As Canadians we are allowed to be in the Schengen Region for 90 days in a 6 month period. Any more than that, and we need to start looking into longer term resident status, so we’ve been counting our days pretty carefully. On Day 88, we crossed the border into Croatia, which is part of the EU, but not part of the Schengen region. We made it!
We descended through a beautiful mountain pass with lots of tunnels and trees, and very little traffic. The next day we arrived in Zagreb, where we had booked 5 whole nights in an AirBnB. It’s been so nice to have a little space to ourselves to just relax. After a couple of days we extended that by 3 nights, and then ended up adding two more. We were really ready for a break! Zagreb is lovely and reminds us a bit of Winnipeg. It’s not huge or flashy, and there are barely any tourists here, but there’s lots going on under the surface.
We’ve spent a LOT of time reading books, doing crossword puzzles, and cooking food. In between all that we’ve:
- Visited an anarchist/feminist bookstore/cafe which is run by a literary collective. Basically a great spot to sit and write. We had some lemonade and dreamed about taking a writing holiday in Zabgeb one day, where Tim would write a book and I would visit museums and drink coffee.
- Watched a group of Croatian dancers perform in front of the cathedral. From there we walked up the hill to see the honorary Kravat Regiment do their thing in front of the lovely St. Mark’s Church.
- Had a Croatian craft beer at a little pub. Tim has been missing the hoppy beers that he likes back home, which are not as popular in Europe, so he was happy to find one here.
- Spent an afternoon at Lake Jarun, just a short distance from our AirBnB.
- Browsed through a couple of markets.
- Wandered around three museums. The Museum of Naive Art features work by artists who were not formally trained. Many of the paintings featured scenes of peasants and farm life. They were colorful and playful, and some of the artists painted on glass, which makes the colors pop even more.
- We also visited the Museum of Broken Relationships, which is a collection of items and stories about break-ups, donated by people around the world. While we thought the concept was interesting, we didn’t love this museum. The third museum we visited was an exhibit on Forests, which included paintings of trees, sculptures made of wood, and wooden furniture. Meh. We didn’t take any pictures in there… but here’s a whale.
- Our last night in Zagreb we checked out a local event called Courtyards, which started up last year. For a week each summer, several inner courtyards, which are normally closed to the public, are opened up in the evenings. Each courtyard has live muscial performances and a small bar. These buildings are in the oldest part of the city, so they each have their story. One used to be a convent where nuns lived in strict isolation. Others were owned by prominent people including a countess, a baroness, and a composer.
After extending our AirBnB we realized that we weren’t really excited about continuing further into Croatia. It’s been so hot here that the riding has not been very fun. And so we booked a flight to Edinburgh! Up next: adventures in getting 2 bikes, 9 panniers, 1 tent and 2 sleeping bags onto a plane.