A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
Isn’t it exciting?
I’m featured in the Metro Magazine – a lifestyle magazine in the Philippines: Metro Magazine Feature (Annual Body Issue) – Lifestyle – April 2017 Edition!
It’s a pdf for now but apparently, there’s a book coming out!
Don’t I look great!
I hope you’re enjoying the first post that I wrote about Croatia.
And I’ve got lots more where that came from!
However, this post is not only going to be about Zagreb, but about travelling with family.
I don’t often write about family travel as this blog is really all about me. And my travels!
Does it sound selfish?
I purposely chose Croatia as a place to travel with my family for the reasons that I’ll soon be writing below, but first, let’s get the info!
Teenagers! You’ve got to love ’em!
And when you’re travelling or going abroad, you’ve got to think of things differently, as teenagers are not children per se, but neither are they adults.
They’re gangly young people, looking to explore the world, find their feet, and live life to the full.
And if you’re like me. You’ll let them do it, and give them the gift of travel!
Children are versatile.
And they don’t really need much.
All they need is plenty of food, a safe and clean place to lay their head, wi-fi, a bit of space to lay out all their “stuff”and you!
You don’t have to wait until “they’re old enough to know.”
Believe you me. They know!
You don’t have to wait until “they understand the benefits” of travel.
What are you talking about`?
Any place that is different from home and in which they can learn about other places, other cultures, and other people, is a marvellous thing.
The younger they are, the easier it is, and the better for all!
I started travelling with our son when he was just 5 months old. I put him in a baby carrier, dumped all his toys and baby stuff in the car, and breast-fed him all the way!
And by the time he was 5 years old, he had been to 32 countries, and at 12, he was already talking about spending his GAP year in Thailand, so there’s that!
I love travelling with our son, and even though he’s just turned 15. OMG! It won’t be long until he’ll want to be travelling with his friends. Gulp!
In Northern European countries that age tends to be between 16 and 17 years old as young people are more independent, and their parents liberal, tolerant, and open-minded which is why I decided to go to Amsterdam at the beginning of the year. With our teenager in tow!
Interestingly enough, our German friends didn’t blink an eye when I told them. Not so my Anglo-American friends who were visibly shocked and worried.
Not to worry. Everything turned out just fine!
Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.
Zagreb is one of the oldest cities in Central Europe as far back as 1094!
It’s located in the northern part of Croatia, just north of the Sava River, and has a population of just under 793,000 people!
The local name for Croat is Hrvat. You will see this word everywhere. Hrvat was a powerful military chieftain in the early Middle Ages and also another word for “friend!”
The historical part of Zagreb to the north of the centre of the city is called Ban Jelačić Square. It is composed of the Gradec or Gornji Grad /the Old Town), and the diocese settlement of Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists and locals alike!
In fact, if truth be told, April is so early in the season that there weren’t really many tourists at all!
I didn’t hear British voices or German ones. The tourists that were about were either American, Korean, Italian or Croatian!
These two parts of “town” used to be divided by a river and a bridge known as the Krvavi Most, otherwise known as, the Bloody Bridge!
Krvavi Most – the Bloody Bridge – is a street just 2 minutes away from our holiday apartment!
The rather unusual name is so-called after the original bridge which used to lie over the Medveščak creek,and which gained notoriety because of the many conflicts that happened between the citizens of the two parts of “town” – Gradec and Kaptol!
The bridge is long gone, as is the river, but the street kept it’s name – The Bloody Bridge!
Zagreb is a small city but a city rich with history, prestigious architecture, and great connections linking Croatia to Central Europe, South-East Europe, and the Mediterranean!
There’s no denying that Zagreb is very much a family destination with plenty to offer, to satisfy both parents, and their accompanying teenager. And with the help of the 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board, we did just that!
Thanks so much!
