alternatively titled: from the Sava to the Drava?
From my hotel with Jeff in Dubrovnik to a campsite near Zagreb took 14 hours — 11 hours of that were on the bus. Croatia isn’t such a small country. I went from the Balkans to Central Europe. The biggest change, however, was leaving Jeff behind in Dubrovnik. I met Ferda the next evening at the Zagreb airport. Here she is at Biciklopopravljaona in Zagreb.
Zagreb is on the large Hungarian plain which includes most (all?) of Hungary, Serbia’s Vojvodina, Romania’s Transylvania (“another country“, I said, leaving the Carpathians into Transylvania), northern Croatia, and extends into Slovenia as well. Culturally these areas are influenced by the Austro-Hungarians rather than the Ottomans. It’s obvious in the architecture.
Zagreb looks more like Berlin, Prague, or Vienna than Sarajevo, Skopje, or even Belgrade. There’s a different feeling as well which is a bit harder to describe. We’ve gone from warm smiling welcomes to business like efficiency.
The 2020 earthquake damaged many of Zagreb’s historic buildings. A lot is still being repaired and restored, and some buildings were closed to visitors when we were there, like the cathedral:
and the famous arcades at the Mirogoj Cemetery:
The cemetery was perhaps the most interesting site we visited in Zagreb.
The Sava River is the Danube’s largest tributary flowing from Bohinj to Ljubljana to Zagreb to Belgrade.
Ferda and I are heading up to Ljubljana and Bohinj, but from Zagreb we first headed north to visit Varaždin.
Marija Bistrica was a cute surprise.
Ferda’s getting used to bicycle touring again after almost a year off the bike.
Our expectations were probably too high for Varaždin. It had a nice old town but felt dead. We stopped in the busiest square for a beer. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people eating ice cream. We had to try one as well.
Outside of town I am so happy we ran into Goran. He directed us to this super campsite on the Drava where we were able to swim.
What a great place to spend our last night in Croatia.