Be careful what you wish for.

I’ve been a believer in the law of attraction for quite a while, and I’ve seen firsthand the way directing your thoughts towards your dreams can make them come true.

Basically, the theory is that we attract whatever we think about, positive or negative. If you choose to focus on the good things, trust your intuition & stop over-analyzing what went wrong with any given situation, you set yourself up for a happy & fulfilling life.

I believe that whatever you want; whatever you truly desire, if you put it out there into the universe, it will come to you. It just may not always come in the manner you had in mind.

Let’s just say the universe has a sense of humor and it really likes to mess with me.

When I set out on this journey, I had an idea of what it was going to look like. I planned out the first half of my trip through volunteer opportunities with Workaway. The second half I left intentionally wide-open with only a vague idea of how it was going to go.

My imaginary itinerary: while working in Greece I would meet some cool travelers who would be heading somewhere I hadn’t even thought of. I would pack up my things and travel on with them for a few weeks, letting the wind take me where it may. This…sort of happened.

Those of you who read my Whose Dream are you Living? post might remember my favorite couple Christian & Ana, who were basically the catalyst for the 2nd half of my trip. Although I didn’t actually travel with them, Ana was the one who encouraged me to go to Belgrade, which I loved.

There I met Denis the Dentist (I’m sorry, Denis, but it’s so catchy!) who told me about Sarajevo & Mostar. Getting to know SJ at Chasing the Donkey inspired me to head to Croatia.

Even though I may not be physically traveling with all my new friends, I am, without a doubt, meeting cool travelers and heading to places I hadn’t thought of.

Did I subconsciously make this happen because I believed that it would and opened myself up to this great, unknown adventure? I think so!

The longer you spend focusing on the positive, learning to control and direct your thoughts, and paying attention to the patterns that emerge in your life, the more aware you become of them. You don’t always realize that your thoughts are manifesting themselves until after it’s happened.

I recently came to such a realization.

I had mentioned at the beginning of my trip I wanted to go hiking when I was in Croatia. Why not? Croatia is beautiful, I love nature, and hiking is great exercise.

I had no real plans, no idea of where I could hike, and yeah, no actual hiking gear. This was clearly not a well-thought-out desire, but there you go. Exactly the opportunity that the universe likes to use to play fun little jokes on me.

Recently I’ve been obsessed with trying to get the perfect hilltop shot of a city. So much so that I managed to lose the sole off not one, but TWO pairs of sandals (I know, I should wear my hiking shoes, but I think we’ve covered my propensity for not-so-well-thought-out-excursions).

Split, Croatia

Worth it, though – right?

When I heard about Medvedgrad, the remains of a medieval castle on Medvednica Mountain to the west of Zagreb, I knew I had to go. Any time my inner fantasy nerd hears the word ‘castle’ she starts jumping up and down like a kid begging for candy.

I read that you might not want to walk there alone, but where there is a hostel, there are willing victims to drag into my hair-brained schemes. Muahaha.

Don’t judge me – when you’re traveling alone you have to get creative sometimes.

So this is how Andy the Australian and I ended up on a tram to the middle of nowhere. The recommended way to get to Medvedgrad is to take tram 8 or 14 out toward Sljeme Mountain. From there you hop on bus 102 & head up the hill to the “blue church.”

Head left past the church cemetery until you come to a café. From there, take trail #12 up the mountain until you reach the castle. Sounds pretty simple, right?

Except that bus 102 was pulling out right as our tram arrived. So naturally, we decided to just start walking in the general direction of the castle and catch the next bus that we saw going up the hill. There was no next bus. Ever.

We made it to the blue church. At least what we assumed was the blue church. It’s actually yellow, with a blue roof painted with stars to look like the night sky. There were no signs pointing us to the castle so asked a nearby gentleman.

“Which way to Medvedgrad?”

“By car?”

“No, walking.”

“One hour.”

“One hour, okay. But which way?”

“Walking, one hour.”

“Right but…”

A lot of pointing and shrugging ensued, and we were off. We managed to find the café about 15 minutes up the hill, but still no actual signs for the castle. Or trail #12. We asked a waiter if he could point us in the right direction.

“Can you tell us where the trail to Medvedgrad is?”

“By car?” (Sigh)

“No, walking.”

“Walking, one hour.”

“Right, but is there a trail? Do we take the road further?”

“One hour up, walking.”

“Okay, but…”

He eventually pointed in the general direction that the winding road was heading in, so we decided to keep following it and keep our eyes peeled for trail #12.

Numerous trails (and I use that term loosely) spidered off up the mountainside, but not one of them had a mark of any kind other than some red and white bulls eyes. We kept following the road up.

And up. And up. And up.

It was such a gradual incline full of hairpin turns that we weren’t sure how much progress was actually being made, but we were drenched in enough sweat to guess.

