Sunday, 19 March 2023

Ivica Puljak: We See What Croatia Can Be Like With HDZ in Opposition

March 19, 2023 - I am not political at all, but I do like to support great ideas, such as yesterday's Dangerous Ideas 2 conference in Zagreb, which was opened by Split Mayor Ivica Puljak. You can view the entire conference on the embedded YouTube video below. 

If anyone is interested in my presentation, The Vukovar Card, a New Deal for Eastern Croatia, it starts at 07:30 and last 10 minutes. 

Below a translation of from the Croatian media about the event.

"We gather open-minded people who are not afraid to test both dangerous and best ideas. Positive selection is not afraid of competition or communication of its own ideas. That's the kind of Croatia we want and that's the kind of Croatia we will build," said the President of the Centar Party, Ivica Puljak, at the conference.

The big conference of the Center "Dangerous ideas 2 - All the good things you always wanted for Croatia, but no one dared to implement", gathered a number of experts in Zagreb on Saturday who presented ideas for the future of Croatia.

According to the President of Centar Ivica Puljkak, at these gatherings we see what Croatia can be like once HDZ is in opposition. "Croatia is in this state today because it is ruled by negative selection, and negative selection is afraid of every dangerous, good and realistic idea. When the best wins in public tenders, there is no place for those who win just because they have a party card," said Puljak, adding that clientelism, nepotism and corruption are afraid of any idea that changes the current situation.


"Old politicians are afraid of any reform. That's why we gather open-minded people who are not afraid to test both dangerous and best ideas. Positive selection is not afraid of competition or communication of its own ideas. That's the kind of Croatia we want and that's the kind of Croatia we will build," concluded the President of Centar.

"Can ideas really be dangerous? Or is it actually more dangerous to be without ideas? Through a series of stupid mistakes and as a result of unimaginably disgusting corruption, we lost INA. Are we going to allow that instead of energy independence, solar power plants on the roofs of our citizens and entrepreneurs, instead of energy exporters, instead of a stronger and more stable economy and secure democracy, we become dependent on energy, and then in every other way?" asked REGEA director Julije Domac, emphasizing that Croatia can and must do much more and better.

"All of us should be part of the changes we wish for and influence politics with our own involvement and ideas, because only then can it become a reflection of what we want as a society," said Domac.


According to entrepreneur Dražen Oreščanin, Croatia is speeding into reverse in fifth gear. "Instead of the public administration providing a framework for the development of innovation and entrepreneurship through systematic reforms and digitization, it has been fighting for decades so that nothing changes and to maintain and increase its power, influence and privileges," he warned. As he emphasized, people who do not want to go backwards but forward, should be given the environment and conditions to progress and prosper, because together with them, the whole society will prosper.

The gathering was attended by Ivica Puljak, Paul Bradbury, Julije Domac, Mihovil Škarica, Marlena Bogdanović, Dražen Oreščanin, Frano Barbir, Vinko Filipić, Ivan Mrvoš, Jasna Karačić, Branko Zemunik, Majda Milevoj Klapčić, Hrvoje Čupić, Tvrtko Jakovina, Natalia Zielinska, Dijana Grgić, Ružica Božić Cerovac and Vesna Coufal Jaić.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

Zagreb Festival of Lights, Your Full Guide for 2023's Edition

March 15, 2023 - The fifth edition of the innovative Zagreb Festival of Lights kicks off tonight - where to find the magic around the Croatian capital.

One of the things I really like about tourism in Zagreb as opposed to the coast is that there are four distinct seasons. If there is one year-round tourism destination in Croatia, Zagreb is it, at least in my opinion. And not only that, but the way certain seasons are introduced is quite spectacular and lifts the mood in the city considerably. 

The best example of that, of course, is Advent in Zagreb, arguably Zagreb's best-known tourist event these days, which rose from nothing to become the best in Europe three years in a row. The city is transformed from a dark winter into several weeks of concerts, gastronomy and a beautifully decorated city. 

And so too a wonderful bundle of energy kicks off tonight, as Zagreb looks to Spring and those longer summer nights with the 5th edition of the Zagreb Festival of Lights, which will run from 1800-2300 from tonight until March 19, with a spectacular laser show at the Tuskanac Summer Theatre officially opening the festival at 19:00. 

Brought to you by the Zagreb Tourist Board and partners, with support from the City of Zagreb, imagination, art and light technologies will unite again, heralding spring through positive energy and good emotions. Over the next 5 days, there will be 33 attractions in some 28 locations in the Upper and Lower Town. 

At the festival press conference, Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld, said: "After last year's premier expansion of Zagreb Light Festival locations, this year's edition again includes Donji grad, where we included some new locations to make it easier for everyone to visit and reduce crowds. Thus, we introduced the locations of Ribnjak, Stara Vlaška, Kurelčeva Street, the Square of Croatian Giants, the Square of the Victims of Fascism with which we rounded off the eastern part of the city center, and the Dolac and Opatovina markets are also new. The novelty is represented by international collaborations with artists from France, whose installations will be in four locations (Dolac, EU square, Trg kralja Tomislava and Ribnjak), as well as Italy and the Netherlands. I am also happy about the Croatian visit from Šibenik, and artists from Berlin joined us again. These guest appearances, as well as the great interest of foreign and domestic artists in future performances, show that the Zagreb Light Festival is becoming an authentic international project and event, so I would like to thank all the partners for their involvement in its very demanding and comprehensive implementation."

So where to find the action?



Odd Dynamics / Mimara Museum

The spectacular projection will present the story of industrial revolutions throughout history visualized in an unusually satisfying animation style.


The Spirit of nature / Ban Josip Jelačić Square

This artwork celebrates the arrival of spring with its vibrant depiction of nature and blooming flowers, evoking a sense of renewal and growth in the viewer.


(Photo J. Duval)

The Transformation / Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb

May this dreamlike and lively dance inspire a transformation that awakes in us with the arrival of spring.


Anooki (Kiss) / European Square

Meet two giant Inuit-inspired figures.


Lumineoles / King Tomislav Square

Enjoy the dance of imaginary illuminated birds «Luminéoles». With their graceful wings they dance in the wind, bringing light and a poetic atmosphere in the air.


Anti - meandar / Croatian Association of Artists

''I have probably already painted my last paintings, but maybe not the first ones'', Julije Knifer.


Anooki (Apparition) / Dolac Market

After a long and cold winter, their ice has melted, and they are now embarking on a journey around the world.


Why oh why do I have to go to school? / Mažuranić square

Through ambient lighting on the park crowns and a broken LED wall we take you on a journey along the archives of the Croatian Museum of School.


Among The Clouds / Zrinjevac Park

Fly into your own little cosmos of creativity and let your imagination run wild as you swing on unique swings, surrounded by gentle lights and music that accompanies your daydreaming.


Neon circles / Music Pavilion – Zrinjevac

Notes cut music, threads cut clothes, and colors and light cut – life around us. Step into the world of vivid colors and magical installation patterns in the Music Pavilion.


Florescence / Lovački rog Passage

Experience spring through the Florescence ambient light installation.


(Photo Sanja Bistrici)

Circles / Zagreb Dance Center

A circle does not have a beginning. It also does not have an end. It is an eternal motif for various artists, it is found all around us in different forms, it is a perfect geometric shape.


(Photo Emmanuel Epanzarini)

Italian Flag / Kurelčeva Street

Special geometric pyramidal structures served as a painting canvas where the main artist is the light!


Luminous Vision / Old Vlaška

The picturesque landscape of illuminated images, each of which depicts the beauty and energy of the city in a unique and enchanting way, is an ideal opportunity for a night walk.


Glowing Starlight / Strossmayer Square

The "Glowing Starlight" installation will evoke the heart of Lenuci's horseshoe, which completely dominates the space.


Urban garden / Croatian Nobles Square

Discover a city center oasis in the urban garden with captivating luminous flowers.



Lighthouse / Lotrščak Tower

Embark on a fairy tale adventure and join us in celebrating the arrival of new hope in our Zagreb.


