Krakensalad, Sunsets, and Being a Tourist in Zadar & Zagreb (Croatia Part 4)

After the last night of the Motion Tour in Korčula, we all woke up around 4:30AM to catch the first ferry back to Split. I decided to stay in Split for an extra day with one of the girls I met at the workshop so I could spend the afternoon being lazy and getting some rest while she went to explore a nearby National Park.

It’s a different feeling when you’re on the road for months at a time instead of just being on holiday for a week or so. When you have a short break, you want to take advantage of every second you have even if that means spending every second on the beach. But when your life is traveling, even temporarily, you have to allow yourself some rest days.

Knowing this, I tried to build some downtime into my schedule. For example, I stayed in Madrid for an entire week, not because there was a week’s worth of things I wanted to do there, but because I knew I needed some of those days to catch up on my writing, Skype my parents, get a haircut, and do absolutely nothing. Likewise, I knew I needed the rest day in Split after the Motion Tour. I took a hot shower and I lay on my comfy hotel bed for hours that afternoon (a rare luxury for me as I was mostly doing hostels, couches, and floors on this trip).

When my friend got back to the hotel, we went out for dinner near the Peristyle in Split and I tried “krakensalad” for the first time. I have no idea if that is actually the word for Octopus in Croatia, but that is what the menu said and that is what I ate. And it was actually delicious…. even if I could see the little suction cup thingies on the tentacles… Picture below:

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Octopus Salad (krakensalad) in Split, Croatia. August 2015.
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Dinner in Split, Croatia. August 2015.

After dinner, we walked around the city and found a dance party on the boardwalk, lots of (overpriced) craft booths with beautiful jewelry, and these little Croatian donuts that we ate for dessert. I slept like a baby that night and was ready for my next journey: several hours on a bus from Split to Zadar, a little further up the coast, followed by another 4-5 hour trip into the capital a few days later.

Zadar and Zagreb were my last stops in Croatia and I was lucky enough to have a local guide in each city thanks to the new friends I made on the Motion Tour. When I arrived in Zadar, one of the guys showed me around the old town pointing out the major sights and, equally as important, the parkour spots. The city is beautiful, with its ancient stone churches and a soft stone floor, and more modern installations like the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun along the water. There are also some great parkour spots around town, including a field full of old historical rocks that in any other city would totally be off-limits. I couldn’t believe it. You mean no one will yell at me if I jump on these? I was reassured that they did it all the time and no one cared. Sweet.

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Little feline friend sleeping in Precision Jump Heaven (field full of ancient/historical rocks). Zadar, Croatia. September 2015.

We stopped for pizza at Teta Feta which is insanely cheap (~10 kuna per slice), the slices are HUGE, and it is delicious. And later in the evening, we went to this cool outdoor bar/lounge called Ledana which was a great place to sit outside and chill out (people-watch). I also highly recommend Restaurant Bruschetta. I went the next day for lunch (it was way too busy at dinnertime) and I ordered the shrimp risotto with fresh Adriatic shrimp and a delicious sauce. I practically licked my plate clean – it was so good!

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Sunset in Zadar, Croatia. September 2015.

I also had some good food in Zagreb while we were doing a walking tour of the city. First, I had a spicy turkey wrap for lunch which I made a mess of when I got to the end of it. I’m a total embarrassment when it comes to eating while walking. Or doing anything while walking. Then later, we went to this famous ice cream joint that used to be a music store (read: cool decor) called Chocolat 041. The Internet says Chocolat 041 but the sign out front says b 041… I’m confused. Anyway, it’s the best ice cream in the world.

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Chocolate Orange & Raspberry Ice Cream 🙂 @ B 041 in Zagreb, Croatia.
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Storefront. Best ice cream in the world. Zagreb, Croatia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only had a small amount of time in each city, but I really enjoyed my visit. It was nice to have a local show me around instead of wandering around with a map in front of my face. Just kidding, I’d rather get totally lost than look like that guy…

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I saw plenty of churches, museums, historical sites, markets, and beautiful parks while I was there. I also loved being able to sit and talk with the locals and learn more about their parkour training and philosophy, and simply learn more about their life since we come from such different parts of the world. Once again I felt incredibly grateful that these new friends were happy to take a few hours out of their day to show me around and tell me about their city.

Croatia always makes my top 3 when people ask what my favorite place was on this trip. Partly because I had an amazing time with the people I met there, but also because of the stunning sunsets, the countless beautiful islands to explore, the old historical buildings, and the quirky little things like the Museum of Broken Relationships. I will definitely be coming back here someday. And do you even have to ask? Yes, I highly recommend visiting this beautiful country.

A few photos from Zagreb:

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