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Published: June 28th 2017
I was really dreading this trip... Actually when we were looking into coming to Bosnia this trip and the one from Kotor to Mostar, were the two trips that made me a bit unsure about going to Bosnia at all... Since we did manage to turn the 9hour Kotor-Mostar journey into a 3hour one, we were hoping we would survive this loooong journey as well... 6+ hours... Still didn't like the sound of that though...
We had some assigned seats but decided not to use them and took some other ones with way more leg room... We got some looks from a couple that walked into the bus later on, guessing we took their seats? But hey, the bus wasn't full and they got the same kind of seat right next to us, so hopefully no hard feelings... Millie fell asleep almost as soon as we hopped on the bus... sweet! To be honest the journey was going pretty well, we were hardly stopping anywhere at all, also we were driving with some decent speed... no way of knowing whether we were on time or not though... Fingers crossed! Once Millie woke up it was the usual practicing of our
entertainment skills, some snacks in between and lots of nappy changes! That was a first... Still looked like we mastered the nappy changing on the moving bus with us sitting or more like hanging in the air on our seats... And before we knew it we were at the border, passing quite a few derelict houses in the last few villages... And shortly after that we were back in Croatia again...
Next we stopped to drop off some people and the guy said something in Croat, I understood only 5 minutes break, so Grant took Millie to stretch out his legs, but soon after a girl on the seat next to us said to me there was actually going to be a longer break in 5 minutes... oops! Small misunderstanding then... I called Grant and soon after we started driving off, the bus driver's helper was walking down the aisle counting the people a couple of times and definitely something wasn't adding up... Suddenly a girl came running after the bus with a big WTH? written all over her face... It turned out she understood that was our 5 minute break as well so went to get a coffee.
That might have been a very pricey coffee for sure! This little incident created a bit of a commotion in the bus – suddenly all the non-Croats were becoming best friends exchanging stories... 5 minutes later we stopped at some gas station and this time the bus driver after speaking in Croat added in English 15minutes coffee break, after which half of the bus started laughing... Funny now, wouldn't be that funny if she actually missed the bus though...
After that Millie had another nap, I was getting a headache so was quite relieved there was no entertaining required for a while... and soon after we arrived in Zagreb... exactly on time! How about that? The trip turned out to be better than expected and that was it – no more long bus journeys anymore! Hopefully... We got to the apartment in no time at all, went on a quick supermarket spree and were set for the night! We would just start exploring the following day.
It was a really late start the next day... I went to bed with a headache, there was no cot for Millie, so got quite a few kicks during the
night and lost some more hair as well - yep! Millie really likes to hold on to it pretty tight... And she refused to sleep in that morning as was pretty much awake just after 6am. Grant didn't seem to have such a great night either... It looked like he might have been getting a cold or something, big headache during the night as well, which only got stronger in the morning... We all needed some more rest... Thankfully after some playing Millie went for another nap - just around 10am... and slept all the way until noon, and so did Grant actually... Once they got some more rest we were ready to check out Zagreb.
It was only a short walk from the apartment to the centre. The weather was beautiful and it was actually quite warm for a November as well. As usual we didn't really have any plan of action, so just decided to wander around... Since we saw the cathedral towers from far away already, we just headed there first. I was surprised to see a gigantic information board pointing to all the places of interest... they sure were quite a few of them in
Zagreb! From the cathedral we headed to the Dolac market which apparently is the most popular farmer's market in Zagreb. They sure had some nice looking fruit around here, mostly citrus of course and we simply couldn't resist not buying some... kaki, mandarins and some gigantic kiwi fruit would do for now, yum! From there we got to the main square and just followed some random street which actually brought us to another famous spot in Zagreb, the Stone Gate. Since we didn't read anything about it before, it was quite strange to come upon a place of worship like that as it's just set in a gate connecting two streets... Apparently the legend goes that this place burned down in a great fire in 1731, but the only thing that survived was the painting of the Virgin and the Child and since then the place became a shrine where people come to light candles and pray.
