Chris's rant fest travel blog

The train trip to Zagreb took around 6-7 hours, initially traversing through the snowy and very beautiful mountains in Austria, before moving on through Slovenia and finally arriving in Zagreb.

We booked it more or less as the most easy way of getting from A to B, but I guess it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip - beyond the stunning scenery, making friends with a Serbian train guard / maitre de was pretty amusing. He spoke not a word of English, and we were hopeless in his languages - Serbian, Italian and German. So communication broke down to sign language, numbers and pointing at pictures in magazines.

However, we did manage to establish that he was 5 years older than Dad, lived in Belgrade and had two children - a girl and a boy - a year younger and a year older respectively.

It was not long before he was bringing the refreshments around. We made the mistake of assuming that the pretty rubbishy instant coffee was free, and pretty soon he had bought around a round of rocket-fuel tasting schnappes. Dad purchased one for the guard, which he duly knocked back before diappearing for 20 minutes or so, where we suspect he was drinking with other passengers in the next carriage. He then reappeared with another round of the local fire water, this time "gratis" - again, he downed his pretty quickly and was on his way again. Given that he still had another 5-6 hours after we got off the train in Zagreb, made me think that he was probably going to be in quite a state by the time he got home to his wife!

The other item of note on the train was the number of times we had to show tickets and passports - I guess mainly because we were going through three countries, but also because we were leaving "Europe" - for the first time in over a year for me.

Zagreb was an interesting town, we got there pretty late and again had a look around. The next day we used the very frequent trams to get up to the local ski field and took a ride to the top using the funicular railway.

Given its proximity to a city of 1.2 million, I suspect a field of the size of this one would be very busy in the season - but as it was to early for this, we were amongst the only people having a look around.

Our train to Split was then cancelled, meaning that we had to endure a long and relatively dull bus trip out to the coast.

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