Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Spending the Day with Peacocks and Rabbits on the Cursed Island of Lokrum, outside Dubrovnik

Another sunny and warm day in Croatia! Rob and I set out after breakfast for an adventure on Lokrum, the island nature preserve. The boat leaves from the old city harbor every hour, on the hour for 65 kuna (~$12 dollars) round-trip. We just barely made it and were the last people to jump aboard as it was heading out.
Tiny trails cover the wooded island, and, even with lots of signs, it is easy to get a bit lost. We first walked north, along the coast.
There are steep caves cut into the limestone cliffs here.
The west coast is rocky, with ladders into the sea every so often for swimming. You can spy on fish, urchins and starfish in the pools.
Peacocks and peahens roam everywhere - amping up the whole medieval feel of wandering through the botanical gardens.  (The scenes for Qarth on Game of Thrones were filmed here)
Lokrum was apparently cursed by Benedictine monks when they were forced to leave in 1808 and anyone who tries to claim the land comes to a bad end.
As long as you don't stay too long, you're safe from the curse (I hope!).
We stopped for lunch in the cafe on the monastery terrace overlooking the sea. Lunch of a mixed plate with prosciutto, hard cheese in olive oil, black olives, mache lettuce and a squid salad with tomato and onion. Warm fresh baked bread on the side.
After lunch, we hiked up to the summit of the island to explore Fort Royal Castle, built during the French occupation. At the very top of the tower, we climbed up the ruins to reach two rusty beach chairs (I imagine left there by rangers who come up here for nightcaps with a view of the city). Rob and I felt quite royal with a 360 panorama of Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast from the perch.
On the way back, we hiked down to a bit of coast facing east for a swim. Brr! The water was cold but laying on the warm rocks to dry was nice.
Brown and black wild rabbits nibbled on the grass around our towels, not shy at all.
We waited for the ferry back (leaves about 20 after the hour) at the other little cafe on the island. Banana split with vanilla and chocolate gelato and live spanish guitar. A lovely way to spend a day in Dubrovnik!

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