Posts Tagged With: Zagreb

Zagreb: the last decision

When we woke up at  the central bus station of Zagreb, which had been so calm the previous night, it was already boiling with people walking around with their suitcases and backpacks. Our hideaway was quite good because nobody seemed to realize that we were there, it was already 9 in the morning so we slept around 6 hours. The first thing we did was going to the city center and looking for a photocopy shop to print the check-in. Meanwhile it started to rain and the temperature was quite low  for a summer, making our last trip day even sadder. We were wandering around discovering the beautiful Zagreb streets, then we realize that the Zagreb airport didn’t ask for the check-in in paper, so we decided to protect ourselves from the rain in a cafeteria. We found probably the saddest one in the whole city, it was in a dark passageway, conquered by elderly people from a nearby residence enjoying the fresh air, it was like the Walking Dead but with slower Zombies.

Tunnel of terror

Tunnel of terror

After a long while we decided to go out and visit the most touristic places under the intermittent rain. We reached the Ban Jelačić Square, the most famous place in Zagreb where some tourist where trying to understand the big map placed in the entrance.

Ban Jelačić Square

Ban Jelačić Square

At the time we were probably unfair with the city, because we weren’t in a mood to appreciate the beauty of Zagreb, but now I realize how beautiful it was. It’s a mix between Eastern Europe and Balkan style, with old majestic buildings that remind the ones from Budapest, very modern and very old trams at the same time and the typical Balkan markets with fresh fruits and vegetables. Anyway, the people seemed much more European than anything else.

Old tram vs modern tram

Old tram vs modern tram

We started to walk up toward the old town, some steps further we found the Zagreb Cathedral where there was also a Konzum, we made some pictures (of the cathedral not of the supermarket) and, as it stopped to rain, we decided to eat there.

Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb Cathedral

Pulguita and some old structures

Pulguita and some old structures

I found some very cheap beer so I bought it, but once in the checkout I realize that I had confused the price, I came back to Aleksandra quite angry, we really didn’t have any money left. Just when our sandwiches were ready it started to rain again, I was starting to hate Zagreb, we moved looking for a better place to eat, we were very near to have an argue because of the rain and nerves of it being the last day… I guess. We finally ate in a door’s trunk. trying to change the mood, our nerves became in craziness and we start to do stupid things including to offer disgusting marmalade to the pedestrians, at least we started to laugh, it was funny specially because I looked like a real homeless (whit greatest respects to them), here you can see me:

Then we continued our way up  a soft hill, from where we made some pictures of the city landscape, then we turned down and, as it was stopping to rain, we stayed for a while in the Ribnjak park playing with Pulguita and feeding her. Zagreb is quite a green city, it’s full of parks and look at this green in the begining of September:

Ribnjak park

Ribnjak park

Pulguita on the grass

Pulguita on the grass

After that break we went again to the city center, we discover nice spots like this square in the Old street Vlaška, the Zrinjevac park that leads to the Josipa Jurja and the kralja Tomislava parks shaping an impressive boulevard that ends on the Central Rail Station of Zagreb.

Old street Vlaška square

Old street Vlaška square

Kralja Tomislava park

Kralja Tomislava park

Kralja Tomislava park II

Kralja Tomislava park II

At that point we started to be very concerned about what was going to happen at the airport with Pulguita, it was too late to make a special check-in for animals, and we even didn’t know if it will be possible to do it there. We had a similar problem, but no so important, with the guitar I had bought in Budapest in the begining of our trip. As I’m an unstable person my mood was going up and down. Lluckily the sun started to shine, so I relaxed a little bit. We thought about asking people if they wanted to buy a third hand guitar, but it didn’t work.  Then we decided to look for a Cash-converter with the same result. We also asked for the train schedules for the airport but any of them matched our needs, so we had to come back to our starting point, the bus station.