Next we came upon St Mark's Church. Straight away I was absolutely blown away by its incredible roof! Maybe because it was contrasting to a perfectly blue sky, still I was really impressed! It was constructed in 1880 and has the medieval
coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia and the emblem of Zagreb as well. Apparently what deserves a special attention here is the 14th century Gothic portal. Might be, but as for me the roof totally stole the show though. Next we went to the Lotrscak Tower. Apparently for the last 100 years every day at noon a cannon has been fired from the tower to commemorate an event from the 15th century when the cannon was fired at noon at the Turks, who were camped across the river. We missed that this time but decided to come over there the following day to check it out. And that was more or less it for the day, quite a few famous spots already explored, all that was left to do for that day was to find something to eat. Since it was still early we went for a longer walk through the streets of Zagreb until we came upon some shopping centre and just couldn't resist the temptation to have something different to eat for a change - really missed noodles! Millie also had a chance to stretch her legs a bit chasing pigeons and dogs around the square
in front of the shopping centre. So much fun! 😉 After that the usual visit to the supermarket and chillaxing at our temporary home.
The following day we woke up slightly earlier than the day before. Straight after breakfast – scrambled eggs how I missed you!, we headed for a walk around town again. Once again no special plan in mind, just wandering around. On the Jelacic Square, they had a small honey market. Stalls and stalls and stalls and all of them full of honey products! How do you choose which honey is the best to buy then? Not that we were going to buy any as not exactly a handy thing to travel with, still it was interesting to see all the honey inventions.... Light honey, dark honey, flavoured honey, even honey with actual honey combs in it! That was a first for me, Grant said he already tasted the combs like that as a kid... Really cool, I guess I missed out!
After that we walked through Tkalciceva street, not sure how we missed it the day before as we basically walked everywhere around it but somehow didn’t come across it at all... Very nice
street full of cafes and restaurants, quite empty in the morning though. We still had a bit of time before the cannon was fired, so went for a stroll through some random streets again. We came across a very large tunnel under the hill, which was a bit unexpected as I didn’t remember reading anything about it. As it turned out Grič Tunnel was built during World War II to serve as a bomb shelter as well as a pedestrian tunnel. It was used as a shelter once again during the Croat War. I felt a bit claustrophobic to be honest, probably because there was hardly anyone around. Overall pleasantly surprised about our discovery though and especially about the sound effects in the tunnel – nice touch putting on music in there!
At noon we were ready to see the canon being fired. Waiting, waiting, aiming my lens at the cannon, Grant holding Millie... We saw one guy covering his ears... Were we really prepared for what was coming? Then suddenly there was a big boom and that was it really... Rather than taking a picture I jumped instead... Ah well, at least we experienced it! For the rest
of the day we wandered around the centre and called it a day early.
We most certainly didn't give Zagreb all the attention it required and yet we didn't really feel like we missed out on that much either... We were actually quite happy to move on and feel the sea breeze once again... There were plenty of buses to Rijeka to choose from, obviously we were looking for the shortest route. Not sure why we decided to leave so late though, a bus at 11.15 meant that Millie had her morning nap prior to the trip already... Should've known better... Even though it was only a 2hour and 15 minutes journey, it certainly dragged on... We weren’t sleeping that great lately. We’d better make sure we manage to organise a cot for the room, otherwise kicks in the face in the middle of the night - not fun! Millie was really getting bigger and stronger now, so these kicks were not as gentle as they were before... Anyway... We were on our way to a new destination...
The weather was changing as we were driving and at some point we went through such a thick fog that
I wondered if the bus driver could see anything at all... It started raining as well, but thankfully as we were getting closer to the coast, it was getting clearer again... So far we've been really impressed by the roads in Croatia! Lots of highways, even more tunnels, quite a few tolls here and there, still so easy to move around from one place to another... and quick as well!
We got to Rijeka and straight away headed to the apartment. We had to ask some guy to call the owner as she was nowhere to be seen, he was more than happy to help and soon after we got the keys and were making ourselves comfortable in the apartment already. Then a usual short walk to see what's around and to have a bite to eat of course. We were back on pizzas once again, just had one the day before and we were going to have one once again. To make it a bit more exciting we got some Greek salad as well - we were in Croatia after all! 😉 Even though the salad didn't resemble any Greek salad I have eaten before (one olive and
rocket salad?), we were really happy to have something to soothe our mouths after the devilish pizza we ordered. It sure was tasty but soooo hot! Good choice though. Also from what we've seen so far in Rijeka, it looked like we were going to like it here!
