Zagreb – First Impressions

I hadn’t been on the ground five minutes before making my first mistake and encountering my first understanding Croatian. At Passport Control I found myself at the EU citizen booth because I saw “All Passports” without checking to see if I could just go to any line. Of course, I’ve traveled enough to know that nationals and tourists go to separate lines, but I was really lacking sleep when we arrived in Zagreb. Anyway, after telling me my error, the agent said not to move, that he would stamp my passport. This saved me the embarrassment of moving to the end of the correct queue.

To get to my Airbnb I needed to take the tram, but didn’t know which direction would move me to and not away from it. The man I asked not only told me the direction, but also counted the stops and told me mine was the second one after the big stadium. Once off the train I became confused at a fork in the road and didn’t know which street to follow. It soon became obvious that I was walking in circles. And because my phone hasn’t been working so well, Google maps couldn’t help me. All of the five people I eventually asked for help did so happily, even though they didn’t actually know where my house was located. I eventually found a spot where I could use my phone and found my way. What should have been a 15-minute walk took an hour. I prefer to say I wasn’t lost, just exploring the neighborhood.

This leads me to my final first impression. Everybody I asked–from students to seniors–spoke decent English; some spoke it very well. It’s almost as if English is a co-first language in Zagreb. Perhaps this isn’t true outside of the capital and the tourist areas, but for now it’s helping me learn a lot about Croatian culture firsthand instead of having to search the Internet.

The weather has been a pleasant surprise. The afternoon temperature yesterday and today was about 28C. The forecast calls for cooler weather in a few days but still warm.  Yippeee!!!

On my Portugal blog I wrote one post for each city I visited. I think for this trip I’ll post whenever I have enough information to do so.


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