04 Nov Finding home in Zagreb Croatia
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Capturing Grace on a three week journey through Romania, Croatia and France
But first, a brief bit of Capturing Grace / Coastal Traveler blog history…
A little over 9 years ago I wrote my first blog post, the date was April 12th, 2012 and I fell in love with photographing people, places and food on my then Coastal Traveler blog. With Christina’s encouragement, Carissa’s company, a little help with spelling from Matthew and Marshall and a whole lot of patience from Carol, I photographed and wrote about people, places and food as Carissa and I explored the US. You can read my first blog post here.
On May 17 2012, I woke up to an inbox with hundreds of emails that grew to 10,000 before the weekend was over. WordPress had selected my “California Adventure” post from over 400,000 bloggers and honored me with the #1 spot on their “Freshly Pressed” page.
A lot has transpired in the life of my family since that first blog post but one thing has not changed, I still love photographing all the things while traveling, telling stories about people and places and all the memorable meals that occur in between.
So, consider this post a little more Coastal Traveller than Capturing Grace, bookmark it and the next time you are in Zagreb Croatia consider it a resource for places to see and food to eat.
So, to get this post started, what do you think of when you hear the word home?
Over the last eight years and 44 countries, my definition of home has expanded beyond an address to include people instead of place.
Just Twenty nine days ago, my assistant Dasha and I were exploring the Capital city of Croatia on foot, it was a beautiful Saturday morning, cloaked in fog, wrapped with a wonderful sense of adventure.
Having already fulfilled our assignment, photographing and telling stories In a nearby impoverished Gypsy community, today was a day with no plan, just promise. The hope of experiencing new people, places and food, making memories.
During our walk in Franje Tuđmana city park, I was quite taken by Andrija and Tina as they walked their dog. With the fog turning the park into a photography studio of sorts, I saw an opportunity to capture a beautiful moment. I approached Andrija with the offer of photographing him and his wife and emailing them the photographs later. They smiled approvingly at my request, I’ll never know if it was my enthusiastic smile or my Leica camera that won them over.
After our impromptu photo shoot I provided my card as a way for them to retrieve their photos. Our brief exchange with Andrija and Tina left us wishing for more but that is the nature of travel, always pushing on.
Our next stop came at Eli’s coffee shop where we had befriended Nick and his assistant Petra the day before. We had already established Nick’s coffee artistry as the best in Zagreb, his mastery of the art had earned him the honor of Croatian Barista Champion four times.
It was too early for a latte but just in time for another chat with Nick. I showed Nick the photos of Andrija and Tina that I had taken at the park, Nick smiled widely at the photo’s and informed me that Andrija was a friend and runs a bakery in town. The feeling of home continued to grow.
An hour or so later, mine and Dasha’s search for a heart adorned latte ended at Cogito Coffee shop where fate would have us sitting across from Andrija and Tina, our new friends at the park. They invited our company and during our time we learned that Andrija is a very passionate bread maker and indeed has his own bakery in Zagreb by the name of Breadclub. Sipping latte’s and exchanging stories with new friends definitely added a sense of home to Zagreb, the feeling continued to grow, plus, our plans for lunch at his bakery were now in place.
Before lunch we met up with our ministry host, Vanja Bule. During our time with Vanja photographing her ministry over the last few days, our friendship had flourished. We shared a mutual passion for photography and Vanja relished our enthusiasm for exploring Croatia’s capitol city of Zagreb together.
After we introduced Vanja to Breadclub bakery for lunch we explored this beautiful city together.
These photographs document our time together in a country that further expanded my feeling of home.
Thank you Vanja for making it such a memorable day, and for making us feel at home during our time in Croatia, Dasha and I look forward to returning.
Places that Dasha and I loved
Elis Caffe for coffee (Tell Nick that Ronnie and Dasha sent you!)
Breadclub for lunch
Cogito Coffee shop for a latte
Kavkaz Cafe for Pumpkin Soup that you will never forget, Autumn salad, Steak, the amazing Duck and chocolate dessert. Across from the Croatian National Theatre, it used to be one of the most famous places for Croatian writers and artists to hang out and drink coffee. The Cafe is strongly connected with the Croatian National Theater, now only with its location, but also with the posters of the plays performed at the Theater.