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Just Outside Washington
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH
VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA: PART 5
On the road to Zagreb
With five rivers in the town, there are lots of bridges. One bridge we did cross was the Zmajski Most or 'dragon' bridge, which has two dragons at each end of the bridge. The Ljubljana Dragon is symbol of the city and is depicted on the city coat of arms as well as the Dragon Bridge.
Next, the love padlocks on the Butchers' Bridge, where couples put a lock on the side of the bridge and throw the key away to indicate their love is unbreakable.
A very interesting bridge called Tromostje or the Triple Bridge, which leads to Preseren Square in front of the Ljubljana Cathedral.
Apparently the first bridge became too crowded and busy so two lower bridges, one on each side, were built for pedestrians. Our local tour guide pointed out the road to walk up to the Ljubljana Castle; it was a steep climb and we all declined. Because Mass was undereway when we first walked pass the cathedral, we did not go right in but returned later.
Like many European churches it was very elaborate with several side chapels, a massive organ, and beautiful paintings on the high ceiling. The main altar area is very ornate and they do like gold.
After the tour, we found a place for an early lunch and people-watching, which was just to the left of Preseren Square. Even in an outdoor café the smoke from cigarettes in noticeable. There are many outdoor cafes and restaurants to choose from in the city. After lunch, it was time to go back to the chocolate festival across the bridge, where we bought some delicious chocolates.
Back on the bus and rolling to our first 'border' crossing. Even though Slovenia and Croatia are both in the EU, Croatia, as a 'new' member, is not yet fully 'approved' for open entry under the Schengen Agreement.
All cars, trucks (lorries), and buses have to go through a check. For buses this means that every passenger has to get out and get their passports stamped -- at both the Slovenia check point and the Croatian, located a few hundred feet away. Fortunately, there were only three buses ahead of us when we arrived at the border.
Even with only three buses, it too a surprising amount of time. Zoran said on his trip into Slovenia there were eight buses ahead of the one the tour was on and that it took an hour and half to get through.
After the border we had only another 30 minutes into Zagreb. It was drizzling when we arrived at the Westin Hotel, in downtown Zagreb, so we decided to stay in and not explore the area.
Vantage held the 'reception' in the hotel where we met the people just joining the tour, which brought our group up to nineteen. We then had dinner; if was not Kathy’s favorite meal.
NEXT DAY: WE 'DO' ZAGREB...
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