Friday, January 13, 2017

Croatia - Zagreb

Good Evening Zagreb

Voted #1 Christmas Market in Europe... for two years in a row!  

This city is ready to host you on your next adventure.  
A very walk friendly city, with many public transportation options and a super "uber" community - finding your way around Zagreb is easy.  I walked everywhere from our Airbnb.
If you find... like we did... Croatian is a little hard to pick up... no worries.  Everyone... well most everyone speaks English!  Big bonus... Croatia is a very budget friendly place to visit.  Apartments are a great deal, food is fantastic and very reasonable.  Coffee is outstanding!

Our first order of business is to find "our coffee shop" in our new neighborhood.  As luck would have it... it was right across the street from our apartment.  Wonderful Cappuccino with crema that could hold a spill of sugar for an eternity.  Yes... I love good coffee.  

My man headed out  - a working trip for him - and I set out to get a feel for this new city.  
We were up early... so I window shopped and made my way across town in no time.  
Arriving at a the Cathedral of Zagreb.  

This is situated in the lower section of the old town... so my quest was to find my way to the upper town.  Past many cute shops and streets decorated for Christmas Market festivities!
Without intention I find myself passing through Porta di Pietra - the stone gate.  

Note... one of my favorite shops is just down this road to the left and the stone gate is the passageway as you go up the path to the right.

Remains of the medieval wall... prayers are said, candles given light.  A passageway to the "upper town" and so much more.  As you pass through and continue on up the hill you arrive here...

Isn't it just amazing... Zagreb is a study in patterns for sure... St. Marks Church
And here it is at night...

Sites from Upper Town

The Croatian Museum of Naive Art was my one planned stop for the day.  A wonderful museum staffed with enthusiastic students of art history from the local university and located in the upper city.

These paintings are worked on glass... from the backside... starting with the foreground and working backwards!  As one student pointed out to me... the artist was to sign the work first and then begin the painting.. in the picture above you can see the artist forgot and the signature sits behind the grasses. There are still artist doing this work in the area and purchases can be made in local shops.

When walking around the city you find yourself crossing this square - Jelacic Square.  Christmas Market events and stalls are set up from one end of the square to the other
Booths selling goods and cups flowing with hot spiced wine.
 A great place to meet up at the end of the day.
Here is a web cam where you can check in on the square anytime.
 And it became "our spot" to do just that.  The Winter Market was at one end of the square and it always felt great to grab a hot wine and sit on those tall chairs next to the cozy warm heater.

Advent in Zagreb

Is celebrated in multiple locations in the city... all very walkable from one to the other.

The city of Zagreb is all dressed up and ready to show you a great time!

Food Love in Zagreb

They know how to do sweets in Zagreb.  I had a note about Amelie and as luck would have it we walked right up to it one evening.  It's always nice when you have a group of friends who are open to ordering different things... and are willing to share.  I must say however.... once I tasted my choice of a hazelnut dish I was a little protective of my plate!
Goodness Europe loves hazelnuts as much as I do.

Outdoor seating in winter... I love it!  You will see it all over the city.  Amelie also has indoor seating.

Strukli... this you need to experience and here is the place to go La Struk.  You don't always get to travel to a place where you know people.  Stjepan and Tihana gave us an amazing tour of the "traditional" foods & drinks of Zagreb.  Inside joke... my man kept asking "is this traditional" as he is always after local foods like I'm on a quest for local art.  As you can see I had a "fail" on capturing the actual food... as it was so yummy we dug right in before I even though of it.  Luckily in the link above there are plenty of pictures taken by patrons not as hungry as I!

The Christmas Markets offer many choices for food... these waffles on a stick... I'm sure that was not the name.... oh so tasty and found at the "fooling around at the funicular". This market sits on the little street that the lower entrance to the Funicular is on. There is also one of my favorite shops on this same street... Take Me Home... I'll have pictures a little later in the post.

and the warm vino... red or white... red was my favorite... until I met the hot rum with orange.

Needless to say the man was in meat heaven.... Every market we went to in each country had it's take on the sausage.  And... we may have tried them all.

Company Christmas Dinner
a table full of goodness

Sofra - Green Gold
Ulica Grada Vukovara 269

Art can always create a bridge when words are hard to come by.
She was worried about meeting us... as luck has it my art supplies are always in my bag...
we made fast friends, smiles all around and a little art.

This is the counter at "our coffee shop" across the street from our apartment.  Good thing we walked all day long... everyday!


Exploring More of Zagreb

You can go morning till night and not run out of things to do.... I have found my favorite way to experience a new place is to find a spot to sit a spell and sketch and paint.  You see a bit more of what goes into a "place" when you pause long enough to draw it.

 They have a wonderful Ice Rink set up just next to the Art Pavilion in a wonderful park right in the middle of the city.  It had a elevated deck with a bar serving coffee, tea and more spirited drinks.  

Modern Art Gallery

Arts and Crafts Museum

Lucky to be here during their special exhibit of the Nutcracker.

The Arts and Crafts Museum sits just across the street from the National Theatre

If you plan on going for Christmas and would like to see the Nutcracker performed here... plan ahead... months ahead to get tickets.  It would be wonderful!

Shops in Zagreb

Well these are my shops... local works of wonderful.  If I'm buying something while traveling I'm looking for local art or handwork.

Take Me Home

This is the shop I mentioned before that is located on the little street that the funicular is on. Easy to find... and so worth going to .  I found gifts for the Great Grands and the way to my 3 year old grandson.  The shop is an inspiring space to be in and you will be supporting local artists.

Racki & Daughters Gallery G.E.A

An entire stack of paintings to pick from! And much more. You will be pleased you stopped here.  The shop is on the street the curves around and leads you to the stone gate or if you continue down you enter the main square - Jelacic Square

Book Shop

The sweetest little bookstore... with wonderful old books
I didn't get the name... but lucky as all my pictures were taken with my iphone7... it keeps track of everything ... so I have the address.
Ulica Pavla Hatza 5-15
it is in the lower level and this sweet man will greet you.  We had great conversations back and forth using google translate... a love of old books is not hard to decipher.

So we travel on... with the images of beautiful people, full of comfort food and warm wine.  Our suitcases ( which finally showed up... another post) are packed with the local art of Zagreb and the Olive oil of Goran's family orchard. Advent in Zagreb is magical.

Magnolia Cafe
Gunduliceva ulica 1-7

Put Croatia on your map and be sure to visit Zagreb.
The spirit of the people will warm your heart... and you may even be given one!
You'll know what I mean when you go.... go get a little love in Croatia.

It's everywhere....

We board the train and head to hills that are alive with the sound of music.
Next stop.... Austria