ADRIATIC COAST: DAY 6, KUMROVEC & ZAGREB, CROATIA

In my Day 4 post, I wrote a bit about Tito (Marshal Tito), the Yugoslavian statesman who led the resistance to Nazi and Fascist forces during World War II and established a Communist State.

One of fifteen children (only seven survived into adulthood), Tito was born in the village of Kumrovec, now a lovely museum of traditional rural life.  The original houses of the village are still standing and are well-maintained, providing a great opportunity for us to see what life was like during Tito’s childhood years.

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During our morning guided tour of the village we learned that the people of Kumrovec lived very modestly and worked hard, looking at obstacles as opportunities.  Each generation tried to improve on the craft of the previous generation.

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One of the handicrafts of the village was painted wood hearts with a mirror in the center.  If you lived in Kumrovec during Tito’s time, you would give one to a person you loved so they could see their reflection in your heart.

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After Tito left his village, it was evident that he left his heart behind.  After he became the leader of his country, he would ditch his bodyguards each year to return home and visit.

I can see why.  I was captivated by the stories of Kumrovec’s people, their culture and traditions, resourcefulness, and optimism, something Tito never forgot.

As we made our way out of the village, we came across three neighborhood boys, all ten years old.  One of them (in the middle below) spoke perfect English.  He learned some English in school; however, he learned most of it by watching You Tube!  He was so well-spoken and wise beyond his years.  As a treat, Sinisa sent them off with some Croatian Kunas to go buy themselves ice cream.

After leaving the village, a beautiful drive through the mountains took us past farms where we saw corn cobs hanging from farm houses to dry for cow feed.  Farmers in the area raise cows for their own use, mostly for cheese and milk.

Our destination was Sinful Vineyards (the English translation of the family-owned vineyard name), where we took a tour of the estate, learned about their winemaking process, tasted their wines, and then enjoyed more wine with a delicious traditional lunch of duck, veal, pasta, and potatoes.  The setting was beautiful with grape vines growing around us, and a view of a castle beyond.  Traditional live music completed the enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere.

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After returning to Zagreb, Bruce and I headed back to Old Town to re-visit the sites we had previously seen when the skies were cloudy and drab.  In the golden light of the late afternoon, everything was so much more photogenic and enjoyable!  It was a lovely evening to wander the city.

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Parliament Building

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This building was across from our hotel.  All of the yellow/gold buildings in the city date back to the period when Austria ruled the country.

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