(This is the 16th post of our Croatia-Budapest trip, June-July 2014)
Friday, June 27
When I say wander around Zagreb, I’m not kidding. Dave turned on his Endomundo app in the morning, and checked it at dinner that night; this is what we saw. Spot #1 is where we met up at the St. Francis Church, #4 is the large overlook, #5 is St. Mark’s Church, and I’m thinking that #8 is the main cathedral. No clue on the rest. Here are a couple of details from walking around:
We I did buy some fabric. Well, I went into the store and thought it was a fabric shop, but it was a Home Dec store, and the fabric we’d seen in the window was actually tablecloth fabric. I bought two lengths off of two different bolts of cloth, too tired to figure it all out, so of course, when we got home, they were too small. So I turn them at an angle when I put them on the table.
Loved this scene. The fabric store is “CENTRA” and on our way there, we watched this tourist bus driver become extremely frustrated over the black double-parked car, blocking his way around the circle. When we came out of the fabric shop, they were both gone.
What a great looking post office! I also purchased some fancier stamps for decorative uses at home. To get into this, you enter in a main door. On the right is a market, which we also walked through, and on the left was this glorious post office.
We successfully met up with Anna Clare and Earl (score one for meeting up without cell phones!) and can finally enter the cathedral. The whole name is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saintly Kings Stephen and Ladislav, but everyone just calls it the “Cathedral.” Inside the front door is a wall with some interesting script: the Glagolitic alphabet. According to our guide book, it originated in the 9th century, invented by Byzantine missionaries Cyril and Methodius as they worked to translate the Bible into Slavic languages. Their alphabet caught on only in Croatia, and was later adapted in Bulgaria to become the Cyrillic alphabet (still used in “Serbia, Russia and other parts east”). Scenes from the interior:
(View out that open door was the tower of the cloisters.)Although it is incredibly hard to see in this photo, this is a silver altar with a depiction of the Holy Family. Mary is holding a needle and thread, sewing. At this point, Anna Clare begins to feel faint while walking through the cathedral, so we all head out to the benches to rest and to give her a chance to recover. Apparently they had not eaten lunch, and after driving around Croatia these past few days (she has been the only driver), plus a few other stressful experiences, she was exhausted. So we agree to part to give them a chance to go back to their room and rest, and to find some lunch. We’ll meet up again at dinnertime.
One of the challenges of being on the go is drinking enough water, and who can resist buying bottles of water when they deliver not only the water, but a lovely pithy saying to go with it? We share this, and head back up to the Gradec portion of the Upper Town area, because Dave wants to get some more postcards from the Museum of Naive Art.
When we come out, all the church bells are ringing for evening mass. We realize we can now see inside the three churches if we hurry, so we hit the Greek church first. We stand quietly at the back, and take this photo surreptitiously.
There is a sign at the front saying closed for a wedding, but when the fellow in the T-shirt and ball cap (on the left in one of the back pews) pushes past us crackling his grocery sacks, we slip in also. Beautiful plaster work on every surface. I would have loved to have walked around, but I say to myself — repeat after me — Another Time. Visiting this city has been one of the more frustrating visits for me, the difference for what I prepared for and what I was able to see, achingly far apart. While this is a fact of life in all cities, in all countries and on all trips, it feels very pronounced here. I try to let the stillness of the church seep into me, but all I can think about it all the things left unseen in this interesting city.
I try to mentally cross more things off my Tourist List, knowing that at any time a tourist is but a visitor, missing out on the vibrancy of a city, as the sights and attractions and museums are always a poor substitute for living in a foreign place. It will have to be. We head to Budapest tomorrow, back on our own.
We walk up and down several streets, and a couple of times we found a place to eat that had the right combination of prices and food, but then a group would push in past our indecisive quartet and we’d be out of a table. We finally make it to the large social area of town, a street with large bars on either side, catering to the Happy Hour crowd. We found a place that would serve us some dinner, and we relax and enjoy looking at the crowds and our last night together.