Thanks to Yogesh, Rick Steves and multiple bloggers, I had looked up the cruise ship schedule and knew that 2 large ships were visiting Dubrovnik on our second (and sunny) day there, which meant that there was no point in entering the old town. Some peripheral trip had to be planned, which was Lokrum island by day and the cable car in evening.
The hubby was tempted to go on a 3-island tour of the Elaphiti islands, but thankfully I read reviews that weren’t so great, and convinced him to go to Lokrum instead, mainly with the kid in mind. Just as we left our apartment, we saw this pretty one below ours, with this lovely view.
The boat to Lokrum leaves from the old town harbour, which was crowded with hundreds of Chinese tourists and Australian tourists. Despite the heat and the people, the harbor was amazing.
All sorts of large and tiny boats were anchored, fancy Monaco type boats, small red submarines, glass bottomed boats, large and medium-sized passenger boats, speed boats and even an old wooden pirate ship with billowing white sails. Kayaks in red and yellow were lined up at one end. Restaurants, souvenir stalls and ice cream stalls were all along the harbor along with the fattest cats I’ve ever seen.
The main reason to visit Lokrum was that this tiny island, 15 minutes from the old town, is run over by peacocks and rabbits. It boasts a botanical garden, an olive grove, secluded beaches (a naturalist one too) and a fort with great views of the old town. However, the main agenda was “meet and greet the rabbits”.
The wait for the boat was much longer than the ride itself, that sadly ended too soon. The color change of the sea from the lapis blue at Dubrovnik to azure blue to turquoise blue as we approached Lokrum was a sight that I just couldn’t pull my eyes away from.
As we got off the boat and were trying to figure our way about the island, the hubby started yelling out excitedly to us. We rushed there and saw a most glorious sight. A peacock with its bright blue head and neck was standing with all feathers opened out, turning and turning in all it’s glory. I have never seen a peacock with its feathers open even though it’s our national bird. We were thrilled. The peacock was as vain as vain gets, showing off to all those gathered, almost as though it had been waiting for us to disembark from the boat. Kiddo and I even dared to get a little closer for a pic but memories of The Swan at Lake Bled were still fresh and so distance was a wiser move.
Once we had enough of the proud peacock, we started exploring the island. The hubby wanted to reach the beach, the kid wanted to find the rabbits and I wanted to go to the fort. As usual, we did what the hubby said and ended up missing my fort. Grrrrrr! Yet, I couldn’t stay bugged for long, the island was so beautiful. Lush green with tall trees to shade us from the blazing sun, well-marked paths, pretty flowers here and there, tracks through tall pine trees and olive groves, and lots of large green spaces were all over the island.
By now, 15 minutes on the island were up and madam was very worked up about meeting the rabbits. Fortunately, we came upon 2 rabbits pretty fast. One bold white and one scared brown rabbit. Even more fortunately, smart mum (me) had remembered to carry bread. We first stood on a ledge and threw the bread bits from afar, but soon sat down and fed them from our hands. the kid was delighted beyond description. Then she took a huge piece of bread and offered it to whitey, thinking she would stroke it as he fed. Whitey was smarter, he grabbed the entire piece, snatched it out of her terrified hands, and ran off.
There was a lot more to see on the island, so we dragged a very reluctant child away, with the promise of more rabbits to come. Suddenly, we had to stop dead in our tracks, to make way for the little family of a peahen and her chicks crossing the “road”.
We moved on to see the dead sea lake. A small cove in the middle of small hills with emerald-green waters, it is supposed to make one float as you would in the dead sea. We didn’t risk it as it was too cold, but this is quite a popular spot for cliff jumping.
We moved ahead to the edge of the island, high up on the cliffs, where we looked out onto the blue blue sea. The white cliffs, covered here and there by moss, were a steep fall to the sea, and were a dizzying sight for me.
The husband and kid were pretty bold though and happily stood at the edge while i hyperventilated further. They stood there, getting closer and closer to the edge, while my CO2 levels plummeted sharply.
This place was practically overrun by peacocks and today, I recognised a similarity between peacocks and dinosaurs, the aviatory ones. Not only did the peacocks have no fear of man or heights, they were terribly aggressive while reaching out for food. Flashback to the Jurassic Park scene of 2 bird like dinosaurs looking innocently at the fat man and then plunging in for the kill.
From that high vantage point, we could see a lovely, gently sloping path to the water front and we went down, me needing the maximum help over the rocks. Far off, we could see the mountains of Dubrovnik in the distance with the city. Here we sat for the longest time, munching lemon bhel and enjoying the silence.
Not a sound was to be heard, no one was around, but a lone girl curled up on a rock with a book. Aaahhh! What a place to lose oneself in a story.The cool sea breeze with the calming sound of the waves gently lapping against the rocks, the crystal clear water through which we could see all the rocks and small fishes, the green pine trees up on the hilly areas, and the lack of peacocks, all added to the tranquillity.
The waters were so clear that we could easily see the pebbles below.
Of course one might not have peacocks to disturb the peace, but a naughty man trying to drag the unstable wife over the jagged rocks into the waters, can be as troublesome as an adventurous peacock!
Our little picnic over, we reluctantly left this peaceful place in search of……..rabbits, but of course! We walked into a larger, densely forested area with wooden benches and tables as a picnic zone. What a lovely place to pack a picnic hamper and sit in the very lap of nature. It reminded me of Safa Park days, where mum would pack an awesome meal and we would all sit down after running like crazy and hog. Only, this was much more beautiful and cool. By now, the afternoon sun was directly overhead but the vegetation on the island and the cool sea breeze ensured that the weather was pleasant.
Here, the sunlight filtered through the thicket of trees, leaving dapples of light on the ground and ringing the trees with gold. Hubby and I sat down while the brat ran unsuccessfully behind all sorts of rabbits, the two of us enjoying our limited time together alone.
Finally, we reached the botanical garden that really wasn’t worth the hype. Though we had a nice time seeing cacti and other desert plants, there really weren’t too many flowering plants to see.
But that’s where kiddo had her best time ever. Somewhere in the cactus garden, we saw 2 fat rabbits and decided to target them, having deduced that baby rabbits were too scared. Bingo. Not only did we feed them, they were so bhukkad that they let us touch them. They were so soft that I desperately wanted to pick them up and cuddle them, but the fear of being bitten put me off.
Finally, hubby and I were tired of the rabbits and hot and hungry, and managed to tear our daughter away for the long wait for the boat back. By the pier was the place where the waters of Lokrum were truly gorgeous. All shades of green to blue were there and the waves were much stronger now, so it sounded as though they were telling us to stop a while longer.
So, we headed back from a very happy day at Lokrum for all 3 of us. But the best (for me at least) was yet to come. Back on the boat, we stood at the front to see Dubrovnik again as we went back to the old town. It was even more beautiful in the blazing sun. The view from the boat of the azure blue sea with the gleaming white old town walls and a sea of orange roofs of different shades is something that can’t be described.
Back in the old town, we headed straight for the stradun and had the best pizza and lasagna on the whole trip. And then, held the squawky birds. What a blast! All in all, a great second-last day!