Monday, April 30, 2012

Beachin' It!

I have been patiently (or maybe not so patiently) waiting for the weather to finally warm up here. Usually, I feel like Croatia in general has a bit nicer weather than Philadelphia but this past winter I was really jealous of the gorgeous spring-like weather Philly was having while we were freezing under the cold gray sky all winter long. Thankfully, the gray has cleared and the sun is shining and it is absolutely gorgeous!

Tomislav and I took a MUCH needed trip to the seaside yesterday. We drove the 173 km (107 mi) to the island Krk which is one of the largest islands in the Adriatic, and a very popular travel destination for all.


What's amazing on the seaside is the way locals switch between languages so fluidly. One minute they're speaking in German to Austrian tourists, the next Italian to the couple from Rome, then back to Croatian, and then to Slovenian! It's amazing how they know so many languages so that they can communicate with tourists from all over. The waiters at this fantastic seafood restaurant we went to in the town Malinska were  constantly speaking different languages. Speaking of that fantastic seafood:


Mmm mussels with olive oil and garlic!

Homemade pasta with asparagus and shrimp in an outstanding savory sauce!


You can't go to the seaside without having white wine :)

To me, there is nothing better than hearing the sounds of the sea and I think T-Slav would agree. See how peaceful he looks?

 Cutie!


It almost looks like a pool behind me! But the water was still really cold, it felt like ice! We only went in about knee deep but there were some people swimming. Adults swimming were wearing wet suits but kids were just swimming in their bathing suits.

Lovely Adriatic with the view of mountains in the background

I already can't wait to go back! Have you been to the beach yet this year?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ikea = Daycare?

Ikea is an amazing store with 332 stores around the world in 38 different countries. This awesome budget friendly furniture store is finally being built in Zagreb which is really exciting. I always find stores like Ikea or H&M comforting because no matter where you are in the world, the stores look exactly the same. While you're shopping, you can forget where in the world you are and imagine that you're actually somewhere else.

My experience with Ikea began a long time ago. I feel like a lot of my early childhood in New Jersey was spent in the awesome play area (known as Småland which means small land in Swedish) at Ikea. I never went to actual daycare but it was almost like being in that play area on Saturday mornings was like daycare for me since my parents would wander around shopping there. They had the best play areas, with so many cool and imaginative toys and areas to play "house" in, and I distinctly remember watching many a Barney episode while there. I honestly don't know if my parents were always shopping or whether they just dropped me (and my sister) off there and went to do their own thing but I know that I've spent a significant amount of time at Ikea stores!


The Ikea tradition continues with T and I taking bi-monthly trips to neighboring countries to visit their Ikea stores!


We imagined we had his and hers desks like this :)


Swedish meatballs - you know it!


LOVE that all their decor all over the store (like in the dining area) can all be purchased there!


 
Chew-broccoli! So cute! When I was little, I ALWAYS wanted all of the adorable stuffed animals (does anyone remember that plush green snake?) they had there. These days it's no different, T and I literally had to stop ourselves from buying the broccoli, carrot, and strawberry stuffed toys!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do Not Flush Panties Down the Toilet


Picture this - you see this sign in a dorm room community bathroom:

 PLEASE DO NOT FLUSH PANTIES DOWN THE TOILET

What the??!! While I was in college, I went to Cairo, Egypt to study Arabic for one semester. I was at the American University of Cairo and it was the first year AUC was at it's new campus in New Cairo or القاهرة الجديدة

The new campus is literally in the desert surrounded by nothing but sand and wild dogs. The campus is absolutely gorgeous, it looks like a resort. The students that go to AUC are wealthy as tuition is very expensive. Living in the brand new dorms on the brand new campus was very exciting for a lot of the students. They were split up into boys dorms and girls dorms and we weren't allowed to intermingle at all except in a community room in the middle of the dorms. One of my roommates' brothers lived in the boys' dorm and she wasn't even allowed to go to his room! 


