Northern Croatia

Zagreb, Croatia

Mike and I left Zaton Holiday Resort around lunch time on Monday, drove 70 km (almost 3 hours) to the campground we were in a week ago.  Below is a photo we took just after the sun set from our camper.  Our friends were leaving Zaton much earlier, driving through half of Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria aiming for Germany their first night. It is lovely to meet them somewhere, but I don’t think we will be traveling together much! ?

It was a very windy day when we left Zaton.  We frequently saw signs giving high wind speed warnings on the highway with the large S bends as we made our way up and through the mountains.  Poor Mike, driving our RV up mountains in high crosswinds requires a lot of concentration and effort.

Road across mountains in high crosswind

We returned to a rural campground that we had stayed at a week earlier.  It was nice to be greeted as friends.  We only stayed for three days, but we had a good time and we got some biking in.

We left there and headed to a campground about 45 minutes west of Zagreb near Samobor.  There were a couple of other campers there, but we were in a separate area due to our size.  One night we met a couple and their 10-year-old son from the UK.  They had sold their house to allow them to travel for a year in their camper although he had kept his part ownership in a small business.  Their year was up and they had already decided to extend until Christmas this year.  They would love to do the same traveling in North America but that would really require selling up everything which is a scary thought and not to be done lightly.  They were home (internet) schooling their son two hours a day.  They believe that he is doing better with their direct attention for two hours each day than he was doing in school.  Jacob had just purchased what he called a “balancing board” and was very proud of it.  This was the same device that our friends in Zaton called a “Sky Master” and which I tried to some hilarity.  We had the three of them visiting for the evening and we told Jacob that he couldn’t visit us in the morning until the blinds at the front of the RV were raised, signifying that I was dressed and willing to talk to others.  He must have been watching because within two minutes of raising the blinds we heard a knock on the door.  It was Jacob trying to carry a very heavy “balancing board” that he wanted to show us.  We then had the pleasure of watching a 10-year-old show off on the device in our RV since he felt that our ceramic floor would be better than the wet grass outside.  It is lovely to see children that are so well behaved while still being kids at the same time.

We had hoped to do some boating on the Sava River.  We had boated on a different portion of it a few weeks earlier.  The Sava here was much too shallow to boat in which was too bad.  Mike had wanted to wash the salt from the Adriatic Sea off the boat and engine and the only place that I feel comfortable outside in this heat is in the boat.

The campground we went to was reserved for the upcoming weekend for a private “bachelorette” party full of nubile women (or so we were informed ?).  Mike and I were told that we could park just outside the campground next to their fence and still have electricity although we wouldn’t have access to the pool and washrooms etc. which we had never used.  Everyone else had been prewarned and were leaving.  We were cautioned that the party might get noisy, but we underestimated how loud young women can play their music.  It was pretty awful for the whole weekend.  It was also extremely hot.

Catherine the Great

On the way south a few weeks ago, Mike and I had stopped and spent ½ day in Zagreb.  It was so hot I really wasn’t paying attention to much of anything.  This time we went there, and I quickly elected to go and see the Catherine the Great exhibit that was on at their museum.  It was largely about Catherine with some of her items from the Hermitage.  It was quite well done, and the building was air conditioned!  I can’t handle the heat and after two visits I still hadn’t seen or absorbed much of Zagreb.  I decided to try again but this time with a new plan.  Mike and I wouldn’t leave until 4pm for the 45-minute drive to Zagreb.  We would wander around and see the town as the heat was declining and have supper in the city.  Mike already gets agitated that we don’t normally leave the RV until after 11 in the morning.  I knew that my plan wouldn’t thrill him.  He went out for a 17 km bike ride during the day in the heat while I stayed in our air-conditioned RV, washed my hair, puttered around and felt great.  I was still feeling good when we left for Zagreb and we had a super time.  It was still hot but quite livable.  I enjoyed seeing the city for the first time.  Somehow, I need to convince Mike to do this more often in the heat.  It affects me much more than him.  Zagreb has a summer program called the Zagreb Time Machine.  It involves people wandering around in the dress of a much earlier era.  They are very willing to stop and have their photos taken and to talk with tourists.  It is a nice program.

Mike and I hadn’t realized that we hadn’t really had a long-term heat problem since we retired.  The first summer we spent in Newfoundland and Labrador and it was a little chilly, but very nice for walking.  Last year we spent in Scandinavia during their coldest, wettest summer on record.  This year it is so hot and dry in Scandinavia that grilling and barbequing are forbidden in many areas, what a difference.  Mind you, from what I hear, the heat in Canada has been even worse in many areas, including Mississauga, than what we are experiencing.

Zagreb Time Machine

After the bride to be and her friends had left a couple of campers arrived at the campground.  One of them told us that they had heard about us before they arrived.  They had met our visitors from the UK that weekend and been told about us and our “house”.   One evening we had a hail storm.  When you live in a tin can, hail storms are very, very loud.  Even turning up the television to full volume wasn’t enough to be able to hear it.  Luckily the storm didn’t last too long.  Very near where we were staying was the town of Samobor.  The tourism agency had published seven bike routes from Samobor, with detailed information about difficulty and length etc.  The routes were all nicely marked and we tried a couple of them.

When we left the Zagreb area we weren’t sure if we were going to go directly to Lake Balaton or not.  Lake Balaton is where we will be leaving our RV in a week when we fly home to Canada.  While we often stay in campgrounds for a week at a time I didn’t like being forced into it.  I found the town Zalužnica, in the very north of Croatia, that was enroute and very near two lakes and a river.  We decided to head there first.  When we arrived, Zalužnica looked quite deserted.  We think that some of that was because all the store doors were closed which made the stores themselves look closed.  I assume the stores were open and that the reason for the closed doors was the air conditioning inside.  It turns out that there were no campgrounds anywhere near this area that we could find.  The water looked extremely fast moving in some places, so we decided to just visit the town and go on to Lake Balaton and do our boating there.

Lake Balaton and then Canada here we come.



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