Three planes and 19.5 hours later, I finally arrived in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
And surprise! My backpack did not arrive. My brand new backpack that I have yet to break in. That was loaded with pretty much all my clothes, toiletries, and life for the next 14 months. The universe was playing a nasty trick but I wasn’t about to let that ruin my trip. I filed a lost baggage claim with Croatia Airlines and hopefully, fingers crossed, my bag will be delivered within the next few days. Until then, I’ll be wearing the same clothes day and night. Let that sink in for a bit…
Next, I had to get from the airport to my Couchsurfing host Lucia’s place. She had provided very detailed instructions regarding which bus and trams to take. And it was extremely easy!
From Zagreb Airport to the City:
When you exit the airport, you will find a bus stop marked with a sign that lists the bus times. This bus will take you directly from the airport to the main bus terminal in the city. And it only costs 30 kuna (kn), or $4.50 USD (1 USD = 6.67 kn). I bought my bus ticket on board from the bus driver. Only Croatian kuna accepted for payment, no credit cards. The ride was very comfortable and took about 20 minutes.
From Zagreb Bus Terminal to the Main Train Station:
Once you reach the bus terminal, you will want to walk out of the terminal where you will see the tram tracks. To get to the Main Train Station, I took tram 6 in the ČRNOMEREC direction. Not sure about which direction the tram is going? There are large signs on the respective platforms labeling which direction the tram is going. Additionally, each tram is marked with a scrolling marquee indicating its direction.
Cost of tram ticket: Unknown.
As I did not see any machine or person selling tickets, I was uncertain as to where to buy one. I also did not see any locals holding or using tram tickets or passes. So I tried my luck and just hopped on. I essentially rode the trams for free. Do I recommend this? No. You should definitely purchase a ticket. However, as I have yet to figure out where to buy my ticket, I’m winging it as I go. Apparently, it’s common for locals to not have tram passes either, but better to be on the safe side.
Couchsurfing with Lucia
After I got to Lucia’s apartment, I decided I was just going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Sure, I could have gone out, but I had been awake for over 24 hours at this point and didn’t feel like it. The nice thing about traveling in one country for a few weeks is that I am not in a rush to do and see everything I can possibly do and see in one day. I also wanted to get to know my Couchsurfing host and ask her some questions about Croatia in general. We ended up watching Croatian pop singer Severina’s music videos, listening to Croatian rap and indie songs, and having a blast talking about each others’ culture and hobbies. Lucia is finishing her last year of university in Zagreb and wants to be an English and art teacher. She is from the coastal region of Croatia and enjoys listening to a ton of KPop. I asked Lucia to recommend her favorite city in Croatia – Osijek – which I have now included into my itinerary.
We ended the night by drinking a few beers. A 2-liter bottle of beer costs 23kn ($3.45 USD). I wasn’t terribly productive in terms of seeing things, but I had a good time hanging out with my host and learning a bit about Croatia.
Expenses for the day:
Bus ticket – 30kn
Beers and snacks – 79kn
Total: 109kn ($16.34 USD)