Last and best picture together

Last and best picture together

Once there, we realized that we had no food left for the night, and the airport was going to be too expensive, so I went fast to a big Tesco while Aleksandra stayed on the station with Pulguita. We took the bus with a lot of time to deal calmly  all the problems we expected in the airport. It was very hard to say goodbye to the City, the Balkans and, above all, the hitchhiking. When we arrived to airport the gate were still closed, so we ate something and I started to play guitar in the arrivals door to see if someone wanted to buy the guitar, without any luck. We got into the queue just when the check-in to Barcelona opened very scared about the verdict. Unfortunately the moment arrived and the girl in the counter was very clear, Pulguita couldn’t travel even if we paid. because there was no Vueling office in that Airport. When we heard that we wanted to die, my backpack was already in the scales to check the weight so then I told her something that I will always remember: “Give me my backpack back, I’m not going in that plane”. It was not completely spontaneous, because we had been facing this possibility for the whole day, but not taking it as if it was really going to happen. Aleksandra started to cry, she really had to take the plane because she had to work the next day. We thought about it a little bit, but there was not other option, or we abandoned Pulguita there or I had to come back hitchhiking, we even didn’t think about taking any trains or buses, because we were quite far and completely out of money. We kissed for the last time goodbye in a very emotive hug, then she kissed small Pulguita and went to the plane. The detachment was probably harder for Aleksandra than for me, because she was going to face the real life meanwhile I just had to continue doing the same thing I used to do for the last three weeks. I looked for a nice place to sleep at the airport, I found one just near to a promo car (as I like to do), I tied Pulguita’s travel box with my backpack and I closed it with a padlock just in case, I lied down, read for a short moment and fell asleep.

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Categories: Animals, City, Sightseeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Donji Vakuf to Banja Luka to Zagreb

Donij Vakuf-Zagreb

Donji Vakuf-Zagreb

When we woke up, we were quite cold because even in the summer the temperatures drops near to zero in Central Bosnia due to the elevation and the steep terrain. We also had to wait for a while till the tent dried from the dew.

Bosnain dawn

Bosnian dawn

Tent drying up the dew

Tent drying from the dew

Then, still in the early morning, we started to hitchhike just on the main road, but we had to wait at least two our to get a ride.

Hit the road Jack

Hit the road Jack

Meanwhile I was filling up the time improving my invented song “Land mine, wild camping” (coming soon), finally an aged man took us in his old truck. He was the typical old person with the body wasted because of an entire life working,  but with those bright honest happy eyes, I really liked him. It was Sunday so, as we were going to learn, Bosnian people drink during the whole day. The old little man offered us a beer in the truck, then he stopped in a small bar and invited us to another beer and just before let us in the road he passed throw his house to show his wife that he was carrying foreign hitchhikers, it was touching. We started again to hitchhike (I can’t identify the exact village in Google maps, it was probably Babin Potok) in front of a big house with children playing and the family members staring at us.

Somewhere in central Bosnia

Somewhere in central Bosnia

Somewhere in central Bosnia II

Somewhere in central Bosnia II

We needed again some time to be caught but a little later we were carried by two young heavy metal Bosnians that were also drinking in the car. We were talking about music and then they insisted on hearing me playing Spanish music with the guitar so I had to play “Nube the pegatina” the song I used to keep for that kind of situations. They dropped us in the entrance of Jajce, a very beautify city famous because of its waterfalls where the Pliva River meets the river Vrbas. We were in a busy crossing so we decided to walk a little bit, following the road that borders the town to the north. Happily some meter away we found a very nice view to the waterfalls, but unfortunately all the gaps were in that left side of the road and any of them in our direction.

The waterfalls are just after the cabin... I swear!

The waterfalls are just behindthe cabin… I swear!

...OK, just a little bit further...

…OK, just a little bit further…

We kept walking and started to feel hungry, but any shop was open. After a quite long walk we found the first suitable place to hitchhike in kilometers but a local suspicious woman was already taking over the place. We tried for a while to share the space with her but she “suggested” us to go away so we obeyed, scared about her threat. A little bit later we were so tired that we started to hitchhike in the first small gap we found on the road.

Overview of Jajce

Overview of Jajce

Overview of Jajce II

Overview of Jajce II

The uncrowded roads and the fact that it was Sunday was making our day harder, we also started to feel thirsty, very hungry and worried about the chances to be on time in Zagreb. After one or maybe two hours a young strange guy stopped and agreed to drive us to Banja Luka. As you probably already guessed the guy had the car full of beers (It is definitely a Bosnian tradition), so we recovered our hope in this long day full of ups and downs (this was still nothing, keep reading).

When we arrived to Banja Luka our driver stopped to fill his fuel tank in the first gas station and we decided to stay because we saw a big supermarket and we really needed to eat something. Before saying good bye we insisted on inviting him for a coffee in appreciation to the beers. The guy was in a hurry so he swallowed his coffee at a gulp and left two minutes later.

