Relaxing on Lokrum Island, Croatia
For the third day in a row we had absolutely nothing on our agenda; this was proving to be my most relaxing Europe trip to date. Wide awake before 7 a.m., we decided to head to the Old Port to catch the first ferry of the day to Lokrum island. Just one quick stop at the market for water and a few bottles of Croatian booze, and off we went.
Lokrum is the island closest to Dubrovnik, the same island we had an incredible view of from our apartment balcony. The ferry service runs all day, every 30 minutes in each direction and is scenic a 15-minute ride.
We exited the boat and journeyed by foot across the narrow, incredibly green center of the island until we were on the other side at the sea. The coastline is incredibly rocky, but that doesn't stop beachgoers from sprawling out for the day. Luckily, one can find a flat rock to get comfortable on and ladders are sporadically installed for swimmers to easily enter and exit the water. There are even showers installed randomly amidst the rocks.
A bit inland, we found a lake that is fed by the Adriatic and known as the island's "dead sea" for its salt content and ease-to-swim. Besides the the fellow ferry riders, Lokrum is incredibly quiet. The only inhabitants of the island are the colorful peacocks, which were brought over 150 years ago from the Canary Islands. They adapted and have lived here ever since. Oh, and a few random bunnies.
The island is home to a monastery, a popular stop amongst Game of Thrones fans. The arched hallways were used for filming scenes and the building now houses a small museum honoring the television series. Fans, or clueless posers like myself, can even take a seat in the iron throne. Of course we had to do this for our GOT-fanatic friends back home.
After exploring the few things there were to see, we head back to the side of the island we arrived on to post up for a few hours of swimming and relaxing. We found ourselves a sort-of-flat rock, got comfortable, and enjoyed a few solid hours of people-watching, swimming and sunbathing. We befriended a British-Croatian woman who now lives in Hong Kong. We discussed the food scene in our respective cities and she suggested a restaurant in the Croatian countryside that she has frequented her entire life.
There was an oddly-nice restaurant on the island that we wanted to have lunch at. I overheard the waiter commenting how a few weeks ago, the presidents of Croatia and the neighboring countries were here eating; the entire place had to be surrounded my armed guards. Lunch on the deck was pleasant, but accompanied by many pestering bees and the constant screeching of cicadas echoing over the island.
It was mid-afternoon, so we made our way to the port to catch a ferry back to Dubrovnik. Densely populated with green plants and peacocks, Lokrum island was a beauty. I now understand why the locals take advantage of the ferry and spend their summer days on the island, avoiding Dubrovnik's crowded beaches. Only a 15-minute ride away, an escape to Lokrum might be the most convenient island getaway I've ever encountered.