Croatia

ZADAR

The unwise traveller who wants to see as much as possible of the Croatian Adriatic coast in as short a time as possible, inevitably realises, at the end of the trip, that of all the places visited none can be named from the other.

Romanesque cathedrals, Gothic churches, fortress walls, Roman ruins and the peeling façades of 18th Century houses, which in reality belong to different cities, merge in the tired mind of the traveller into a single town.

As in Plato's idea, this imaginary town combines all the Croatian Adriatic towns and at the same time is none of them.

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TRAVELS INTO TAXIDERMIA

The visitors to the aviary on Veliki Brijun Island, Croatia, move away from the cage housing the big yellow-crested cockatoo and stare at the bright ara parrot in the corner. Koki, the cockatoo, stops munching on his sunflower seeds and climbs the bars of his cage like a musician starting a gig.

"Kako si, Tito?," Koki screams. "Tito, Tito, Tito!"

He taps his beak against the cage bars, just to be sure the humans have got it.

As predicted, the tourists leave the silent ara and stare again at Koki. They smile.

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SPLIT IN SPLIT

Nero's Domus Aurea, Louis XIV's Versailles, Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle, the Balchik Palace of the Romanian Queen Marie ‒ the world is full of palaces built on the whims of eccentric rulers. None of them, however, comes close to that of Roman Emperor Diocletian (285–305 AD), in Split, Croatia.

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10 THINGS TO DO IN ZAGREB

The people of Zagreb are fond of saying that their city is too quiet. For the visitor, however – especially if you began your journey by crossing the western suburbs of Sofia – the quiet of Zagreb is a blessing. It has everything Bulgaria's capital city doesn't – wide streets, well preserved old architecture and a preternatural cleanliness.

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ZAGREB

I like seeing cities wake up. There's something special about those early morning hours when shopkeepers are sweeping pavements, groggy dog owners are out for the first walk of the day, and the smells of breakfast start to waft through the air.

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