1. The Grič Cannon: Every day at noon, the Grič Cannon is fired from the Lotrščak Tower and the people of Zagreb set their watches by it. In fact, you can gather under the tower and watch the cannon come out! And without fail, the huge “Boom” will make you jump out of your skin! I’m guessing teenagers would be too cool to show you that they almost lost their iPhones, due to the shock!
We watched it twice, and we still jumped!
The guy manning the cannon is pretty jolly, as he always waves out of the window to whoever might be nearby!
2. Nesi-Hensu – An Egyptian Mummy: This famous Egyptian “mummy” was a woman called Nesi-Hensu, the wife of a tailor from Thebes. The mummy was wrapped in sliced bands of a linen book which was inscribed and preserved, in the Etruscan language. The mummy was accompanied by a papyrus with a text of several chapters from the Book of the Dead, making it the longest surviving manuscript of the language, in the world!
She can be found at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.
3. Hire a local bike: The beauty of most European countries is how easy and normal it is, to use your bike. Most of the Old Town is car-free so it’s perfectly save for teenagers to ride along by themselves in and around the many parks in Zagreb, or to the surrounding suburbs and countryside.
4. Visit a Museum: Zagreb is home to a wealth of museums including the Croatian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, the Museum of Illusion, and the Archaeological Museum Zagreb. In addition, Zagreb is also the permanent home of the Museum of Broken Relationships!
We had planned to go to the Zagreb City Museum otherwise known as, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, but we were too late to reach it on Sunday, and it was utterly closed on Monday! However, we managed to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships.
My husband – The Music Producer – was sceptical at first wondering how a roomful of broken hearts could cause such an attraction however, it wasn’t like that at all! It’s a quirky museum that exhibits mementos and love tokens donated from broken-hearted lovers, all over the world.
Even The Tall Young Gentleman found it interesting. I’m sure your teenager would too!
In some places, the stories were quite funny and in some, extremely idiotic!
All I can say is Berlin, furniture, and an axe!
5. The Order of the Silver Dragon: Each Saturday, (April – September), tourists can meet members of the Red Srebrnog Zmaja, otherwise known as the Order of The Silver Dragon at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town! This Order re-enacts famous historical conflicts between Gradec and Kaptol, and is a great opportunity to see authentic, fully functional, historical replicas of medieval armour!
6. Zagreb is safe: Croatia is an up-and-coming Central-East-European destination with many things to recommend it. It’s small, cheap, fresh and interesting. It’s also easy to move around by bus, tram, bicycle or simply walking around, with plenty of people-watching activity to satisfy any discerning teenager!
And if all else fails, take the funicular up and down!
7. The changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard: Sadly, we didn’t see the Order of the Silver Dragon above, but we did manage to bump into the Cravat Regiment Guards instead!
The Cravat Regiment is part of the Croatian light cavalry from the 17th century. Apart from great valour, its biggest claim to fame was its uniform, especially the distinctive scarves its soldiers wore around their necks, which is where the cravat got its name from! The knotted scarf quickly became a popular fashion accessory, and was already known as cravat (English), Krobatten (German), and Cravates (French)!
The Cravat Regiment can be found every weekend at noon, at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town, in which you’ll see the two-hour ceremony of the changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard, stemming right back from the 17th century, by the very same regiment soldiers who gave the tie it’s name!
I think we saw them at the end stage of the ceremony as they seemed to be recruiting for new guards, and getting certificates and medals.
You know how I always seem to have a nose for these things so when I spied a couple of local hacks, they took me in, and gave me some titbits. Not only was this ceremony an important part of the recruitment process, but for the first time in Croatian history, a single woman was being added to the team!
8. Zagreb 360°: Go up to the tallest building in Zagreb, otherwise known as the Zagreb 360° – Observation Deck and Event venue!
Zagreb 360° is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Zagreb and can be found on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. In fact, you can’t miss it. Just look up!
