I rode across the capital of Croatia at night. The streets still rumbled with trams, their tracks covering the city’s streets. I arrived uneventfully at the hostel, low on calories. The hostel rocked to the sounds of drunk tourists in the bar playing trivia. I resigned myself to a restless night and relocating in the morning.
The crowd was boisterous but friendly. Most of them left for a pub crawl at 11:00 pm; in the ensuing quiet I talked with a number of people late into the night. One staff member suggested Medvedgrad, a castle normally a two-hour walk north of town, which I could reach more readily by bicycle. My bed is 4 floors from the bar; I had a great night’s sleep.
I packed my tools. The amount of time to get there? Two hours. Just north of Zagreb are the Zagreb Mountains. I cycled to the edge of Zagreb, and then … I walked. And walked. I could see the fortress from kilometers away, perched atop the mountains. Even unloaded, I walked almost the entire way there, the last kilometer over steep cobblestones. Medvedgrad looked great from the outside, but the interior was mid-renovation, looking more a construction site than castle. The ride back to Zagreb took 20 minutes.
I spent the remainder of the day walking the city, the huge cathedral of particular note. Restoration entails replacing and recarving the cathedral, stone by stone. There is a lot to do, but all in all Zagreb left me disappointed; Ljubljana all the more spectacular in contrast.
Reviewing my maps further, and the results of queries on Facebook about crossing the Bosnian border, I plan to cycle 100+ km tomorrow along the Sava, then route east or south one day to cross the border. The path tomorrow isn’t as clean as yesterday. I hope to make an early start of it so I can take my time.
The eastern route should have better odds of a successful crossing, but crosses the entirety of Bosnia, with some question of places to stay depending on the distances I cover while climbing into the heart of the Dinaric Alps.
For now I hang out in the hostel common area, watching people try to win a free night’s stay at beer pong.