21 May 2018
After yet another lazy start to the day, we rolled out of bed for breakfast, after which we all went to the nearby park together. I left Ian and Cornelia and went for a great run in the sun. It was bloody hot, my heart rate was through the roof (certainly for the pace at which I was running!) and I had to stop off at the “eco loos” which are dotted around, but I felt fabulous for it. It was only 4.5 miles, but it’s my longest run since we’ve been away, and I’m aiming to start building up the mileage now. Cornelia keeps me on my toes too, but every now and then, getting me to do some sit ups and burpees with her!
We went back to the apartment for lunch, which Ian made (!!) while I showered. Then we went in search of the no 6 tram which would take us into Zagreb centre, near the Cathedral. Cornelia was terribly excited to take her first journey on a tram! (I hope she wasn’t too disappointed!)
The City Centre was packed – a 50:50 mix of tourists and locals, and we wandered to the Cathedral first, via a couple of fountains that Bugsy couldn’t resist dipping her hands into. She’d have jumped in completely, if she’d been allowed! The Cathedral was severely damaged by an earthquake in the late 1800s, and was repaired in the early 1900s. There was a terrific old clock up on the wall outside, which had stopped at 07:03 – the exact time of the earthquake in 1880.
Unfortunately, the stone that was used in the reconstruction of the Cathedral was of such poor quality that it basically eroded and then with the country’s Communist rule, no considerable repairs were carried out until the 1990s. It is a stunning and striking building, but the use of clean-cut modern stone detracts from its real history somehow. We weren’t allowed inside as we were in shorts and t-shirts, although Bugsy was keen to go in without us anyway!
From the Cathedral, we sweated and puffed (with Cornelia now on me in the piggy back machine (as we call it!)) up the steep climb to the old city, past the Museum of Broken Relationships which, hilariously is one of the top attractions in Zagreb. Funnily enough, Ian wasn’t keen on going in…! It was all very beautiful, but we were desperate for a cold drink and had promised the toddler a chocolate ice cream. I thought there would be loads of ice cream stalls around, but we could only find one bar with ice cream, and even that came as a chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce. Cornelia wasn’t keen to try it at first, but then, bless her, she reminded herself out loud that she needed to try new things, just in case, and of course, she discovered that she loved it all! The little piglet scoffed the lot while Ian and I guzzled our mint lemonade.
It was getting close to tea time (well-played, Mummy, giving your three year old chocolate cake before supper!!!), so we headed home, diverting only to see if the nearby fairground we’d spotted on our way out was open. Unfortunately, it was completely closed, but as she’d been so good that day, we suggested that we could try again after tea, if she ate it all nicely.
It was salmon, potatoes and broccoli for dinner tonight, so at least it was something healthy to even out the earlier brownie! As we left our apartment to see if the fair was open (it wasn’t), we saw an old lady heading our way, so I asked Bugsy to wave and say hello as we passed, which she dutifully did. Well, this clearly made the old lady’s day! She stopped and was chattering away to us excitedly in Croatian, stroking Cornelia and seemed on the verge of tears, as if she hadn’t spoken to a soul for a long time! My Croatian is non-existent, but I could make out various words, and she was apologising for not having some chocolate to give her. As we walked away, Ian remarked that he wished he knew how to say “We are English” and “I don’t speak Croatian”, and whaddya know, thanks to good old Google Translate, I’ve been practising “Mi smo Engleski. Ne gavarim Hrvatski.” ever since! I tried tracking her down when we returned from the failed fairground trip, but she’d already whizzed off on her zimmer.
Cornelia was very understanding that the fair was closed again and didn’t strop about it at all (which feels like a small but significant parenting win!) and, as a treat, she watched two episodes of Paw Patrol instead of the fairground rides. With that, she went off to bed very happily again.
And with no studying hanging over me, I’m eating chocolate and drinking beer, while Ian researches “driving in Romania”! Another great day.