As we walked along the cobblestone sidewalks of Rome, I became obsessed with the massive and unique doors that faced the centuries-old streets. Some were brown and heavy with brass knockers; some were heavy black iron; some painted, peeling, and solid, while some were newly varnished and clean. One thing that they all had in common was that they made passersby curious as to what was behind them, and most importantly, who the many people were that had walked through their entrances throughout the years.
The doors became a symbol for me of our new adventure in Croatia and the difference sizes and shapes made me think of the choices that are available to us in our lives. Time and again, we try to open doors that are closed to us, and we hope the right one will open when we want it to.
So as we left Rome inspired and motivated to find a place to lay our weary heads for a year in Europe, I wondered what doors would open ahead for us in Croatia.
Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ― Joseph Campbell.
We took the train from Rome all the way to Trieste, Italy on our journey to Croatia. We were met by our friends James and Carolyn Stewart, who had arrived ahead of us in Rovinj, Croatia, and they drove us through the mountain roads filled with olive groves and vineyards.
When we made the decision to live abroad for a year, we found we had kindred spirits in our friends James and Carolyn, who at the same point in their lives were planning to move to Europe for a few years. They had been to Croatia the year before and had decided that Rovinj might be ideal for our plans if we could find an apartment to rent.
For those who don’t know where Croatia is, think of the boot of Italy on a map and hop across the Adriatic Sea and the coast along it is part of Croatia. We were looking for an apartment on the Istrian Peninsula which is up around the upper part of the back of the boot. (See map below.)
Rovinj is quaint town on the Istrian Peninsula and is a magnet for many Europeans during the summer season because of its clear blue waters and limestone lined streets. While this makes it an incredible vacation spot, it also made it difficult for us to find someone to rent us apartments on a yearly basis, as most just offered vacation rentals. And the few we did find wanted a price that was beyond our modest budget.
Our second choice, Pula, although a larger city had advantages because of its airport and railway station for easy access to European destinations. Mike and I had already been in contact with a man named Edvard from Pula, who was tired of the constant influx of people with vacation rentals and was looking for long-term renters.
It was a match made in heaven; he liked us because we were “old” and probably not late night partiers, lol, and we loved the apartments and their proximity to the beach and marina (a 3-minute walk down the street). Plus, like many of the Croatians we have met, he was just a really nice person. We stayed in the apartments for a few nights and put down our deposit on the spot.
A door had opened.