(Photo copyright Janus van den Eijnden)

Absorbed by light / Strossmayer Promenade (East)

Three figures sit next to each other on a bench, displaying the typical characteristics of smartphone users: their heads are bent, fingers typing and swiping, and their faces lit up by their phone screens.


Awakening light / Lotrščak Tower

Multicolored lights will paint one of the most important buildings of the Upper Town – Lotrščak Tower!


New radiance / St. Catherine's Church

Experience an incredible projection that conveys the impression of a dance of transcendental dimensions and strong contrasts.


Glitch Garden / Dežman Pass

 Find out how much we truly notice greenery in our city with the Glitch Garden installation, which makes us think about coexistence with the nature around us.


Promenade of Colors / Strossmayer Promenade (West)

The Promenade of Colors brings a special spirit and charm by connecting with a playful light.


Outside the Wall / Parking Tuškanac

A touch of the Mediterranean has arrived in our metropolis.


Dancing Simetrix / Opatovina Park - playground

What better way to welcome spring than with a dance of light colors! Let the multimedia installation that combines movement, sound and light, i.e. dance, music and painting, inspire and motivate you to move and completely surrender to spring.


Twisted / Opatovina Park

Take a walk through the tunnel of colors and neon light and immerse yourself in new dimensions of space.


Laser Blockbuster / Tuškanac Summer Stage

What's better than a combination of dance and a superb light show? The performance of the Atomic Dance Factory dance group will accompany the Prolight show and its well-known laser effects.


Lumia / Atrium of the Zagreb City Museum

 Lumia, art created by light. This interesting installation creates different shapes with its fractals that continuously change in color and appearance.


Globoscope / Ribnjak Park

The impressive installation of the Globoscope is made from hundreds of luminous spheres.


(Photo J. Duval)

Luminous Horses / Ribnjak Park

A hidden oasis of greenery in the very heart of the city will delight visitors of the Festival of Lights this year with three of the brightest Lipizzans.


Meteorites / Ribnjak Park

Lovers of space and of all celestial have the opportunity to discover their brilliant colors!


EggOtrick / Ribnjak Park

An art installation will emerge in the middle of the Ribnjak Park, which at its core hides the birth of a new life through the play of light! 


Neon Playground / Dubravkin put

The magical playground takes us back to our childhood when we carelessly absorbed new colors and daydreamed.


The secret life of forests / Vraz's Promenade

What type of secrets are kept and what kind of conversations are held between city forests?

A magical, magical few days in Zagreb awaits. See you there. 

For much more on this magical festival, check out the official website.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Croatia Fails to Qualify for Water Polo World Cup Final Tournament in Los Angeles

March 14, 2023 - After winning the 2022 European Championship in Split last September, Croatia did not advance to the Water Polo World Cup final tournament in California at the end of June. 

The Croatia men's water polo players will not go to California in June for the World Cup final tournament. In the match that decided the second trip to the Super Final, Hungary beat Croatia 13:10 and thus secured their trip to Los Angeles. Italy and the USA also qualified from Croatia's group. 

Croatia was not good from the beginning. Hungary led throughout the game, from 0:2 to 1:5 at the beginning of the second quarter. It didn't help that the Hungarian left winger Gergo Zalanki had a perfect evening, scoring 7 goals from 9 attempts. He went on to win the "Player of the Match" award.

There were other aggravating circumstances, like the early dismissal of Kharkov due to three personal fouls. This significantly weakened Croatia. 

Nevertheless, Croatia did not give up in front of a sold-out Zagreb crowd, even when Hungary took a 10:6 lead a minute before the end of the third quarter. Moreover, with four consecutive goals (Lazić, Burić, Vrlić, and Bašić) Croatia equalized at 10:10, exactly 3 minutes and 17 seconds before the end.

However, Hungary reached 12:10 in one minute through Vigvari and Zalanki, and the last goal for the final 13:10 was scored by Manhercz just 21 seconds before the end, on an empty net. That was no longer so important because goalkeeper Popadić, who replaced Bijač in the last quarter, logically went on the attack.

