Hardware and Hot Springs

Stubličke Toplice Travel Blog

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Hardware mega store outside Zagreb - they have the usual lumber and hand tools, but you can also buy a forklift or steel girder! There's a lot of do it yourself here.
The plan today was to visit the Stubličke Toplice thermal springs, about an hour and a half north of Zagreb, on the back side of Medvednica Mountain.  It's supposed to cure all ills, and man do I have ills right now! I somehow didn't think to pack a swimsuit IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER so Zvonka's dad took me on a mission to find one, in the giant malls and outlet stores on the eastern outskirts of town.

This area has transformed recently into a landscape of mega buildings, with the equivalents of Wallmart and Home Depot, just on a grander scale.  It seems that swimsuits aren't real popular during the winter, and salespeople aren't especially friendly : )  Asking someone in a store in the deserted mall if they carry swimsuits gets you an uninterested "ne.
Doghouses for every size doggy
"  Asking for the backup short pants, gets them to actually look up, but a disgusted "no, it's winter!"  Anyway, I found the only one the country.  I've noticed that checking out in retail stores here seems to require a lot of paperwork... and disgruntled looks.  There's always a computer and price scanner, but most of the time it makes and unhappy beep, which illicits a lot of dirty looks, phone calls on the intercom, recording cryptic numbers and notes in a tiny notepad, and lots of supervisor's approvals, while the line piles up behind you. Later, we did a lot of manly things like looking at concrete and hardware.

In the evening Zvonka and I left for Stubličke Toplice, (Stubličke Hotsprings).  In the Hotel Matija Gubec is a health spa with 'medicinal waters' known to cure pretty much all ills (see review).
Mega home improvement center Bauhaus
  I don't think a tourist would ever find it, it's in the Zagoje hinterlands on the back side of the big mountain north of Zagreb.  They really don't like signs in Croatia, so navigating is... interesting, even with Zvonka who's been there multiple times.  Tiny, winding roads connect countless tiny villages, passing through farmland and rivers.  I have a hard time because the names just don't stick.  I can remember that we're turning at 'Jakovje' or 'Krusljevo' for about 3 seconds - there seem to be only about 4 names for towns, just slight rearrangement of a couple letters separate them.  A tip for traveling in Croatia, the main highways are avoided like the plague by locals who don't want to pay the tolls, some of the highest in Europe.  It can be cheaper to travel by bus or train than pay the highway tolls in many cases! I've been sick, so I wasn't sure if sitting in an outdoor pool in a cold overcast and steady sprinkles of rain was the best idea, but it worked out pretty well.
Mosque near the edge of town under stormy skies
 

The hotel is designed in that Yugoslav style of the 1960s, I don't know how to describe it, but I'm sure very modern at the time, and caught in a time warp since.  There's a vast, steamy indoor pool of hot, blue water, I guess for the coldest nights, but tonight, being only in the 40s, the outdoor pool was more popular.  It's really big, and I guess crowded on weekends, but on a Wednesday night, nearly deserted.  A handful of locals and old ladies with big plastic shower caps and grim expressions defended their favorite water jet.

It's a very pleasant place at night, swimming in the dark under a dense cloud of steam rising against a sigle light tower. There are coves and islands to swim around, and various pipes and waterfalls from different geothermal sources come on according to some mysterious schedule, dumping hot water onto the shoulders of the contented bathers. The old people all start shuffling towards the next feature to come on in advance, forming a barrier against intruders, in an age-old ritual of following the hot water.

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Hardware mega store outside Zagreb…
Hardware mega store outside Zagre…
Doghouses for every size doggy
Doghouses for every size doggy
Mega home improvement center Bauha…
Mega home improvement center Bauh…
Mosque near the edge of town under…
Mosque near the edge of town unde…
Arriving at Hotel Matija Gubec and…
Arriving at Hotel Matija Gubec an…
I couldnt get a picture of the ou…
I couldn't get a picture of the o…
Indoor Bath
'Indoor Bath'
Ready to head home in the cold rai…
Ready to head home in the cold ra…
What the big mineral pool looks li…
What the big mineral pool looks l…
Big jets of hot mineral water from…
Big jets of hot mineral water fro…
Stubličke Toplice
photo by: cneoridium