An Esperantist Tour of Zagreb

One of the cool things about Esperanto is the way it helps you make friends and connections around the world. This weekend we had the opportunity to stay with an Esperantist from Zagreb, while he and another of his Esperantist friends showed us around the city. While we were only there for one full day, we managed to see and learn a lot. Zagreb is a really interesting place, with delicious food, unusual architecture, beautiful parks and monuments, and plenty of history.

We started off our day with a walk through the city center and a visit to the Zagreb Cathedral. The cathedral was first built in the 13th century, and has been destroyed and repaired several times in its history–in fact, it has been under renovation for the past few years (a dispute between the city and the church over funding has delayed the latest project). It’s the tallest building in Croatia, and one of the few Gothic cathedrals southeast of the Alps.

Inside, the cathedral is lined with ornate altars in baroque and renaissance styles. The interior is lit by patterned stain glass windows, a dim, soft light. At the front of the church lies the sarcophagus of a Croatian priest.

We had lunch at a traditional Croatian restaurant, where we tried food prepared in a distinctly Croatian style–cooked under a giant terracotta “bell.” Embers are placed on top of the bell, bringing the temperature to a high heat, resulting in tender and delicious meat and potatoes.

After lunch, we walked around a little more before visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships. It seemed like a fairly interesting, and a little funny, stop, but it turned out to be a well curated and emotionally moving exhibition, delivering a glimpse into the deeply personal and vulnerable aspects of human relationships.

After an afternoon ice cream break, we visited the Museum of Illusions. A small, but pretty fun, attraction, the Museum of Illusions featured a hall of holograms, a tilted room, countless optical illusions, and a fairly frustrating array of wooden puzzles.

We ended our night with some late night burek (a flaky Turkish pastry filled with meat) and live music on a patio on a hill overlooking the city. It was a pleasant way to end a great day.

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