Croatia Day 7, 8 : Zagreb

… Continued from Croatia Day 6: Motovun, Hum
We spent most of Day 7 on the road, stopping here and there, at no particular destination. The drive from Hum to the capital Zagreb was  about 200km, we finally arrived at our apartment hotel by sundown and settled in for the last leg of our awesome Croatian road-trip.

Highlights

  • Next morning the plan was to walk through Zagreb’s Upper Town. Mr.A and I started our tour at the Ban Jelačić Square & the Manduševac Fountain. Next, up to the Kaptol dominated by the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Then onto the colorfully umbrella-ed Dolac Market where local farmers bring fresh produce every day of the week. Strolling through the happening Tkalciceva Street, we passed under the Gradec Stone Gate, dating back to the 1200’s. Here locals and tourists light candles to the Virgin Mary even today. Next stop was the colorfully tiled St.Marks Church. We toured Gradec some more, listening to piano music floating in from a ballet school, such a pleasant touch to our afternoon! And then ended up somewhere in the Lower Town. The final high-point was the fun funicular ride up to the Strossmayer promenade. At the top, we were enchanted by the bird’s eye-view of the city warmly lit by the setting sun.
  • Tkalciceva Street (pronounced tkal-chee-tseva) needs special mention when one is talking about Zagreb. This is the city’s hep street lined with scores of restaurants, cafes and fast-food joints that to satisfy any craving you might have. Of course, the cuisine is not limited to Croatian food, but a large variety from all over the world. This is where you will find the best dressed Croatians sipping on their coffee, meeting friends and family, hanging out with friends, and generally enjoying the good life. Mr. A and I happily joined the scene strolling through to the very end.We even witnessed some sort of horse procession! We rewarded ourselves with an excellent lunch and coffee 🙂
  • You might have noticed that I have a thing for street-art  😉 and Zagreb had lots to offer on that front. Zagreb’s prominently young population is owed to its universities that attract students from not only the rest of Croatia but also neighbouring countries. As such, it is not surprising that graffiti show up on its walls as an expression of the young voices. Also, there are several inspiring installations all over the city in the form of sculptures & statues.

And that brought us to the end of our amazing week in Croatia, the fascinating, versatile land of natural & cultural wealth. We could wish to stay on much longer, but it was time to head back to new adventures. And there is always a way back to places we love, isn’t that right?!

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Berlin & remains of the Wall

When Mr.A & I visited Berlin, we wanted to see the Berlin Wall up close. I researched a bit on the internet and found the best suggestion on traveldudes.org. They talk about three spots where the Wall is best preserved. We went to each of them and at each spot one may experience a different feeling.

1. Topography of Terror: 

Websitehttp://www.topographie.de

Address : Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin

I shared some pictures from this site in a previous post about exploring Berlin. Topography of Terror is a museum that documents the reign of Hitler through the years and how Germany, and the world at large, was affected by the Nazi era. In fact, the museum stands at approximately the same spot where the Gestapo once had their headquarters. A section of the Berlin Wall still stands before it, a grim reminder of the past. The studies and photos are very detailed and quite an eye-opener even for a well-read traveler. One might come off a bit overwhelmed by this visit.

On a separate note, if you want to rent one of the lockers, make sure you have a €1 coin, the cafeteria will probably not help you out. The closest metro station would be Potsdamer Platz.

2. Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Center: 

Websitehttp://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de

Address : Bernauer Straße 119, 13355 Berlin

This memorial has a kilometer and a half stretch of the Wall. The events that took place here are documented through pictures and artefacts at the Documentation Center. There are a couple of floors, so allow yourself some time. A watch tower at the Center provides a wider view of the Wall and what used to be two sides of divided Germany. To reach this site, take the metro to Nordbahnhof. Incidentally, Nordbahnhof used to be one of the ghost stations on the Eastern side that were blocked away during the Cold War. The station also has images and stories of how these ghost stations came to be. Mr.A and I felt quite moved with our experience here. It is hard to imagine what it must have been for the people loving here not so far back in the past.

3. East Side Gallery: 

Websitehttp://www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de

Address : Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin

The East Side Gallery is often called the longest open air gallery in the world. Here, remains of the Berlin Wall stretch for over a kilometer along the Spree river. Once a symbol of separation, it is now covered with artists’ impressions advocating freedom for everybody. Some paintings have deteriorated over time due to vandalism and erosion, but some work is being done to preserve it, including fences to protect certain parts. To reach the Gallery, one could either hop off at the metro station Ostbahnhof and walk along the wall to the next metro, Warschauer Straße, or vice versa. Walking along the water is also very pleasant. I quite liked this one, given my love for murals, graffiti & street art.

There are, of course, several other places where you may see bits of the wall remaining, but they would be smaller in scale as compared to the spots mentioned above. Have you visited Berlin? Did you make it to any of these memorials? What did you think? I’d love to know!

Street art in Stockholm

Following up from my previous post about Stockholm graffiti, here is the story of project ‘Slussen Restart’ that my pretty girl was a part of… Slussen, in central Stockholm is all set for a facelift. Of the many changes that are underway, Kolingsborg, which acted as the canvas for the said street art, was recently demolished. Now Stockholm has a pretty strict stand against graffiti, but Kolingsborg proved to be an exception. Some renowned spray artists were invited to create their magic on the historic building before it was torn down. The remodelling project has faced some protests, too, from citizens who do not support the changes. I have not read much about this myself, so I will refrain from commenting on the reasons. You can read more about Slussen Restart here and here! I also enjoyed watching these videos from the project – when the building was painted white to prepare the canvas and the other one showing the project in progress. And of course, I had to go see it for myself and click some pictures before it was all gone…

There’s more street art on Sunny District, from AthensBarcelona & Copenhagen! Wish you an awesome week ahead 🙂

Eye spy

Those eyes! They seems to draw you in…

In case you missed it, this pretty belle used to be on Sunny District‘s header for quite a while; she looks like my kinda girl 😉

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I love spotting & capturing street art during my travels. They tell you a parallel stotr about the city. I’ll tell you more about the murals that she is part of, but you’ll have to wait a while for that. Soon, soon… Meanwhile, why don’t you go back to my older photo challenge entries, I’d love to know your opinion about them 🙂 I also do my own I spy series on this blog, don’t think it’s a fun topic?

Update: As promised, here’s the story of the graffiti!

Colorful Copenhagen

When I looked back through my album of Copenhagen from our road-trip earlier this year, what really popped out at me was the multicolored snapshots of the city. It is not just wall graffiti, as I shared in my accounts of street art in Barcelona, murals in Stockholm or graffiti in Athens, but there were several installations that makes this city so vibrant and brings together people in a special way. All the flowers seemed bright & happy in their full spring glory!

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And then there is Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous ‘region’ inside of Copenhagen which claims to be not a part of the EU, but is rather governed by its own Christiania Law of 1989. Visitors are gracefully allowed inside, but asked to be respectful of the citizens and not bother them by wielding cameras all over the place. There is food & drinks and knick-knacks you could buy, or simply walk around the streets and listen to people singing or playing musical instruments, or watch children play in charming DIY playpens. And of course, there is that undeniable whiff of weed in the air. It’s an extraordinary feeling inside, so atypical as though from a book or a movie, but unfortunately I don’t have pictures to help describe it. There are a few from the vicinity of the neighborhood, though.

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