Anyway, back to the panties. The rich girls who lived in the dorms had never been away from home before. They were used to having cleaning ladies, moms, and maids to do all of the work for them and they didn't know how to fend for themselves. Apparently, the community bathrooms were getting flooded on the daily because the girls living there didn't know what to do with dirty laundry. They had never done laundry before and instead of washing their clothes after wearing them or even throwing out their underwear (which apparently they used to do), they would flush them down the toilet! Now, believe me, I cannot for the life of me figure out what their logic was, they must have assumed they would just disappear but it caused the construction of this ridiculously funny sign. 

It was interesting to see what kinds of lives the students led before coming to college. They were used to just paying for others to do things for them. Eventually, some of the girls figured out a better method for doing laundry. They paid the female custodians to do their laundry for them. Going to AUC was an experience I'll never forget. The people I met were some of the most interesting and imaginative of my life and I'm thankful for all the great friends I have from Cairo. But the panty flushers...well, that was just outrageous. I wonder what they're up to today...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To the Meanest Lady in Croatia:

I don't use my blog to rant very often but today is a different circumstance so be warned:

First of all, I just want to say that I'm not an idiot. You don't have to be such a bitch every time you see me. Ever since the very first time I came to Zagreb and visited Tomislav at work, you've had it out for me and I don't know why. I haven't even been to T's work in so long and obviously I remember why I hate going there. I've tried to be nice and pleasant to you but all you do is turn your nose up at me. I'm not expecting you to even smile or say hello, I'm just hoping not to feel awful after having to sign in with you at the security desk. I understand where I'm allowed to and not allowed to park. I speak Croatian and I understand you when you tell me I can't park there. When I ask you where I should park, you don't have to scream your head off at me right in my face. I'm not deaf, you do not have to yell. You can tell me, in Croatian, where I can park (even if I'm only there for 60 seconds to pick up a key). Instead, I would appreciate if you could just ignore me. I'd rather not hear any of your screams or see any of your rude faces. 

Thanks for making me cry,
Nikki

P.S. People might complain that Americans are known for being "fake nice" but it's a million times better to be surrounded by politeness than by sour faces and while we're at it - Zagrebians- PLEASE be more considerate on the sidewalk and stop pushing and crashing into me!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shopping Anxiety

I have extreme shopping anxiety. It's a fact. Shopping is really difficult for me sometimes. If I'm in the mood for it, it can be a fun experience but most of the time, I absolutely dread it. Spending money stresses me out, shopping trips need to be carefully planned and sometimes even the slightest thing can pull me right out of the mood and after 5 minutes in the first store, I turn around and go home. I think about an item for a long time before I buy it, maybe even go to the store 3 times to check it, sleep on it, and eventually decide to buy it. Still after I buy it, I try it on, reconsider whether to return it and whether it was truly a good buy.

Nothing is better to me than scoring a great bargain and my Mom has definitely taught me the best ways to find a good deal but I still have to say, I relate more to my Dad because of my shopping habits. My Mom is so stylish and she knows all the trends way before I do, especially because she works in a store. She helps me a lot (unknowingly) to curb my shopping anxiety by buying me clothes that are super cute (and most of the time on super sale!). I'm really lucky because it's so hard for me to go shopping. If I'm not feeling it, I really can't force myself. Having a fiance who likes fashion and loves to shop does not help with my anxiety but I totally think T and my Mom should go shopping together sometime.  
 
I have only met one person in the world so far who seems to have similar shopping habits and it felt amazing to hear his experiences that were similar to mine. I don't think he knows how groundbreaking it was for me to hear about what his shopping trips were like and how much it's stuck with me ever since! 

Last weekend, we got psyched up to go shopping at the Palmanova Outlets between Trieste and Venice, Italy. When I saw that Venice was only 100 km further, I was like, forget shopping! Let's go to Venice for the day! I didn't realize Venezia was so much closer with the car (rather than the train which is how we got there a couple years ago). But alas, we had shopping to do. We're looking for T's outfit for our wedding and I'm happy to say that I behaved myself pretty well. I almost had one breakdown while there but an espresso and gelato break helped with that and we continued shopping throughout the evening.

Espresso always reminds me of my old coworker, David, who is Italian and taught me the importance of good coffee and how espresso is absolutely required after lunch!