"We lost the match because we opened it badly. Especially in the attack. We conceded only three goals from the first 10 extra man plays. We were throwing blocks, unprepared, limp. We didn't go in as hard as I expected and what I was looking for. Then, during the whole match, we spent a lot of time. What I have to congratulate the guys on is the character they showed. They expressed their desire, equalized, and then in the end we obviously can't move forward. We were confused offensively, and Zalanki, who only arrive on Sunday, killed us. He obviously benefited from the rest," said coach Ivica Tucak. 

"We didn't even start the game well, and we were already losing 5:1. Again, we showed character, and got back to 10:10, but then... A little deconcentration or fatigue because we spent a lot of effort to equalize, which then cost us by conceding a goal or two too easily," added Marko Žuvela. 

Source: HVS

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Croatia Hosts Water Polo World Cup in Zagreb this March

February 22, 2023 - After the 2022 European Championships in Split, Croatia is again the center of water polo. This time, the world's water polo elite is coming to Zagreb, where the World Aquatics Water Polo World Cup will be held from March 8-14.

The Barracudas thus become hosts to the national teams of France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, and the United States of America in the first edition of the World Cup. 

The World Cup is played in two groups with six national teams each. Croatia is playing in the Zagreb group with powerful opponents. Five intense matches await Croatia, which will be an excellent opportunity to prepare for the most important competition this year - the World Championships.

The Croatia national team gathers in Zagreb on March 5 and plays their first game of the tournament on Wednesday, March 8, against the USA.

"I invite all spectators to the World Cup tournament. We are in a group against Italy, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the USA, and France. We expect a tough rhythm with five games in a week, which will be a great mini-test for what awaits us this summer at the World Champs. I hope we will play well and reach the super final," announced player Luka Bukić.

While Group A is held in Zagreb, Group B is simultaneously held in Montenegro with the national teams of Greece, Serbia, Spain, Georgia, Australia, and Montenegro.

The only safe participant in the World Cup Superfinal is the USA, as they are hosts of the Superfinal tournament. 

Thus, two more teams from Croatia's group and three from the group who played in Podgorica hope to secure their spot in the final tournament.

The World Cup matches in Zagreb will be played according to the following schedule:

Tickets for the tournament can be purchased at

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 5 February 2023

Croatian Tourism Workers Petition for Return of Zagreb Tour Bus Stop & Parking

February 5, 2023 - Croatian tourism workers are in uproar about the removal of the tourist bus stop on Palmotićeva Street and parking at Vončinina Street. A petition for common sense and reduced traffic.

If you recognize yourself in at least one of the 4 statements below, this petition also concerns you:

✅You often drive/travel by bus over the Sava bridges.

✅You often drive along Selska or Držićeva street.

✅You live in the neighborhood of Voltino and get to the center by bus n° 118

✅In general, you would like as few traffic jams as possible in Zagreb.

What is this about?

By the decision of the City Authorities of Zagreb (the Transport Department at the City Office for Reconstruction, Development, Physical Planning, Construction, Utility Services and Transport), the tourist bus stop (pick-up/drop-off point) on Palmotićeva Street and the tourist bus parking zone on Vončinina Street have been permanently closed and relocated to:  

1. Zagreb Train Station – the south side of Ante Starčević Square
2. Mažuranić Square [where bus 118 stops]
3. Zagreb Trade Fair (Zagrebački Velesajam) parking lot  

The licensed local tour guides from Zagreb, both foreign and local tour leaders and bus drivers, as well as travel agencies from all over the world have already expressed great dissatisfaction and disappointment with this decision, since its implementation would inevitably lead to a series of organizational and logistical problems and major traffic jams, which would significantly impact the number of tourist groups visiting the capital of Croatia.  

Here are six main reasons why we believe that it is of major importance for Zagreb as a tourist destination to re-establish the tourist bus stop on Palmotićeva Street and the bus parking zone on Vončinina Street.    


