The Prime Minister of CHINA to arrive at our luxurious hotel!
Breakfast at the 5 star Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia is exceptional in every way. They offer a large, very high quality buffet which is adjacent to the elegant dining room. Patrons can also choose something extra from a “hard to decide list” on the al la carte menu. There is more than enough very professional staff working so service is top notch too. The dining room was filled to capacity – the hotel is very busy. The cliental including my passengers arrived nicely dressed for breakfast.
Zagreb is really an outstanding city. One could easily spend a few days roaming around the Old City which is an interesting mix of Modern and Old. Gentleman that don’t enjoying wearing a neck tie will scold this city because its where the neck tie was invented. The city is filled with interesting museums – the famous and most visited is “Museum of Broken Relationships”. Tourists fly in from all over the world in order to visit that one museum. There are also a number of performance theatres to be found. Hundreds of students passed us with tickets in hand – they were attending a student performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar” – this is the 50th year anniversary for that production.
Today was filled with special surprises. When we arrived at the massive indoor and outdoor farmers market we were met by 3 professional chefs. We were given a red tie with our new Croatian name along with a list of Croatian language ingredients that we needed to find. My passengers were then told they would be cooking their lunch – they were excited about their task. We felt like we were competing on the “Amazing Race” television show! We did our best to communicate with a number of farmers market sellers but only some could speak English. One ingredient that my team had to find ended up being a thin, flaky pasta that had the texture of a cracker – we had a hard time believing that it was a pasta but were assured we had the correct ingredient – it ended up tasting amazing,
Just a few steps from the farmers market we found the cooking school. There were a number of cooking stations set up and we soon were put to work. We had a blast. I especially applaud my male passengers who got right in there and ended up cooking as good as the pros. Their wives were proud of them! The results were superb – we thoroughly enjoyed sitting down and devouring what we prepared. This experience was a big hit with everyone.
After our luncheon we headed west to our next destination which was close to the Slovenian border, This rural area is filled with winding country roads and such stunning scenery it rivals Italy’s Tuscany.
We were guests at a castle owned by an older widow. This is not a tourist attraction, we were invited. Her mansion is filled with art that is worth millions. In fact she has 2 of the very first paintings that include both humans and animals – they are worth over 1 million each. She had initially been promised government money to help with the mansion restoration but that didn’t happen. Slowly she is doing what she can to restore it. Of course if she sold one of the many valuable works of art that would give her the funds that are needed but I know she doesn’t want to sell anything. She is an accomplished piano player and she proudly played for us. She was a professor during her career and her knowledge of this country should be written in a book. My passengers were thrilled with this surprise visit.
Our dinner destination was located at the top of a large hill. The coach driver did not complain when he had to drive the coach up very steep roads to reach this scenic destination.
They produce wine in this region. The area is excellent for grape growing because of ample snow in the winter and wide fluctuations of temperatures from day and night all throughout the year. We enjoyed an entertaining and tasty wine tasting presentation in their underground wine cellar.
We then took our seats outside overlooking a stunning view while a folklore group from a community 10 km away entertained us. There were many more of them than us! They have over 120 members in their troupe and rehearse weekly. They consist of musicians, dancers and singers. One of the young male band members was so happy, he smiled during the entire performance – we have noticed men in this country look serious most of the time so it was refreshing to see that smile. Their show was lively and entertaining. They are thrilled to be performing in France this year. They have been fundraising for 3 years in order to afford the journey. For many this will be their first time out of Croatia.
Dinner was delicious. The local cottage cheese they served as one of the appetizers is unlike ours. It is more like a whipped cheese and they top it with whipping cream – this is often a breakfast meal – of course no calories – tastes amazing!
The entertainers continued their performance during our dinner and my passengers were up dancing with them before dessert was served. We hated to have to head back to our hotel – we were enjoying such a wonderful evening,
During the wine tasting I received word that tomorrows departure from our amazing Zagreb hotel is going to be a challenge. My passengers are thrilled that we are staying at the most prestigious hotel in the city of Zagreb. This is where celebrities, VIPS and “Travel With Bradley” passengers can be found.
Tomorrow morning the Prime Minister of CHINA, one of the worlds most powerful man and his entourage will be arriving at this hotel. I expect that due to security reasons, they informed us last minute. The hotel staff needs to collect our luggage much earlier than originally planned. The coach cannot come close to the hotel but the hotel staff will look after delivering our luggage to the coach. We now need to leave the hotel 30 minutes earlier than planned. We realized this is the best plan because when we returned to the city, many roads were already closed as some of the Chinese entourage was already arriving.
When our coach driver finally arrived at the hotel there was also a steady stream of luxury vehicles dropping off some of the entourage. A large number of Air China pilots arrived and they were ushered to their rooms without having to check-in. Chinese co-ordinations were outside directing their guests – they even looked after quickly getting them into the elevators. On our arrival night the hotel lounge was packed. Last night there wasn’t a soul in the lounge. The Chinese entourage will fill much of this hotel and those that arrived already seemed to stay put in their rooms,. Of course there is a large number of security staff and police mulling around.
This is a “Travel With Bradley” FIRST – but it once again shows that I hand pick excellent hotels for my passengers to stay in throughout the world.