 
You KNOW things must have been going well if I was trying on feathered dresses for fun ;)

Tomislav found this cutie scarf and showed off his American pride!

Do any of you out there have shopping anxiety? Any tips for me? My idea was that if things got really tough shopping and I wasn't able to go on, to stop and have a glass of wine to help me carry on!

Friday, April 20, 2012

(Fri)Day Dreamin'




Can't quite focus today, keep daydreaming about a certain secret (not-so-secret anymore!) getaway T-Slav and I snuck off to a little while ago. The best trip ever!


 It's a happy day :)





Ladies Give the Best Directions

Last night, I realized something major. Next time I need to ask for directions to go somewhere, I should just ask a woman. I'm proud to be a strong, capable, and independent woman and you know what? I'm not afraid to get lost to try to find my way. I'm also a big fan of using a GPS while driving. Unfortunately, my friends' address wasn't being found in the GPS. Normally, I would ask Tomislav to help me out with finding where to go but instead I called my friend first. It was amazing. She asked what was around me and I described the cafe and 2 markets nearby and she knew exactly where I was and how to lead me out of there. She told me to go straight at the childrens' park, turn left at the first stoplight - landmarks that I could actually see, even though it was nighttime. The reason I'm sharing this is because I had an epiphany as to how much better I can understand directions when they are explained by a woman!

One of the first times I was in Croatia, Tomislav was at work and I was at his parents house on the other side of town. He drew me a "map" and wrote out some "directions" to explain which trams to take and how to get to a university so we could go to a friend's graduation. His directions, no joke, said something like, "Cross the street that's perpendicular to the north side and walk over around the right." Huh??
 
I didn't have a cell phone at the time and I ended up getting controlled in the tram (without a ticket) so I got out and made my way to what I now know is Branimir Centar. I saw there was a Cinestar there (the movie theater). Tomislav used to work at Cinestar while he was in college so I felt some hope. I asked them if I could use their phone to call Tomislav but before they could get me the phone, the girls somehow figured out the crazy ass directions he gave me and led me onto the right tram. When I finally got there, Tomislav was waiting and so nervous thinking the worst had happened to me. I quickly exclaimed, "Your directions! That's what happened!"

I have learned, once and for all, to ask a woman! She won't tell me to look at the sun to figure out where west is or whatever. She probably won't say, go North, you know, towards Sljeme (the mountain around Zagreb). Sometimes at night, it's almost impossible to see the mountain! Especially when I'm already totally lost.



 Landmarks like the big Nikola Tesla statue make giving directions much easier!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did You Watch?!

I know a lot of you did! Thanks to all of your wonderful messages on Facebook and here on my blog! Tomislav and I ended up waking up just before 4:30 this morning, Skyped my sister, and she held the iPad up in front of the TV for the whole episode so we could see it live with all of you! It was so hard to wake up but as soon as the show started, we were so pumped! It was so crazy to see us on TV and so neat to see how they edited the 4 days we filmed down into one 22 minute episode. We're so glad we got to have this amazing experience. It couldn't have been more fun, we had an amazing crew and Boro, the real estate agent we worked with was hilarious!

Boro doing his "Off-the-Cuff" Interview about Apartment 3

 Unseen Footage: Filming at my School

 
My sister getting interviewed while we were skiing in PA

Tomislav being interviewed after Apartment 1

 Me at Apartment Two

  All of our things were moved out of our apartment to film scenes for the day

 
Decision Scene - We walked so slowly making our big decision at one of our favorite parks, Zrinjevac.
 

Just one thing I have to note, I knew this would end up being on the show but I wanted to remind you all that this is a TV show for made to entertain viewers. Sometimes the director will advise you to say a few lines to make the show more interesting, exciting, and engaging for the viewers. In my case, I was told to exclaim about how strange it was to see a washing machine in a bahtroom. This is not my personal opinion, I find it quite normal for a washing machine to be in the bathroom! I joked with my family and friends after filming how I know I'll get heat for saying those lines, and of course I did, but being on a TV show requires some acting people! It was really so fun though. I can't wait until we get the DVD so we can watch it again. If you ever get the chance to appear on a TV show, based on our experience, I would definitely recommend it. We got so used to it that one night after filming we were goofing off and took turns acting like we were a director, producer, sound engineer, and camera person! See our silliness below:

video

This is what it's really like when you see a person talking to the camera, they don't just begin talking about whatever they want. The director/producer asks questions and the person on camera repeats the question in the beginning of the answer to set the scene up.
 "OK, Now look at this shoulder!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

House Hunters International - TONIGHT!