1.      Standard Zagreb tours are extremely time-limited: they usually last around 2 hours and cover the Old Town main sights, located in the very heart of the city center (Kaptol – the area around Zagreb’s Cathedral and the Upper Town). Due to the new decisions, Zagreb sightseeing tours would have to be extended by an hour (half an hour of additional walking in each direction) and this would inevitably cause negative reactions among many clients, leading to cancellations of sightseeing tours and exclusion of Zagreb tours from the travel itineraries. 

A significant reduction in the number of tourist groups visiting Zagreb would negatively impact not only travel agencies, tour leaders and tour guides, but also restaurants, souvenir shops and other retail stores in the city center, especially those in the before mentioned zone of the Old Town and namely, European Square.   2.      Most tourist groups need a comfort break after getting off the bus, before they start their sightseeing. If they get off on Palmotićeva Street, there is a nearby public toilet at their disposal, located on Cesarčeva Street, where you can find tourists from recently arrived buses (40 people per bus on average) waiting in line. Should the City of Zagreb go through with this decision, tens, sometimes hundreds of tourists will not be able to use the restroom before they go on a 2-hour walking tour, as there are no public toilets or similar appropriate facilities nowhere near the 2 newly suggested tourist bus stops.  

3.      Such a decision could lead to major traffic jams, especially if there are two or three tourist buses lined up on Mažuranić Square at the moment when the daily city bus arrives. That very same stop is used as a regular bus station for the 118 bus line to Voltino .

In the event that, for example, two tourist buses arrive at Mažuranić Square (and one would expect there to be more), the 118 city bus and other road users could very well find themselves in a highly inconvenient situation. Since the drivers of tourist buses cannot predict the amount of time they need to drive from the Zagreb Trade Fair to Mažuranić Square (or Starčević Square), one would expect them to arrive early and wait for their groups. This means that bus 118 would have nowhere to stop. Should bus 118 or the tourist buses have nowhere to stop, a traffic jam could easily build up on both Žerjavićeva and Perkovčeva streets.

4.     If the decision about the parking lot at the Zagreb Trade Fair remains in force, that would mean that all tourist buses visiting the capital would have to cross the Sava River at least twice in order to park at the Zagreb Trade Fair parking lot and then to return to the center and pick up their group. So, if all tourist buses visiting Zagreb would travel from the city center to the Zagreb Trade Fair parking lot and back during the entire tourist season, it would very likely lead to traffic jams and cause great frustration for both tourists and citizens of Zagreb.  

In addition, since most tourist buses (due to their height) are unable to pass through the underpasses on Savska and Miramarska Street on the way to the city center, it is to be expected that the new decision will cause additional traffic jams on Marin Držić Avenue and on Selska Street.  

5.      The designated tourist bus parking zone on Vončinina Street has been ideal for tourist buses. It allowed the drivers to wait for their groups relatively close to the pick-up/drop-offpoint. Parking at the Zagreb Trade Fair (located across the Sava River!) would make it much more difficult for them to estimate how long is needed to get back to the city center on time (especially in the event of traffic jams on the Sava bridges).  

Both foreign and Croatian tourist agencies have carefully planned round-trip schedules, where there is no room for major changes. The main reasons being the working hours and drivers’ mandatory rest periods.

As Andrea Sesar from the Four Travel Agency explains:

“In order to respect drivers’ working hours and the duration of their mandatory rest, it is necessary that both the pick-up/drop-off point and the parking zone return to Palmotićeva and Vončinina streets.
All drivers are obliged to take a legal break after a stipulated amount of driving time. If the bus parking zone is too far from the center and if the driver gets stuck in a traffic jam, he could well run out of hours. If that happened, the driver would be forced to park the vehicle during the last minute before his tachograph time runs out. In other words, if the driver has to take a break, he has to do it any place on the road because the inspection would not see the location when checking the tachograph card. The law is very strict and the penalties rigorous. For the sake of tourist bus drivers, it is of extreme importance that the pick-up/drop-off point and parking zone return to their old locations."

6. For the reasons laid out above, it is to be expected that the drivers of tourist buses are highly likely to disregard the rules and stop and park in prohibited areas of the city

This in fact has been confirmed by the random parking of tourist buses within the city center, since the new regulations were introduced a few days before the beginning of the Advent Christmas Market.

