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Day 2: Ljubljana to Zagreb

We had a lovely evening exploring the Christmas market in Ljubljana, eating Kaiserschmarrn with apple sauce and drinking white gluehwein. The Christmas lights were difficult to capture on a camera, but there was a beautiful, if slightly unusual, display of shooting stars and planets, as well as a big illuminated Christmas tree in the main square. We had a relatively early night, because our train to Zagreb was at 08.25 the next morning and if we missed it, there wouldn't be another one until mid-afternoon. We made it with plenty of time to spare in the end though, having succeeded in not getting lost on the way to the train station, and even had time to buy a coffee in McDonalds to cancel out the horrendous substance being offered as coffee in the hotel! The journey to Zagreb took just over two hours, and took us through some mountainous Slovenian countryside. Some places were covered in a dusting of snow, while others didn't appear to have any at all. The journey would have been a big quicker if we hadn't had to sit for a while at the border, while two separate sets of border police checked our passports. There was a slightly confusing moment when they wanted to know Tim's age, and a slightly sticky moment when he thought he had lost his train ticket, but we all made it to Zagreb in one piece and by mid-morning were strolling around a surprisingly sunny Croatian capital.

We headed into the centre of town to see the Christmas decorations. There was an enormous Advent wreath in the main square.


There was also a slightly scary Santa Claus on stilts walking around the statue of Ban Josip Jelačić.


We climbed up into the old town to see Zagreb cathedral, the tallest building in Croatia. There were still some renovation works ongoing, but more of the facade was visible than last time we were in Croatia :)


We climbed across to the other side of the old town to where the Croatian parliament is situated and saw the church with the world's best roof.


By then it was nearly midday, and Helen had read in the Zagreb guidebook that there was a cannon fired from one of the towers in the old town at 12pm each day. We were a little bit sceptical as to whether this was really going to happen, but sure enough when we found the appropriate tower there was a small group of people congregating beneath it. We looked up and could see a small cannon protruding out of one of the upper windows. As soon as the church bells began to chime twelve, there was an extremely loud bang and bits of shrapnel started falling from a smoky haze above the tower. It was quite impressive, but if you hadn't known it was about to happen it would have been a bit disconcerting!

Having had enough excitement for one morning, we headed off in search of a really nice restaurant which Helen and I ate in last time we were in Zagreb. The menu was just as nice as we remembered, and we were able to order two glasses of the Croatian drink miš-maš, which consists of a mixture of fanta and red wine. Although it sounds a bit odd, it tastes absolutely delicious and even Tim was forced to admit that it was better than he had been expecting :)


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