This is your official reminder! Tonight at 10:30PM EST our episode of House Hunters International will air on HGTV! We are super excited (and honestly...a little nervous!) and can't wait to hear what you all think of our episode!

My beautiful sister and Mom during filming at my parents' house in PA


More importantly, today is such an important day for much more than just our ep of the show...







It's my Mommy's birthday! Happy Birthday Mamusia!



Cheers Mama!


:)

My Mom is so much fun, she's always down to be silly with her girls ;)


 Besties!

 
Mommy and I...being American ;)

Our Family


I hope my Mom has the best day today and that everyone enjoys watching House Hunters International tonight! Remember, even though it is about us, it's also a TV show made for entertainment purposes! Since we won't be able to watch it live tonight, I'd love to hear what you guys think so please please please let me know! I'll fill you in on some behind-the-scenes news after it airs ;) If you don't catch it at 10:30PM, it'll also be on at 1:30AM. Bok svima! Prijatno ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lucky That I Love a Foreign Land

Up until recently, the majority of my and Tomislav's relationship was spent with us being 5,280 miles (8,497 km) apart. For the first three years, we were apart for longer than we were together.

Dating long distance is really hard. Every time you're doing something fun, you can't help but not fully enjoy yourself because you're wishing your better half was there. Every event we'd go to, we'd end up talking someone's ear off about each other.

We survived on knowing we would see each other again

Before I met Tomislav, I did not believe long distance relationships could work.. I thought, "There is too much temptation and literal distance separating us, how could someone possibly remain faithful based on phone calls and emails alone?"

But then, Tomislav. I was so crazy about him from the very beginning. Since I knew our relationship had an expiration date (his program that brought him to the States lasted only 5 months) so I was ready to live it up and spend the most time I could getting to know him. I knew things really must have been getting real when I went to visit great friends in Colorado for a week (thus our first separation) and as Tomislav drove me to the airport and I cried about not seeing him for that week! He told me later he was a little shocked that I cried, but so was I! I didn't think I'd miss him so much, but I really did. And based on the phone calls and texts I got from him all week, I know he really missed me too.

Our relationship moved quickly, he met my parents and totally impressed them with his European manners that my parents could totally relate to.

He was the one.

So in the months that followed, when we weren't physically together, it was an extremely difficult time for the both of us. We both constantly felt like there was a piece of us missing and we were just waiting to start real life. We were just going through the motions until we could be together again.

 Putting my arm around the heart shape on the side of the pyramid in Giza, where T should have been

T putting his arm around where I should have been

An ocean, our jobs, and an inconvenient time difference made it difficult for us to find time to Skype. Sometimes the only time we could hear each others voices was when I was commuting home from work in the horrible rush hour traffic on 95. I would be cursing at cars mid-chat with T and this was the only time we had! Later I'd feel so bad we didn't get to really talk but at that point he'd already be fast asleep.

We wrote so many emails. So. Many. Emails. I would check my email every couple of minutes because we would constantly be sending each other messages, about everything. It's all we could do, just talk, communicate, tell each other what's going on in our worlds, send songs and love notes...

Long distance relationships make you think of more romantic things to do. For Tomislav's 25th birthday, I planned to send him a card everyday for 25 days before his birthday. So first I had to start like 2 months early to make sure they'd arrive on time. I sent one everyday but then when he finally started to receive the cards in the mail, he'd get like 3 in one day! That wasn't the point, my hope was that everyday he'd feel a little joy from me when he got the mail. He could smell my perfume on the card each day. So I started to mail them out every couple of days so they would arrive almost everyday for him. He was always surprised to see another one! I was at the post office all the time and it really was lovely for both of us. It made us both feel more connected. And who doesn't love getting mail?

