Notes from a drive through Istria and Friuli — Part 1

Zagreb Bench DudesBeen kinda quiet around here, hmm? We’ve been busy. After work on Tuesday last week, I scooped up a rental car from near the office — upgraded from the Ford Focus class to the Mazda 5 class, which was a very good idea, as it turns out, since we made use of the extra luggage room and the dual sliding passenger doors were handy for tight parking — dashed home to pick up Sarah, and bopped down to Munich to crash out at Chez Along the way, we discovered that a small van-like vehicle such as that Mazda 5 is NOT suitable for one of those stacked parking spaces. Fortunately we figured that out before causing any damage to the car or their stacky thing. We got up early the next morning and got the show on the road to Zagreb.

Größere Kartenansicht

The drive down was rather uneventful, apart from the rain. We each got a passport stamp at the crossing from Slovenia into Croatia, so that was cool and finally arrived outside of downtown Zagreb at the spiffy Hotel Jarun. The receptionist there was quite friendly and helpful and pointed us in the right direction to the tram to get downtown, where we quickly appreciated the city’s charm.

Here are some notes I jotted at the time:

  • Lights on in the rain, else potential 150€ fine (tip from border dude between SLO and HR).
  • Steel-faced border crossing between Slovenia and Croatia. Not very friendly. Does that matter? Another stamp in the passports, at long as they’re still a candidate country.
  • About 7.25 kuna to the Euro at time of writing. Food seems cheaper (restaurant pricing) but retail clothing doesn’t (much) – at least based on window shopping.
  • One-way tram ride costs about a € for one zone. It’s a good 15-20 minute tram ride into downtown Zagreb from Jarun.
  • If you have a one-way paper ticket, look for the ticket-stamper machine in the front car of the tram. Seems most people travel on passes or other magnetic-read tickets.
  • Hotel Jarun is clean and new and well-equiped. Nice techy stuff like big TV and free WLAN (not that we used either much due to being exhausted upon arrival last night after dinner and exploring). Generous shower, decent breakfast offerings.
  • Old town seems cute, mix of old and well-maintained and obviously new-but-made-to-look-old or newly-restored buildings.
  • Don’t like not having a book; our rentention of basic phrases from a podcast J+S brought was miserable.

Here’s the Zagreb slide show:

3 thoughts on “Notes from a drive through Istria and Friuli — Part 1”

  1. Jul

    You forgot to mention that the border guard’s name was Biff.

  2. Scott

    I’ll be looking forward to your report about Istria. We drove from Zagreb to Istria in 1996. The motorway wasn’t finished, so it took about 5 hours. We kept looking up at these half-finished bridges. We had a run-down Renault R5 with camping gear and a bike rack, and the campgrounds were very empty since the fighting in the Balkans was still fresh in people’s minds.

    I had to wait over an hour at the border to get my passport stamped. Did you have to wait at all?

  3. cliff1976

    Jul: Oops. “Hello, McFly!?”

    The next installment should be appearing soon — this weekend hopefully. But our adventure doesn’t sound as nearly adventuresome as yours. It was smooth sailing on very well-maintained roads. Our first border crossing was only awkward because of the 150€ threat about driving without the headlights on as we were leaving Slovenia and also a stonefaced border patrol agent a few meters further crossing into Croatia. She just kind of stared at us for a few seconds after I said hello, and I almost decided to drive on through the border. But thankfully I asked “uh…can we go? Is it OK?” And then she stuck out her hand for our passports. That might have been awkward, if I had just driven through.

    Crossing into Slovenia on the way back was just a wave-through.

What's your take on it?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.