We drove to our next stop in Sevnica taking the country lanes rather than the motorway, and we’re glad that we did as the scenery was really picturesque now that the leaves on the trees have started to change, and we’re now hoping for a very colourful drive through Croatia. The roads weren’t too bad either – no potholes, and not too much traffic.
The camper stop at Sevnica was the car park for the castle on top of the hill. It’s a municipal site where parking and services (including electric hook up) are provided free of charge to encourage visitors to visit the area. Being half way up the hill, we had a good view of the surrounding countryside. A couple of coaches came and went, otherwise it was very quiet. I took advantage of the unmetered water and gave the van a long-overdue wash.
As anticipated, the bells of the three local churches started chiming at 7am – they don’t even get a Sunday morning lie-in in Slovenia!
Driving through the early morning mist, we were soon at the Croatian border. As Croatia isn’t in the Schengen Zone we had to stop at Slovenian passport control to get out of Slovenia, and then the Croatian one to get into Croatia. Both countries are very crafty, placing tolls either side of the border. We should have paid €13 on the Croatian side, but the bloke underestimated the size of our van, and only charged us €5.
The currency in Croatia is the Kuna, so we found an ATM to load up. We’ll now have to learn our 8.25 times table.
They don’t have aires or stellplätze in Croatia, so you can only stay on a campsite. You could probably get away with wild camping in the middle of nowhere, but there’s a hefty fine if you get caught so it’s not worth the risk. Lots of sites belong to the ACSI discount scheme where the fees are reduced in the off season, with a maximum charge of €19, so we’ll be staying on these sites whilst touring the country. Camp Zagreb is the first one we’ll be staying at – it’s a fairly small site outside the city, it’s quite new, well laid out with decent services.
When we arrived we could hear loads of dogs barking, and I thought there must be some sort of dog camp going on. It turned out to be a ‘canicross’ event – a canine cross country race where the dogs and their owners ran around the lake. It was all being taken pretty seriously, with the humans wearing race numbers, and there was an award ceremony where everyone seemed to win a prize. The van parked behind us had come all the way from Italy to take part, and they won something or other as I clocked the bloke taking a photo of his dog with their certificate and prize (which looked like doggy treats) – bonkers! Fortunately it all wrapped up not too long after we arrived, when the locals disappeared with their hounds. We spent the rest of the day by the van enjoying the late Summer sunshine.
This morning we were up before 7am (no church bells – hurrah!) as we needed to catch the free shuttle bus from the campsite to the train station. From there it was a 20 minute ride to Zagreb Glavni station. We walked across town to the food market where there were meat and deli shops inside, fruit and veg stalls outside on the roof, and not a fish stall to be seen. After poking our head round the door of the cathedral we stopped for a coffee, and then climbed up the hill for a panoramic view of the city. Nearby was St Mark’s church with it’s beautifully tiled roof. The rest of our time was spent strolling around town and wandering around the botanical gardens before catching the train and shuttle bus back to the campsite.
Zagreb is a nice city, but it’s not one of the best we’ve been to as there’s not a huge amount to do apart from churches, museums and art galleries. Whilst it felt perfectly safe, it does look very run down with many buildings suffering from neglect, and there’s graffiti at almost every turn. We’re glad we came, but we won’t be rushing back.
Tomorrow we shall drive south towards Split, stopping at Plitvice Lakes National Park.