It's hard for others to understand what it's really like for those who are in a long distance relationship, unless they've been in one themselves. It's hard for people in the LDR to explain their feelings to others. It's just so hard because you don't feel totally like yourself. And if someone is willing to listen, it's easy to get carried away and talk about your far-away-love until the listener is totally over it. But for those in an LDR it's always a countdown until the next time you'll see each other.

When I got back to Zagreb last year in October, T picked me up from the airport and when I walked back into our apartment, he put up all of the cards I ever sent him all over our place. It was amazing and beautiful and fun to look back on everything!

Now we are together and although I'm now missing my family and friends, being with T finally gives my heart the peace that it needs, being with it's other half. Being so shnuggly, being perfect for one another. You can't have it all but I'm so happy to be with him now.

It's not easy, but if you feel like the person you're dating is really special, especially if you feel like you love them from the very first time you meet, you can make it work. If they are worth it, then it is worth it! If you're in a long distance relationship and you need someone to talk to, feel free to write to me. I'm always willing to lend a listening ear since I know how you may feel!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

3 Beers, Never 4

Hangover girl, hangover girl, hangover girl. Ok, you can all stop pointing and laughing at me. I'm hangover girl.

Anyway, I totally need to learn my lesson to stop at 3 drinks. I don't drink a lot anymore so I'm totally not used to it and I keep thinking I can handle it but then somehow I still end up getting carried home by T who has to listen to me try to convince him, "I'm fine!". But I had an absolutely fabulous time last night going out to this cool music venue/bar Sax with T-Slav's coworkers, hearing not one but two great bands play covers of all types of songs, everything from Whitesnake to Queen. The headliners are called Živa legenda and wow they can put on a show! Great band, awesome performers, and I love a singer who can switch languages so smoothly and without any noticeable accent at all! We were rocking out and then when the bands stopped and we were left with the records, oh boy did we keep the party going! See below:


video
This was awesome :) They are awesome
(Also, you can hear T's AMAZING laugh around the 9 and 31 second mark!)

We met a couple of cool New Zealanders last night and I'm not sure if I should blame my being buzzed for not being able to understand what they were saying or whether I just really couldn't follow their accents!

Another one of my favorite moments of the night was me screaming Dream of Home Tonight ;)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday, the 13th

I think I "celebrated" Friday the 13th a day early this time around. I was a clumsy mess. I've often been known as a spiller (Thank God I can also remove stains pretty well) and yesterday, I was an absolute butterfingers. First, the drawer flew out of the kitchen. I just pulled it and it went flying! Then, the handle came off of the bathroom radiator:

 Am I too strong or something? ;)

I tripped over the laptop cord and dropped the beautiful ceramic pot that we bought a few months ago that I thought I'd use for my new basil plant.

Ouch.

At the end of the day, all I wanted was a glass of wine. Of course T was at the gym at the time. He's the expert wine opener, with all his server experience and all ;) So, I had to figure out which of our cork screws was the "good one."

 
Yeeeeeaaaah. Really wasn't my day!


Today, luckily I'm feeling great! Having this staycation has been exactly what I needed. I kind of forgot that I have to go back to work next week! I just figured I'd get to do this stay-at-home thing until the wedding. It's been so nice. I finally got to sleep in this morning! It was wonderful, especially because in my dream, I was in Paris with a bunch of old friends. It's a dark and rather gloomy day outside so I think I'll stay in and curl up on the couch with some Titanic specials. There hasn't been that much "hooplah" about it here but I'm sure with the release of Titanic 3D and the anniversary coming up, it's being talked about a lot Stateside. I'm really pumped to learn more about the mysteries behind the ship. Time to go get my nerd on. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

OMG! Bosnian Food!

Balkan food is FREAKING AMAZING! Ćevapi and lepinja and kajmak are so delicious. Now, I know I've written about it before since I had the best ćevapi in Serbia but I'm super stoked on the unbelievably great restaurant that is literally next to our apartment called Sofra. As you may know (or see below in the picture), we live next to the only Mosque in Zagreb hence our great luck of having the original Bosnian restaurant Sofra in our little neighborhood . Oh, you Yugoslavs you, making your amazing, addictive, comforting foods!


