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Clare
Clare

Day 13: Lokrum

While we were walking the walls in Dubrovnik yesterday, we had a great view of the island of Lokrum. We noticed it when we were in Dubrovnik last year, but didn't realise that it was possible to visit it. Since then I'd found out that the island, which used to belong to the Austrian Archduke Maximilian, is supposed to be a good place to visit if you're looking to avoid the hordes of tourists elsewhere in Dubrovnik. That was exactly what we were hoping to do on our last day in the town, so we decided to give it a try.

Ferries to Lokrum run from the harbour in the old town every half an hour during the daytime in summer. We paid 60 kuna each (about £6.60) each for the return journey, which wasn't too bad and included some sort of entrance fee for exploring the island. The boat journey seemed like it was going to be nice and peaceful, until a couple of minutes before departure when a large group of extremely noisy Polish tourists came on board. By the time we pulled away, it was so busy that I was starting to worry that Lokrum wouldn't be any quieter than the old town.

From afar the island looks quite small, as if it wouldn't be able to absorb many visitors at all. Somehow, however, once we arrived the majority of the other passengers on the boat seemed to vanish and we didn't see them again for the duration of the trip :)

lokrum-from-afar

We started to explore. The first thing we noticed is that the island has a large population of peacocks, who don't seem to have any fear of humans and in fact seemed to be terrorising some of the diners at neighbouring tables when we were eating lunch. We spotted this family of peacocks with two babies wandering around the ruins of an old monastery.

baby-peacocks

The Benedictine monastery was founded in the eleventh century. Parts of it were badly damaged during a serious earthquake in 1667 and it was later deserted by the monks.

me-in-the-monastery

We spent some time exploring the ruins and the exotic gardens laid out by Maximilian.

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Our boat had docked on the far side of the island, so we had an excellent view out to sea but were unable to see Dubrovnik. We set of on a quest around the island in the hope of getting to the other side and finding a view back towards the old town.

En route we found a salty lake, known as the dead sea, which some people seemed to be swimming in. It looked rather rocky to us!

dead-sea

The island was very rocky in general and some of the paths were quite hard going. We climbed steeply upwards for some time and just when I was starting to give up hope, the path opened out and we got the view I'd been hoping for :)

view-of-old-town

We managed to walk around almost the entire perimeter of the island, before heading back to the monastery where there is an outdoor restaurant to get some lunch. I tried ćevapčići, a Balkan dish consisting of pieces of grilled minced meat. The overall effect is a bit like eating sausages and they were really nice. The meal was made slightly stressful, however, by the high number of wasps and the aggressive stance of some of the peacocks, who were clearly expecting to be fed.

By the time we'd finished eating the day was starting to turn cloudy, so it was time to head back to Dubrovnik on the boat. The sea was starting to get a bit choppy and there were a couple of enormous waves that made our stomachs churn as if we were on a rollercoaster. I'm glad I won't be sleeping on a cruise ship tonight :D

choppy-sea




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