Saturday, October 15, 2011
Activism and Joy in Zagreb
Today was pretty much as close to perfect as days get. We met up with Marco and Marina, a couple from Couch Surfing, and their four-year old son to do a little tour of Zagreb. We were originally going to stay with them but at the last minute Marina's parents came into town so we found a tiny studio through Air BNB.
We met them in the central square and found ourselves smack in the middle of a pro-vegan/sustainability festival that neither of us had known was going on. I wanted to pick up a shirt but the only one not in English was a shirt with a picture of a dog that said "Friend - Not Toy" and really, with my track record on dogs I should own a shirt that says "Friend - Not Disposable Napkin" (It's good to laugh at yourself! *Sob!*).
After hanging out and getting to know each other for a bit, they took us on a little walking tour of Zagreb, which is a really incredible city. Before we met up with Marco and Marina I had been feeling a little self-conscious since it is also a really stylish city and between my goofy brown rain jacket and my tennis shoes (which aren't even looking good by tennis shoes standards anymore) I am looking a little rough. So getting out and doing things was just what was needed. We walked through open air flower markets and produce markets, traditional craft markets and streets known just for coffee bars. We stopped outside a little hole in the wall bar where Marco bought us six shots of different flavors of Croatian distilled alcohol. We saw several historical sites and even passed by the Museum of Broken Relationships which I initially thought must be a translation error but it turns out that it is actually a museum to which people bring their mementos and stories of past loves. Then we made our way down to the vegan restaurant we had eaten at yesterday for a late lunch/early dinner before visiting a bookstore.
The day was getting late so Marco suggested we drink giant beers in the park which sounded pretty good to us. In addition to the giant beers he bought us traditional Croatian pepper cookies and an ornament made out of dough that we'll hang on our Christmas tree.
At 6:00 we headed back the main square where hundreds of people had gathered as part of one of the world wide protests spurred by Occupy Wall Street. This was really exciting for us since we felt sort of left out from everything happening back home. The PA system was pretty bad so it felt a little disjointed and subdued but the turnout was exciting.