Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sept 23 2012 - Zbogom Zagreb

Dolac street market (Olga not for sale!!)
Cute old fire engine

This morning started with a quick visit to the Dolac street market, one square city block filled with vendors selling everything from produce and honey to fresh fish and flowers to wooden handicrafts.
We were looking for a specific souvenir though - some famous Croatian hard liquors and some (infamous?) Croatian wines - so we had to search around a bit. Croatian wine doesn't have a particularly good reputation in The States, but we fell in love with it here, so these bottles of Plavac Mali (cousin of Zinfandel) we're bringing back will be our little secret.

Trying to hijack the train
Looks like a Croatian TARDIS. Sign
translates to "They will kill you if you touch"

We finally wandered a bit out of the old city into "New Zagreb", passing through the Green Horseshoe (several parks in a |_| shape), under the main train station, to the Techniki museum. This museum doesn't seem to be covered in any guidebooks, but it's a great find due to the depth and breadth of old gear they have. They let us in for free (although I was prepared to pay the $3 entrance fee) because they would be closing in half an hour. The place shows the evolution of old fire engines (starting from an old barrel on wheels), wine presses, planes, trains, computers, and even some replica space-age vehicles (replicas of a Soviet automated moon rover and NASA Mercury capsule). The main hall with a steam engine, train, tank, and submarine - with airplanes overhead - is the centerpiece and worth visiting just to experience that room. Wish we had more time!

Chin Chin

Goofing off at Pivnica Zlatni Medo

Right down the street is the other brewpub in Zagreb, Pivnica Zlatni Medo. The brewpub we visited Friday translates to Bear City and this one is Golden Bear Pub. Purgers (people from Zagreb) clearly like to equate Bears with Beer :) This pub - and generally all of Zagreb - is alarmingly inexpensive, especially compared with the tourist route on the coast. Lunch of two beers, 2 salad bars, mushroom soup, dessert, and bread totaled less than 100 Kuna ($17) including tax and tip. For dessert we had Kuhani zagorski strukli, described as "Strukli from Zagorje-Boiled" - these are basically cheese blintzes with breadcrumb topping. Hardly sweet yet so delicious!

That hit the spot
Flying over the Eastern Alps of Austria

The brick wall and tile floor sprawling space had the feel of an abandoned TGI Friday's. It felt a little more comfortable as the space started filling up with the lunch crowd around 2pm. Three types of beer were offered: "light", "dark", and "half-dark", which might be just a mix of the other two. I asked if they had any Hefeweizen or Wheat beer, but he waiter, whose English was otherwise good, just blinked and replied "uh... no" and walked away. The dark was a pretty tasty unfiltered beer, making the experience worth the trip.

The flight from Zagreb - Munich - St Petersburg was sleep-inducing and uneventful. Wine was flowing on all flights, although it seems the only Croatian wine we'll have for awhile is from the bottles we're bringing back.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Croatia in review!!


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