Here's what tourist guide Josipa Šiklić, known as “Purgerica”, says about this situation:

"During the period of Advent in Zagreb, when the bus stop in Palmotićeva Street was already marked as "out of use", I witnessed, first-hand, buses with foreign license plates making long stops at the top of Zrinjevac Park, taking their time, not minding the traffic jams they were causing for both guests and locals, proceeding upwards to Praška Street (strictly forbidden to even enter unless you are a tenant, taxi, guest of the hotel nearby, or emergency service cars), blocking the whole tram traffic towards our Main Square. Other buses, arriving from various destinations, chose ZET's bus stop on Kaptol as their new "solution" for dropping off their passengers, infuriating the locals, as those particular bus stops are exclusively for local ZET bus lines, and the space they occupy is already way too narrow even for the drop offs involving solely local passengers.  

In case people were bothered by our presence in Palmotićeva Street, we would have greatly appreciated being given some heads up, and being offered, as professionals in the hospitality industry, the chance for a fair dialogue with tenants of the street and representatives of the city council's sector for traffic & infrastructure, which could have led to finding common ground and a much more sustainable solution. The one we have now lacks logic, sustainability, fairness and good hospitality spirit, which we boast with so much in our charming Zagreb.

I won't even mention the extra long walk for elderly guests or young preschoolers who come to learn about their city, because empathy unfortunately has no place in bureaucracy, as it appears, so at least let's participate as citizens of this beautiful and beloved city in reducing, not increasing, traffic jams and generally good city behavior."


Therefore, we are kindly asking the Zagreb Authorities to re-establish the Palmotićeva Street pick-up/drop-off point and the Vončinina parking zone in order to avoid further organizational, logistical and traffic chaos, and to allow the further development and sustainability of Zagreb tourism.   Zagreb has become a regular destination for many tourists in the past few years because of its beauty, well organized infrastructure and accessibility to all attractions. If we want to keep tourism in Zagreb, we have to keep the well-established traditions and make them better, not worse.  Let Zagreb remain a city which tourists from all over the world are eager to return to.   

The petition is available both in Croatian and in English (the total signatures is being gathered from both URLs)





Friday, 13 January 2023

What's Up With Grown Men Kneeling in Zagreb Main Square?

January 13, 2023 - If you live in Zagreb or were lucky enough to visit on the first Saturday of the month in the last four months, you might have witnessed the unforgettable sight of a bunch of fully grown men kneeling in the Ban Josip Jelacic square, praying in unison.

You might have even felt the small dick energy in the air. If you're looking for an explanation, we have finally given in and decided to give them the attention they've so eagerly asked for. Long story short, they are extreme Catholics who have decided their time is best used praying for all the things that matter and make sense, like no sex before marriage, banning abortion, or women covering themselves. 

As Index /Provjereno report, every first Saturday of the month, men gather on Ban Jelacic Square in Zagreb and pray on their knees. Provjereno journalist Danka Derifaj spoke with the priest leading the prayer.

"Many women are not aware when they dress provocatively, which causes great inconvenience and other things for the male population. Women should make sure they do not cause men to sin with their behaviour and clothing," said Father Bozidar Nagy from the Basilica of the Heart of Jesus.

"Women's Immoral Clothing"

When the journalist asked if men were not responsible for their own sins, he answered: "Listen, there are also those who provoke, either consciously or unconsciously, that is specifically women's immoral clothing."

The initiative started on the website Muzevni Budite (Be a Man), a portal intended for Catholic men, as stated in their intro. One of said men is John Vice Batarelo, president of the Vigilare Foundation.

"It is a prayer movement that started in Poland and is spreading worldwide. It reached us four months ago, here in Zagreb, but also other cities in Croatia," said Father Božidar Nagy.

"God's commandments are never out of date," Nagy added, after which Derifaj asked him about the equality of women and men: "These are the foundations of human rights. Take the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and you will see that it is based on God's commandments."

"When a woman is covered, it's fine."

