New Endings and Old Beginnings

Today can be described in a few words: museums, food, and bittersweet partings. Fortunately for you, I’m going to describe our day in immense detail.

Our day started in the same way as the previous one with breakfast at the hotel. I personally adored the coffee as it provided a perfect pick-me-up for me to start the day. We then headed out into the streets of Zagreb, ready to begin the day. Our first stop was to the Memorial Center to the Rocket Attacks, 1991-1995. The museum perfectly captured the feelings of many Croatians during the attacks and displayed newspapers and remnants of the bombings such as the ballet slippers of its injured or dead owner. I felt that the museum presented artifacts in such a way that I was able to feel a fraction of what must have been going through many Croatian minds during the War: helplessness, fear, and sadness. We then had the opportunity to speak to the museum guide about his sentiments towards the War and Croatia in general. Although he was reserved in expressing his opinion about the War, he did demonstrate a passionate love for Croatia. For example, he had the opportunity to move abroad to Germany or the U.S. for work; however, he chose to return to Croatia.

Our next stop was the local market. We wandered through the market, fully embracing the new scents and sights. I was absolutely lost in the moment and hoped that we would be able to taste some of the juicy red raspberries. Luckily for me, Adam purchased a container of raspberries and a bag of apricots. Though the raspberries were warm, they were even better than they looked. Too bad we can’t bring any back to share.

On to the City Museum of Zagreb. As I entered the museum, I expected to zombie-walk through the exhibits and be bored to no end. My experience was the complete opposite. I was enthralled by Zagreb’s history from its ancient days to modern times. I was, however, disappointed by the lack of English signs describing the majority of the museum. My personal highlight of visiting the museum was being able to compare the history of Zagreb to, surprisingly, the history of France. As a result of my love for French history, I could not stop talking to Ms. Dunbar and Dr. Jones about the similarities and differences between historical France and Zagreb. I would include more details about it, but I have to finish this article in the next hour.

By the end of the City Museum, it was nearly 3:00 P.M. and the group was starving. Thirty minutes of walking later and we had arrived at lunch: a pizza restaurant hidden from the general public. We ordered our meals (I ordered mushroom pizza with two types of mushrooms and three cheeses) and shared entertaining anecdotes from times at Pingry and in general. The pizza came out and was yet again, amazing. However, the most interesting part of the meal was watching everyone try to eat their pizza with a knife and fork (It was served uncut).

To burn off the pizza, we walked to the largest building in Croatia, the cathedral. There, we revisited the beautiful interior of the cathedral. We had approximately twenty minutes to roam around the cathedral and Stepinac’s memorial. Overall, the cathedral proved to be both very calming and picturesque.

The next destination was the town center where we had free time to shop and observe Croatian life. We all went our separate ways (but not without a buddy or two) and wandered around urban Zagreb. Meghan and I initially walked up the alley where we searched for gifts to bring back to loved ones at home. (Surprise!) After finding a few trinkets, the two of us walked back to the square to people-watch and explore the shops.

Our time in the square expired and the group moved on to our favorite park and food festival. We got our last taste of gelato in Zagreb and enjoyed our cones and cups on the grass. After finishing the gelato, we stayed in the park for a bit to rest and reflect individually on our final day in Zagreb.

Soon, we left the park and went back to the hotel to pick up our bags and bid our final goodbyes to Zagreb. We left for the Franjo Tudman airport and watched as the meadows of rural Croatia passed by. We arrived early at the airport and ate together at the outdoor terrace, waiting patiently for our flight to Sarajevo.

Finally, we passed through the airport to the gate where some of the boys bought European treats while Meghan, Iman, and I chatted together and waved to an adorable little girl.

We boarded our flight, when I started this blog and settled in for what seemed like a fifteen minute flight. Dilan, Mason, and James discussed solving Rubik’s cubes; Tom and Iman fell asleep; Meghan filled in her journal; I finished slightly less than half of this blog (I told you there would be immense detail).

Upon landing and entering the airport in Sarajevo, I was struck by the differences between the airport here and in Zagreb. The airport in Zagreb is far newer and cleaner whereas the airport in Sarajevo is more retro and reminded me slightly of the airport in Casablanca, Morocco.

Driving to the hotel, I was mainly writing this blog, but I did manage to look out the window for a few minutes. Sarajevo reminds me tremendously of a European version of Morocco and hopefully, I’ll be proven right tomorrow.

Checking into the hotel, most of the group seemed chatty but slightly tired. We checked in around midnight (right now, it’s 12:23 A.M.), and we finally went upstairs to our stunning rooms, concluding the day’s adventures.

I hope you all enjoy this article, I know Meghan and Iman did.

By Isabella D.

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