I’ve been day dreaming a lot recently, and one of the places I keep revisiting in my mind is the fabulous city of Zagreb. Although it’s the capital city of Croatia, we almost felt as if we’d strayed off the beaten track when my friends and I visited last July. I think this was because most of the other travellers we met were heading towards Split or Dubrovnik, owing to them being the ‘party’ cities. At first I felt kind of jealous that we weren’t joining them, but Zagreb is a really cool place and I’m glad we decided to explore (and not only because, after over a fortnight, we finally found a launderette).
Zagreb has such a cool, arty vibe, and I really got this sense when we visited the Museum of Broken Relationships. This museum started as a temporary exhibition, but became a permanent fixture in Zagreb’s Upper Town when it received such a positive response (and I can totally see why). We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it’s a series of rooms full of different items donated by people from all over the world in memory of a previous relationship. Each belonging is accompanied by a story, some long and some only a few words, explaining what it meant and why the relationship broke down. For me, having recently been left by my boyfriend of three years, this museum was almost therapeutic. I cried for the rest of the people who had had their hearts broken, but it was more cathartic than anything else I’d done to try and get over him. In addition to this, the gift shop sells some fantastically sassy merch, so it’s a win win all round.
Another reason why I looooved Zagreb was the food (and wine). I found two restaurants in particular very striking; La Struk and Mundoaka Streetfood both served amazing food and had lovely atmospheres. La Struk only serves variations of strukli (baked dough with different fillings) so I wouldn’t recommend if you fancied something specific. However, if you’re open to new dishes, the honey and walnut strukli was incredible. The conversion rate from British Sterling to the Croatian Krona really worked in our favour, and the whole meal cost the equivalent of about £4, including a generous tip.
Mundoaka Streetfood has a very different vibe, but I’d really recommend as a place to grab a lunch. However, be prepared for this lunch to take about 3 hours. It was a battle to even find a seat, and when we did we took aaaages drooling over the menu. You’re warned that the food might take a while, and it did, but it was definitely worth it. Unfortunately as a veggie I was very limited as they didn’t cater at all, however they kindly altered a dish for me and all was well.
During our second night in Zagreb we decided to buy a crate of (gross) wine and explore. Luckily for us a French band were hosting a free outdoor concert in the main square, and we ended up having one of the best nights of the whole trip. At first people stared at the three tipsy English girls dancing barefoot and singing along to songs they didn’t know, but one by one people joined in. Within about half an hour we’d encouraged everyone to start dancing and join some kind of huge hokey cokey…At the end of the concert people kissed us on the cheeks and gave us hugs, and the band themselves even stopped to say thank you. Absolute goals.
My message here is that sometimes it’s kind of cool to just turn up at a city with no knowledge and no plans, just some cheap wine and a couple of your best friends.