Lake Bled has been lifted straight from a fairy tale, fully living up to its reputation as one of the best tourist attractions in Slovenia.
I am absurdly excited. It’s late morning and the sun is shining over Zagreb as I attempt to squeeze through the train corridor with my huge rucksack like a tough piece of meat stuck in somebody’s throat. The train is humming in the background as the whistles and shouts of the busy Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor Train Station provide the music for my departure from Croatia. The reason I am so excited is that this train has compartments; proper old-school, doors-and-all compartments!
Ljubljana is the perfect blend of cool and charming. It successfully mixes Central European architecture and horrendous, but somehow endearing ugly, communist apartments blocks, the latter acting as a necessary counterweight to ostentation.
Photos from Zagreb, Croatia, including Tkalciceva Street, the Zagreb City Museum and St Mark’s Church.
Zagreb is dull and uninspiring. Like a tired, cheap version of Vienna it has pretty buildings aplenty but an anticlimactic scope in its history compared to other, similar cities.
It is very different from the other cities that I have seen so far in the Balkans in that it has an architectural and spiritual affinity with Central Europe. I mean spiritual in the sense of ornate Catholicism but also in the general vibe of the city.
Sure it is pretty and has a stock of buildings of regional importance but there is nothing that hooks the imagination. Like lift music it is both familiar and pleasant but offers little of substance,
Thankfully there is no not-so-slyly masturbating man on this coach so I am much more relaxed. Instead there is a lovely Croatian woman and her son behind me who start chatting to me. Her husband is from Paisley in Scotland so she almost speaks better English than I do (a shameful and repetitive embarrassment on this trip considering my lack of a second language).
In Transit – Dubrovnik to Split The journey from Dubrovnik to Split starts ominously with us missing the bus and struggling to …
The difference between Dubrovnik at night and Dubrovnik during the day could not be more pronounced and less welcome. From the moment you step into the old city you are absorbed into the swarm of tourists. You are sucked past the medieval lute band at the entrance and spat out, bewildered and alone, wondering how you have managed to lose your friend so quickly.
The queue for the border crossing into Croatia snakes back with drivers fatalistically settling in for an hours long wait. Our bus driver has no time for this polite but long-winded approach to border crossing so in true Balkan fashion he swerves out into the opposite lane, pulling over abruptly when there is oncoming traffic, only stopping momentarily before speeding off towards the border again.
We’re up early (why do I keep doing this when I’m on holiday, I’m supposed to be more lazy than normal), and we head off into the old town. I’ve been reliably informed that the view from the top of the Mehmed Pasha Mosque is spectacular and gives the best view of Mostar. Tickets are 10 marks to go up the minaret but trust me, it is worth it. Just be warned it is very narrow both on the stairs and at the top. We ended up chasing a lovely Danish couple around the viewing platform because there was no space to squeeze past.