We left our cozy Budapest apartment at 5 am on Friday in order to catch a 6 am train to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. After a somewhat cramped six hour train ride across Hungary, much of it along scenic Lake Balaton, we arrived in Zagreb without any certainty about what we would do with the rest of our day. We put our bags in storage at the train station, walked to the city center, and went to Nokturno for lunch, a pizza and pasta joint on Tkalčićeva – one of Zagreb’s main cafe streets. Here we decided that we were too tired to try to go to Plitvice Lakes National Park, and that it would be better to stay in Zagreb for the night and relax a little. We rented an apartment in a communist-era building about half a mile from the train station, and bought morning tickets to Split for the next day.
Zagreb is a wonderfully chill town, lined with baroque buildings, green parks, and rows of outdoor cafes. It was a great break from the big-city bustle of Copenhagen, Vienna, and Budapest. Here we relaxed, saw a couple interesting sights (such as the tiled Church of St. Mark), and read up a little more on the region’s history, as well as what we had in store for us on the Adriatic coast. We ended the day with a pizza picnic in one of the parks, then went to bed early to get some rest before our 7 am train to Split the next morning.