The mosque is behind me and directly to my right is Sofra.
 
In case you don't know, ćevapi is grilled minced meat, made usually of beef (several types of beef and/or lamb and pork, depending on which region you are in). 10 piece of ćevapi are served with lepinja (also known as somun) which is this fabulous grilled bread that soaks up the flavor of the meat so well. And of course, you can't forget the chopped onions and kajmak (a creamy dairy product similar to clotted cheese. Fun fact:  It is made from the milk of water buffalos in the East or of cows in the West) on the side of your plate. Some people eat their ćevapi with sour cream or ajvar (roasted red pepper spread - my Mom got the recipe from T-Slav's mom and has absolutely perfected the art of making ajvar. Hers is amazing!) Maybe if she still has a jar left over from her last batch she can bring it to Croatia to share with T's Mom. That would be so nice.  

Oh my gosh it is so good!

Mmm how can you not love a place that treats guests to free honey liquor after their meal?!

I can't wait to show our family and friends who are coming for our wedding all of the best things about Croatian culture. Our wedding weekend is basically gonna be a combination of touring the Balkan traditions throughout the years with a mix of Polish customs and American touches along the way. We've decided our "Welcome to Croatia" dinner the night before our wedding will be held here - yay! I can't wait for everyone to try this outstanding food, so leave your gluten allergies at home people -
It doesn't get any better than this!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Verliebt in Berlin

Back in the beginning of Nena's career (think 99 Luftballons), the time when Kreuzberg was inhabited only by punks in the early 1980s, my parents were living in Berlin. They were about my age at the time and were away from their families and were lucky enough to find many great friends there. They eventually got married in Berlin and my sister was even born there! Their lives really began together there and it's always had a special place in my heart because of the memories they share from their early days there.

 
Fast forward 20 years, I was lucky enough to visit Berlin with my fellow CB/PPP exchange students. Unfortunately, on that trip I got bit by a spider and had an allergic reaction that led to a trip to the very hospital my sister where my sister was born, in Kreuzberg. I didn't get the chance to see any of the major sites in the city because of the dang bite and I've wanted to go back there ever since.

Pre-bite visiting the Bundestag with great friends and fellow exchange students ;)

A while back, I started reading Nicole is the New Black, an American expat in Berlin's blog about life abroad. I love reading her point of view as a solo female traveler and about life in Berlin in general. Through her, I read about Travels of Adam. It was perfect timing as I saw his post about a giveaway for a weekend in Berlin. Amazingly enough, I commented and tweeted about the contest and I won! Out of the 422 entries I was the winner, and I'm so freaking excited about it! I'll be going for the weekend at the end of this month thanks to Roomsurfer.

Roomsurfer is yet another accommodation website, but with a hipster twist. The website uses your Facebook profile to match you with a potential host in whichever city you’re looking to visit. So if you like a certain type of music, you’ll be connected with potential hosts with similar tastes. It’s a unique way to get to know new people. With airlines already using Facebook to match passengers with seatmates, social-media profiling (is that the right way to word it, I don’t know?!) is only going to increase in the travel industry. And Roomsurfer is on its way up.
It’s a lot like CouchSurfing, but with Roomsurfer you’re paying for a host. Whereas I may spend hours (or days) writing and trying to organize a host on CouchSurfing, Roomsurfer does all the hard work for you. Finding a potential host could finally be a lot easier! (From Travels of Adam)

To be perfectly honest, when I found out I won, the first thing I said to T-Slav is that all of my blog followers are gonna hate me and think, "Why does this girl get all the fun?" But believe me, it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I was really missing my family and having an "I'm sick of Zagreb" moment and complaining when I checked my e-mail and saw that I won the trip! The other thing is, you can be doing this too! You really can! It's important to do the things you really want to do and live your life. What are you waiting for?! I have wanted to take advantage of the fact that I live here and try to see as much as I possibly can (on a budget) and I'm getting the chance to finally visit Berlin again, attend the Room Surfer launch party on April 28th, and really live out my dreams. All thanks to this awesome giveaway on a really cool blog! How cool is that?

