08.10.2011 - 14.10.2011 17 °C
Zagreb (by Alain – Saturday 8th to Friday 14th)
Our 6 days in Zagreb is finished – a city in which we were very confortable both with our hosts and with the city since it has many similarities to Ottawa: comparable in size (both the suburbs and the downtown core), nature is close by, it is very safe... However Zagreb definitively has its affinities to a small to mid-size European city: traditional red tile roofs, 3-5 story high buildings, an efficient tram system, narrow cobblestone streets, a grand cathedral and many church spires, visible in every direction… Zagreb is actually an attractive city if you are able to look past the enormous amount of graffiti and the fact that most buildings look run down. The lack of upkeep to the buildings is in part due to the fact that from the end of WW2 to 1992, this entire region was governed by the former Yugoslavia. Under that regime, the state owned all of the land and buildings. Therefore, once you were established in a home, you could live in it rent-free and pass it on to your next of kind. However, you never actually owned the house and therefore had little motivation to renovate it. It also meant that houses were divided into as many apartments as possible. As a result, a house today can be owned by more than one owner, making it therefore difficult to make arrangement for the renovations.
In Zagreb, we also had our first travel incident: Chloée sprained her ankle running down stairs. We decided, due to the gravity of the sprain, to have a doctor make a house call at our friends’ home. His recommendation was to have an x-ray to make sure there were no broken bones in the foot. During the first visit at the children’s hospital, x-rays were done and the doctor decided to give Chloée a half-cast as a precautionary measure and have the situation re-evaluated 2 days later. We were somewhat surprised by the doctor’s decisions, since there were no evident fracture showing in the x-rays, but still went along with his decision.
We still managed to visit Zagreb with Chloée on her crutches, and I would also carry her on my back when she was no longer able to follow.
During our second visit to the hospital, another doctor again reviewed the x-rays and a short examination was done on Chloée’s foot. Since Chloée showed very little sign of painm her cast was removed and we were free to leave the hospital. The longest part of the hospital visit was to figure out how and were we were supposed to pay the hospital… not speaking the language did not help out, but the staff was very kind and helpful: at one point, we were at a standstill, not being able to understand the directions to the office were we had to pay. We were therefore asked to follow a hospital staffer to the proper location – good thing since the hospital was quite a maze!
House call by the doctor, with a 20hr response-time between the e-mail request sent late in the evening and the visit to the house the next afternoon – cost $50 CDN
First hospital visit – total time 1.5hrs
Second hospital visit – Total time 1 hrs
Total payment to the hospital - $40 CDN
Equals one healed ankle and a very happy girl (and parents)
All in all Zagreb, was a great stop on our itinerary. Thanks to our generous hosts – David, Bianca, Ethan, Matisse – we got the chance to discover a region unknown to us… and thanks to their generous support, the ankle incident was much less complex and painful than it could have been!! We look forward to seeing you again when both our families are back in Ottawa next summer (we owe you dinner)!