Wow, what a *true* rest day--getting to explore the capital city of Zagreb & more of Krapina!
Today was an optional day on the EPW, where you could choose to stay with Marlis an extra night and take a train out in the morning to Zagreb, and that is exactly what we did! We had a delicious breakfast with ~homemade~ strawberry jam and were quickly on our way to catch the first train into at 8:10 AM! As we struggled to figure out the train tickets and train times, a super nice guy offered to help, as he also was going to Zagreb for work--and as life would have it, Fly and I ended up sitting with him on the train, chatting the entire hour and a half there, and starting a cross-continental friendship :)
Vjekoslav is currently a engineering student in Zagreb, and he helped enlighten us on a few things that we had been wondering about (and other facts!):
-As noticed in Varazdin, there were not many restaurants around because people normally eat at home--homemade Croatian food is indeed the best. If there are restaurants around, oftentimes, there will have different cultures' foods with a Croatian spin on it (ex. pizza would be thicker and with a lot of meat!)
-All of the dogs that would bark at us when we walked by were not guard dogs, but just normal pets. The signs that we would see on peoples' gates were not "beware dog" as we had thought, but it is actually a law in Croatia that you need to have a sign saying you have a dog if it is larger than a certain size. They certainly seemed less formidable after learning that :)
-There is a big student political movement growing that started when students would do sit-ins in houses that were about to be taken away from poorer people that was unjust. Definitely interested to see where that goes!
-"If you want to waste time, take the train!"
-The Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001) really changed everything in Croatia and has affected life in many different ways. Vjekoslav's sister was actually in a hospital in Zagreb 20 minutes before it was bombed. I definitely need to read up on this time in history.
-Star Wars is a much needed series to watch #myapologies
Vjekoslav then walked us to the main square after getting off in Zagreb (why is everybody so nice!!) before heading off to work, and Fly and I explored the downtown market, as well as walking around the city. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I absolutely loved Zagreb. We spent some time in the Museum of Broken Relationships, which had some super powerful exhibitions where there were stories and some sort of memorabilia submitted by people from all over the world, who had a broken relationship (definitely, definitely check this out if you go to Zagreb!). We noticed that some areas had nobody in it, and when we would turn a corner, suddenly, everyone was there and it was almost like a different area! We had an amazing lunch & dessert, and after eating and talking for quite awhile, we decided that a nap in the park was a move, and so that is exactly what we did.
When we got back on the train, we again found Vjekoslav because it was the last train back to Krapina due to the national holiday!! SO we got to talk more about observations & movies & Croatia & our interests & political problems & life! We said our goodbyes, and headed back to the Barrock hostel, where we welcomed the next group of Peacewalkers, and the last for June!! WOO!! 4 people (2 from Iceland and 2 from India) are continuing on with us, so we have an even larger group walking now, which will definitely be very exciting :) Dinner with everyone was amazing & afterwards, Marlis took us to the Franciscan Church in a Krapina to have a look around. The church is stunning, and Jelko and the head priest welcomed us and showed us around the church. There are some crazy artifacts & stories they told us about, including a book made with human skin (because back in the day, people donated human skin instead of organs as they thought it would bring them closer to God) and the oldest wine leaf in the world (that is 12 million years old)! We then celebrated with drinks & cake & some great singing from Donal and said our goodbyes in high spirits:)
Today, I've just been feeling very thankful for the kindness that keeps on showing itself throughout the Peacewalk, and I'm looking forward to the days ahead of us. Tomorrow though, we are waking up at 5:30 AM to get started early since it is going to rain, and that may be bad on the hills. I guess it means I'm starting my resolution on the right foot--and it also means it's time for bed!