Fri 9th Aug.
Staying in Zagreb.
My hosts Hrvoja and Zizek were a young couple. Hrvoja had a strong German accent which confused me. When I asked him about it, he said that he was born in Croatia but then his father moved with him to West Germany were he grew up and was educated. and for the rest of my time there I couldn’t help but think of him as German, due to his mannerisms and German-ness. He was something of genius and seemed to know a bit about everything through trial and error and a good knowledge of engineering and electrics. Him and Zizek weren’t big tourers but enjoyed taking long weekends and week trips on their bikes.
While I was there he was building his own GPS using a chip and a circuit board that connected to a central board that powered the lights. He was having some problems with it, but I was amazed by what he was doing. I think it also had a hard-drive for uploading photos. When he saw my iPad he started trying to figure out how to open it and telling me how basic components on it worked.
Zizek was a product designer and had been working for one of the larger companies in Croatia, but decided to go freelance recently and try other work.
Hrvoja had to work, but Zizek offered to show me around the city on a personal tour. I went around the centre and to the Cathedral there. It was hard to communicate this without sounding rude or ungrateful, but I was really beginning to get city fatigue and when I got to a city the last thing I wanted to do was see it. I’d rather get the things I needed, do some research and relax.
She asked if I wanted to go in and I refused as politely as I could. It was a marvellous structure of intricacy and beauty but I wasn’t religious and had seen something in the region of forty Cathedrals, so they had started to lose their appeal.
We went up high through the streets and she still had many more plans and things to show me. We stopped for a break at the top of the city. There were some art workshop classes taking place nearby giving an insight as to what happened here in the summer. We went back into the city looked around some more, but by this time I had lost all patience with sight-seeing and Zizek, very accommodatingly understood.
Something I couldn’t be without was ice cream. We got some from a new place that insisted we order from the table (good move idiots). It was expensive, but delicious. Then we looked in a few charity shops to find me some ideal clothes to help stand this heat. I couldn’t believe how cheap they were and ended up getting a bundle of clothes (vests and caps) for about €6. The also had some outrageous cycling attire from the 80s, which I left, due to the fact it was no real use.
Cycling around Zagreb was difficult, there were lanes for cyclists, but they tended to merge with the pavement and whenever you went over a crossing you would leave the pavement for the road and then return. The transition between the two was very unsmooth and it made cycling in the city very uncomfortable and frustrating. The run down look and feel seemed to run largely through the outskirts of the city, which was a shame as it felt like a shanty town in the outskirts, but then like a lot of other European cities in the city. It was a strange blend and it didn’t sit well with me.
Hrvoja was saying there would be a big storm that night that they were looking forward to as it had been so hot for the last few weeks. I thought if he looked forward to rain he should go to England and it struck me as funny that someone would look forward to bad weather.
It was quite for most of the evening, but come 9 o’clock the rain came for a few hours, while we went back to their apartment and drank beer from Hamburg and ate Zizek’s amazing food.