Let’s Go Exploring! Zagreb, Croatia: Quirky Museums and Eye-Opening Historical past

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Most travellers use the capital metropolis of Croatia, Zagreb as a stop-over on the best way to extra thrilling locations like Cut up, Dubrovnik, Hvar or Plitzvice. However that’s a mistake, as a result of though it’s not as well-liked as cities alongside the Dalmation coast made well-known by Recreation of Thrones, it wins for its quirkiness, historical past, massive number of meals and craft beer. Plus, the price of residing in Zagreb is barely a 3rd in comparison with the tourist-mobbed locations.

In Dubrovnik, you’ll be paying by the nostril. In Zagreb, you merely stay like a neighborhood.

I additionally loved the quirkiness of Zagreb. Living proof: The Museum of Damaged Relationships.

Began by two native artists, Olinka Vištica, and Dražen Grubišić, after their 4-year relationship ended, the concept began as joke between the 2 to accommodate their left-over private gadgets after the their breakup, however shortly gained traction globally as increasingly ex-couples despatched of their breakup gadgets and tales.

Listed here are a couple of of the attention-grabbing gadgets we noticed:

And it isn’t simply relationships between lovers, the museum additionally consists of different sorts of relationships, like this particular person and their breakup with bread, after growing a gluten allergy:

Or this particular person’s relationship with their bra, after growing most cancers:

The quirkiness of town continued to amuse me as I walked round with the “Free Spirit Strolling Tour”, as my hilarious information Kristina regaled us with the wondrous tales of what it’s prefer to be a Zagrebian.

In truth, do you know that Croatians invited the tie? The French phrase for tie is “cravat”, which was the title given to the scarfs worn by Croatian troopers within the service of the French military again within the 1600s.

Our information, Kristina, explaining the origins of the tie

Or that they put these spikey balls on to the highest of their buildings within the 14th century to forestall witches from touchdown on the roof with their broomsticks?

As a result of though witches have infinite darkish powers, even they will’t land on a roof with spikes on them. So, they’re principally pigeons, or one thing.

And Zagrebians love pranking vacationers by telling them to face beneath this white tower for a great photo-op, solely to have the crap scared out of them as a large canon fires overhead every single day at precisely 1 PM.

Lastly, Kristina launched us to the long-lasting Croatian consolation meals that’s Štrukli. A tacky, pillow-y, melt-in-your-mouth casserole pastry that may be made savoury or candy.

I selected the savoury possibility with a number of cheese and for less than 42Kn ($6 USD), it even got here with truffle! Should you’re ever in Zagreb, go to “La Štruk”. Štrukli is the one factor on the menu and they’re specialists at it.

One other specialty was the Ćevapi, which is minced meat sausage, served in a heat pita shell with crunchy candy onions. High quality and style varies by restaurant, however the one which Kristina advisable was known as Plac, kitchen and grill, and in my view had the very best Ćevapi of all of the locations we’ve ordered this dish.

Along with the free strolling tour and consuming till your pant buttons pop off, there are additionally a number of enjoyable outside escape rooms and scavenger hunts that assist you study Zagreb’s historical past as you discover town.

I particularly loved this free scavenger hunt known as “the Zagreb Ghost and Dragons Quest“, which could be downloaded and completed any time at your personal tempo and comfort. When you end, you possibly can take an image, proving that you just solved the scavenger hunt and get a reduction off their paid quests.

Now, as enjoyable and quirky as Zagreb is, you possibly can’t go to Zagreb with out studying in regards to the fall of Communist Yugoslavia and the Croatian Struggle of Independence from 1991-1995, which eerily resembles what’s occurring in Ukraine in the present day.

Now, having grown up in a communist nation, I used to be bonding with my tour information, Luka, over our shared childhood communist experiences, like this college uniform, full with purple comrade scarf:

In truth, again in my day (wow, that makes me really feel previous), academics wouldn’t allow you to go to high school except you had been sporting your purple scarf. And also you needed to tie it the right manner or get beatings out of your trainer with a ruler on the entrance of the category. Oh, and overlook about telling your dad and mom about it. They might simply offer you a second beating for embarrassing them.

What stunned and fascinated me about communism in Croatia, again when it was a part of Yugoslavia, was that it was a milder model of the totalitarian type of communism that my household was subjected to. A “Communism Mild”, if you’ll. I had no concept there was even such a factor!

From 1918 to 1941, Yugoslavia consisted of the present current day 7 nations: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

However in contrast to communist China of the Nineteen Fifties-Nineteen Seventies, there was no famine or cultural revolution. Their chief, Tito, was additionally a lot shrewder than Mao, and managed to someway thread the needle and play either side of the Chilly Struggle, concurrently courting assist from the US and the Soviet Union. By permitting a hybrid of state-run firms and personal enterprises from the get-go, he enabled the financial system of Yugoslavia to flourish. And since Tito was born to a Croat father and a Slovene mom, he managed to carry collectively the nation which consisted of a various patch work of Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, Albanians, and many others. After his loss of life, inside 10 years, in-fighting started, fracturing alongside ethnic strains.

Older generations nonetheless discuss in regards to the wonderful days of Tito and Yugoslavia and reminisce about how significantly better it was in comparison with now. In fact, there are numerous who hated him and had members of the family murdered by his regime, so even now, he’s a controversial determine that some say was a benevolent unifier whereas others say he was a power-hungry dictator.

Quick ahead to the Croatian Struggle of Independence, which eerily resembles what’s occurring in Ukraine, this warfare occurred as a result of nearly all of Croats wished to depart Yugoslavia and turn into a sovereign nation, whereas ethnic Serbs in Croatia, supported by Serbia, wished to remain. Doesn’t that sound precisely like what’s occurring with Ukrainians who wished Ukraine to hitch the EU whereas the Russians residing on the jap border of Ukraine wished to be a part of Russia?

In truth, there was even a video clip that our information performed which confirmed a younger Serbian soldier, who was a part of the invasion, inform the journalist when requested “What are you doing right here?”:

“The place I’m. What’s the day? How previous am I? I do know nothing.”

Historical past repeats itself. That is what I realized from the Croatia Homeland Struggle tour, and for those who’re ever in Zagreb, I like to recommend you sign-up for it as a result of it can shed a lot mild on what’s presently occurring in Ukraine.

With our information, Luka, who lived by the Croatian Struggle of Independence as a baby.

And now with out additional ado, right here’s how a lot we spent in Zagreb:

Class Price in USD/couple per day Price in CAD/couple per day Notes
Lodging $0 $0 We used Residence Trade so the fee was free! (or practically free. All you need to pay is the yearly membership price and lease again dwelling)
Meals $27.38 $36.50 (26.5 for consuming out, 10 for groceries) Consuming out in Zagreb was 1/2 to 1/3 of the costs of the Dalmatian coast. Our Residence Trade host additionally left us a fridge filled with craft beer so no have to even by booze!
Transportation $12.74 $17 We took the bus from Zadar to Zagreb and the Residence Trade was conveniently situated downtown and inside strolling distance to all points of interest.
Leisure $28.68 $38.24 We spent essentially the most on leisure, in comparison with different classes, due to tipping for the free tour and the price of the Homeland Struggle Tour, which was $25 USD/particular person.
Misc $5.51 $7.35 Different misc prices had been for toiletries and knowledge
Complete $74.31 $99.09 General, Zagreb is an affordable main metropolis to stay in and it can save you a ton of cash by homebasing it right here as a substitute of the beachy touristy locations.

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