Zagreb

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Saturday, July 28, 2012

Well after a 5.5 hour bus ride we arrived in Zagreb and picked up dinner and snacks before settling down to watch the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

We'd picked a hotel with cable tv so we could watch the opening ceremony but it turned out that, while we had cable, none of the English channels including the BBC News were showing the Olympics!  We ended up with Eurosport which was mainly in German with bits of English and French mixed in.

Our first day in Zagreb we walked around town and visited the major sites. As you can see from the photos and video, we were lucky enough to be able to see the dramatic changing of the guards at St Mark's Church which has an unusual mosaic roof.  On one side of the church is the the President's office which has been the home to Croatia's Goverors from 1808, and on the other side is the Croatian Parliament which has been held there since 1737, and in front of it is the old city hall which has been been located on this site since the middle ages!

In the old part of town restorers have found old street names and have left these exposed which was pretty cool (see the photo).

We decided not to be lazy so didn't ride the Funicular which connects the upper and lower parts of town which is only 30.5m and has claim to being the worlds shortest passenger cable railway and the first public transport in Zagreb.

We also visited the Cathedral which has been on this site since 1094 but dates mainly to the late 1800s following an earthquake in 1880.  The Cathedral is fortified with a turreted outer wall built to protect it from the Ottomans.

While in Croatia we also visited Plitvice Lakes National Park which is about 2 hours south of Zagreb.  The park is made up of cascading lakes with waterfalls connecting them.  It's very much like Pammukale but on a much bigger scale and without the dramatic white and blue water.  The water is a similar colour but crystal clear and the park is fulled with lush green bush surrounding the lakes. It is an easy 4 to 6 hour walk around the park, with a boardwalk that you follow as well as a boat and a bus/train to improve access.

As it was a Sunday it was crazy busy but the further away from the entrance we went, the less people there were to bump into on the track.  It was a lovely sunny afternoon (after some showers in the morning) but unfortunately swimming in the lakes is strictly prohibited! When we got back to Zagreb it looked like the showers we had had were the edge of a storm that had hit, we even passed a tree that had fallen on top of a car in the middle of the road!
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