June 22, Day 4: Zagreb: it just sounds exotic, doesn’t it? This is where “From Russia with Love”, the second Bond movie, was filmed. We saw no lurking assassins, but then one never does… At any rate we had a wonderful Zagreb Saturday Night.
Walking to Old Town
We jumped into the local scene shortly after landing, heading toward Jelecic Square and the Upper Old Town. The sun sets about 9pm here, so we had beautiful skies framing the Croatian National Theater and other buildings as we strolled to the Old Town.
As we neared the center, cafes lined the cobblestone streets. We found a table, ordered a local wine to celebrate our return to Europe, and settled in to watch the people. Locals, cigarettes in hand, sipped wine or Jamnica (“Yom-neet-zah”), a mineral water. Everyone, almost all under 30, seemed to have stepped straight out of Vogue. Some elegantly dressed, some shabby-chic, most lean, tall, and tan. This was definitely the place to see and be seen on Saturday night. While our attention was on the the tide of people walking the alleyways. Their attention was split: half on each other, and half on a Euro Cup football (soccer) broadcast in every bar.
After a bit too much wine, we paid Clara, our waitress. I included a what I thought a modest tip. Maybe (due to wine), it was not as modest as intended. Clara was so delighted she bought a round of plum rakija (a local brandy) and joined Jean and me at the table. She drank to our health and went back to work. Jean and I started our wobbly walk home through the sea of Vogue people and vowed to avoid wine for a few days!
Zagreb Saturday Night was over. When we finally ventured forth on Sunday the “real people” were out. They do not all come from Vogue; a relief. We found a quiet café for coffee and bread, then set out to explore Zagreb by day.