The journalist then asked how the movement is about equality if women are not equal to men.

"What, do you think this is against the female part of the population? Honestly, when you see it in Muslim countries... Yes, it's excessive, but still... When a woman is dressed decently, it isn't provocative; when she's covered, it's fine. Listen, our blessed Ivan Merz said that women covering themselves in Islam was a good thing after all," said Father Bozidar Nagy.

As Nagy pointed out, the prayer movement comes from Poland, where the Ordo Iuris Foundation is from, whose branch in Croatia was founded four years ago by John Vice Batarelo and his Vigilare Foundation. Both are located at the same address.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Monday, 9 January 2023

Crni Macak, a Zagreb Cafe That Got Cheaper with Euro Entry

January 9, 2023 - As countless stories of increased prices in Croatia circulate with the adoption of the euro, meet a lucky black cat cafe in Zagreb, where things just got a little cheaper - Crni Macak. 

Along with many other people who had a longer association with Culture Club Mesnicka, I was very saddened when the owner announced suddenly that the iconic cafe and alternative music venue, which also happened to be my local for the previous year, announced that it was closing, as previously reported on TCN


Wonderful people, great events, perfect vibe. And I had only been in the neighborhood for a year, so I can only imagine what true locals felt about the closure. Thankfully, I hear that they have reopened elsewhere (if someone wants to let me know where, I will add to this article and pay a visit). And of course, in addition to being sad to see them go, it left me without a local. After years of driving all over the country to meetings - many of them in Zagreb - for a blissful year, I could organise coffee meetings just a couple of minutes from my front door. 

Weeks went by until suddenly, just before New Year, the premises reopened, with a new name - Crni Macak (Black Cat). It had a different vibe, and a younger feel, but it still had lots of the charm, as well as the board games that had been there previously. There is something civilised about popping out for a pint and a game of chess. 


I popped in for a pint on New Year's Eve to meet a friend and was pleasantly surprised to find that the price of my staple at that pub - a cool Niksicko bottle - was 2 kuna cheaper than before at 19 kuna, a fine start. I took a photo of the bill, for I was curious to see and document how much the price would go up the next day, as Croatia entered the Euro. There were certainly plenty of price hikes elsewhere. 

I popped down last night for the first time for a cold one after a long day of vlogging and blogging (maybe a combined term could be flogging, as I was exhausted) and ordered the same. How much more was this going to cost me than a week ago?


To my VERY pleasant surprise, the price of my pint had got cheaper, down from 19 kuna to 18.84. A small reduction, perhaps, but a nice gesture from the Crni Macak team to round kuna prices down rather than up to match the new euro price. 2.50 euro for a pint in my local - I can certainly live with that. 

I thanked the waitress for the pricing and asked if I could publish the two bills. She explained that they had wanted to keep the prices down and explained what Crni Macak was - the reason why the clientele was a little younger, as explained on their Facebook page:

A welcoming bar dedicated to SF, fantasy, gaming, board-gaming culture and all gaming-related things.

The first in Zagreb apparently. The cafe is a real warren of rooms, and that made it excellent for previous niche concerts. Those rooms are now given over to Dungeons and Dragons (is that still a thing, asks this Boomer?) and a host of other games - both online and off. 


There is a lively list of events through the month of January. I can't say that it is particularly my scene, but I do wish these guys the very best. 

And to have a local bar for my meetings and general unwinding - and at a reasonable price (a beer is 5 euro just 50 metres away) in such a good location, well - 2023 started well. 

You can follow the lively programme of events on the Crni Macak Facebook page.  


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.





Sunday, 8 January 2023

Downtown to Winter Wonderland: Zagreb’s New Cable Car Experience

January 8, 2023 - Did you know that a whole different world awaits you a short distance from Zagreb, a world which is as far removed from the bustling centre in every possible way? And a world which is accessible in just 15 minutes via the recently opened Zagreb Cable Car.

Zagreb is one of the few European cities that has quality skiing on its doorstep, and now even closer thanks to the cable car ride up the mountain to Sljeme. On a gorgeous December day, I made my way to the base station, determined to overcome my fear of heights and cable cars, to see what the 15-minute ride would bring.

