Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 1 in Zagreb, Self-Guided Walking Tour of the City

I slept late today, I have been traveling on early trains recently, haven't had a chance to really sleep in in awhile.  I had my own hostel room at the Chill Out Hostel in Zagreb, and decided to take advantage of this by sleeping uninterrupted as long as I wanted.  Staying in hostels, unless you sleep like a rock, it is almost impossible to get uninterrupted sleep, everyone is on a different schedule. Today was the rare exception, there was some hallway noise but not a big deal, I slept well last night.

I checked out of the hostel about ten minutes before noon, put luggage in their computer area and looked at the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget to plan out my day.  Zagreb does not have the free walking tours found in most European cities, so I had to plan my own sightseeing day.  I asked the woman at the front desk for advice on what to see in Zagreb, she gave me a map, a Zagreb Step by Step guide, and circled her recommended locations.  She told me Zagreb is small, I could easily see everything in a day, the same thing the hostel staff told me last night.  

I started out a little after noon on my self-guided walking tour, my first destination was food. I had not eaten breakfast and wanted to get something quick to eat.  I found a bakery, bought a pizza and a doughnut, I ate and then headed to Ban Jelacic Square, Zagreb's main square.  

Lynnae in Zagreb's Main Square
From Ban Jelacic Square, I planned to walk to the upper town, Zagreb is split into two areas, an upper town and a lower town.  I realized I needed to use the bathroom, Europe has few public toilets, and those they have often charge, I was close to my hostel, I decided to go back and use the bathroom before starting my self-guided tour of Zagreb.

After I used the bathroom at my hostel, I decided to take a different route to Zagreb's upper town, I took the Funicular which is located next to my hostel.  Zagreb's Funicular is the shortest passenger railway in the world according to the Zagreb Step by Step pamphlet I got at my hostel.  Zagreb's funicular opened in 1890. 

Lynnae on Funicular 
After the Funicular ride, I walked around Zagreb's upper town.  From the top of the funicular platform I had an impressive view of lower town.  I walked past Croatia's parliament building, I did not realize I was at parliament until I read the Zagreb step by step guide later.  I also saw the Stone Gate, Croatia's only surviving gate from built in the middle ages, and rebuilt in the 18th century. A chapel to the Virgin Mary is located under the gate, worshipers stopped to pray as they pass through the gate.   I visited Zagreb's Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and read about the Renaissance Walls built between 1512 and 1521 to protect against the treat from the Ottoman Turks.

Lynnae in Zagreb's upper town after Funicular Ride

Zagreb's Stone Gate & Worshipers in Chapel 
Zagreb Cathedral 
After exploring Zagreb's upper town, I walked down to lower town, I passed through Zagreb's open-air Dolac Market, the merchants were packing up for the day.  I returned to the main square, looked at my map and mapped out my tour of Zagreb's lower town. I stopped and relaxed at the Mandusevac Fountain before beginning the rest of my self-guided walking tour. Mandusevac fountain provided Zagreb with drinking water until the 19th century.  According to Zagreb Step by Step, court records about the persecution of witches mention the spring as their main meeting point. 

Lynnae at the Mandusevac Fountain
I walked through Zagreb's lower town, stopping at the many parks and squares along the way.  I went to King Tomislav's square, he was the first King of Croatia, who defended Croatia against Hungarian attacks.  Zagreb's main rail station is located across from King Tomislav's monument, I realized, Zagreb is a small city, I can walk to the main station to catch my Euronight train to Munich tonight.  I continued my walk past Zagreb's Botanical Gardens, the Croatian State Archives.  I ended my self-guided tour at the Croatian National Theater in Marshal Tito Square. There is more to see in Zagreb, I saw the highlights.  I had Zagrebs's Step by Step guidebook, it was almost as good as having a tour guide with me, gave me the history of the different sights in Zagreb.

I will blog about my Euronight train to Munich tomorrow.  It is time for me to get ready to head to Zagreb's main train station to catch my train.  

Zagreb Day 1 Photo Album

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