Noticed a lot of planes flying over the town this afternoon, which is very, very unusual, since there are no airports nearby. Also noticed a black cloud of smoke coming from the east of town as I peddled back from Konzum, the supermarket. The planes kept coming so I looked out my balcony and they were fighting a fire. They were flying to the water picking up a load and then dumping it on a blaze that seemed to cover the entire eastern flank of the town. There were at least four planes. The fire looked like it was headed toward town. The wind certainly was. Got some great shots of the action from the third-floor balcony. I hope to find a local newspaper that might want one or two. Anyway, you get to see the shots that made the cut in the slideshow above.
Now that I’m somewhat settled, my posts will be fewer and farther between. Just not as much to report on or photograph now. I can say, however, that Vodice is probably not a place I’d want to stay in all off-season (Sept.-May). The center, where all the tourist activity usually is, is very quiet. Shops are closing down due to lack of business. Bars are closed.
I’m convinced, however, that there has to be activities for the locals who live here year-round. I just haven’t found it yet. This morning, I walked in a different area just to see if I could find a non-tourist retail/activity area in town. Nope, just more residental/apartment areas. Tomorrow, I plan to take the bike past the center and deep into the old town area. I suspect that’s where there local people who don’t own homes live. Maybe not.
Trouble is, while I’ve only been here a week, I have not been able to meet anyone. And if I don’t make some contacts, maybe even make some friends, in the next few days I will seriously consider relocating to Greece by Oct. 20. I haven’t been able to find any night life, including any pool tables. I can smell them, though, so they have to be somewhere. There must be somewhere the locals go after hours to socialize. Maybe not. Maybe they’re all middle-age, married and poor.
The fishing, also, has been disappointing. Tried three times in three different locations and not a bite. Tried bait, plastic jigs and Kastmaster silver lures. Nothing. The scenary has been stunning, though. Did notice the other evening a bunch of locals in small boats setting up in the bay. They each seemed to have a favorite spot. From what I can guess, they are bottom fishing in very deep water. They were too far away to see if they were having any success.
(Next day) Forget trying to find local life after dark in Vodice. I realized if I did find it, it would be so far away from my apartment that going there at night would be a problem. Came up with another plan, as I’m not quite yet ready to quit on Croatia.
When I first researched this country, one of the towns I focused on was Dubrovnik. Trouble is, it is at the very southern tip of the country, difficult to get to and out of the way. However, I’m already half way there now (still a 4-5 hour bus trip); plus, they have an airport and I can get a flight from there to Athens, Greece, although there would be connections in Zagreb and Munich (essentially, I would be flying away from Greece in order to get there). Today, I sent out 10-12 requests to apartment rentals in Dubrovnik to see about availability. Rent would be the same or less than in Vodice and it looks like I would be closer to the water. Dubrovnik also is quite a bit larger than Vodice, so I should be able to find more to do. I would only be there for a month before moving on the Greece.
I’ve been having my doubts about Greece but plan to go forward with my plan. Everything about the cost of living there seems to be higher than in the U.S. – except for rent, which is much cheaper than in the U.S.. Rent is my most important expense, then comes food, but food prices are comparable to the U.S. Restaurants are more expensive, but I don’t eat out much anyway. One difficulty may be apartment lease terms, which I haven’t had to worry about yet, but it looks like Greece has a different environment where rentals are concerned, meaning leases and deposits are normal. My initial destination there will be Nafplio (after visiting Athens for a couple of days), which is a town on the southern coast not too far from Athens. Of course, like Costa Rica and Croatia, I might simply pack up my 2 bags and a pack and move to another town if I don’t like Nafplio.
My apartment in Vodice does not have ice cube trays. Can’t find them in the store either. So what to do for ice? But, there are plenty of coffee cups available. So, every day, I put a half-inch of water into four coffee cups and put them in the freezer. That evening, I have four ready-made iced-up drink containers. Pour in tea, soda, alcohol, instantly chilled, the the ice cube lasts for quite a while.
Went into the center to have dinner last night. Tried a place my landlady pointed out and recommended, and tried a Dalmatian specialty. Vodice and Zadar are in the Dalmatia district of Croatia. The pasticada njoke was beef, very tender, with a darn brown sauce and gnnoccis on the side, with a slice of tomato and a bit of lettuce. Topped it off with a vodka with lemon. Dinner was OK but not earth-shattering. $15 for the food, $2 for the vodka.
Finally, here are a few random photos I took around town: