The interior of the theater glows golden like a giant bee hive as each honey comb fills up with patrons buzzing with excitement. We are seated in plush red velvet chairs in our little partitioned box, just one honeycomb in the three rows of box seats that encircle and rise above the orchestra seating of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb. Known as HNK (Hrvatsko Narodno Kazalište), the interior of the theater is lavishly decorated in red and gold. A golden chandelier dangles from the center like a delicate jewel on a queen’s necklace. Claudia and I move our chairs to the edge to take in the old world beauty of the decor.
The theater was designed by Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer, the same architects that built the opera house in Vienna. The theater first opened in Zagreb on October 14, 1895. Today, on the Fourth of July, Claudia and I wait to watch Petar Pan, a ballet by Giorgio Madia, that will be performed by the Ballet of the Croatian National Theater. The ballet premiered at HNK just five days earlier.
Continue reading Books, Ballet and Bajaderas in Zagreb
Finding a Croatian tutor was a challenge. Unlike more popular languages like Spanish, French or Mandarin, there are no language schools for Croatian in San Francisco. There is no Alliance Française de San Francisco or Casa Hispana were lessons and tutors abound. Rosetta Stone and Duolingo do not have a Croatian course. I look through all of the Meet Ups and cannot find one for Croatian Language Lovers. Finally, I stumble on a website, UniversityTutor.com. I fill out a questionnaire, enter my contact information and wait. In less than two days, I am contacted by Branka.
Branka and I speak on the phone and she agrees to tutor me once a week. She also graciously agrees to come to my office. At the first meeting, she arrives early. Branka is smartly dressed in a rose colored twin set and pearls, her dark hair cut short and stylish. I soon realize that Branka is brilliant. Each lesson is a mini cultural lesson filled with wonderful advice and tips for my upcoming trip to Croatia. Her zest for life and her fiery spirit make me feel like I have found a kindred spirit. Each lesson, I make notes for my upcoming trip. I have put together a list of her advice. Here are Branka’s top nine travel tips for a visit to Croatia.
Continue reading Branka the Brilliant Croatian Tutor’s Travel Advice