Filler Pulguita's picture

Filler Pulguita’s picture

We ran to the supermarket like malnourished dogs, but  again the luck got us in the back. We bought a big peace of cheese, a bag of sausages, bread and some garlic. I don’t know how to explain it, but we both really wanted to throw up. The sausage was disgusting, but the cheese…. the cheese was the worst thing I have eaten in my life, the producers should be in jail, not even joking.

 Therewith, we went again to the supermarket to buy some juice or something to cover the taste, but it was already closed so we decided to eat pieces of garlic instead. After that we still wanted to throw up, but at least for a different reason. We where tired and with a slight diurnal hangover but we didn’t have any other option than keep hitchhiking to the north, because our fly was going to take off the next day at midnight. Banja Luka is the second biggest city of Bosnia, is quit big and interesting but we didn’t have any more time for tourism. We followed the road searching for a place to hitchhike but we were exactly in the southern entrance of the city and we wanted to go to the north.

The only picture of Banja Luka we made

The only picture of Banja Luka we made

After one hour or more we had one of the most unpleasant experiences in our trip.  Just after passing a gas station we were walking on the big avenue and we heard a big riot. Right after that we saw a group of young people shouting and walking in our direction, and when we approached a little bit closer, we realized that they were raising their arms just as the unfriendly German dwarf with a funny mustache used to. I imediately took Aleksandra’s hand and I told her to turn around and go to the gas station as fast as possible. In addition of our hippie traveler look we had painted an anarchist “A” on Pulguita’s travelbag, so we had a lot of chances to be in trouble.  Luckily, we reached the gas station’s cafeteria, we sat in the most hidden table and ordered a coffee. From there we could see some of the retarders going in and buying cigarettes but none of them seemed to realize about our presence. We stayed there for a while a little bit scared and very desperate, because the sun was going down, and we really wanted to leave Banja Luka to, at least, wild camp somewhere in the countryside. When we ensured that the road was clear, we went out. The roundabout with the Zagreb highway exit was only some minutes away but we had a very few sunlight left so we did it as fast as we could. During the walk we realized that our Nazi friends were probably coming from the nearby football stadium, were intellectual people normally have their meetings. Once there, we tried to hitchhike the best as we could (if there is some technique) but no one stopped.

Filler Pulguita's picture II

Filler Pulguita’s picture II

The day was turned to be the hardest in our trip but, on the other hand, that is the point of hitchhiking, to never know what is going to happen and be able to overcome all the adversities. Anyway, even if we had had good references about Banja Luka, we really wanted to be out of there quickly so we decided, not without arguing, to take a bus somewhere to the north and we started looking for the bus station. It wasn’t too far, but atsome point we took the wrong way so it took us around one hour to get there. At least something good happened: we discovered that there was a night bus going to Zagreb leaving at 22 and the station minimarket was still open. We ate something and we waited for the bus, it was already completely dark.

Filler Pulguita's picture III

Filler Pulguita’s picture III

When we got to the bus we had again some troubles, it looked that the day was endless, we had bought the ticket and spent all the money we had left in the shop, but the driver wanted to charge us an extra amount to put our backpack in the trunk of the van (yes, it was a van). I started to argue with him but thanks to a friendly guy who got in to the conversation, the driver allowed us to put the backpacks in the van with us. By the way, we were hiding Pulguita at the same time so we didn’t feel relieved until the bus left the station. The next challenge was to cross the European border going into Croatia. The bus was stuck there for at least half an our, everybody showed their documents. From all the passengers, we only had one loss, an innocent young girl who was probably an international terrorist carrying guns into Europe to kill our children. The important part – we smuggled Pulguita in. 

Filler Pulguita's picture IV

Filler Pulguita’s picture IV

Anyway, we arrived to Zagreb on time, around 2 am and some of the shops at the bus station were still open. It was a big station with a huge space with seats on the first floor, and even if the gate´s entrance was open the whole night and there was no security guards, it looked quite save… or not, we were too tired for quibbling. We had a quick sandwich (actually it was a disgusting old greasy Burek, fitting quite well to our days menu) and we found a perfect hidden space in a corner, so we settled with the bags at the bottom and we finally had a deserved sleep, it was a round 3 am.

Categories: Animals, Hitchhike, Hitchhiking, Mountains, Valley, Wild camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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