Short Pleasant Stay at Zagreb

Waking up to blue sky felt so good except that we were leaving, why couldn’t yesterday’s weather been like this? I had one great weather day already so I guess I can’t be greedy! We woke up at 8 am, get ready, pack, and walked down to the supermarket to get breakfast. They have a yummy bakery inside the supermarket where we got chocolate croissants; they were so good and cheap! After our breakfast, I walked downstairs where Ivana live to give the key back to her. She said the driver called her and expected 10 minutes late due to traffic; she came out and waited with us. She’s such a sweet lady! The driver came and we said good bye to Ivana and Dubrovnik! There was construction work on the way so a little traffic jam but we made it to the airport early still. Our flight was at 12:35 PM…..but the flight was delayed! I am telling you, every Croatian Airlines flights we took were always late so be sure to have extra connection time! Actually, majority of the flights within Europe we took had delays one way or the other GRRR! In Dubrovnik Airport, there are only two domestic gates and security door is closed until like half an hour before boarding urg! Since our flight was late and the so-call 15 minutes free wifi wasn’t connecting, I used hubby’s free international T-Mobile data to send an email to the transfer company and it worked! Our flight ended up almost an hour late, I felt bad if the driver was waiting for us for the whole time there! Good thing about Croatia is that the driver always show up unlike the other trips we took! When we were waiting for our luggage, I ran out and saw the driver holding a sign with my name, I apologized to him for the delay. After we got our luggage, we were walked out to a Mercedes mini van…the whole van just two of us! I booked the transfer in advanced because due to territory law or something like that, taxi drivers from Zagreb are not allowed to pick up at the airport except if pre-arranged; only the local town taxi drivers are able to wait there and I heard they overcharge!  I booked through ZGTAXI.com at very reasonable rate of 20 euros one way. You can also take a bus to get to the main train station and then from there take a taxi to get to the hotel. We usually take the bus to city center and our hotels are nearby but this time, the Westin Zagreb is quite a walk from the train station. At 20 euros one way, we thought it’s reasonable and gave poor hubby a break from having lugging two big luggage up and down the stairs 🙂 The driver is very nice, he spoke fluent English, I highly recommend ZGTaxi! When our car passed by the city center, a lot of very nice old buildings were sprayed with graffiti which gave us not so good impression on the safety of the city although I have read that Zagreb is very safe compared to other popular European cities. We arrived at the Westin Zagreb, it was a little bit out of the main tourist attractions! We were upgraded to a business suite – hubby just completed the platinum status challenge just days before our trip! Another perk was the free breakfast 🙂

Our suite was spacious and super comfortable….after stayed in the cramped room in Dubrovnik, this was like a royal treatment!

The hallway getting into the suite, there’s a toilet:

Inside the bedroom, there’s a full bathroom!

Our king size Westin heavenly bed!

We didn’t even take a break since our flight delay, it took our precious time in Zagreb – we only have half a day there! We got a map from the concierge and started our walk. Right next to the Westin is the Mimara Museum, it was blue sky in Dubrovnik but cloudy in Zagreb 😦

The city wasn’t as big as I anticipated, it was very walk-able to tourist attractions. We stopped for photos at the Croatian National Theater, it’s the prettiest building in Zagreb in my opinion!

Facing another side of the theater, you can see the Westin on the back!

Hubby liked this, is it a fountain?

Another side of the theater, beautiful!

The city center reminded me of Vienna but Vienna is bigger and much more to see. The map we got has every single street name in the city center listed which was extremely helpful to locate the restaurants I planned to dine in! Probably the number 1 site in Zagreb is the St. Mark’s Church or Crkva sv. Marka which we were heading to. Hum…more steep slope to get up there, sorry hun!

But hubby was entertained by buildings like this:

Up the hill, up the hill!

A cute bar right in the middle of the park!

Up on the hill, we were able to see the skyline of Zagreb with the Westin on the back again!

The Lotrščak Tower:

Following the sign to St. Mark’s Church, we made a few stops for photos! I really like those lamp posts in Croatia for some reason!

The door of a church…I never seen purple marble columns before!

And an antique car…are those parking tickets?

That’s St. Mark’s church on the back!

It wasn’t just me in this square lol, there were a few tour groups but they were standing across from the square! I think all tour guides should do the same, when given historical background which will take minutes to the group, best to have the group standing away from the site so they won’t be blocking others who wanted a good picture 🙂

On the roof of St. Mark’s Church, colorful tiles put together to create the coat of arms of Zagreb and the kingdom of Croatia. I have never seen tiles create patterns like that!

The square of St. Mark’s Church, the building on the left side is Ban’s Court, a government building where there are guards and all Audis parked on the back!

Just to show there are others there LOL!

It was so strange that no one was near the church, usually in main tourist attractions, tons of tourists in front of sites, we were wondering is it forbidden or something? But I did try 🙂

Another side of the church which looked very different!

Another angle of it:

Zagreb is definitely has less tourists than Dubrovnik!

Next, we headed toward Ban Jelačić Square and passed this underground way:

We passed through and ended up with this statue and nice flowers:

The streets in Zagreb have their charm!

Some are colorful!

A tie shop?

Some doors/entrances are small!

Restaurant tables on the street, very relaxing!

We enjoyed seeing different colors and structures of the buildings.

We got down to Ban Jelačić Square, now there was the busy city feel!

It was the getting off work time so the square was filled with many locals.

We made a turn to Cathedral of Zagreb and saw this…currency exchange in Chinese haha! We didn’t see much Chinese tourists in Zagreb so was surprised!

Mary column in front of the cathedral:

The cathedral was under restoration…

The area around the cathedral is very pretty!

Doesn’t it feel like a little town instead of the capital city?

A clock near the cathedral:

Details of the entrance door of the cathedral:

It was already time for dinner, we were starving since we really didn’t have a real lunch! We walked to Bistro Fotic (Ul. Ljudevita Gaja 25) which was on the way back to the hotel. The restaurant is decorated like in a garden.

And those are the menus – cute!

I had fun taking photos!

As well as hubby:

Appetizer we ordered the mixed seafood salad plate:

And tomato soup, wow it was huge! That bowl of soup only cost like $5!!!

Main course, I ordered the chicken with rice – I missed rice hehe. It was alright not bad, the rice is the hard kind…of course I can’t expect jasmine rice 🙂

Hubby ordered the crab meat pasta, it had plenty of crab meat for sure and strong crab flavor – yummy!

We even have room for dessert and they were relatively inexpensive at around $3 each!!! We got to try!

Hubby ordered a cake and I ordered strawberry in mascarpone cheese. Both were very delicious, not too sweet, definitely our kind of dessert that we would eat!

When we asked for the bill, we got free house wine! Hubby said it was good, remember I don’t drink!

The dinner came to 245 Kunas around $36, the least expensive meal we had so far in Croatia…I totally agreed with our driver; Dubrovnik is the most expensive in Croatia! On the outside of the restaurant, a purple bike!

On our after dinner walk back to the hotel, we passed by some old buildings that draw our attention!

And then pass the National Theater again, the ray of the setting sun turned the theater into shiny golden color!

We got back to our hotel and rest in our super comfortable suite! And enjoy the super fast internet connection that we can watch drama! Zagreb is pretty small and compact so half a day can see most of the tourist sites unless you are into museums! Good night Zagreb, tomorrow we’ll take a day trip to Plitvice Lakes National Park; the reason why we stayed in Zagreb as the base!

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