After about 35 minutes of walking we came to our first sign pointing to Medvedgrad. The road became a grassy stone path and I imagined the sound of hooves clattering up on their way to the castle. I wished we had a horse.

Trai to Medvedgrad, Zagreb

A promising, medieval looking trail…

Eventually we made it to the castle itself, which was…very small, semi-preserved & completely empty. We were literally the only people there, which was a little eerie, but we walked around, admired the view & explored the few intact buildings. The exploring part took about 15 minutes altogether.

Medvedgrad Castle, Zagreb, Croatia

Medvedgrad Castle, Zagreb, Croatia

Such a cute, little castle

Chapel in Medvedgrad, Castle, Zagreb, Croatia

Inside the tiny chapel

I did get my hilltop shot of Zagreb, but with the overcast sky it turned out slightly less than impressive.

Medvedgrad Castle, Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb seems bigger from up here…

Nonetheless, we rested for a few minutes and headed back down, where we ran into some German hikers coming up a trail. Was this the fabled trail #12?

They assured us that we could reach the bottom in a mere 20 minutes by following the signs for trail #12. We didn’t see a sign, but set off down the in the direction they had come from. And then our nice little trail dispersed into 5 separate paths. None of which was marked #12.

One did have the little red & white bullseye, so we went with that. At this point we were only about 50% sure that we were even on the right side of the mountain. We kept on, climbing over trees, sloshing through mud puddles, contemplating whether or not we should just go back up and take the road.

Then it started to rain.

Thankfully the trail did end up taking us back to the café at the beginning. However, after a thorough investigation of its start we both agreed that there was no #12 anywhere in sight.

And that’s when it hit me. I had unintentionally gone hiking in Croatia. Just like I’d put out there into the universe – sort of.

Like I said, it seems that the universe has a sense of humor.

Would I recommend this particular site? Let’s just say if you’re a castle enthusiast you’ll probably be disappointed. However, if you want to enjoy some beautiful nature scenery, it’s worth making a stop during a day of hiking up the mountain. If you can find trail #12, my hat is off to you.

Cost: 15 kuna ($2.63) Sure, it’s only $2, but I think if you make it all the way up the mountain on foot, the admission fee should be waved. JUST saying.



Mandie is a writer, rebel & web design junkie. In her spare time she enjoys drinking wine, traveling & working on her perpetually unfinished novel. She was a nerd before it was cool.

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  1. Mary {The World Is A Book}    

    You ended up on a great trail for an unintentional hike in Croatia. That little castle is so cute and I’m a castle enthusiast so any castle is wonderful to me. I love your take on life and little adventures. Thanks to SJ, I have wanted to visit Croatia for awhile now.

    1. Mandie    

      I did, actually! You should definitely go to Croatia. Like right now. I loved it so much I actually considered going back instead of onward to Prague. Lol

  2. realgunners    

    You mean, you need to pay an entrance fee for that castle? It looks pretty isolated to me. The hike seems fun though.
    Maybe they should waive the entrance fee (if it is FREE maybe more people will go) and set up a cafe or even stall selling drinks and ice-cream, might make a lot more money that way.

    1. Mandie    

      Haha yeah it was a little silly, but I guess it IS an attraction. I’d heard there was supposed to be a restaurant in there but it wasn’t open during our visit. I don’t know that waiving the fee would help – maybe a few SIGNS pointing people in the right direction might be a start! Lol

  3. frankaboutcroatia    

    Ha-ha Mandie, a real misadventure :-). There are many hiking trails on Medvednica, and I am sad to disappoint you, but this isn’t the most popular one :-). People from Zagreb hike up to the Sljeme, a peak of Medvednica mountain. The most popular hike takes you to Puntijar mountain house where you can eat a hearty and cheap meal before descending. Although the views are not as nice (and you wanted that perfect hilltop shot of the city). But the atmosphere is great.

    1. Mandie    

      I know, I know! That was my original plan! And I definitely would have done so if it weren’t for the fact that I had someone with me who hadn’t really signed up for a whole day of hiking! Next time. 🙂

  4. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey    

    You’re a better women that I! I’d just have made someone drive me. Great view though, and even if it was not the most popular hike, you DID IT!

  5. Ellen    

    Funniest thing, it sounded like I was telling this story… Because me and my friend tried to reach the castle yesterday, we got the same trams and buses, we had the same dialogues with people, we went up up up up and it was coooold and at some point we just decided to give up. We came back to Sestine Centar, sat in a coffee place and laughed about ourselves. I’ve been to the castle 2 years ago and I would like to go with this friend, I thought I new the way but failed. I hope she forgives me.

    1. Mandie    

      Really?! Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought it was ridiculously hard to find. How funny!







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