Today an interview with Karla Lončar, Spotter for our Zagreb cityblog. She makes beautiful pictures of Zagreb, and it’s obvious she loves the city she grew up in!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How do you like being a Spotter?
It’s very difficult to talk about oneself. I always get nervously excited when someone pops out this question and can’t remember anything that could consistently sum all the bits and pieces that truly represent me. Well… Perhaps I should start from general information.
I’m 26 and have been living in Zagreb all my life. I graduated sociology and comparative literature. I don’t have a driver’s licence. I am myopic and wear glasses. I enjoy watching films and writing film critics. Actually, I am interested in everything related to visual culture and could say that I’m a dominantly visual person.
Perhaps that’s the reason why I enjoy being a Spotter and finding interesting places to visit. Just to surround yourself with beautiful ambience, OK, in some cases not conventionally beautiful, where you can enjoy unique combination of sights, sounds, tastes and other senses is a sort of privilege, one of the things that truly make your day worth remembering. Often people you encounter help that purpose. And sometimes, fortunately, make you content and aware of the idea of yourself living in or passing through a certain place, whether it’s your hometown or a town you just visited.
Since I have been a Spotter I feel somewhat like a scavenger, always thinking about finding and sharing all the experiences of interesting spots with this blog and wishing to inspire visitors to catch a glimpse of potentially vivid ambient remembrances. So to speak. I hope I’m making myself clear.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
It’s hard to pick a certain day. I would like to pick Sunday because of the Antique fair at Britanac square. But, again, Sunday is a rather sleepy day in Zagreb, which makes me sad, you know, you want to enjoy the most out of Sunday and end up in front of closed doors of many cafés and some museums, who work ‘til 2 pm. So it’s better to choose Saturday.
And it’s hard to choose a season, because every season requires specific attachments to some places. For example, during winter time I’d go to Booksa café more often, but during warmer months I’d probably choose some other spots for a drink.
Which is my favorite season? When I think about it, I love Zagreb during June the most. Vegetation is blooming, climate is warm but not too hot, although some people define the last term differently, students and pupils haven’t gone to their hometowns or holiday houses yet and the city is bustling with people. There are lots of manifestations, concerts… you wouldn’t believe how Zagreb changes during July or August, when most of the people scatter around Croatia, or just stay at home to cool themselves down a bit or try to forget the fact that they can’t afford a Summer holiday they imagined to have.
So… I would spend a perfect Saturday in June by having an earlier homemade breakfast with Pan-Pek bakery’s warm mini-croissants and jam or Dinara bakery’s non-glutenous bagels with chives, along with Franck’s white wheat coffee Divka, which inevitably brings me to my childhood memories.
The day would be sunny and warm and I’d go to Dolac central market to buy some fresh ingredients for a late lunch. I’d probably choose fresh fruit and vegetables with my boyfriend because we like to enjoy pleasurable rituals like this one.
Saturday is a busy day at the city’s Centre. Although I don’t especially like crowds I’d probably browse thorugh the Centre – buy some flowers at the bottom of the steps that lead to Dolac, walk into some antique bookstore or see what’s new in Prostor concept store or Šlic second hand shop. I’d probably settle in the beautiful and serene garden terrace of Bacchus Jazz Bar and have a drink, after I had bought sushi or two at Manzoku sushi take-away bar.
After lunch I’d head to an earlier show at Tuškanac cinema and afterwards go to some jazz concert and have a few drinks with my friends at “Summer at Stross” festival, held at the Upper town’s Strossmartre during June, July and August. This festival offers a great atmosphere at the peak of Zagreb’s belvedere, secluded below the trees of the promenade.
What to do next, where to eat or where to dance would depend on our moods and wishes.
Which prejudices about Zagreb are true? Which ones are not?
I have to take a moment to think about this. Zagreb is known to have a pretty bad transport infrastructure, so if you are staying somewhere at the city’s suburbs and aren’t in the mood for paying over expensive taxi-cabs, expect long bus or tram rides to Centre and vice versa and almost impossible late night rides back to your hotel/hostel/apartment. And you really have to inform yourself about club programs because you probably won’t just „end up” at some great place where you can drink and dance ’til dawn.
Many people said that they had great fun in Zagreb but it’s advisable to have a local guide with you, just in case you don’t feel as if Zagreb is a boring and bleak place for a night-out.
Some people also say that, when it comes to service, Zagreb citizens are potentially rude. That notion really depends on a personal experience and it’s globally applicable. There are many nice and outgoing people, bartenders and like who would really provide you the best service. But there are also people who are mean and whom I wouldn’t recommend you to hang out with. I don’t know if this counts, but Zagreb is still one of the capitals that are relatively safe for visitors, as well for its citizens.
And one more prejudice that I can remember is that Zagreb’s female citizens are very good-looking. Well, you can find, like in any other city, good looking males and females, but I have a feeling that lot of people here are in some way aware of their appearances, so this could be a plus for someone who wishes to have a fling with someone local.
What do you know about Zagreb what no tourist will know?
Well, I really don’t think that Zagreb, like an entity, is aware of its tourist potential. That kind of effort is concentrated on Croatia’s coastline and our Summer tourist season. So in that way, I think Zagreb provides a genuine traveller’s experience.
There are no bars or restaurants that have specialised themselves in bad food and manifestations held only for tourists. There are places that are more expensive and places that are more budget-friendly, of course, but I think that most of the interesting ones aren’t even mentioned in an average tourist-guide so you should definitely seek advice or two from internet blogs like Spotted by Locals.
One of the positive sides of Zagreb is that its Centre isn’t big so you’re going to have an opportunity to find everything that you need probably within a walking distance. Regarding this fact, be sure you don’t miss something potentially interesting, like secret gardens and parks of the Centre or Upper town that are usually hidden right in front of your nose.
Check out all Karla’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters