Not sure I should be admitting this – I didn’t even know where Zagreb was a few days ago (it’s the capital city of Croatia), but today I found myself waiting in its boiling hot central square at midday for our cameraman Geraint, who was flying in from ‘Springwatch’ with 2 and a half hours sleep to start work on ‘All Over The Place – Europe’ – the fifth series of our CBBC comedy travelogue. Now that we had the last member of our crew Naomi Wilkinson and I were all set to throw ourselves into the ‘Cest is d Best’ festival, which translates as “Street is the best.” It’s a celebration of street culture with street performance and street themed events.
First up we met Canadian street performer Mr Banana (I was disappointed to discover that he didn’t resemble a banana in the slightest), then took part in a slow bike race (last across the line is the loser). This was a warm up for our Main Event – the wheelie bin race.
The street cleaners of Zagreb have custom made bikes with wheelie bins built into the front and once a year they are allowed half an hour out of their busy schedule to race each other round the central square. With their boss hectoring them to get it over with as quickly as possible so that they could get back to work Naomi and I borrowed a couple of bikes and joined in. The centre of balance is all weird on them and they’re hard to negotiate round corners without crashing, as I saw at least one of the cleaners do. Keen not to join them Naomi and I worked our way round in fairly cautious fashion, with me crossing the finishing line to chalk up the first win of the series. And so it begins.