Sljeme

A day of wonderful chance encounters and genuine friendliness.  In a moment of madness we both decided it would be a good idea to climb Sljeme, the mountain at the end of the Zagreb tram line.  It was the local thing to do so why not?

We didn't make it to the end of the tram line until near enough lunch time.  We hopped off the tram and I turned and saw a young lad in hat and gaiters and asked if he was heading up the mountain and if so, if he'd show us where the path started from.  (To clarify, by young, I mean 30!)  He bravely offered to show us the path and mentioned we could walk up and take a bus down the mountain - the walk up should take around 2 hours (90 mins for a local).  Bless him, he then stuck with us as we puffed and panted, slipped and slid our way up the mountain while the locals, young and old rushed past us on their way up and down the mountain.  Our guide up the mountain turned out to be an Matthew, an economics professor who also ran the library which was in an underground nuclear bunker!  One of the many people who passed us on the way up asked us where we were from so I shouted, New Zealand!  A welcome relief at the top of the mountain was a cafe/restaurant.  While Vicki & I were treating ourselves to a beer, we heard "Hey, New Zealand", and the guy who'd passed us came and sat down and offered to guide us down the mountain.  Oh no, we weren't having any of that - it was the bus back down for us.  Our new guide, Robert, helped us order mlinci (a cross between flat bread and pasta), bean soup and sausage and then walked the 30 mins down the road to the bus stop.  Once at the bus stop he wanted to wait with us but we managed to convince him we'd be just fine waiting with the lady, her son and their sled!  We challenged the boy to a snow ball throwing competition and before you knew it, Marina and her lovely son were our new best friends and we were swapping facebook addresses!

We finished the day off with a scrummy hot chocolate in the Hansel and Gretel cafe before heading back to a roaring open fire, wine and cheese at Vicki's.   We headed to bed with warm fuzzy hearts and souls - partly from the wine and partly from the fact that there are genuinely lovely people out there who will go out of their way to help and look after others.  A perfectly perfect Sunday.


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