Eight American college students and their professor boarded a ship to a haunted island, and once there, were greeted by more peacocks than they could count. Nope, not the punchline of a very bad joke, but merely a (quite odd) Day In The Life from way back in July.
Back then, we were living la vida you've-reached-your-peak with morning coffees on the beach, nightcap wines on the terrace, and afternoon dips in the salty sea. One afternoon, we found ourselves with no set itinerary, and wanting to shake up our routine of lounging on the pebbly shore and exploring the ancient alleyways of Old Town (how do I go back and slap myself), we thought – why not check out a storied island? We gathered an adventurous group and set out.
Lokrum Island is a ten minutes' ferry ride away from Old Town Dubrovnik – you purchase a roundtrip ticket at the port for about $10/person, and off ya go!
There it is, that patch of lush forest:
Once the ferry drops you off, you're free to roam. Lokrum's a funny little island, and there's much to see –
a peaceful botanical garden,
an ancient, abandoned monastery,
shaded sandy pathways protected by regal peacocks and bunnies every which way you wander,
hundreds of exotic plants,
an olive grove,
quiet stretches of non-nudist beaches too (though, beware of sea urchins and slippery boulders!),
and, the Dead Sea, a tiny lagoon so dense with salt that it's almost perfectly still. Local boys (and a couple of our braver souls, Cassandra included) clambered up the side of a rocky cliff only to dive back down into the depths of the little lake.
I passed on the cliff-jumping, but offered to climb up there from a back route to take a few photos. Dozens of peacocks accompanied me, loudly calling out to each other, and bursting out in affronted squawks each time someone leapt into the water. It's gorgeous up there – you're faced with the Dead Sea on one side, the expansive Adriatic on the other, and a narrow corridor of rushing water connecting the two [in which locals also swim to get in and out of the cave linking the Dead Sea with the Adriatic].
Lokrum is certainly an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik, but take care to make it on the last ferry leaving the island just after sunset. No one (well, other than peacocks, that is) lives on Lokrum or even spends the night, and there's an eerie touch to the air, likely from the fabled curse!
Legend has it that on their last night on Lokrum in 1808, 800 years after they first settled on the island, Benedictine monks cursed the island and anyone who tried to seek it for their own in the future. Locals have spooky stories about mysterious shipwrecks and tourists who visit Lokrum only to never return.
Needless to say, at sundown, I bounced faster than you can say "scaredy
Legend also has it that one very awkward mermaid happens to call Lokrum home. And wouldn't you know it, I think we may have spotted her.