I haven't always lived in Zagreb, but now it seems to me as if I had. When I drive along side roads, it dawns on me how well I really know the streets of this city, the culture of its pedestrians and drivers or the lack of thereof. The city and I are particularly aware of each other on the way back home from a get-together after midnight. Without the slightest fear or - God forbid - any apprehension that I could come to harm in this city.
As years go by, Zagreb is turning into the kind of city I used to cross borders to get to. A city that is somewhat faster than it used to be, offering better cafes, restaurants and yoga studios. A city where you can get from A to B a little slower because it is gradually being taken over by tourists, which makes me especially happy. A city where various languages are trying to make themselves understood.
When I was thinking about this post, I knew that it would be anything but a typical advertisement for this city. I knew that I would be taking my readers - and later on you travelers as well - to places that will replenish them. To places that encourage you to think, take the city's pulse or take a break from it, write a line or two about your experiences or listen to this very singer when you walk along my route. Because it just feels right.
When you go for a walk with me, you will keep moving if I take you out for coffee first. You will keep moving by standing still for a while.
It is inherent to the culture of this city and country in general to drink coffee. We drink coffee when we are starting our day, when we want to stretch it out, when we need to talk to someone, make a business deal, think about something, when we need to calm down. Come over, I'll make coffee or Let's go get coffee is a very common sentence for your average Croatian.
When I drink coffee, it has to be really good. OK, fine, the best! It's a long story why that is so, but that's the way it is. I will tell you the story at some point.
My coffee is brewed in Cogito, who are without doubt the best roasters in the region. Although they have places on several locations in the city and each of them is tempting enough to make you want to sit down and collect your thoughts, I am enamored of the one in the Deželić Street. You'll find mostly locals there, each sitting down to their own table, everyone saying hello to each other, baristas who know which kind of coffee each of us drinks and will recommend you one that will hit just the right spot, the music, the atmosphere, the vibe... This place has it all.
This is my place and if you happen to see me, sit down next to me and I will gladly take you through the maze of thoughts that are crossing my mind at that particular moment.
You can find out a lot about Zagreb just by sitting down in a cafe and watching the locals. It is important that you slow down on your journey; that is the best way to learn what makes the people in this city tick. Memorize the word "polako", take it easy, slowly.
Cogito is close to the Britanski Square, which enjoys the reputation of the most Zagrebian of Zagreb squares.
I am planning to tell you more about this Square and the best places in Zagreb where you can enjoy as local. Stay tuned and curious for a short time, I promise!
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