After arriving a day late to Venice, we were on our way to Pula, Croatia, which was to be our new home on the Istrian Peninsula for the next year. But something strange was going on in the city of Venice when we arrived on March 1. It was snowing!!! While not unheard of, it definitely wasn’t something you saw everyday. So we could drag our luggage on and off of buses and trains through the snowy weather or drive through it ourselves. Either option sounded a little nerve-wracking.
With four large duffle suitcases and two backpacks, we decided that it would be wise to rent a car instead of taking the train to Trieste and then a bus to Pula, then another bus to our home. So bleary-eyed and tired after a trek across the Atlantic, we rented a car in Venice.
Driving down the snowy highways from Venice to Croatia was a little scary to say the least. Having driven the road before, I knew there were many steep areas and a few skinny, two lane bridges that were very, very high above the valleys in this hilly country. We were lucky the snow wasn’t building up too much on the highway, and I was lucky my husband was driving pretty slowly as it was cloudy and snowing so much that you couldn’t see much beyond the road.
Being from Southern Louisiana, driving in snowy weather was a little daunting, but after a 3 1/2 hour journey we made it uneventfully through three borders — the Italian, Slovenian and finally the Croatian one. We got to our apartment both hungry and tired. We didn’t even unpack, just brought our suitcases up to our apartment, then went with James and Carolyn, who had arrived earlier (their flight had been a lot less eventful than ours), to a nearby pizza place called Marco Polo’s.
We actually felt like Marco Polo after the journey. But we had made it to the city that was to be our new home. See below for pictures of our new apartment.
At Marco Polo’s there was only one other customer in the place as it was about 8 p.m. on a Thursday. The man heard us talking and realized we were Americans. As it turned out, so was he. What were the odds? He came over and introduced himself as being from California and said he had lived in Pula with his Croatian wife for the last eight years. He loved the city, and his wife and kids were out of town, so we invited him to dine with us. He offered us some good advice about life here and we exchanged numbers for the future.
Besides himself, he said, there were only three other Americans living in Pula, which is a city of 60,000 people. I’m not sure if he was correct, but if that was the case, we had just doubled the population of U.S. citizens in Pula. At that point, I’m wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not as I didn’t really know if the Croatian people liked Americans all that much.
But we would soon find out.