The cable car was incredible smooth, quiet and secure – I actually enjoyed the experience for the first time in my life, and I was rewarded with a choice between sun-kissed views of the city below and a winter wonderland of trees above. With several stops en route, I opted to the top and entered a vibrant world of winter fun, active fun, family fun, and just pure fun, fun, fun.

Skiing, sledding, mountain biking, hiking, snowball fighting, or just relaxing over a mulled wine or hearty winter portions of homemade food. Enjoy the experience in the video below, before descending back down into the Zagreb sunshine.

Zagreb is a destination of four distinct seasons, and Sljeme is a wonderful experience whatever the time of year. Don’t miss it – a wonderful escape from the city.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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Sunday, 8 January 2023

Advent in Zagreb 2022: A Video Snapshot

January 8, 2023 - Advent in Zagreb 2022 has come to an end. How was it for you? A video snapshot. 

And you thought Croatian tourism was all about the coast in the summer? Come visit the Croatian capital of Zagreb in December, as hundreds of thousands of others do, to experience one of the best Christmas markets in Europe (and voted the best three years in a row from 2016-18).

It is a remarkable story of a small event which was first branded as Advent in Zagreb in 2010, at a time of year when tourism in Croatia was almost non-existent. And yet, within just 6 years, it was voted the Best Christmas Market in Europe on the European Best Destinations website, a feat Advent in Zagreb repeated for two more years. You can read more about the event’s sensational success in From Zero to European Champion: a History of Advent in Zagreb.

The pandemic put global tourism on hold in 2020 and severely limited it in 2021, but while many destinations put their Advents on hold, Zagreb chose to continue the tradition through those difficult years, albeit in a reduced, online and hybrid format.

But in 2022, Advent was back to its pre-pandemic best in Zagreb, with the iconic skating rink on Tomislav Square perhaps the symbol of that. Take a video tour below and see why Croatia away from the beach and summer has plenty of other attractions.

Learn more from the official Advent in Zagreb website from the Zagreb Tourist Board.


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.


Friday, 30 December 2022

Zagreb New Year Celebrations: The Capital Joins the No Fireworks Initiative

December 30, 2022 - This year, many Croatian cities gave up fireworks for the New Year celebration, including Rijeka, Osijek, Varaždin, Pula, Rovinj, Labin, Čazma, Cres, Mali Lošinj, Opatija, Poreč, Samobor, Zabok. The Zagreb New Year celebrations will join the praise-worthy initiative to support the health and wellness of pets and animals by using alternative means of spreading cheer and joy.

As Poslovni writes, Zagreb is joining the list of cities without fireworks on New Year's Eve, after all. Instead, the people of Zagreb will welcome the New Year with colourful confetti, visual effects, and a rich musical program, as announced by the Mayor's Office on Thursday.

The City of Zagreb decided to join the initiative of several cities in Croatia, including Rijeka, Osijek, Pula, Zabok, Rovinj, Opatija, Poreč, Čazma, Samobor, and Labin, and gave up the New Year's Eve fireworks organised by the City. Instead, the citizens will welcome the New Year with colourful confetti, visual effects, and a rich musical program at the Ban Josip Jelačić Square.

"Even though we had already communicated that we would proceed with the New Year's fireworks because they were already contracted, we still managed to find another solution this week, thanks to the understanding shown by the contracted company," the statement said.

The New Year's Eve program starts at Ban Josip Jelačić Square on December 31 at 7 p.m., with a warm-up with DJ Kiki B., and at 9:15 p.m. young talents of Croatian music, some of the performers from the popular music shows The Voice and A Strana. The famous band Pips, Chips & Videoclips will perform from 11 p.m. until after midnight, and after midnight, Nipplepeople will take the stage.

On New Year's Eve, Mayor Tomislav Tomašević will visit the on-call services, which include the shelter for the homeless, emergency services, firefighters, and the police, and celebrate the New Year with fellow citizens at Ban Jelačić Square.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

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