I headed to Zagreb on Wednesday evening as I had plans for a hike and wine tasting tour in Samobor on Thursday. I organised this experience with Karlo from Bespoke Croatia whom I met on the Zagreb walking tour when I first arrived in the country.

Karlo came and picked me up from my hotel at 8AM and we headed off to the Samobor hills for a hike. Samobor is located north of Zagreb. The first 10 minutes from the car were a challenge. Just uphill road and I was almost ready to throw in the towel and stop after the first pretty decent view. My calves were angry at me. I think having rested for a couple days since Modem they weren’t really ready for a lot of uphill walking to start with. Of course I didn’t really bail at that point and pushed through, and boy am I glad I did. The pain eased, as I knew it would and the hike turned a bit more into the bush walk I was expecting.

I’m never sure what to expect with the word hike. In general I would say I’m not a hiker but I don’t mind a good bush walk. This hike was a good walk, up some decent hills but balanced nicely with some flatter terrain. Majority of the walk is covered by shade and the views and sounds on the trail are lovely. I really enjoyed listening to the sounds of the birds – different to those I am used to hearing walking around Australian bush. I used walking/hiking pole things for the first time ever as well. They definitely helped at times (if for nothing else leaning on and catching my breath a bit). It took us about 1.5 hours to reach the top. If you are a member of the Mountain climbing association thing there is a stamp here that you can add to your collection, instead I just took a photo of the climb number.

After reaching the point and climbing the viewing tower we headed over to a neighbouring peak where the mountain lodge is. They had just recently started operating from Thursday’s and they even had a vegan dish so we ordered that. A nice hearty serving of beans and potato. Karlo had also packed an incredible platter consisting of tomatoes from his parents country garden, delicious grilled eggplant that he had prepared, aver his mother had made, and some pumpkin oil I had previously tried (and purchased) from his friend in Zagreb. We sat in front of an epic view and snacked before heading back down to the car.

We then made our way to Samabor and went for a little 10 minute hike up to the Samobor Castle. I LOVED this! I had so much fun running around, climbing, and exploring. In my mind I was running around in fantasy video games, I was picturing how I would film a music video at this location, and creating so many other fun things in my mind. 12th century Castle ruins are definitely my kind of thing. Especially when there is no one else around so you can just play and have fun. My own exploration took me away from experiencing the usual route that Karlo plans and leads his tour guests on, but exploring and following my own path that I am naturally drawn to take is more suited to how I like to travel. However I appreciated hearing his usual path and can understand how that discovery fits with the people who would generally book this experience with him.

After making our way back down from the castle we took a short stroll into the centre of Samobor for coffee and ice cream. It’s a cute little town and this was a nice little stop before we headed off for some wine tasting.

I had never gone on a wine tasting experience before and generally I don’t order or drink white wines. Largely this is due to in Australia these not being vegan friendly I guess. Anyway I tried lots of wines at the Griffin Ivančić Winery, 8 in fact, including white wines, and I generally liked them all. The standout for me though was the red wine, which I bought a bottle of and am having a glass of now as I write this. I was so drunk by the end of this tasting though. I hadn’t expected to be that drunk, but it had been a long day and I probably did drink a bottle worth of wine by the end of it. I was very glad that Karlo was driving and it was nice to get to have this experience as it’s obviously not something I would take myself out to do. I learnt a lot of new things about wine and wine making that I wasn’t aware of and I have a new appreciation for white wines. I might even try ordering some others one day.

We drove back to Zagreb and Karlo dropped me back at my hotel. I was pretty toasted so I snacked on some nuts I had in my bag and went to sleep. It was great to get to spend a day doing activities like hiking and wine tasting. Things that I wouldn’t usually go out of my way to do on my own. The walk to the castle I would probably take myself on that adventure but I wouldn’t of looked for and found the mountain hike trail. I’m really glad I got to have this day trip.