In an already busy year of visits and holidays, we had one last visitor to our town at the beginning of September, wedged between a trip to Crete and a holiday in India. At this time of year, the weather should be lovely… you would think. In the past we’ve often spent the first weekend in September in Italy, where it’s still warm enough to swim, but most of the crowds are gone.
Well… not this year. The weekend my friend Larry was with us saw it rain almost the entire time. Luckily she was fresh off the plane, hopped up with jetlag, and had been here before, so all she wanted to do was… well… whatever happens.
She flew Melbourne-Brunei-London-Vienna… so I picked her up in Vienna. She was adamant I shouldn’t come into the actual airport, but I had other plans. I saw only a perfect opportunity to dress up – a chauffeur complete with a welcome sign and moustache. And yes, I got a lot of weird looks, but a lot of laughs too.
In our three rain-filled days we decided to skip the last day of swimming for the year, even with the promise of free sausages. We took a stick walk in the pouring rain instead, and every passing car laughed at us.
We did manage an afternoon bike ride into town, a walk and a toastie in the park (in a brief break in the weather). We had beers and aperols in the half-sun and we downed many glasses of the gin she’d brought with her from Oz.
I lived with Larry for a number of years back in Oz… she is still my best Gumtree find ever. My dog wreaked havoc on her house during the years we were there and yet she still loves me.
After three days in Wolfsberg we headed off to Zagreb together, in search of a new adventure and some warmer weather. I’ve been to Zagreb a few times before (my cousin lives there), so I know it pretty well, but it was the first time was going there without my local guide (coincidentally he was in Japan at the time). We took the Flixbus – an easy direct bus ride from Graz – and cheaper than forking out money for the autobahn in Slovenia and Croatia along the way.
I was a bit worried it was late in the season, and Zagreb would be a little quiet. Not so. Tourists abounded, and we jumped right on in with them. There was a food & film festival and a burger festival to explore, we discovered a great gin bar that caught the last of the afternoon sun, and we patted absolutely every dog we could get our hands on.
It was great to catch up with Larry, and it was like we’d never been apart. Which is how it should be with good friends I think. No awkwardness, not even any real sadness when you part ways again. Just the knowledge that you’re friends, you always have been (thank you Gumtree) and you always will be.
Zagreb is a gorgeous little city. If you find yourself there I highly recommend the Museum of Broken Relationships, even if at times it does break you a little bit. This time we also checked out the 80s Museum, which was pretty cool, though price-wise does seem a bit steep. You are allowed to touch everything and take as many photos as you want, though. I played Commodore 64 and Frogger on the arcade machine. And I died of 80s happiness. So perhaps the money we forked out was worth it.
Getting around Zagreb is really easy, with trams to take you pretty much wherever you need (don’t forget to validate your ticket), but we only had two days so we just walked the city, combining our exercise and our adventuring in one. And my last hot tip for Zagreb… it’s great for shoe shopping. It seems like every second shop on the main shopping strip sells shoes. I have picked up a pair almost every time I’ve gone there, and this was no different.
So on the Friday we walked to the bus station together (me in my new shoes), and parted ways, me back to Austria, her onto more travels through Europe. But like I said, it wasn’t horribly sad, it was just a big hug and a see you soon.