воскресенье, 28 августа 2016 г.

The city not to visit on Monday (Zagreb, 8.08.2016)

If you are staying in Zagreb for one day, make sure it is not Monday because almost all museums are closed in the capital of Croatia. However, if it is not Monday, make sure you're staying in Zagreb for more than one day because in that case one day will be not enough. Unfortunately, I learned all that only after the tickets were purchased and the hotels were booked.

Besides the museums, there are three locations with intriguing names (Medvedgrad Castle, Zrinski Mine and Veternica Cave) on the slopes of Medvednica mountain situated to the west of the city. All of them were also closed on that day. So what did we do?

First of all, Zagreb is a nice place just to stroll along the streets enjoying the calmness. That is probably not what you expect from the capital of the country and its largest city. A week later, I had an impression that the most part of 800k Zagreb citizens moved to Split. The latter one, despite having four times smaller population, was much more noisy and much more crowded.

Secondly, "almost all museums" didn't mean all of them. Well, our choice was pretty limited. I'm curious, what would you choose to visit first: the Museum of Broken Relationships or the Museum of Torture? ;) Wanna more positive plan? So did we, that's why our choice fell on the Museum of Illusions and the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art. The former one features lots of well-known optical illusions supported with "What to do" guides and "What's going on" explanations. The display, which impressed me the most, was 3D "image" which looks like 2D picture rotating around you while you're moving along it. The rotation effect will take you by surprise, and even after some time you'll not get used to it because the "corridors" seem to rotate faster than they could in real life. As for the second museum, the most appropriate words for it are colorful and funny, and you can see why.  
In the absence of wide choice, the most obvious location to visit was Mirogoj - the large cemetery in the north-eastern part of the city. It is not only a cemetery but a masterpiece of architecture and sculpture at the same time, that's why you will meet both tourists, who came there to take pictures, and locals, who have more sorrowful reasons for a visit. Mirogoj is vast, so you'll soon feel alone. It is hypnotizing, and I believe it'll be even more if you go there in snowy winter (one of my favorite movie scenes tells it can't be otherwise. By the way, that mesmerizing graveyard from the movie, unfortunately, doesn't exist in reality) or just at the sunset.

In conclusion, here are some tips for you (or for me in the future if I will ever visit Zagreb again).

  • If you're searching for currency exchange (by the way, Croatia, which recently joined European Union, is outside not only the Schengen Area but also the euro area, thus having their own currency), just stroll along the main street (called Ilica), you'll find plenty of exchange offices offering reasonable rates there. Not sure if you'll come across them elsewhere.
  • If you've found a nice place to have an evening meal on the web, make sure to have alternatives. When we came to Konoba Didov San, it turned out that all tables were booked in advance. 
  • If you're not tired and you don't have a bus early next morning, check out Park Zrinjevac (located opposite to the Archaeological Museum). As I deduced from the timetable, it hosts dancing open airs every evening. If an evening is devoted not to the dance you're familiar with, no need to worry, just look down, the ground is your best tutor ;)

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