As the train pulled out of Vienna and headed south on that cold, frosty Wednesday morning, December 1st, it didn’t take long to realize that we were headed into some VERY different territory. Most of the five hour-plus trip was through landscape that I can only describe as “Dr. Zhivago Land.” Everything was white – from the frosted trees dotting the expansive snow-covered fields to the colorless sky heavy with moisture. Great sleeping weather which is what we tried to do most of the way to Zagreb. But sleep was hard to find mostly because of our growing anticipation to meet up with some friends we’d only met through friends in the States via skype. One of the many perks of travel is the adventure of meeting new people and travel is made sweeter when you can share it with friends especially if they are locals to your destination.
The Masseys (Addie, Cameron, Roger, Ian and Erin) graciously welcomed us into their home on the outskirts of Zagreb. What a divine pleasure to sit comfortably in a cozy home with great fellowship and a big pot of homecooked soup served with fresh bread from the bakery next door. As we chatted and got to know each other better, it was clear that this was a very special family. Roger and Erin originally hail from Texas but have lived in Zagreb for many years, dedicated to God’s calling to bring His love to the Croates in a land that is only recently begun to heal from the horrors and wounds of war. See their website video: http://www.vimeo.com/12484082
Although the weather was wintry and chilly, we set out one day for a wonderful walking tour of Zagreb and were blessed to have our own personal tour guide. Roger took us out starting in Lower Town near the train station we trolleyed and walked through the streets heading to Upper Town stopping every so often to get some interesting history about this lovely city.
One of our favorite stops was St. Mark’s Church dating back to the 13th century. In the 1800’s, the multi-colored tile roof was added and displays the medieval coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia on the left and the emblem of Zagreb on the right.
Zagreb’s Upper Town is a network of little streets that stretch between two hills: Kaptol and Gradec. This area is rich with historic sights and interesting local flavor.
The local market was filled with Christmas wares and we took it all in – literally!
We spent far too little time in Croatia – only scratching the surface of this beautiful country. We vowed to return to take in Plitvice National Park and Dubrovnik in particular. Hoping the Masseys will join us on our next adventure in Croatia!
More Shots of Zagreb