Do you remember exactly when winter began? I don’t. Autumn weather seemed to cross an invisible boundary sometime in November. The rains turned colder, the days shorter, but I can’t remember thinking, “Today, right this minute, is the beginning of winter.” I do remember that it was relatively sunny during December in Sonoma County, and I remember that it was raining on the morning of January 18th when we boarded our plane and headed for Italy. It was cold when we arrived and got even colder over the next few months. In April, the cold eased, though not the rain. All the way through May and June we experienced cool, rainy weather.
Even though I can’t remember the exact moment that the long winter began, I can remember the precise moment that summer began. It was at 11:45 a.m. on June 29th. That’s when our flight from Dublin arrived in Dubrovnik. (For those of you who are a little sketchy on your geography, Dubrovnik is a city in very southern Croatia, just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy.)
Although it was raining and about 58°F in Dublin when we left, I dressed for summer, much to the amusement of those around me at the airport. When we landed, it was 82°F and clear skies. I thought it might be oppressively humid, but it wasn’t. After more than 6 months of winter/spring weather including lots of cold and rain, I was so ready for sunshine!
And Dubrovnik didn’t disappoint. Not only was it sunny and warm, we were greeted by magnificent views and crystalline, turquoise waters. Summer had arrived in a big way.
We arrived at our home-exchange apartment in the small community of Zaton Mali, just north of Dubrovnik. Although the house was a little on the funky side, it was 10 steps from the bay with lovely views from the bedrooms and sweet outdoor lounging areas.
On our first evening in the area we were invited out to dinner on a nearby island. Our home exchange host, Zeljko, sent one of his employees to collect us in a boat and bring us over to meet him on his catamaran. We had a welcome glass of wine and then went to a tiny, family-run restaurant that we would never have found on our own.
For us, the summer promises to be as long as the winter was – a little over six months. Our travel plans will keep us in warm climes until we return to Sonoma County next January. Even though we have now experienced six weeks of summer weather, that first day was memorable and sweet, and clearly a portent of more wonderful summer weather to come.