In Zagreb: a day ride to the south - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

August 22, 2020

In Zagreb: a day ride to the south

Today figures to be the hottest day of our stay here in Croatia.  With high humidity and temperatures near 90F in the forecast, we pick a fairly easy ride for our first outing of the tour - an out and back into the farmlands and small villages south of the city.  Trying to beat the worst of the heat, we make it down to breakfast when the restaurant opens at 6:30 and plan an early start.  I didn’t finish up with the bikes yesterday though: I assembled them but didn’t install the peripherals: mirror, bottle cages, racks and under bags. By the time I’m finally done it’s about 9 and warming up already.

It’s satisfying as we roll down the street from our hotel to discover that both bikes have survived the journey well, with brakes and gears both in adjustment for a change.  Not the usual experience.

It’s an easy ride south out of town: flat for the first several miles, following well marked bike paths the whole way until we escape the suburbs.  After about six or seven relaxed miles we’re in the country, riding past progressively more rustic houses and settings with every mile.  Mountains of firewood stand outside nearly every home we pass, and here and there work crews are in the field, harvesting crops by hand.

We don’t have a specific destination in mind, and are just following the out and back route I’d mapped out until we get the urge to turn back.  The urge strikes fairly soon, strangely enough not long after we encounter the first modest hills.  Suddenly it feels uncomfortably warm and we decide to turn back before the day gets much hotter.  Not the most strenuous start to a tour, but it’s good to put some miles on the board and shake down the equipment.

Central Zagreb is quite easy to navigate, with a well developed network of bike lanes. They’re not all up to the standard we see here though - many of them are too narrow, or on sidewalks with rather poor curb cuts. Still, better than many large cities we’ve biked in.
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Leaving Zagreb to the south, we follow bike lanes for about four miles before finally breaking out on country roads.
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The soccer fans.
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On the pedestrian bridge across the Sava River, Rachael suggested that maybe it was time to start looking for houses for sale here.
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Crossing the Sava River. The Sava, rising in Slovenia’s Dinaric Alps and emptying into the Danube at Belgrade, is the largest tributary of the Danube by volume. The most important river in the Balkans, it passes through three national capitols (Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade) on it’s 600 mile journey.
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The modernistic Arena Zagreb is a multi-purpose indoor arena that hosts sporting and cultural events.
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A mile past the arena we finally leave the city and its suburbs behind.
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South of Zagreb. Croatia is home to a large stork population, but not at this time of year.
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The domestic architecture becomes progressively more interesting as we leave the city behind.
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I’d fallen a bit behind Rachael. When I caught up again she was chatting with four cyclists, offering fresh figs. They asked if she was on her own, and hearing that I was behind her they said that’s why they won’t let their wives come with them - they bike too fast.
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For several miles we biked on this narrow single lane road. Very pleasant, except when the rare car or small truck passes by.
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This is typical of the countryside here. Small villages, quaint farm houses, and corn fields.
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South of Zagreb.
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Looking back north toward Zagreb, and beyond it Medvednica Mountain.
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An elevated hen house, I imagine. Do you suppose they have foxes here?
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Wood and brick appear to be the traditional building materials here.
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Another five noun memory test: well, drum, ladder, door, . . . doghouse!
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A beautifully hand-crafted home.
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Honoring sixty years of marriage?
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Bruce LellmanYou pick up languages so quickly!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanHvala!
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1 month ago

Two hours later we’re back in town.  It’s nearing 90 and I have no appetite because of the heat, but Rachael does.  She picks up a sandwich at a shop and then we head back to the room, where she eats lunch while I take a cold shower and lie down for a nap.  

While I’m napping, Rachael goes shopping to find a new shirt to replace one she forgot to pack.  An hour later she’s back, hot and tired, and we switch places.  She takes over the bed while I get up and start culling through photos from the outing.

Rachael made a counting error and only brought two shirts instead of three. She went out shopping and came back with this slick number. It set us back a steep 35.90 kuna though ($5.90), so she may have to skip that gelato tonight.
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By five, it’s just beginning to cool down enough that we can imagine eating.  We head back up to the old town, looking at restaurants on the low rise that surrounds the cathedral before settling in at one we’d been attracted to last night.  Afterwards we drop back down to the street below for a gelato and then then enjoy a relaxed walk back to the room in the rapidly cooling evening.  A bit of a breeze is picking up, and a thunderstorm is due to roll in within a few hours.

We’re both still working our way through the time adjustment, so we call it a night and make it back to the room before 8, content to just loaf around until time for bed.

Sorry the photo quality below isn’t quite up to standard.  The memory card in my camera failed and I had to rely on the phone.

After dinner we dropped from the hill surrounding the cathedral to Tkalčićeva Street, on the hunt for gelato.
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Zagreb really does have some imaginative wall art. This is along Tkalčićeva Street, on the outside of the wall bordering Art Park - the same wall with the cat mural on the other side that we saw yesterday. I think this must be a gang of Lilliputians, jumping out of their novel and rushing to tie down poor Gulliver.
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Be careful where you lie down. Don’t let this be you.
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Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltNow which guide book did you rely on this time? Where’s your documentation?
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Bill ShaneyfeltHa! yeah.

Read that one when I was about 10! Swift had a way of telling tales. When I was in college, and the object of often ridicule due to my trusting nature, I figured if I wrote a book about my life I'd call it "Gullible's Travels."
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Along Tkalčićeva Street.
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Tkalčićeva Street, now lined with restaurants and shops, was originally the industrial heart of Zagreb, lined with water mills along Medveščak Creek. After the creek was covered over and the industries closed down it became the city’s red light district, and every other building was a bordello.
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Jen GrumbyAre there many pedestrian-only streets? Such a nice sight.

And I only see one mask. ... Have you seen any pandemic-related signage since you left the airport?
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4 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyOops .. just saw your answer to Andrea's question about masks.

I am still curious about signage though.

Do most businesses have safety guidelines posted?
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4 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYes, there’s a good sized pedestrian zone, and even outside of it there’s little traffic other than the trams on the commercial streets. Very nice.

And yes, most shops and restaurants are signed for Covid protocols.
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4 weeks ago
Elvis lives! In a new experience for us, we get to hear In the Ghetto in Croatian. C’est is d’Best is a summer festival featuring street musicians and performing artists of all kinds.
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Sidewalk art lines the sidewalk along the edge of Zrinjevac Park.
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One of the performers at the C’est is D’Best draws an enthusiastic crowd.
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Ride stats today: 35 miles, 1,300’

Today's ride: 35 miles (56 km)
Total: 35 miles (56 km)

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Andrea BrownIt doesn't seem that people are wearing masks there. Are you two?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownYou’re right! It’s a bit disconcerting alright. They’re worn pretty universally indoors, but you don’t see many covered faces outdoors. I predict that will change before long though. Their numbers are still relatively low and lower than in Oregon, but they’re starting to spike and other European countries are redlining them. It’s quite different than even two weeks ago.

For ourselves, our first line of defense is of course physical distance; and when that’s not an option, we mask up. We’re flipping masks on and off constantly walking around here in the city. We’re looking forward to moving on to smaller towns soon.
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1 month ago
Gregory GarceauIt's only the first day of cycling and I already like Croatia. Just think how much I'd like it if I was actually there in person.
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1 month ago