The Palm Tree Assumption


I’ve written endlesly (it seems) about making sure you conduct thorough Internet

Sepurine on the island of Prvic Luka

research before moving to a new country. Now I’m suffering a bit for not following my own advice. In short, Croatia gets pretty cold this time of year and I wasn’t prepared. Call it the palm tree assumption.

While I did know that the interior of the country gets cold enough for snow, after seeing so many palm trees in photos of Croatia’s coast, I “assumed” the weather would be cool, but not cold. Wrong! It’s only October but already it’s as cold as I experienced in the coldest weeks of January while living in southwest Florida.

I did anticipate encountering somewhat colder temperatures this winter as I traveled southern Europe, purchasing a windbreaker and woolen, hoodie sweater before leaving the States. But winter clothing is bulky and space was limited in my 2 bags and a pack. I did pack two pair of lightweight slacks (not much help against the cold) and two pair of jeans (what I’m now wearing daily), but all the shorts and short-sleeve shirts are useless for the time being.

Lesson learned. My host did come to my rescue by bringing me a stack of sweaters and a heavier coat. November will be colder, with very cold winds, I am told.

Residential vs. in-town

Another lesson I’ve learned is to find an apartment close to the center of town, if at all possible. While the apartment I have is very nice, almost hotel-like, it is quite far from the center, where all the action is. At least where all the action would be if Vodice had any action after the tourists leave. I had the same problem in Zadar, although if I had been able to find a longer-term apartment there it would have been near the center. Zadar, also, because of the university there, would have had more night-time activity. They’re rolled up the sidewalks in Vodice for the winter.

Food Lady

The food lady (aka, Visjna the landlady) came by again with enough lasagna for three people and a large bowl of home-grown white grapes. If this keeps up, I may just move in permanently. The grapes, BTW, while they have seeds, are delicious and grow from trellises covering their carport. A few days later, I was invited to dinner. They had friends visiting from Zadar, a couple and two of their kids, and planned a barbeque. The two husbands ended up going to play tennis, so I had a very nice meal with Visjna and Marie. Visjna grilled the local fish, with sides of buttered potatoes, lettuce from the garden, a tricolored sweet pepper salad (from the garden) and their homemade red wine. They cook the fish whole here, head still on, and eat it with their fingers. Food was excellent (should have taken a photo to share) and we had a nice conversation, as Marie and her husband lived in Toronto for six years, where they knew the Roskos.

I did get in some fishing again before the cold front came in. No bites again. I was not alone and the locals there didn’t catch anything either. With the cold weather, my fishing days in Croatia may be over. I gotta say, though, that the fishing venue is about as good as it gets, although I miss the beaches of the Florida Gulf coast (and the fish!).

Croatia construction

There are a lot of new houses going up in Vodice so I suspect the tourism business is still good. Most of the houses here are built large enough to include rental units, unlike in the U.S. where we build huge houses for single families. The house I’m in is three stories but the Roskos only live on the first floor. Vodice doubles as a bedroom community for people working in nearby Sibenik, a much larger town.

Everything here is built with stone, cinder block and tiles, which they have plenty of since

From the balcony

the coast seems to be just one huge rock with a little dirt sprinkled on top. The houses are very sturdy and very quiet. I guess they learned from their ancestors how to make their houses last for centuries.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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