The Food, Fun, and Foibles of a First-Time Europe Traveler


Zagreb Day 2: Long lines, flowers, and a Croatian from San Pedro

Me, Hanna, and a Metal Croatian Poet

Because we had gone to sleep at 9:30 the night before, we woke up early (about 7:45) and lounged around for a while. We took the tram into the heart of the city (Zagreb has a “free zone” where you can hop on and off trams without paying…very convenient).

Much more crowded than Halloween.

We pulled up to Ban Jelacica Square and immediately saw a huge line of people. Now when I say huge, I mean HUGE. Like extending for blocks and blocks. We were obviously curious, and decided to go to the front and see what the fuss was about.

The line ended at a bus stop. We looked at the people in the line and noticed that most of them had flowers or candles, and we put two and two together. Turns out the bus was going to the town’s biggest cemetery and people were going to pay their respects. It seems as if that while in America and Canada we celebrate Halloween, Croatians celebrate the day after Halloween…I think it’s called All Souls Day or something like that.

It was cool to be part of a tradition, but we soon realized that it was actually a national holiday. Because of that, everything we wanted to go to was closed. We peeked our head into the huge cathedral next to the bus stop, but there was a mass going on so we didn’t want to intrude. We spent the rest of the day looking at the outside of several buildings and enjoying the view from atop the old town.

We saw the town theater, which featured this cool statue on the outside. We also got to see St. Mark’s Cathedral, which had this strange tiling on the roof that was very unique and interesting.

Interesting, if not a bit pre-schoolish.

Other than that we kind of walked around, avoiding piercing stares and scowls from Croatians, and we picked up some food for dinner (salami, cheese, the usual).

We went to lunch at a restaurant in the square and were waited on by someone who grew up in San Pedro, California (small world). Then we decided to call it a day. We were back at the hostel by 3 pm, bored out of our minds. We booked our hotel in Vienna, watched some music videos, and goofed around on the internet for a while.

It was pretty clear that we had seen all we wanted to see of Croatia. We told the receptionist that we were heading to Vienna and she said, “oooh, romantic” so we were optimistic about our next destination. The receptionist was actually very nice and outgoing, but Hanna’s convinced she wasn’t Croatian.