Zagreb

If the quality of life in a city is measured by the number of cultural institutions like museums, theaters and art galleries it has or by the degree of inclusion for all ages and gender, its public life in parks and squares have or by its vibrant food and spirits scene, Zagreb gets a perfect score. Of course as a tourist you wear rosy glasses and ignore the almost 30% unemployment rate that plagues the country, but the vibe of this city came as a jolt to me as I least expected it to be of any interest. What was going to be a pass through city with just a night to be spent here ended up being a place where I decided to spend a couple of nights to just hang out.

The cathedral of Assumptions
The interior of the cathedral has minimal artifical lighting. When you sit inside, you can feel the lights get brighter and then fade out through the stained glass windows as the clouds pass through

The buildings and parks of Zagreb are just so beautiful that every corner and square fills you with joy. Few other European cities have made me feel so happy just walking around.

The gallery of Old Masters

The colorful churches and lively town squares here stand out from any other I have seen in Europe.

Church of St. Mark

Weekend farmers market at the central Jelacica square

The cities along the coastal Croatia have a postcard appeal to them which are great for a week long vacation. Zagreb came across as a kind of place with which you have a deeper and more meaningful tryst. It’s the kind of place where you settle down for a while and don’t just pass through for a few good pictures.

Before I left for my sabbatical, I had a list of unique places to visit/ experiences to have in Croatia handed over to me by my dearly missed travel buddy aka husband, one of which was the vinoteca Bornstein in Zagreb. When I got there, it reminded me of all the reasons I married this man :). This place is not just a shop where you buy wine, it’s almost an institution. With an amazing selection of Croatian wines, it’s a great place to try out Dingac, a Croatian red that has made quite a name for itself and deservingly so.

This place, which is the property of the Zagreb church was ironically located below the Syrian embassy!(?). The owner of the place not only knew a whole lot about wine but was also very resourceful in conversing about the political and economic landscape of present day Croatia.

For now, I bid adieu to this wonderful city, but I know for sure I will be back.

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