Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sept 22 2012 - Zagreb by foot, inside and out

If you're coming to Croatia and love museums, you'll LOVE Zagreb. Today we visited three of them, starting with the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art. I was completely naïve about Naïve Art before I walked in, so you don't need to know anything about it beforehand to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Essentially it's art created by untrained Croatian peasants with amazing talent. They are predominantly village scenes during the winter (this is when the peasant farmers had time to paint), started with a pencil sketch on paper. Then they would take a pane of glass, lay it over the paper, and paint amazing details (eg: fur on pigs, branches on trees, etc), and then when that dried, they'd paint the general form of the scene on top of that. Turn it around backwards and you have a really unique painting. Here are some great examples.

Olga riding the super-short-and-cute funicular

Next we hit up the Ivan Meštrović sculpture gallery. He had sculptures of his first and second wives - hopefully the second didn't get jealous of the first! Unless you are a huge fan of his work, I would suggest skipping it.  Although if you like creaky staircases and artwork with zero signage, this might be the place for you!

Bike tour passed through our walking tour

After lunch, we hired a guide for a walking tour of the historical section of the city. Samia was super knowledgeable and accomodated our group by speaking in both English and Russian. It was a bit of a history overload though - too many museums and walking tours in too little time. Next time, make more time! :)

Sample piece from the Museum of Broken Relationships: Intimate Shampoo

The Museum of Broken Relationships is super cute. Visitors are encouraged to donate an item and leave an explanation about a past break-up, which can provide closure for them and insight to the museum-goer. The best thing might be that the museum is located between three big churches, city hall, and a scenic overlook. Wedding processions and wedding photo-taking were happening constantly while we were in the museum and lingering in the area. Do they know or care about the irony? :)

Checking out the chocolate scene in Zagreb

In the evening, we popped into Claire's Chocolaterie on Tkalčićeva as it was right across from the restaurant (Agava) where we had a reservation. We picked out a good assortment of super-tasty artisan chocolates made by Lucifer Chocolates in Slovenia. The cashier apologized for some minor confusion with the cash register, saying it was her first day, actually it was everyone's first day as they just opened for business this morning. I got all excited and explained the American tradition of hanging up the first dollar bill they receive, and since nobody today had (or probably ever will) bought anything with American money, I gave her a $1 bill to hang up. You can't believe how excited she was, she told us to pick any chocolates we wanted from the counter, far and away more than a dollar's worth. This is a great store with super high quality chocolate I hope will be around for a long long time. Next time you're in Zagreb, see if they have my dollar bill hanging by the register!!

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