Lamp & pot of flowers....

Every lamp in the Old town has its own pot of flowers. I'm not sure if the residents are those who take care of the flowers, but whoever they are, they're doing a great job of it.


Confused flowers

It's been warm, too warm for this region and this time of year. This weird sunny and warm weather made people happy, but also confused the nature. Here's one confused flower which definitely shouldn't be blooming at the end of October:

Neither should this one:



Most of us see childhood as a period in our lives where we were able to be completely problem-free. I guess we usually forget tiny things that bothered us even then. This little guy spent a whole friend's b-day party sulking and looking very worried... who knows what was bothering him...


Misty tower and a legend...

One more in misty series... this time, a tower called Lotrscak. There's a view-point on top of the tower with a 360deg panorama of Zagreb.

Tower Lotrscak was built in 13th century as a part of the southern fortified wall. Fourth floor was added in 19th century. Its name has roots in latin "campana latrunculorum" - thief's bell which would ring every night before the fortified town's doors would close. For more than a century (it started in 1877), there has been a cannon on the 3rd floor, which fires at noon. There was a period of 2 years starting 1991 where the cannon didn't fire because of the war in Croatia. I'm not sure if it was operational during WWI and WWII.

Other than signifying noon, it's also a reminder of a Zagreb's legend. It is said that a cannon from Lotrscak tower fired a shot exactly at noon hitting a Turkish settlement across the river Sava during their invasion of this region (16-17th ct). The cannon ball supposedly hit a platter with a turkey which was meant for pasha (a hot shot in Turkish army). Because of this "aimed" shot, it is said that is why the Turks never conquered Zagreb. :)


Misty panorama...

Almost none of the high-rises are visible because of the fog/mist. New Zagreb (across the river) is not visible at all...


Misty, warm night...

Tonight was quite warm for this time of year (almost 15C), but the omnipresent mist reminded me of the time of year. This is a walking path (unofficially known as the lovers' lane) at the edge of the Old town, overlooking Zagreb.

Btw, the photo only looks slightly out of focus because of that mist.

Panoramic view as seen from this walking path is coming tomorrow :).


Bilingual names of streets and squares

The Old town has recently become richer for extra signs similar to those we had during Austrian-Hungarian empire rule. They're bilingual, with the top name in old Croatian, and the lower in German:


Another baluster detail, another trilemma

Same baluster, same "camera" (on my Nokia cell)...


B/W, color or sepia?

Yup, I couldn't make up my mind on this one. This is a baluster detail taken with my Nokia. I've changed colors with Picasa... What do you think? Any preference?


Emerald ballroom ceiling

I attended a regional BI (business intelligence) conference at the Regent Esplanade hotel yesterday. All presentations were held in a so-called Emerald ballroom, which is called like that, I'm guessing, because of its oval shape. In addition to glorious marble columns and golden mirror frames, the central ceiling piece is tainted glass:

Btw, sorry for the lower quality, I took this photo with my Nokia...


Iron lace fence & doors

This is probably my favorite fence in whole Zagreb, with its elaborate iron lace work:

The building is in the Old town...

Doors that lead to our parliament also boast nice iron lace(with a touch of gold ;-)):


The oldest pharmacy...

Inside the Old town, next to the Stone gate, there's is (as far as I know) the oldest pharmacy in Zagreb (14th ct). Their windows boast old decoration, though the feeling is lost when you enter it - then it's a typical modern pharmacy... the building has been renovated many times since then, but the place of this pharmacy is the same as the original one and it continues its legacy.

The crest above the entrance says "k crnom orlu" which means something like "at black eagle's". This eagle, I'm guessing, might be some left-over from Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. Right below is the official (but old) crest of Zagreb. I'll leave its explanation for some other time.

FYI, the oldest pharmacy in Croatia is in Dubrovnik (dating from beginning of 14th), and it's the 3rd oldest pharmacy in Europe.


Colorful boats for rent...

Back to the lake Jarun:



More mushrooms, all sizes, types and poison levels...

