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Published: January 30th 2011
Gradski Muzej Varazdin
The old baroque castle of Varazdin that now serves a city museum.
Everyone knows that Zagreb is the capital city of Croatia, but only a few know that Varazdin was once the capital of the country. The city is said as the biggest baroque center in Europe after Prague. I have always wanted to visit Varazdin, especially after I read lots of review saying that it's some kind of "Little Vienna", as the Austria-Hungarian royalties chose it as their settlement.
Varazdin is around 100 km in north of Zagreb, and only around 60 km from the town I am living in, Bedekovcina. With that short of a distance, I also didn't understand why it took us so long to finally pay a visit to Varazdin. I have been living in Croatia for 4 months, begging my boyfriend, Kiki, to take me there every single weekend, with no result. I have to thank his best friend Ginger-head that came up with an idea of a small excursion last Saturday. The first places that crossed my head were: Varazdin, or Medvedgrad. Shortly we decided to go to Varazdin.
We left pretty early, around 10 from home. The main destination was the city museum (Gradski Muzej) that is located in a very beautiful baroque
The museum keeps original collection of artworks, decorations, and furniture from 18th century
castle in the heart of Varazdin. Kiki drove very slowly so we needed more than an hour to get there. On the way, we stopped by a gas station to tank up the car, buy some snacks, and fill the bottles with water. Not only that, we've got an extra fun: Ginger-head slipped on frozen asphalt and fell on his ass. He cursed quite loudly that made people turned their head and had some laughter. He is always very generous in giving amusement to others!
We got to the city around half to midday, driving around the center twice as the GPS didn't show the correct way. We found a parking spot that was in area 2, cost us 5 kunas per hour. From the parking lot, we walked toward the center that was not so far. The city center looks more Istrian-like for me than Central Croatian-like. The pathway was stoned, no car is allowed to pass the city center. Because we were there on Saturday, all shops were closed, although there were still quite a lot of people walking around. We went directly to the Gradski Muzej that was clearly directed by the city plans and pointers
It means that around the place, a baby boy has just been born
in every corner of the city. The museum works only until 1 pm on weekends, so we needed to hurry. The ticket costs 25 kunas each, but I paid 15 by showing a student card. The main building was well preserved, there were 3 levels visitors can see. There were replicas of the old baroque-fashioned living room, bedroom, dining room, etc. There was one section dedicated for weapons and guns, and another for old ceramic and clocks. Outside the building, there is a pedestrian pathway where you can hike and walk up the garden, serves you some benches you can sunbathe if you'll come in a warmer period. There is a watchtower building in the gate which was not as well preserved, and there was a souvenir shop you can buy something for keeping memories.
Right at the exit way, there was a bar called SoHo in which we had a round of drinks. Pretty disappointing for me, as they didn't serve Heineken, and quite expensive if I remember it well. We then walked down the city while trying to find somewhere to have lunch. As I am being in Zagreb everyday, I found Varazdin very different from it.
Castle of Poznanovec
The abandoned castle we went into
It maybe no longer serves as the capital city of the republic, but you would agree with me that It reflects the old glory. As Zagreb develops with industries, sky scrappers, traffic jams, and ugly flats, there is no such business in Varazdin. The buildings are nicely arranged, the pedestrians walk slowly, the traffic lights are classic and elegant, and there are plenty of parks where you can just sit and breathe.
We decided to have lunch in one local restaurant serves Italian cuisine. There was no that much options as it was Saturday, lots of places were not really working. After eating, we headed to a city close to it, called Lepoglava. There is a big prison in Lepoglava, as the main landmark of the city. We went there to have another round of drink in one restaurant called Buffet where all the bartenders, waiters, and servers are the prisoners who are getting ready for being back in society. Had your beers served by (probably) murderers were such an experience. Although I must say, they were totally friendly and nice, you wouldn't even know. We ended our journey by going to another town called Sekirisce to have another round of drink in a bar called Serfa, which has this superstitious story of witches and stuff. On the way there, we found this suicide man hang on the phone wire above the road we were driving on. We stopped right underneath so that I can take picture, and Ginger-head needed to pee. He said that the hangman symbolized that somebody around had just given birth to a baby boy. And that explains the big dick of the hangman. Also on the way, we stopped to check one abandoned castle in Poznanovec. This is no tourist attraction at any way. We just went in to check out the building. I was scared of the dog barking sound echoing in the building, and of the cow (or goat) thorax bone we found in the yard, Kiki was thinking about making a tourism project out of the castle, and Ginger-head was surprised that we didn't find any junkies inside the abandoned building. What three different mindsets!
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