After leaving Budapest, I took the bus down to Zagreb as my entry point to Croatia. It’s a city that keeps getting rave reviews as being up and coming (very similar to Bucharest), but I will admit I did not fall in love with it (also similar to Bucharest).
My favorite part of Zagreb was that it’s a city of contrasts. The old and the new seem to coexist more peacefully here than many other places I’ve seen. It was so interesting to see brand new, very modern buildings, right next to buildings that have clearly been there for quite some time.
I spent some time in Zagreb wandering around the Old Town and went to the Cathedral. Even though there are a few modern multi-story office buildings, the cathedral is still the tallest building in town. I am falling in love with Europe’s cathedrals in general, and the clear work and love they put into building them.
I also loved that I was there as church services were letting out, so I got to hear the bells tolling. It was such a beautiful sound – I just sat on the edge of a fountain in the square and enjoyed it! When I undressed that night, I realized that I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t notice that I sat in pigeon poo. Whoops! Glad I walked around with that on my bum all day….
After the Old Town, I went to the Nicolae Tesla Technical Museum. (Yes, with pigeon poo on my bum, completely unbeknownst to me!)
I have to say, the museum was not what I was expecting! So much of Tesla is associated with power and computing, and I expected the museum to be a lot of modern technology. It wasn’t at all, but it was fascinating all the same!
The museum was split into different sections, and they each showed the technological progression within that section. The first one I went into was the fire fighting one – it had multiple fire engines, and all sorts of firefighting gear where you can see how it evolved over the years.
Then, they had a ton of working models of machine engines! They did a great job of explaining how each machine was different from its predecessor, and while they don’t keep the machines running all day, they do have videos so you can see each one at work. It made me realize how far we’ve come in making things that are incredibly powerful yet compact.
Then, there was a section on automobiles, a section on household appliances, and even a section on green energies! The museum does free sessions on Tesla, and the session itself is an overview of the development of electricity and the different types of electricities Tesla experimented with. They do the sessions in both Croatian and English, and I really enjoyed the one I went to!
After the session on electricity, they offered to take us on a tour of the mines. Yes, you read that correctly! Under the museum, they have a model coal mine that shows how coal mining worked and still works, and shoes the progression of beams and ways to keep the mine intact. Even though I knew it was a model, and I knew that being in the museum it had to be safe, it still made me claustrophobic! I have no clue how people really manage to be coal miners (not to mention, the museum version didn’t have coal dust everywhere!).
I spent the rest of the afternoon just exploring and enjoying the parks – I was there on a Sunday, so there was a lot closed. It was interesting to see how many locals were also out enjoying the day and enjoying the parks!
The city was gorgeous, but I just didn’t seem to connect to it. The food was tasty, but I think it was hard after a city as wonderful and vibrant as I thought Budapest was.