This was a very early morning. Since I was staying in a hostel, I was rudely awakened about 4am by some very loud drunk people coming back into the room. I was able to get back to sleep once they passed out, but only for about an hour. I was up by 5:30 and on a bike at 6am. I did an early bird New Zagreb tour with the Blue Bike company and it was amazing! Since the company is relatively new, I was the only person doing the early bird tour, so it was just me and the guide. We rode our bikes around the lower town, the part of Zagreb which was heavily developed in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th century. By this time, city planning was used in full force and Zagreb has a very attractive horse shoe of green parks within its urban fabric. We cycled through all of the horseshoe and the botanical gardens as well. Along the way, we saw the majority of the major museums and the theatre house. The style of the theatre house looked familiar to me and I learned that it was built by the same architect who built the opera house in Budapest. As we cycled, my guide told me about the development of Croatia as a country and Zagreb as a city. I learned about famous leaders of the past such as the first Croatian king as well as recent leaders such as Nikolas Tesla, one of the inventors of electricity.
We did not spend too much time dwelling in the past though, we quickly cycled under the train tracks and across the river towards New Zagreb. Towards the beginning of New Zagreb, there is a statue of the governor who encouraged the first development of the area over the river in the 1960s. The statue shows him stepping away from a frame, a portrayal of moving into new territory. New Zagreb hass grown a lot in recent years, feauturing wide boulevards and extensive urban planning. Several nice green open spaces are scattered throughout the area. Schools and grocery stores are easily accessible to each apartment, because unlike the suburbs in the United States, the people who live in the area of New Zagreb typically live in apartments not homes. The difference is really shocking when you cross the river from the traditional Zagreb into this new development. It was fascinating to see and I am so glad I went on a bike tour to see it because otherwise I would not have been able to.
After my bike tour, I had a belgian waffle for breakfast then I headed to Dolac Market again. This time I picked up a kilo of nectarines for my train trip to Vienna today for only about $1.50. It was only about 9am still, so I decided to do as the locals do and head to a cafe. I went to the main cafe and choose a place called Histroy Cafe to get a cappucino and some orange juice. As in many other European cities, the cafe scene is for those who want to see and be seen. I took it all in from my comfy seat in the shade with misters while I waited for the rest of the city to wake up. Going on a bike tour so early was really nice because not many people were awake so we had the roads and the city to ourselves. Also, it was not too hot yet. After my time at the cafe, I strolled through the Strossmayer Promenade and made my way back to my hostel and showered. I now have a 6 and a half hour train ride to Vienna to look forward to, I can only hope and pray that this train will have air conditioning!!