After an amazing day at Plitvice, we went to bed early so we could get up for our 9am free walking tour. Most cities in Europe require a tour guide license in order to give official tours, but in many Eastern European cities you can find an underground network of free walking tour guides that work for tips only. I took one of these tours in Budapest, and it was probably the best tour I'd ever been on. I asked our tour guide (I'll call him Steve, what he does is technically illegal) about the process to get your official guide license, and he said it costs almost 300 Euros. The free walking tour setup is great, the guide works on tips only and usually has much more interesting tidbits about local life and history. They also don't feel obligated to lecture for hours about the history of a building's architecture while you awkwardly shuffle your feet and wish you were moving on to the next thing.
Steve is an excellent photographer after years of tourist photography experience.
We ended up walking for almost 3 hours, and the time actually flew by. There's not a ton of things to see in Zagreb (like Vienna or something) but certainly enough for a day walk.
We also came across some kind of folk dance celebration outside the Cathedral. We were in the city on Fireman's Day, so there were a lot of events happening. We saw a marching band in the main square, along with the city's firefighting regiments and police forces.
I loved the service dogs.
My favorite part of our walking tour was the planets installation. I hadn't noticed them last time we were in the city, there's no signage and they like to keep it as a hidden gem of sorts for the locals to enjoy. The sun is installed in the center of the city, and each planet is placed a proportionate distance away. Pluto was still a planet when the installation was built, so somewhere in a Zagreb suburb there's a tiny Pluto!
After the long walk, we found a nice cafe for some much needed caffeine and postcard writing.
Zagreb is a great little city. The central park is small, but serves as a green gathering place, especially on such a beautiful day. Horse carriages were everywhere, offering quaint scenic rides to tourists and locals.
We had a great trip, I'm glad I got to see the city again in better weather, even though I missed the Christmas tent with the delicious cheese sausages... It was worth paying tourist prices for a little sunshine!