So, I encourage you to write down all of the things you really want to do and see in your life and start to do them. Start small or big, take a day trip on the weekend, start painting, enter a contest! Do something that scares you. Seriously, try it and feel alive. Even if that something is starting to exercise or starting a blog or who knows what! I'll be sure to tell you all about my weekend in Berlin but I'd love to hear about what kinds of things you'd love to do. What is your number one dream destination?
 

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's Official- Less than 2 Months!

Our wedding is coming up in a couple of very short, quick months so we're getting into serious planning mode! There are still a bunch of things that need to be done but right now all I'm dreaming about is the seaside. Anyway before I get to the seaside, I wanted to mention a couple of things.

Accommodations:

If you're coming to Zagreb (for our wedding or for any other occasion!) rather than rent a hotel, we recommend you rent an apartment instead. Especially if you're traveling with more people, it's much more affordable (not to mention comfortable!) to stay in a flat in the city. It's also much more common to rent apartments (or houses) rather than hotels all over Croatia. Hostels are another good option (especially if it's just for one or two people).

The best website I know for finding quality apartments to rent all over Europe is AirBnB. I'm not getting paid or anything to write about the website, I just wanted to let you know that Tomislav and I have had GREAT experiences with this site and renting apartments in Western Europe and there are so many options for not only Zagreb, but also Dubrovnik and most other European cities! For example, this place is a luxury apartment 10 minutes from the center of Zagreb, accomodates six people (very comfortably!) is $135 per night in June (the week of our wedding). $22.50 a night per person! Great deal indeed :)

Getting Around the City:

Tram Map of Zagreb 
(the Main Square, Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, is circled)

The tram and bus system in Zagreb is easy to use and readily available. It can take you all over the city so you can see all the best sites. You can buy tickets for the tram at any kiosk but to be honest, I am a "Schwarzfahrer" most of the time. I don't ride the tram as much as I used to (since we have a car). The trams aren't controlled that often so I usually keep a tram ticket in my wallet and if I see a controller coming, I quickly stamp it at the front of the tram, or just get off at the next stop. I'm being totally honest here but honestly, I've seen controllers so rarely that this is the way I choose to ride!
There are also many new taxi companies, like Cammeo, which make it much more affordable to travel around the city (like if you'd rather take a cab than a bus lugging suitcases from the airport or so on).

Communication:

Using your American cell phone plan in Croatia is über expensive. I wouldn't recommend for anyone to sign up for an international calling plan unless you're super rich and don't care but if you're on a budget like me, the best thing you could do is get an unlocked phone. If you're phone is unlocked, you can put a sim card in it from any provider and boom - it works! The old school, bar phone nokias are excellent for this. If you have an old one lying around, it's probably unlocked and for about $5 (25 kuna) you can get a sim card and start up package for calls and text messages.It's affordable and so much easier to communicate this way with friends who live or are staying in another part of the city. Check and see if your phone is already unlocked! It may be!

The Seaside and Traveling Around:

After our wedding, we are planning on going down the coast and I'm sure many of our guests as well as anyone coming to Zagreb will plan on doing. Absolutely anywhere you go on the coast is bound to be gorgeous. Keep in mind, most places in Croatia don't have sandy beaches, instead there are small pebbles or big boulders to lay on. I hope I never take the views for granted, swimming in the sea and looking at huge mountains is so unique and beautiful, I can't wait for all of my family and friends to see it! Also, any Game of Thrones fans should make their way to Dubrovnik since the second season was filmed there and you can see how amazing it looks in real life. There are tons of buses in the summer that go from Autobusni Kolodvor (the main bus station) in Zagreb to all different cities on the coast. You can get there pretty cheap, although the bus takes longer than it would with a car since it makes some stops. Renting a car is another option. For more info about things to do and see while you're in Croatia, we invite you to check out our wedding website which can be found here!

 Blue Cave on the island Vis

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