Another beautiful day for driving as we chose to take the normal roads rather than the highways on our tip from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Zagreb, Croatia. At one section we came to a stop light that is red for 20 minutes as it shares a one way street. For 20 minutes all the cars go one way and then for the next 20 minutes the cars can go the opposite way. Interesting. No wonder a one-way bridge is called a waiting bridge here.
At another spot, Russ noticed a little cable car that traversed over the river Sava (same name as my horse). It held two people one on each side who sat facing each other. A wheel is turned on the shore to wind the cable getting the people from one side of the river to the other side. It was like a mini manual gondola cable car. Lulu said it was a creek to creek instead of a peak to peak. We had lots of fun going back and forth across the river. Then we happened to ask Tatiana to translate a sign written on the side of the cable car. It said “This is for transportation only; not for playing”. OOPS, we had too much fun playing with it already so we got back into the cars and drove off.
We stopped for lunch at a small village called Bristoneca (or something close to that). Russ and Terry gave hats to everyone there and took photos. We are starting to call Terry the Canadian Ambassador because he hands out Canadian pins, stickers and hats to everyone he sees, even the people who collect money at the toll stations. He even gave out two Canadian hats to police women! And then took their photo.
We ate lunch outside on the patio and it was wonderful. Two of the tables had dogs sleeping under the tables. It was fun and relaxing. We need more of this in Canada. After lunch we stopped at a nuclear power plant built right between two beautiful churches. Then before we knew it we were at a border crossing. Croatia is not in the EU so we had to pass through a border crossing, leaving Slovenia and then again entering into Croatia. The Border Guard at Croatia asked me if I had anything to tell the policemen. I said “what policemen?” and he said “in the back”. I looked behind me and said “there are no policemen back there. What do you mean?” He meant did I have anything illegal in the car? Too funny. He even cracked a smile when I was looking for the police. We got through without any problems and I gave them hats.
Immediately upon entering Croatia we noticed a difference. Slovenia is definitely more affluent than Croatia. Taking a closer look as we drove along we noticed that many of the homes in Croatia are not finished. There are lots of brick homes without the plaster over the bricks to finish it off or the second floor was not finished. All these homes were occupied and lived in. We guess that the reason for this is that the people build as they can afford it. Not like in North America where we take out a mortgage, finish the house and take twenty-five years to pay off the mortgage. It looks like they pay as they go here.
The hotel we checked into in Zagreb was fantastic. “Regent Esplanade Zagreb Hotel” I highly recommend it. It was built for the Orient Express patrons and it is the best hotel in Zagreb. Zagreb is the capital and largest city in Croatia. For dinner we took taxi’s up into the Gradec hill area which is residential filled with lovely 19th Century homes. (Looks a little like the Shaunessay area of Vancouver). We ate at a tennis club owned by a famous tennis player from Croatia. Marcellino was the name of the restaurant and it was the best meal I have ever eaten. They had a Greek salad made with feta cheese sorbet and a red pepper reduction sorbet covered in chopped up fresh cucumbers and dill. Delicious!
The restaurant was painted a dark grey colour with one wall a lime green and opposite the lime green wall was a glass wall looking out into a forest of lime green trees and vegetation. The forest was all lit up. It was beautiful. This restaurant was spectacular and if it was in Vancouver I am sure it would be packed full with people but tonight we were the only people in this restaurant.