Leaving hot and wet Costa Rica behind, my next destination was Europe. But first I took more than a month to stay with my daughter and her family while I planned my next moves. Zadar, Croatia, was my next target, followed three months later my Sicily. After that, I wasn’t sure.
Croatia required flying through Zurich and then on to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. From there, a 3-hour bus ride took me to the seaside town of Zadar, a beautiful spot on the blue Adriatic Sea.
Unfortunately, I had a terrible time finding lodging for 3 months, finally settling on an apartment 30 minutes south in the small town of Vodice. Very pretty area and super landlords who lived below my apartment. They had their own fields of olive trees and grape vines, making their own olive oil and wine. One day, the husband took me on a tour of his old home town and his fields.
Rome and Sicily
One of the places I’ve most wanted to see is Rome. I was an ardent student of ancient Rome and Greece and had always wanted to see the ruins. The Coliseum in Rome was a special attraction to me. At this point, a stay in Greece was definiely on the rader.
I decided to fly from Zagreb to Rome, stay a couple of days, and then head on to Catania, Sicily, an island off the boot of Italy. Why Sicily? My mother’s family is from there, not that I hoped to connect with anyone, as finding them would have been difficult. The family name is Ricci, about as common as Smith in America. But I felt a need to visit the home where my grandfather was from.
I intended to stay the 3-month visa limit and then head to either Greece or Turkey for three months. The problem with Greece, however, was that I could only stay in the EU for 90 days, and would have to stay outside the EU for 90 days to re-enter after my 90 days was up in Italy. I was tempted to buck that ban and head to Athens, where I had already found low-cost suitable apartments for rent.
Destiny had other plans.