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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dubrovnik now home for Richmonds Heights woman

After Richmond Heights native Carol Sosa graduated from Euclid High School, she lived in several California cities, in Honolulu, and in Paris before moving permanently to Dubrovnik three years ago. Croatia is where her parents were born and she visited the country often during the 1980s but had to stop coming during the war in 1991. No matter where else she lived she dreamed of returning to Dubrovnik to live some day.
She married her beloved Ivo and they live just a few minutes’ walk from the walls of the Old City.
This beautiful city along the Adriatic coast also captured my heart when I visited the first time in 2006, so during my planning for this trip I visited the website where Carol answered many of the questions I posed. She’s not an official Dubrovnik guide but blogs at
We got to know each other online and within an hour after I’d arrived, she met me in the lobby of the Hotel Vis.
As an expat, she’s learned lots of things about Dubrovnik and gladly shares them with others. We  became acquainted over coffee on the hotel’s seaside patio  a delightful spot in the shade of an ancient olive tree.
Because she’s over 65 she travels for free on the city’s bus system, but I bought a ticket for 10 kuna at the hotel front desk. That’s a  little less than $2.
We rode for 20 minutes to the Pile Gate, one of the entrances through the city walls into Old Town. That’s pronounced Pee-Lay, I quickly learned when I bought the bus ticket at the front desk and the clerk there didn’t know what I was talking about.
“Everyone here speaks English,” she said. “I try to speak Croatian most of the time but I’m still known as ‘that American lady’ because my accent gives me away.”
Life in Dubrovnik is fairly typical of other European cities, she said. One shops every day and gets bread, freshly harvested produce and fish fresh from the sea. “We have socialized medicine here but since I didn’t pay into the system I’m not eligible. My husband has it and I pay less than $100 a month for good health care.
She said it is very difficult to secure a good apartment at a reasonable price because Dubrovnik is so popular with visitors. “We have a nice one-bedroom apartment with a small yard just a few blocks from the Old Town and we pay about $500 a month,” she said.  But the landlord could easily get $100 a night for it from tourists, she said.
I told her that lots of people of Croatian ancestry now living in Northeast Ohio would like to do just what she has — move back to Dubrovnik.
“I would tell them to come here for January, February and March and see how they do first,” she said.
Although this palmy city rarely gets snow, it’s winter then and more rainy.
 Meet Carol, an ex-pat in Dubrovnik by clicking here.

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