Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017: Day trip north from Zagreb

Since it is not light early, and we were recovering from the flight, it was 9:00 before we went to the breakfast table. We decided to take a day-trip north of Zagreb, as when Cherie arrives tomorrow, we will be driving south to Split, Croatia.

Our car - We upgraded to a new Mercedes Benz, with free GPS, free additional driver, free winter tires, free border crossing documents, and unlimited miles.

We definitely used the GPS today as we wanted to find a fairly remote castle. Our map is fairly detailed, but there was no guess work with the GPS.  However, that does not say that we did not divert from the GPS!!  If you have read any of our other blogs, you will know we do not stay on the well-traveled path all the time! We drove about 270 km (130 miles round trip today).

The area around Zabreg is very flat, but as you travel north, you enter the valleys and hills.  They call them mountains, but they are not high mountains.  You quickly notice the churches perched at the top of the mountain ridge. We did not drive through any towns with a population over 1000.  Most were probably 300 persons, so we were in very rural area. All we saw today was small-plot agriculture, small field corn plots that are actually picked by hand!  Each farm has its corn crib with whole ears of corn in it – look at photos.  Then we saw where corn was hanging to dry – very interesting. Of course, machinery was just small tractors, and it did not appear every farm had one.  Lots of the land is plowed, as in old-fashion plowing (mole-board plowing).  We did see some large bales of hay, and several trench silos for apparently cows that were indoors year around.  We have seen lots of free range chickens, and one herd of sheep.
Small Wood Framed Chapel Along the Road

Part of the small plot agriculture included vineyards – straight up the hillsides.  We did see wineries, so we surmised a farmer would sell his grapes to wineries – nice little cash crop. It appeared to be a new industry, as the vines looked young in comparison to the old established vineyard of Europe.

Typical Small Ear Corn Crib

Drying Corn

We found the castle from the 1500’s, perched at the top of the mountain.  It was open, and we toured at our own pace.  The view from the mountain top was lovely, even in wintertime - you could see much further since there were no leaves on the trees. 
Veliki Tabor Castle

View from the Castle
By 4:00 it was turning dusk, so we began our return trip to the Royal Airport Hotel. It was a lovely day exploring and meandering through the country side of northern Croatia. 


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