This May, I got the best surprise of my life. My professor from my post graduation college contacted me saying that she’d submitted my paper that I’d worked on in the final year (it was on smartphone apps) to an international journal. The paper had got selected for publishing and we were called to Zagreb, Croatia for a conference and paper presentation.
This was going to be my first long distance international trip (second international trip only after Bhutan :D). I was super excited but the fear of not getting a visa on time was what was dampening my spirits and playing a spoilsport constantly. The problem was that we got a confirmation from the conference organisers and I found out about the whole thing only around 10 days before the D-day. This left hardly any time for me to get a visa. However, despite the entire visa process being extremely taxing and my ending up going to a travel agent for help, I somehow managed to get the visa just few hours before my flight.
Anyway, enough about all that! Let me take you through my trip to Croatia instead 😀
The place was awesome. It was almost like my first solo international trip and I loved every bit of it. I absolutely love travelling alone! 😀 😀
Our first few days were spent in Zagreb where we had our conference at the Hotel International. Since Maam’s trip was funded by my college, she decided to stay at the same hotel instead. However, since my trip was self-funded (with me borrowing the money from my Dad) and also because I’d rather stay in hostels any day, guess where I decided to stay? 😀 Obviously, in hostels. In fact before I left for Croatia, someone told me how there is this site called hostelworld.com (They have an app too called Hostel World) where there are super economical and amazing hostels listed. All it took for me was one glance at the app to decide where I’m going to stay throughout my trip in Croatia.
My first hostel was a place called ‘The Wallaby House Hostel’ – Super nice staff here, very helpful. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t certain about how long I’ll stay in Zagreb, I’d only booked the hostel for a night. When I later tried to extend my stay, I found out the place was full 😦 So I changed my hostel after my first night at Croatia.
The next place I shifted into was a hostel called ‘Old town’. This place was good too with super nice staff. Anna was amazing and really helpful throughout my stay here 🙂
Every day after the conference would end sometime around 4-5 pm local time, we would travel around the city via tram and see the nearby places. I found the tram system in Zagreb very impressive, it made travelling everywhere extremely convenient and economical.
On our first day in Zagreb, we went to the cathedral and roamed around the city a little bit. The city is really beautiful, systematic and extremely clean ❤
The next day we went to two lakes – Jarun and Bundek, both beautiful in their own ways.
Jarun was bigger and had a lot of facilities for water sports while Bundek was serene in it’s own way and had a cozy little cafe right next to it.
Out of the many museums in Zagreb, we only went to the Museum of Broken Relationships as it had a unique and an unheard concept – its exhibits include personal mementos from innumerable broken relationships across the world. These relationships are not just romantic in nature but also include other kinds of relationships with for e.g. friends, family, cities, etc. Needless to say, we loved the place and the collection 🙂 If you go to Zagreb, this museum is a must-visit.
During my time there, there was a festival going on for which there were a lot of events lined up across the city – from painting competitions to music shows in the evening. I saw people (even the really old ones) enjoying themselves and dancing with their partners and each other happily on the street to the music. It felt so good to see happy people who are making the most of their time and was a welcome contrast to the people in India who are usually always in a hurry. Reaffirmed my belief on how important our life, family and happiness is and that we work to live and not the other way round.
Zagreb has a coffee, cigarettes and beer culture. During day time people are often found relaxing in cafes sipping on their coffees, smoking and socializing while at night, the crowd prefers to drink beer. This is why almost all the cafes I saw here were also bars.
Almost everyone is physically fit in Zagreb and cycling is a common mode of transport for the youth and adults alike. It felt nice to see so many people cycling in this city, motivated me to buy that cycle I’ve been planning to buy since a long time soon. However, the heat in India often makes it unbearable to cycle especially during summers 😦
After almost 3 days in Zagreb and my conference ending, we headed to Plitvice Lakes (I opted for a one-way trip since I had to travel further to Zadar where I was going solo). I will describe these experiences in the next post which will be up soon.The Zagreb chapter ends here! 😀 Have you visited this beautiful city?