As I've already mentioned, the weather has been perfect for mushrooms, but I wouldn't eat any of these:

I didn't notice the fly when I was taking the photo:



Any forest is a wonderful place to observe light/shadow play. Here are two scenes I "caught" in the forest near Trakoscan castle:

PS. I'm sorry I don't reply to your comments, this week is incredibly hectic for me, because I'm attending a full day (for the whole 5 days) Oracle SQL course. Add a few more extra activities and there ya go...


Trakoscan castle

Last weekend my Dad and I took my Mom to the Trakoscan castle. She's never been there, even though it's only an 1hr drive north of Zagreb. This castle was originally built in 13th ct. and has recently been completely renovated. It makes a great half-a-day outing for people from Zagreb to get away from city life - other than history lesson and museum visit, there are cafes, pedal-boats for rent on the lake right below the castle, and somewhere around 30km of walking/mountain biking path around the lake.



I don't think I have ever met anyone who's doing pro-archery. Recently (2 weeks ago), I've learned our family friend is 17th in Europe this year (out of >260 people!) in archery. He showed some serious skills during our visit to their house in Brinje (a small town in Lika region, 1hr drive SW from Zagreb);



Warm and sunny weather, as well as higher humidity in the autumn air created fruitful grounds for numerous mushrooms (edible and poisonous) in Zagreb's parks and nearby woods:

The mushrooms above are not poisonous, but also not tasty. Literate translation of their Croatian name would be flour-mushroom. Is anyone familiar with its name in English?


Making friends...

My Dad is a type of person where most animals sense something and they're immediately drawn to him. Usually fierce dogs turn into cuddly fluffy toys when they spot him, hurt birds won't bite as he's helping them... this little wild lizard also decided he won't do any harm and decided to see if he's tasty (took a small lick and bite but decided my Dad's finger isn't edible). After that, the little lizard took up a spot in the sun just a foot away from my Dad and both enjoyed probably last summer-like rays of sunshine this year:


Can't see the forest for the trees...

That's exactly how I feel at the moment...

The photo was taken in a forest near Zagreb...


A brand new bike on Jarun....

My friend bought a new bike. To try it for a bit he went for a ride around lake Jarun (cca 8km) and then took a walk with me... I noticed a detail he overlooked:

See the warning label? :)


Alone on a busy path... Bonus trip photo: a bird (Willow warbler)!

Have you ever noticed how people walk/show up in "waves"? My friend and I were walking around Jarun during a sunny and warm weekend mid-day and somehow ended up in this "vacuum" spot without people, and with all the action and numerous people further away from us:

Bonus trip photo was taken on Pag. This little bird landed on our fig tree and feasted on ripe figs. I haven't seen it before - we usually get 4-6 pairs of finches with chicks and have a "domestic" pair of chickadees who have a nest each year under our roof tiles (their offspring sticks around too, so now it's adding up to about 10 of them). Does anyone have an idea what this bird might be? Judging by its beak, I would say insects are its primary food source... I haven't heard it sing or chirp... it's around 5-10cm long (1.5-3.5in).

EDIT: Abe solved the mystery, it's a Willow Warbler. Thanks to Google, Croatian name for this bird is Brezov zviždak (I have no idea how people lived without Google!).


Green haven...

Some 30min north of Zagreb starts hilly and green region called Zagorje (literal translation of the name Zagorje would be "behind the mountain/hill"). It's a peaceful getaway, with still cheap real estate, little or no traffic and hidden hillsides. Two weeks ago our ex-neighbors invited us to their holiday house. Here's the typical Zagorje "flavor":



As some people asked, here are dug up photos from last year's winter of Jarun's small "Swan lake" (Flash required!):


Swan lake...

The official title of the smaller Jarun lake is "small swan lake" because swans enjoy safe surroundings, medical help and food people provide during the winter. Before swans arrive in huge numbers, and after the swim season closes, it looks like this (there's a tiny island in the middle of it):