all... twenty!

After much brainstorming over a hot pot of instant noodles amidst Zagreb’s chilly winter, we finally decided on where to go and what to do when daylight came. All of us agreed that since it was really hard for us to reach Croatia, we should each get something uniquely Croatian to commemorate this visit. And that would be “Penkala”.

What’s Penkala? It’s a brand of stationeries from Croatia. Why is it so significant? Because it was a Croatian engineer named Slavoljub Eduard Penkala who created the fountain pen and mechanical pencil that we use today. So our main mission of the day: Get a Penkala pen!

We got the address from the internet and headed to the store, hoping that it would still be open despite the fact it was Xmas eve. Thank goodness it was. We spent quite some time to choose our dream pen. Fortunately the salesgirl, despite of speaking very little English, was really helpful.

Me: Is this all? Do you have other designs?
Salesgirl: All… *speaking Croatian words, her finger pointing down* twenty!
Me: Huh? There are more downstairs?
Salesgirl: No, no, all here. All… *speaking Croatian words, her finger pointing down* twenty!
Me: Twenty?
Salesgirl: Yes! Twenty!
Me: Okay… *still blur*

Salesgirl ran downstairs.
Salesgirl came back with a very old Croatian-English dictionary.
Salesgirl pointed a word to me.
I looked at it. Popusta = Discount.

Me: Oh! There’s twenty percent discount!
Salesgirl: Yes! All! Twenty!

We laughed hysterically. How nice of her doing all she could to make me understand that she was giving a 20% discount for all the pens. We finally decided to get several pens with our names engraved on them, pencils and markers. The engraving would take 2 hours, so she told us to come back later.

We headed to the main square again and took a tram to Stadion Maksimir, home to Dinamo Zagreb football team. You know me, I could never leave Europe without visiting a football stadium. Too bad when we got there the stadium was closed. Well, it was Xmas eve anyway. So we only took pictures from the outside.

The team bus, sponsored by Konzum (something like our Giant supermarket). I found it funny because we bought groceries at Konzum to cook at the hostel.

Stop and get your tickets here.

Since there wasn’t much else to see, we crossed the road and headed to Maksimir Park, the city’s oldest public park.

Leftovers of melting snow along the pathway.

Quite a cold walk in the park.

The gazebo, also known as “Kiosk”, one of the park’s protected cultural assets.

Croatian flag flying proudly.

We walked around the park, snapped some photos, fed some ducks and got chased by swans. Boy that was scary! I never thought such a graceful looking animal could be so aggressive! Anyway the best part was when I saw the swans flying from one end of the lake to another, how they perfectly landed on water with their feet, it was really magical. I wished I could take a video of it. I waited for it to happen again, but it didn’t. Moments like that don’t repeat easily and nothing beats seeing it with your very own eyes.

2 hours passed. We took the tram back to the city centre and went to the Penkala store again to pick up our purchases. I was really happy with the quality of the engraving. It looked smooth and blended well with the pen’s clip. And there wasn’t any scratch mark at all.

My new work pen. Look at Penkala’s cute logo – a bald man with a big ear and a pen sticking behind it. Super cute! By the way, the pencil says “Kiss me!”

We spent the rest of the day shopping for souvenirs and went from one Xmas market after another. By the way, I must tell you that Zagreb is a very safe city to stay out at night. I personally found it many times safer than London or Paris, seriously! So don’t ever worry about going there. It’s cheap, it’s safe and it’s friendly.

Good night Zagreb. Tomorrow we would be heading to another city, in another country.


~jeet~ said...

cool...baru la ni tau the croatian that invented the mechanical pencil that we are using right now :)

thanks for the tip...asyik kumpul tip..bila nak pergi pon xtau..hehehe..

dieya said...

oh yes indeed. i pun tau sebab google pasal penkala.
takpe, kumpul tips banyak2, lepas tu jalan.. jalan.. dan jalannn!