One day I took a walk through Maksimir park in Zagreb. This park is located on the east side of Zagreb and in area of only 3.16 square kilometers (1.22 square miles) it has a deciduous wood crossed by human made paths, 5 artificial lakes, two pavillions, a zoo and flower gardens. Its construction started in 1794. and the central structure is gazebo (also known as Kiosk), the most notable object in a park. This is where I made above photo. As you may see, a weather was rainy and not much favorable for taking photographs, but I enjoyed a slow walk. It would be crowded if the day was better. Then I have seen only several people. Employees cleaning paths. Two young moms with babies. Older couple. Some sportsmen running their usual circles. It felt nice actually.
As I said in previous post, I knew my vaction would be a walk through the past for me. So I used these few hours to try to recall things that I remember about a Zagreb from my youth. I was 17 when I came there alone for a first time. My friends waited for me at train station and we went to a nearest pub to have something to eat and drink a couple of beers. Back then, there was no age limit for drinking a beer, we were all underaged but no one seemed to care about. And we wanted so desperately to be older. To look older and capable to control our lives. We used to sit there, eating and drinking and life was good. I loved two girls from Zagreb, they were both my summer crushes and probably a reasons why I loved to go there as much as I could. Well, 2 or 3 times a year, that is. I was a schoolboy, with pockets usually empty, but willing to travel and be with friends.
After, we would walk to a center and end up in cinema, maybe in disco or some other pub. Having fun with other people, watching at beautiful girls or having "serious" talks. I needed to plan those trips carefully (did I say I never have enough money?) so, the day after we would go further, usually up to mountain village where my grandmom lived. To a place of ultimate freedom.
Years were passing fast back then and my visits were occassional. Last time before wars started, I went to Zagreb to meet a friend I knew from army. We spent so much time together and felt it would be a shame to just let it go. So I came there in May 1991. and we spent a nice day walking on the old part of town. This was a first time I saw all the buildings I mentioned in previous post – I guess I was too young to care about them before 😛 I remember we were walking from a train station, near Zrinjevac square and along the park on our right side when a bunch of younger girls appeared – dressed in dark, with weird haircuts, laughing loud. One of them was looking at me straight in the eyes and while we were passing by each other she suddenly grabbed my throat, laughed at my surprised face and touched my cheek with her finger. They left in opposite direction while I was still a bit confused and my friend laughing his ass off…
I don`t know why I remembered this. I just did.
I was deliberately walking on that street a day before and to my great surprise found that old pub where we used to eat is still there :happy: I recognised the door and tried to peak inside, to see if the same lady is still there, dressed in black and white uniform, so usual for restaurant employees back then. Wanted desperately to go inside and feel the scent of cooked meal and beer and cigarettes smoke. But I didn`t. I knew I would be disappointed. It is better to remember it as it was.
I looked as I walked away, there were few girls walking toward me. Young and happy with December sun in their eyes.
They payed no attention to me at all 😆
On my way back to Belgrade, ten days later, I spent two more days in Zagreb. My cousins invited me to go to a concert of Neno Belan, a singer who started his career as a frontman of a music band from Split – Djavoli (The Devils). I must admit I was never a great fan of his music but I know a bass guitarist Olja Desic, from Fiumens, a band who is currently playing with Belan. Also my cousins told me that previous concert was great and that was enough for me. It was all a walk down a memory lane, so what the hell… We were in backstage all the time, drinking beer and I must admit it felt great to hear old songs I haven`t heard for so long. I looked at people singing and dancing, most of them haven`t been born when Belan made his first hits. I felt old. But just for a split of a second, I swear 😛
more photos here