fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

Delights of Zagreb

I have mostly heard Zagreb described unkindly, and I don't think it deserves that at all. It looks like a slightly more experimental version of Vienna, and I suspect that's mostly by direct decree of Franz Josef I: there is Secession-style everywhere, including the truly spectacular reading-room of the National Archives. This is decorated with brass plaques depicting babies doing things with folios that would horrify any parent or librarian; falling in neither category, I thought they were cute.

The fish plate pictured previously turned out to be poisonous and laid me out for twelve hours starting at 11pm Saturday; then I took the bus up to Zagreb. This starts off in spectacular limestone hills, with the sort of stunt autobahn construction in which the tunnels attach directly to the viaducts; having a motorway switchback up a mountain was the best bit. It then turns into rolling hills full of farmhouses in a sort of Alpine-meadows way: as if the tunnel led from very-east Italy to very-south Bavaria.

I made it to the EU welcome ceremony on Sunday night: short speeches from EU highest-officials and the Croat president, lots of folk-dancing, a particularly ostentatious cello duet, and at the end fireworks (invisible from the square) and the Ode to Joy belted out by two sopranos and a bass choir.

Today I've been museum-hopping, since the EU accession was celebrated by opening museums on Monday (unprecedented) and making admission free. Croatia's been a great place to live and trade for long enough that the Archaeological Museum was excellent, and the Pavilion containing a museum of the restoration of the Pavilion and an exhibition of noted exhibitions that had taken place in the Pavilion could not easily have been more self-referential. The Design Museum was good fun; but in three museums I don't think I saw a memorable Croat painting.

(there will be pictures later, but I have misplaced the blivet for getting them directly from camera to iPad)

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