It’s on the 16th floor at the very top of the Zagreb Skyscraper and offers a spectacular view of the Ban Jelačić (main) square, the Manduševac fountain, Kaptol, Gradec, the Upper and Lower Town, and the most important cultural and historic structures in Zagreb.
On a clear day you can even see as far out into Slovenia!
We went up there and very much enjoyed the view. In fact, it was so sunny in some parts that it was difficult to take photographs with our iPhones!
We liked Zagreb 360° and enjoyed reading the historical posters and gallery photography, although some of the translated content was a little disturbing…!
Sometimes, it takes a holiday to remind you that even though your teenagers might be strapping lads and thoughtful girls, they’re still very much children. The Zagreb 360° had a number of larger-than-sized board games and so The Tall Young Gentleman and I played a game of Ludo.
9. Take a city walking tour: I’m a great lover of walking tours, and one of the best ways for your teenager to get to know their way around Zagreb, is to take a walking tour.
We went with a local company called the Free Spirit Waking Tour Zagreb. I believe it’s the only free walking tour of it’s kind in Zagreb!
Generally, the local guide is usually an expert in the area, and shows you around the city that they have either grown up in, or have come to love. It usually last about 2 hours, it’s everyday, and it’s completely free of charge, save for tips!
Our guide – Luka – was great. He really knows his stuff and is fun. And with a child in tow that counts for something. We gave him a very nice tip at the end!
10. And lastly, the Grič Tunnel – A secret tip: Zagreb has underground tunnels!
My husband – The Music Producer – was looking for something to surprise me with! As a well-seasoned lifestyle travel blogger, it’s not easy to knock me over with a feather as I’ve either already been there, or done that! And so, he wanted to show me somewhere, and that I wasn’t to check my VoiceGuide Zagreb App, or Google!
We followed him down a pedestrian tunnel in the historic neighbourhood of Grič, otherwise known as Gradec or Gornji Grad!
And we found a very huge, and very long underground tunnel!
The Grič Tunnel consists of a central hall connected by two passageways to Mesnička Street in the west and Stjepan Radić Street in the east, and four passageways extending to the south.
It was built during World War II to serve both as a bomb shelter and a promenade. However, after the war it quickly fell into disrepair and disuse, until it was used as a shelter during the Croatian War of Independence, and for dance raves in the 90’s!
In 2016, the tunnel was remodeled and opened to the public as a quirky new tourist attraction. And it really does the job.
It was so hot outdoors that the coolness of the tunnel was a welcome relief. I even thought of having a picnic there!
And strangely, there are even public utilities if you’re desperate, too!
Your teenagers will love it, just like we did!
That’s if for now. See you next week!
Where we stayed: Apartment Place4you – Just under €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Wonderful!
This article is not sponsored and even though we received complimentary 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board, all opinions and the enticing pork sandwiches that we happily munched through, are my very own!
In May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting Sweden & Finland!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’ll miss the sunshine!
May is going to be exciting!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!
Pingback: Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons! | The British Berliner
You DO look great! Can’t wait to read the full feature when you post it. You’re a rock star, Victoria!
Thanks so much Kristin! I’m pretty delighted even if I say so myself! 😉
I’m eagerly awaiting the full feature too, and I hear that this edition was the first major one for the new Editor-in-Chief, who approached me. I think she’s pleased..!
Pingback: 21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now! | The British Berliner
Pingback: Croatia – a basic guide to food! | The British Berliner
Pingback: Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek! | The British Berliner
Pingback: Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing! | The British Berliner
Pingback: 21 things to do on a Blackpool beach ‘cos winter is coming! | The British Berliner
Pingback: How to visit Yorkshire. And York! | The British Berliner
Pingback: How I went to 8 wonderful countries, got heaps of expat awards, was on radio with the BBC, & met Prince William in 2017! | The British Berliner
Pingback: Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge? | The British Berliner
Pingback: I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me! | The British Berliner
Pingback: Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official! | The British Berliner