Since Orahovica I had been trying to organise a reunion in Zagreb, on the pretext of celebrating my birthday (or the other way round). Trying to organise a gathering of disparate groups of volunteers, with varying amounts of money and time, is hard, but worth it in the end. The one disappointment being that the group from Osijek were unable to join us, despite trying up to the last-minute.
Alessio, Edin (visiting Istria for a week) and I left on Friday afternoon and arrived at our Mali Mrak hostel in the evening, shortly to be joined by Piotr, Angela and Mariya, a new EVS volunteer. After picking up an Australian we went for dinner at Medvedgrad, a bar and restaurant that brews its own beer – think Zero Degrees with more traditional Mitteleuropa décor, and (potentially) more nut & fish allergy friendly. After dinner we headed up Tkalčića, the main street, and eventually settled in a very hip bar, featuring old radios for decoration and TVs as tables.
The next day, while most slept I headed to the centre, stopping for a coffee in my favourite café, Eli’s caffé, before meeting up with Mariya, who had a whole day of sightseeing planned. We met around Dolac market and got some lunch. By now everyone else had emerged, and met us as we finished to go for some sightseeing. This was cut short whilst we were in the cathedral as Jana had arrived, and most of us went to meet her – Mariya and Angela continued with the sights – and decided to go to a ‘wine bar’ on Strossmartre, but this was closed so we walked around St. Mark’s Church and to Tkalčića for one afternoon beer (or three) followed by dinner in Nokturno, a pizza place highly recommended by Piotr that had been completely rubbished by Igor, the owner of the hostel. Whilst there Ane and Léa arrived, and brought me a present, a handmade little travelling companion.
After good pizza we went back to our hostel, agreeing to meet with the Petrinja girls a little later. We arrived about an hour after we had agreed, luckily just a few minutes after the girls, at Krivi Put, a ‘beer and benches’ bar, with colourful benches in the large outside area, good for sitting with friends and talking. Inside was full of people who wanted to party, and cheap beer. A great place to start the night, from which we went to Medika, one of Zagreb’s free, underground, warehouse type clubs, where we partied until 5am, at which time Edin and I ran for a tram back to the hostel.
Checking out of the hostel was done on Croatian time, i.e. the exact time was not so important. With most people worn out, progress was slow, but eventually we headed to Maksimir Park, which we ambled round for a while before ambling for more pizza. Once full we traveled back across Zagreb to our cars, and then back to Istria.
After an eventful return trip – featuring fog; wrong turns; torrential rain; running border crossings and giant storms – I was in need of some sleep.