Our luck with having almost no rain simply had to run out somewhere... Rijeka was the place! We woke up the next day and heard rain drops banging on our windows... I can't say it was really motivating to go out and explore Rijeka at all. Eventually it stopped raining though, so armed with umbrellas we headed out to town. We were walking around trying to find a place to eat breakfast but it wasn't as easy as we would hope. Most of the places around were cafes only, meaning no food whatsoever, maybe cakes only... Normally I would say a cake would be perfect any time of the day but this time I felt like eating something proper. Eventually we came by some Chinese restaurant and thought a nice soup would do just fine. So we took a soup each and a portion of fried rice just in case as
well... Thankfully we did, as the portions were tiny... and the soup was sooo salty it was hard to swallow... Fried rice not great either, some frozen peas, corn and curry powder... Such a shame... No more Chinese in Rijeka then...
Next part of the day had nothing to do with sightseeing at all. I was on a mission to do a blood test. What can I say? That positive test I did in Mostar was still on my mind and since I was still feeling nauseous most of the time, well... there was a good indication the test might have actually been right! Still I needed to double check. I already knew where to go as I asked for a clinic in the pharmacy the day before and one very helpful Croat guy actually walked with me from there to show me where it was. He seemed to be very concerned when I said at the pharmacy that I needed to do a blood test and asked what the cause was... His concern quickly changed into a big smile and congratulations (I guess our first one!) when I told him I think I might be pregnant. Getting the
blood test done was a very straight forward process actually, I guess that’s what happens when you go to a private, flashy clinic. You pay, you get the service! I waited for my turn and soon after was having the blood test done. The guy that was doing it seemed to be very happy chatting to someone in English and was even more happy when I told him I was Polish. Apparently he worked with lots of Poles before and picked up a few words – I thought here we go... all the swear words... But couldn’t be more wrong, it was even worse! I've never really given much thought into all the different ways you can say ‘have sex’ in Polish... Well, that was very entertaining... and educational I guess! Now only to wait two days for the results... At least I had it done already, now we could do some sightseeing!
After that we went for a walk through the Old Town, checked out the market, went to the super long pier/wharf and once again went searching for some place to eat... It kind of felt like it was the best thing to do in weather like
that anyway... We went to the same restaurant as the day before. I already spotted some gnocchi on the menu the day before but since they were coming with horse ham (?) I changed my mind and instead ordered some dumplings with chicken, which turned out to be some funny shaped homemade pasta. Grant took a chicken salad, which looked pretty good too... As we were about to finish our meal it started raining again... not just a drizzle but proper downpour... and it looked as if it was going to stay like that for the rest of the day... It was time to head back to the apartment then... Not much seen from Rijeka just yet, but we couldn’t really do much about it...
The forecast for the next day wasn’t too optimistic either. We woke up to see a very overcast sky but at least it wasn’t raining (just yet at least!) so we decided to take this opportunity and head out to the Trsat Castle. Its location is absolutely stunning – up on the steep hill, the castle overlooks the whole Rijeka. We were pretty much on our own at the castle, except for one girl
who was sitting on the castle’s wall (very close to the edge I might say as well) and a few other people hiding in the cafe. We wandered around the castle grounds for a good while enjoying the views until we noticed some gigantic clouds coming into our direction. It looked like it was going to rain for the rest of the day. We abandoned our original plan of having something to eat on the hill and traded it in for a pizza from a local bakery instead.
Once again the weather didn’t allow us to fully explore the town we were staying at but I think we made the best of our non-rainy time here anyway. We were slowly getting ready to leave Croatia and go to Slovenia where we were going to catch up with my friends. Before any of that happened though we managed to squeeze in two more little Croatian towns in between. First we were going to check out one of the best preserved Roman arenas. Next stop: Pula!
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