Day two in Zagreb was slightly confusing, since I kept thinking it was day three. The overnight trains, while good for saving money on lodging, play havoc with your sense of time in a place. As it was I got out of the house late and headed down to the town center. I went into the visitor information center, found out there’s only one tour in town and it leaves at 10am every morning. Since it was well past that, I figured I’d hit it the next day and today would be a day for exploring on my own. The visitor center was helpful in that respect, handing me a walking tour guide, in English. There were actually two tours inside, one for the “upper town” and one for the “lower town.” The upper town looked slightly more interesting and would possibly take me past places I’d been the day before, so at least I’d know what those places were. So, guide book In hand, I headed off.
I was doing really well, too, until I came to stop number 4. Stop four mentioned that if you were to look to your right, you’d saw parts of the new town, and that this was the way to the zoo. Well… it was a Sunday, nothing was open museum wise, so I thought I’d give the zoo a shot. I finally caught a bus and got off at this huge park (the oldest park in Croatia, as well as the largest). The zoo only took up a small part of it, but I figured I’d go see.
First thing, in the middle of the small lake which separates the zoo from the rest of the park, there’s this silver sculpture which looks like a sea monster. I’m hooked right there and try to take a picture which looks good. I fail. Then, as I’m walking around, I notice the sculpture following me around. It’s a kinetic piece and moves in all sorts of interesting ways. Not nearly as cool as the balls in the BMW museum, but still impressive.
So I go inside the zoo and it’s okay. They have a pretty nice selection of birds and lizards, but it’s the little rodents which really excite me. I spent a good twenty minutes playing hide and seek with a river otter – he would come out of the water and walk up to the glass and look at me, then run away again. When he wasn’t doing that, he was swimming in a little stream in his enclosure, trying to catch fish from the school also inhabiting the stream. It was incredibly cute watching him swim with his paws out, missing the fish! And the meerkats kept posing for photos like good zoo representatives.
Mostly though, it was younger person’s zoo and I was there on a hot afternoon, so a lot of the animals were asleep or in hiding. The one funny thing they had was an enclosure for “Homo Sapiens.” You could get inside the cage yourself!
After the zoo, I finished the walking tour, including a jaunt up the stairs into the tower where they fire a cannon at noon every day. This is so the citizens can set their watches and has been done at noon every day for over a hundred years (except a slight period during the mid-40s).
Back at the Hostel, we watched the Eurocup final and I got the inside scoop on a place called Plitvicka Jezera (Plitvice Lakes). It’s a huge system of lakes and waterfalls that was supposed to be absolutely beautiful. I met these two Swedish girls, Annika and Cecilia, (who had taken my bed, but that’s another story) and told them about Plitvicka. They decided to come with me.So the next morning we headed out to catch a bus.
The bus ride there was interesting to say the least. It would stop, randomly, and people would get off. No luggage, no nothing, and just start walking towards the nearest house. Since none of us spoke c Croatian, we were all highly amused. We thought the ride was supposed to take around 90 minutes, but it ended up taking 2 and a half hours. We finally got there, though, and it was spectacular!
When we got back to the hostel (after a nice Croatian version of a Mexican dinner) we headed straight for bed. Today I’m resting and writing since I’m on trains and touring for 26 hours starting at 9pm tonight. When next you hear from me, I should be in Vienna and talking about ice caves…