Michelle and Charlie's Around the World Trip 2004-2005 travel blog

Zagreb, main square

One of the many parks

One of the many streets covered by restaurant umbrellas





Zagreb was very different from what we saw in Croatia earlier. The first impression, though, was not great since the hostel did not have private room available by the time we got there (even though Michelle called ahead two days earlier to reserve one) and was just flat out nasty looking (the American girl had stayed in the hostel a week earlier and warned us it was a dump). The city on the other hand was very nice. As result of a city design process there is a link of a number of pretty parks. There are a bunch of cute little streets and there is a whole lot of wider ones, covered by restaurant umbrellas. We have never seen a city with more extensive outdoor restaurant seating, particularly one where most of these seats would be taken on a Tuesday night. Better yet, the food was better and cheaper than on the coast. Later to keep in touch with the US we went to see Spiderman 2. We thought that it was beyond our expectation, terribly bad and were almost crying when realized that we could have had for the same money 15 orders of some fantastic french fries that we ate earlier. By the time when we got back to the hostel it was late enough that the other 4 people in our room were already asleep. Next morning we met the couple whom we only saw asleep before. They were from Spain (the third couple, the girl from Iran, the boy from Belgium). The Spanish guy said that they also went to Plitvice the day before, but they only got there less than an hour before the rain started to pour, and they got no refund on the 15 dollar/person entry fee. This did not help his impression of Croatia. He said that an evil Spanish joke came to his mind because it would apply to the locals here, as well: When God created France he thought, it is beautiful. So to even that out he created the French people to inhabit it. We did not go quite this far, particularly with the French, of whom we met a bunch during the last 2 month and they all turned out to be delightful people. We completely agreed generally, Croatia is very nice but it is so over run by tourists that much of its charm is lost. With no decent roads around the coast and extensive but not nearly frequent boat service transportation is very far from being satisfactory. Besides of transportation other services are far from the convenience of the Western world, yet their prices are not lagging so much behind. We could not recommend Croatia as your next summer destination. Perhaps in part because of the lower original expectations, perhaps in part because of the fewer number of people we found Slovenia a lot more enchanting. Simmilarly, the unexpected in Vienna, where the old city was less exciting than the new one and also Sopron, where I knew what to expect, but it came as a very surprising cutcy stop for Michelle.

Epilogue: There is a smaller train station on the edge of Budapest, closer to my parents' house than the main one which is the ultimate destination of the pride and joy of Hungarian railways company "Eurocity express Zagreb-Budapest" . We were planning on getting off there, except for the door would not open when we stopped at that station. With brute force I could get us over to the next car (otherwise we would have been stuck between two cars) where the door did open, but by then the train was already moving. Oh, goodie.

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