Salutations from Zagreb! Well, to be precise, hello from the sleeper cabin of a Munich bound train at the Zagreb Train Station. Brooke and I are settling in and prepping for an overnight journey to Germany. For me, one of the coolest aspects about this trip has been continually finding myself in interesting places like Zagreb, Croatia. Sometimes I look around, smile and shake my head bemused by the fact that I’m in a city that I couldn’t even spell three months ago.
Today we we’re just passing through Zagreb. We’ve managed to see such legendary landmarks as the famous airport, the beloved bus station and, of course, historic Glavni Kolodvor – AKA the train station. I’m exaggerating, but not by much. After our flight landed from Dubrovnik, we only had a few hours in town and we spent a good chunk of that time at a couple of cafes. It was a good opportunity to order some tea and hop online to tackle some traveling business such as booking rooms for upcoming days and determining how best to spend our time in Munich. It is worth noting that the weather changed on us quite quickly today! We seem to have left the seaside breezes with unseasonably warm temperatures behind and stepped right into the brisk days of late fall. I really have come to enjoy these travel days which are kind of like “off days” from enveloping ourselves in a city and new experiences. Tramping around newly discovered train stations and airports with my wife is quickly becoming on of my favorite pass times.
Brooke and I certainly weren’t in Zagreb long enough to gain any type of accurate impression, but we did like what managed to see. Near the city center, there are several pedestrian only boulevards alive with shops and restaurants. In fact, almost ever city we’ve visited has at least some sort of small walking streets bustling with activity. Makes me wish that more cities back in the states had something like that. In Zagreb, however, there was a pedestrian street with a pair of street car tracks running directly down the center. No gates, no signs and no raised curbs. Just speeding street cars. I’m sure the locals are used to it, but it made us think that there may be no Croatian translation for the phrase “Safety First.”. We also had a fantastic success rate with helpful clerks, postal workers, information booth people and more today. Usually, it’s a mixed bag of helpfulness and annoying there’s-nothing-I-can-do shrugs, but today the assistance we received was pretty stellar across the board. We even manage to make use of the Croatian Post office at the tiny Zagreb Airport. These occasional post office stops have been handy to for occasional drops of souvineers, books and more into packages that slowly travel back home. One less thing to carry and one less thing to worry about losing or breaking.
We arrived at the train station well in advance of our scheduled departure. So far, booking train travel has been a bit like a delicious breakfast buffet – you never know what you’re going to get. No matter how in depth I search online, I am never able to nail down what the price is going to be until we show up at the ticket window. It’s always worked out though. And today was no exception. When we asked how much two tickets would be to Munich, the ticket agent let us know that two coach seats would be $230 total. However, they were “running a special today” and if we book a two-person sleeper, the cost would only be $208. Wait, what? While that seems to makes no sense, we aren’t ones to argue with fuzzy Zagreb math so we jumped on it. So, we’re now settling into a comfy room that’s doubling as our transportation and accommodation for the evening. By far, the best train car yet of our European travel. While prepping for the trip, I had dreams of grand, romantic European trains and only now are they starting to come to fruition. This nice and modern sleeper is full of nifty gadgets developed in the spirit of efficiency and functionality. The smoke filled, lumpy beds of our Bucharest sleeper train have been substituted for various knobs, charging sockets, a sink, hooks, large mirror, thingamabobs and more. The conductor even stopped by with a couple of bottles of complimentary water. I think I’m going to enjoy this train ride. Just don’t let those pesky border control agents in Slovenia and Germany interrupt my slumber. Ah, these are good days. Dovidjenja Croatia, guten tag Munich!