Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zagreb, By Chance

I forgot to hit the publish button on this a while back! Place this in your mind somewhere between the Camino and the present (yes, yes, I know, lots of time travel on my blog...sorry!)

What do you do when you miss your bus by three minutes?

I left my hostel in plenty of time, bought my ticket for the tram that would take me to the Sarajevo bus station and waited on the corner for it to come by. I had been told it was only supposed to take 15 minutes to get to the station from my hostel but unfortunately that didn’t take into account that the tram only came by every 20 minutes. I was lucky enough to get to wait 19 minutes for the tram.

By the time I got to the station and found the side where my bus to the Bosnian mountains was supposed to depart…it was gone. The next bus left 7 hours later and would drop me off in the small town at 2 AM.

Next idea.

There was also an overnight bus straight to Zagreb, Croatia. I hadn’t exactly planned on go to Zagreb, but I figured, why not? I flipped my itinerary for the next two months, had a couple of coffees in the cafés next door and was on my way.

After a long, windy night on the bus I staggered into town with no plans, dropped off my bag at a hostel (…maybe took a nap on a park bench), and found Zagreb to be delightful.

I gave my cherry binge a break and gave in to the strawberry section of the produce market

I followed the church bells to Zagreb's cathedral which was a packed house

I also happened upon what turned out to be the strangest and most elaborate changing of the guards ceremonies I've seen

Zagreb isn't a museum capital but it did have a couple of really interesting museums. One was the Croatian Museum of Naive Art which featured works all done by untrained artists and peasants. One of the most interesting features was that many of the paintings are painted onto glass instead of canvas. Glass was cheaper/more readily available, but using glass meant that things had to be painted in a different way--inside out almost. They started with the details first and then worked backwards until they finished and flipped the painting over. The glare off the glass was a little distracting, but it was fascinating to imagine them painting this way. 

I actually really loved all of Ivan Generalić's paintings. This is one of his self portraits, painted on glass

I have a weakness for cactus gardens

Zagreb is a good cafe town...which, of course, is my kind of town

The other museum of interest was the Museum of Broken Relationships. Fresh from Sarajevo I thought this was another museum over the 90's conflicts. Wrong. It's a traveling exhibit and as it goes around people donate an asortment of mementos from ended (mostly romantic) relationships. It was fascinating!

The text reads: 

It is said never to give anyone a pair of shoes
as a Christmas present because then the
shoes would make the person you gave them
to walk way from you. 
A few months after Christmas 2004, we call
it quits.
Superstitions? I dont believe in superstitions.
I just walked away. Today, I'm still walking, but
without the shoes. 

The lamps up on the old part of town are still gas lit--someone comes around and lights them every evening

Overall, the moral of the story is that sometimes missing your bus turns out to be a good thing!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Rick Steves did a show on the naive artwork. Two great minds! Keep up the good work--
Love it!