Country #84 - Croatia Day 1

The Planning Day

I woke up early this morning and decided to take the early morning train to Zagreb instead of the afternoon time. I wish there had been a time in the middle but oh well! I checked out of the lovely Antiq Palace Hotel and bid farewell to the great front desk staff. I rushed to make my train and made it to the station with a few minutes to spare. The train ride was just beautiful. Almost the entire ride was along a rushing, freezing river and much of it was also through stunning mountains. There was a passport check on the train (where you get stamps and everything) at the stop closest to the Croatia border, but it did not take very long at all.

I arrived in Zagreb mid-morning and took an Uber to my hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb. It did not take long to get there from the train station at all, and the hotel was amazing! I was greeted at check-in (where I was given a warm DoubleTree welcome cookie) and then headed up to my room. It was so nice, modern, and had the best view! The floor to ceiling windows and the nice sitting area made for the perfect day to work on planning my trip. Thank you so much to DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb for sponsoring this night of my trip.

It was a very rainy day as well, and since I will have all day in Zagreb tomorrow taking the day off was definitely the right decision. I worked all day and ordered a yummy dinner from room service before going to sleep incredibly early, around 7pm. I’m still very jet lagged so hopefully getting a great night of sleep tonight will help!

The Broken Relationships

After another good night’s sleep I woke up really early again and worked for a bit before getting ready for my day in Zagreb. Snow had fallen overnight and it looked really pretty from my great view. I had a great buffet breakfast at DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb before heading out for the day. At checkout I was gifted a very sweet keepsake heart from Zagreb and even offered a goodbye cookie (which I amazingly declined due to being so full from breakfast). Public transit was not hard to figure out in Zagreb but I decided to stick to Uber due to the rain and low prices in Croatia.

I headed to the Upper Town area of town, which, as the name implies, is higher up than the rest of the city. My first stop was St. Mark’s Church which wasn’t open but had a really unique roof. From there I easily covered the rest of the ground in the Upper Town area as it was not very large. My stops included the Stone Gate (a gate with religious importance), Lotrščak Tower, and a walking area called Strossmayerovo šetalište before visiting two museums in this area. The first was the Croatian Museum of Naïve Art. It was very small but definitely worth the miniscule cost of admission to get a great overview of Croatian art! My other museum visit was quite unlike anything I have ever visited before. The Museum of Broken Relationships was one of the most interesting, and definitely most unique, museums that I’ve seen!

Basically, the museum is made up of artifacts and mementos from past failed relationships, along with a short note on the relationship from the person who donated the item. It was quite a rollercoaster of emotions to read them all: some were quite funny and others were obviously very sad. It was overall such an interesting concept and is the original iteration of this museum - it has since been exhibited all over the world! Another plus was the sweet puppy that the museum was looking after for the day named Lola. She was adorable!

After a great and engaging visit, I then headed to the Lower Town area of town, just a quick walk from Upper Town through the Stone Gate. I walked through the Dolac Square to Ban Josip Jelačić Square. My last stop was to visit Cathedral of Zagreb, which was really stunning. I ate at a great little burger place called Otto & Frank before walking up Ulica Ivana Tkalčića street to take an Uber back to the hotel. At the hotel, I had a few hours until the late night flight that I used to work a bit more. I then headed to the airport for my very short flight to Split, Croatia!

Split has been near the top of my list of places to visit for a few years, and I’m so glad to finally be going. Upon my arrival, I took the bus from the airport to the bus terminal near the Old Town. I met Tomislas from Hotel Vestibul Palace. who walked me to the hotel as certain parts of the city are closed off at night so it would have been a bit difficult to find so late at night on my own. It was a very short walk before I was shown to my room which was incredible!

Basically, Split is centered around Diocletian's Palace, and the wall of my hotel room actually shared a wall with part of the palace (the vestibule area, to be exact)! It was amazing and definitely one of the most unique rooms that I have stayed in throughout my trip. Everything about my room was so nice as well, and the location couldn’t be beat. Thank you so much to Hotel Vestibul Palace for sponsoring these night of my trip! I didn’t have time to really eat dinner tonight, so the lovely fruit basket in my room was also much appreciated. After facetiming with my parents to show them how cool it was I was ready for a great night’s sleep before learning more about Diocletian's Palace and Split tomorrow!

84 countries down, 113 to go.

For more information on Croatia click here to read my guide.

To learn more about DoubleTree by Hilton Zagreb click here.

To learn more about Hotel Vestibul Palace click here.