We arrived in Zagreb Wednesday afternoon - just in time for a quick tooth brushing before our welcome drink and dinner. Several of our group were on a pre-trip to Serbia and they look fresh and well rested. The rest of us - not so much. Program Directors (aka guides) are Harry and Tony - a couple of jolly Croats full of information and one rule, "Be on time for scheduled activities! Five minutes late and you sing a song on the bus. Ten minutes late and you can sing anywhere you want because the bus has left"!
Our dinner companions were a couple from Florida and their daughter who lives on the southern coast of Turkey. Jean is married to a Turk and has lived in Turkey for nearly 30 years. We had a wonderful conversation about the changes she's seen as that Muslim country is becoming less secular and more militant. We look forward to more conversations and maybe visiting her when we pass through on our Turkey travels next month.
The first couple nights sleep are always fitful when we change so many time zones (9 this time). Sleep came easily last night but when I awoke at 4:30 AM it was 7:30 PM in Phoenix - not even time for me to fall asleep in front of the TV yet. This will be a long day...
Zagreb, a city of approximately a million in a country of nearly 5 million, is the capital of Croatia. The charming city center looks much like Vienna or Budapest as young Austrian architects came here to practice their trade. Those who were successful returned to Austria-Hungary to continue their careers.
The streets are lined with charming shops, restaurants, churches and dozens of museums. Our favorite was the Museum of Naive Art. The artist here are not "naive" in the usual sense, but self taught. Across the street we found the Museum of Broken Relationships which won the 2011 European award for the most innovative new museum.
Lunch of seafood salad and a beer, then back to the hotel for a nap. I think we're ready to take on the rest of our trip!