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  • Writer's pictureKristina Lang

From the Croatian president’s office/Iz ureda hrvatskog predsjednika

I spent the last two days of my recent vacation in Zagreb. From the events of those two days, I would like to highlight a visit to the office of the Croatian president, where I was invited for coffee. Although I was not invited for coffee by President Zoran but by one of my brother's closest friends, Nikola Jelić, I felt very honoured. I met Zoran Milanović some 7-8 years ago, on a ski trip in Austria, through mutual friends. Even then, he was a great hope on the Croatian political scene, but that was before he became Croatian Prime Minister and later President. Nikola is a journalist who works in the Croatian president’s office as a spokesman and is one of the president's closest associates. I am grateful to Nikola for honouring me and my brother with an invitation to coffee at "Villa Zagorie", in the elite Zagreb neighbourhood of Pantovčak. Croatian presidents work and also receive foreign delegates there. Only a day after our visit to Pantovčak, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited that residency. It was interesting to watch on television those rooms that I had the opportunity to walk the day before.

In Villa Zagorie, everything is very refined and the decorations on the walls adorn the paintings of the late great academic painter Edo Murtić. I had the honour of meeting Croatian academic painter Edo Murtić in the summer of 1993 on a visit to Dubrovnik, where we were introduced by his close friend, the now deceased Don Branko Sbutega. The corners of the most important meeting rooms are embellished with Mestrović's sculptures.

But to start from the beginning, Croatian soldiers are guarding the entrance to the president's residence. They politely asked for our documents and then called my brother, who was the driver, to get out of the car. They inspected the car together, and my brother apologized for not being able to vacuum it. In my opinion, the car was clean, and the soldier agreed with that statement. After passing the check, we drove about a hundred meters from the entrance and parked the car. There was already another car waiting for us with a driver who drove us to the entrance to Villa Zagorie. The president's car was already parked in front of the entrance because the president was expected to get out every minute.

We entered the building, and the team was waiting for us and examined us with an X-ray, identical to those at airports. When my bag went through the X-ray, the clerk told me, "Please open your bag, you have a bottle." I replied, "I have no idea". After I opened my bag, I discovered that it was a bottle of sunscreen.

We soon saw Nikola who greeted us warmly. In his company we visited all the important rooms in the building, and in one beautiful, large office we drank coffee and juice. We chatted to Nikola the way you chat with friends you've known for your whole life. The get-together ended with hugs, and I returned to England with these wonderful photos that I am happy to share with you.


Love,

Kristina

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022






Iz ureda hrvatskog predsjednika


Zadnja dva dana mog godišnjeg odmora provela sam u Zagrebu. Od događanja u ta dva dana željela bih istaknuti posjet uredu hrvatskog predsjednika u koji sam bila pozvana na kavu. Iako me na kavu nije pozvao predsjednik Zoran nego jedan od najbližih prijatelja moga brata Nikola Jelić, jako sam se osjećala počašćena. Zorana Milanovića upoznala sam pred nekih 7-8 godina, na jednom skijanju u Austriji, preko zajedničkih prijatelja. Već tada je bio velika nada hrvatske političke scene, ali bilo je to prije nego je postao hrvatski premijer i kasnije predsjednik

Nikola je novinar koji radi u uredu hrvatskog predsjednika kao glasnogovornik i jedan je od predsjednikovih najbiližih suradnika. Zahvalna sam Nikoli što je mene i brata počastio pozivom na kavu u “Vilu Zagorje”, u elitnom zagrebačkom kvartu Pantovčaku. Tu hrvatski predsjednici primaju strane i domaće delegacije, a samo dan nakon našeg posjeta na Pantovčaku je boravila Finska premijerka Sanna Marin. Bilo je zanimljivo na televiziji promatrati te prostorije kojima sam samo dan ranije imala priliku prošetati. U Vili Zagorje sve je vrlo profinjeno, a ukrasi na zidovima krase slike pokojnog velikog akademskog slikara Ede Murtica. Edu Murtića sam imala čast upoznati u ljeto 1993. u jednoj posjeti Dubrovniku, a upoznao nas je njegov bliski prijatelj, sad isto pokojni don Branko Sbutega. Uglove najvažnijih prostorija za sastanke krase Meštrovićeve skulpture.

No, da krenem od početka, na ulazu u rezidenciju predsjednika stražare hrvatski vojnici. Oni su uljudno tražili naše dokumente, a zatim su pozvali brata, koji je bio vozač, da izađe iz auta. Skupa su pregledali auto, a brat se ispričavao što ga nije uspio i usisati. Po mom mišljenju auto je bio solidno čist, a i vojnik se sa tom konstatacijom složio. Nakon što smo prošli provjeru odvezli smo se nekih stotinjak metara od ulaza i parkirali auto. Tu nas je već čekao drugi auto sa vozačem koji nas je odvezao do ulaza u Vilu Zagorje. Pred ulazom je u tom trenutku stajao predsjednikov auto jer se očekovalo da svaku minutu predsjednik izađe.

Ušli smo u zgradu i tu nas je čekala ekipa koja nas je pregledala kao i rengen, identičan onima na aerodromima. Kad je moj Cambridge University rukasak prošao kroz rengen, službenik mi je rekao “Molim vas otvorite mi torbu, imate neku bočicu.” “Nemam pojma” odgovorila sam i nakon što sam otvorila rukasak otkrila sam da se radilo o sredstvu za zaštitu od sunca.

Uskoro smo ugledali Nikolu koji nas je srdačno pozdravio. U njegovom smo društvu obišli sve značajnije prostorije u zgradi, a u jednom lijepom, velikom uredu, radilo se o uredu predstojnika, popili smo kavu i sok. Ispričali smo se sa Nikolom, onako kako se priča sa prijateljima koje poznaš doslovno čitav život. Druženje je završilo zagrljajima, a ja sam se u Englesku vratila sa ovim divnim fotografijama koje rado dijelim sa vama.


S ljubavlju,

Kristina

Utorak, 28. lipnja 2022.

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