep now that we had bus tickets in hand. The five of us stayed in a cozy hostel called Hostel Temza about ten minutes away from the station. The owners were pleasant, the showers were great, and the price was about ten to twelve euros which was perfect for the night. We roomed with an attractive Englishman from Liverpool who had traveled around Russia, Poland, and now Croatia with great stories to share. Exhausted from our transportation conundrum, we all went to bed early.

Jenn and Patrick woke up around 5:15am the next morning and headed back to Vienna. Chris, Andrew, and myself left the hostel around 9am to explore Zagreb. We walked through some of the charming parks and came upon a scary looking sculpture (see monster picture below).

The Art Pavillion

Tree bark texture in the park

Street lamps and flower beds lined the parks

Reflection of the city street

The monster sculpture and Chris

The monster sculpture and Andrew

Graffiti on a park wall

Then, we went to go look for the Zagreb Cathedral (the tallest building in Croatia) and the Dolac Market.

It was around Easter, so large eggs were placed near the Zagreb Cathedral

You can spot the Dolac Market by the red umbrellas

The outside of Zagreb Cathedral
Andrew, Chris, and I had some more time to kill. We decided to go to a museum that we had read about that morning - the Museum of Broken Relationships. It was the best museum I went to in Europe! It is a museum that grew from a traveling exhibit revolving around the concept of failed relationships and their ruins. Unlike "destructive" self-help instructions to recover from failed love, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum's collection (Notes taken from the Museum's website). I thought the museum was going to be depressing when I first read the description, but it was filled with stories that ranged from making my heart ache to laughing out loud. The visit refreshed my view of museums and I desperately want to return to see the additions and changes. The individuals who conceptualized the museum sold me the entry ticket, and we spent time talking with them after our visit. So cool!

St. Mark's Church built in the 13th century, roof tiles showing the coat of arms of Zagreb on the right and the coat of arms of the Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia on the left

The Museum of Broken Relationships logo

After the museum visit, we fetched our bags from the hostel and headed to the bus. It was a beautiful day until we stepped out of the hostel. Then it started to downpour. We took that as our cue to leave the city. The bus ride back to Vienna was calm. We met a Croatian architecture student studying in Vienna and a young cellist on the bus. There was even a rainbow to welcome us back to Austria!

I snapped the photo with my cell phone - pardon the image quality

That was my final bus ride outside of Austria before my plane ride back to the States on May 10th. Touring Croatia was a perfect finale to a wonderful four-month study abroad experience in Europe.

1 comment:

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