“Me and Simon are now cosily sat half an hour into our 6 hour train journey to Zagreb, whilst Noah resides in a completely different carriage, sitting backwards on his chair because he can’t ride trains facing the wrong way, all because he accidentally booked his ticket away from us. Oops, round of applause!”
I had no expectations of Zagreb and knew nothing about it other than it was Croatia’s capitol. Now, having experienced London’s underground from Camden town to Leicester square on a Saturday night, I can honestly say, I have NEVER seen so many people. Ever. In my life. We arrived just before 9pm, trying to follow a partially loaded map on Noah’s phone and it didn’t help that we were trying to wade through masses of people who all seemed to be walking in the opposite direction to us. Turns out there was a classical music festival on right by the train station and also a live street streaming of the Germany vs Italy game…You can imagine. We eventually arrived at CHILLOUT HOSTEL, partially by following two other backpackers who looked like they knew where they were going, then checked in with a super lovely and friendly guy at the front desk. We booked a room of 4 and met our roommate, who was around 35 and we could never remember him name (and probably pronounce) so we named him Chile because, well, that’s where he was from.
I found Zagreb to be in comparison to Prague in a way, the gracious buildings and a real overwhelming power within the city but also was rich in modern day shopping. It really was a city city, if that makes sense? You were surrounded by all this culture and then suddenly you’re sat in the centre of town opposite ZARA eating sesame chicken noodles with a brew…
We also came across a tiny tiny beer and food festival hidden amongst the parks and trees that gave out free samples, had wifi, good music and cheap beer, so naturally we stayed for a while…
We scaled the city, height and depth, climbing the bell tower, that had a life-threatening spiral staircase that got more worrying as you went further up but gave you a gorgeous urban view of the whole city in one glance.
I kept forgetting we were still in Croatia as it gave such a different perspective to the other two beachy and low maintenance places we’d been. It was rather overcast the whole time but still rather humid, so on the bright side, it was the first day I didn’t have to have a hat glued to my head in fear of raging sunstroke. We ventured down back streets and uncovered the most adorable handmade craft shops and (I) got the biggest and most delicious elder flower sorbet in an almond waffle cone I have ever seen. We also visited Zagreb’s cathedral. It was so so stunning. There was just such an omnipotence about it that you don’t get often, so much so that I went straight over a lit a candle for late family and anyone around the world who may need a little light.
We stumbled across the Zagreb art gallery, drank beer, went shopping, drank beer, walked until we really had no clue where we were, drank more beer and suddenly it was midnight and we were back at our hostel, piling into our room to find that Chile had a…um, guest. Oh we were quickly learning the joys of shared rooms. We definitely aren’t the party hostel sort of people. Regardless, Chile was very nice about it in the morning and thankfully the lady had vanished at some point during the night, so…no hard feelings?
Zagreb was a pleasure, the people were a pleasure and our hostel I would recommend to everyone! A really easy place to find thinking back to it, only a 10 minute walk with no people traffic from the station! (But I’d still recommend a proper map) There was so much on offer and the bar was always busy with a good vibe but not disgustingly packed! Although, I’m sorry guys, you can’t have a bar tender that just repeats ‘Sex on the beach or no cocktail’…
Here’s to Budapest!