June 21, Day 3: Time to explore Zagreb by running Bundek City Park! As a runner, the route beckoned; a string of green spaces leading to the Liberty Bridge over the Sava River. Just beyond, 135 acres of green laced with curving trails.
I “collect” city runs. As we travel to a new city, I set out afoot early in the morning and savor the quiet green spaces and a sense of adventure. The route maps and pictures become souvenirs. Running gives me an added bonus, as I get to eat more in our food adventures! Zagreb is the first of several city runs I hope to collect on our Croatia Journey.
The Green Horseshoe?
Most runners in Zagreb would opt the Lenuci Park in Donji Grad (downtown). Several large green spaces comprise “the green horseshoe”, and it includes some of the city’s highlights: the Croatian National Theater, Cultural Museum, Botanical Garden, Art Pavillion, Croatian State Archives, and two 5-star hotels. But Jean and I had already walked much of this area (photos coming!), and I wanted to explore more of the city.
Bundek appealed to me… it sat mysterious and distant from our other Zagreb points of interest. Along the way, Sveučilišna Livada (which I cannot pronounce!) offered a lengthy green space with fountains, sculptures, and flowers en route. I laced up my Hokas and stepped out of the door before 7am, while Jean ventured to the Dolac farmers’ market.
Most of the park was less groomed than what I would expect in the US. CIty crews infrequently mow the broad green lawns, leaving them wild with clover, rose brambles, and grass going to seed. Chat-rock paths wound through the tangle, bright in the early sun. The park was quiet on a Monday. One friendly local paused and waited as I did push-ups along the path. When I finished, he informed me, first in Croatian and then in halting English, that there are excellent fitness stations in the park. I thanked him, and he moved on with a smile, having done his good deed for the day.
As the sun rose, the humidity and heat took their toll. My pace slowed, I sweat ’til I was soaked. I was so tired, I forgot to take many pictures! But I loved every minute. I finished an almost eight-mile trek, satisfied with the addition to my collection.