Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a 20-year-old college student, majoring in art history and French language and literature. I was born in Rijeka, a city with a fantastic laid-back vibe, situated on the northern part of the Adriatic coast. I moved to Zagreb to continue my studies- I’ve only been living here for two years, but being a student and having enough free time, I got to know the city by wandering around and going out a lot. There are also my great friends who live in Zagreb who welcomed me warlmy and helped me get accustomed- I love them a lot.
I spend most of my time reading, writing or hanging out with my friends. I like to travel, especially during the summer. I love coffee and cinemas more than everything. Oh, and occasionally I do some studying for my exams. Just kidding, mom!
How do you like being a Spotter? Do you have a nice Spotters-story?
I’m really glad I got the chance to be a Spotter, because it gives me a reason to write and to explore the city looking for new places that people might find interesting. Usually I just take my camera with me, snap a photo of a bookstore or a club that I like, and do my best to present its appeal in 200 words. But every now and then I surprise myself.
Like this one time, when I was writing the article about the antique store called Depo vremena- instead of peeking through the shop window, I decided to enter the place and interview the owner. I don’t do something like that very often; I’m pretty shy and it takes some time for me to relax around new people. So being a Spotter doesn’t only mean writing about Zagreb- it also makes me open up a bit.
Why Zagreb ? What is a must do when you visiting Zagreb ? What not?
I guess Zagreb isn’t so well-known in the global context, but it would be a shame not to visit it at least once. It has that historic charm of European capitals like Budapest and Prague, yet there’s some kind of energy that’s coming from young people and cool new places opening around the city.
Some advice- you should really visit the Upper town (Gornji grad), which is the historical center of the city and makes you feel like you escaped from the modern age to a place where there’s no pressure whatsoever. One of my other favorite spots is the Dolac open market, which may seem like a strange idea, but there’s no place that’s more packed with locals, and that’s the best way to feel the city’s vibe. If the time is nice, make sure to take a walk through the Zrinjevac park- it’s practically in the core of Zagreb, but it seems untouched by time since it was created.
Which prejudices about Zagreb are true? Which ones are not?
When it comes to Zagreb, people from other parts of Croatia like to talk about two things: that if you live in Zagreb, you have to get used to the high-speed way of life; and that the city’s inhabitants are arrogant and somewhat snobbish. The first is true, the other is not.
Being the capital, it’s normal for Zagreb to be the ‘fastest’ city in the country, where people work a lot and always seem to hurry on their way to… somewhere. No big deal. But there’s no arrogance at all- people are mostly friendly or, the worst case scenario, indifferent. Most of them don’t have that I live in the biggest Croatian city so that makes me more important than you attitude.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Zagreb at this moment? Why? What can you do there?
Well, as I’m not originally from Zagreb, I might not understand the real relation between the districts… but I think that the liveliest place is the center. Most of the bars and shops are situated there, and it’s also the part of the city where numerous events and happenings take place.
If you’re staying in Zagreb only for a few days, it would probably be the best idea to keep yourself busy in the center- you won’t get bored quickly, trust me.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city? Which spots would you visit?
My perfect days always seem to happen in the summer months- there are open-air concerts, various festivals and a great deal of street performers. People complain about the heat, but they actually like having a good reason to get some icecream and sit on a bench in the park to watch a performance of some foreign artist. And there’s also the fact that lots of people leave for a summer vacation, so there’s no crowd or a rush in the city during that time.
When you get tired by all the sightseeing, visit the Profil bookstore to get something to read. Then grab a sweet snack in the Dinara bakery, go and see a movie in the Tuškanac cinema, and take your co-travelers to get a drink in the KIC club or Maraschino café! ;)
Read all of Nikolina’s articles here.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters