Friday, November 19, 2010

Svježe Mlijeko, Dobar Tek!

(Fresh milk, bon appetit!)  See, I sound Croatian already.  These are a few of the words I have learned over the last two days.  I am having a wonderful time trying to learn, retain and use everything I am being taught.  I'm sure I'm doing better than I perceive, but at least I'm really making an effort, and that's what counts.

Today we went to visit a small open market and a grocery store the size of an average regular Walmart, Konzum.  Apparently they have three sizes of this store, the regular which is the size of a large convenience store, the Super, and a Maxi which I assume is the size of Costco.  That was kind of fun.  Marina walked up and down the aisles with me explaining things about various products, foods and departments, meanwhile looking for good things to take home as souvenirs.  We even picked up some different small honeys at the open market for a souvenir. 

The market was fun though.  It made me think of one I went to regularly in Nîmes, France that was located in an almost garage-like space on the bottom floor of a shopping mall, and they had everything.  Marina says she wants to take me to a huge market that's downtown, as well as the large fish market they have here.  I was able to get some fun photos as well as try the Croatian version of a "pain au chocolat" (a french pastry using the same dough for a croissant but with a bar of dark chocolate wrapped in the middle before baking it).  The Croatian version was more like the chocolate was spread on the dough before it was rolled into the croissant shape and then a zig-zag of chocolate icing is drizzled along its length after it was baked.  It was pretty good.

After lunch Marina, her mom, I and her little girls went to the best park ever!!!!!  Called Maksimir, it was the estate of an Archbishop who eventually donated the park to the city ( I think at his death).  Any way It's like walking into the forest in the middle of the city.  It's their own version of Central Park.

They have a zoo, historical buildings (designed by a Swiss architect to look authentic), and 7 small lakes.  It was beautiful.  Since it was very wet today, the ground was muddy and spongy in places. I saw the biggest slug I've ever seen.  It was bright orange and about the size and roughly the shape of a 8 - 9" medium sized carrot.  Marina says that they are actually fairly common in forested places here.

It was so pleasant and peaceful there.  Marina told me that during the summer the inside of the park is at least 10° cooler and that it's the best park to ride a bicycle in.  I told her I would come back to Croatia just for the park.

Finally dinner arrived and we had the fish we bought this morning at the open market.  Eaten with potatoes, and a kind of green like giant spinach that you wilt and a bean and scallion side.  The fish were fried in an oven outside, both a large fresh water and tons of smaller sardine-sized fish that you bend and strip off of the bones.  Both very tasty with the potatoes and a little bit of olive garlic pesto.

I almost forgot, I had Prošut (prosciutto ham) and Kulen as my meats this morning with we also later tried with a mayo with herbs called Mediterranean, I think this was my favorite breakfast so far.  I also tried another soured milk/yogurt drink called Kefir which had even more of a buttermilk flavor than Kiseli.  Marina told me that kulen comes from eastern Croatia, where they eat spicier and heavier food than they do in Zagreb.

Well, I supose that about wraps it up here.  Laku noć, everyone.

~ Fraise

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