Dubrovnik: Lokrum Island

On our last day in Dubrovnik we decided to cross over to Lokrum Island. It is only 600m from the Old City and an hourly ferry makes the 15-minute journey. This a shot taken this evening from the harbour. On the way over this morning cruise ship groups on the dock and a French school trip on the boat somewhat obscured the view.

There are numerous paths through the woodlands, the lower ones having views down to the coast.
Austrian archduke Maximilian once had a holiday home on the island. A monastery and a botanical garden survive from that era. The monastery had been damaged in the 1667 earthquake and the monks left in 1798. It was further damaged in the 1991-95 war and there are pieces of stonework lying among the trees. It is still undergoing renovation so not all the ruins were accessible. Part of it has been converted into a restaurant.

The archduke also introduced peacocks which potter around and are not at all camera-shy. In fact they are even more forward than pigeons and gulls when you are trying to eat your picnic.

The botanic garden dates from the 19th century. It lost all its scientific records and work still needs to be done in the garden and it needs a spring tidy up of dead material but there were some flowers.

Fort Royal stands on the island’s highest point at 96 metres above sea level and was built by the French. We walked up the steep path to it. This is in the process of being improved but many stretches have lots of loose rocks. Interestingly on a weekday, there was no sign of anyone working on it but there was a huge pile of bags of cement at the back of the fort. After descending we walked along a path by the coast and past a cross erected to commemorate the men of the Austrian Navy ship Triton who died in 1859 when the ship exploded while anchored in front of Lokrum. We had our lunch by the rocky coast, four peacocks in attendance.

The sea is clear in the harbour and you can see small fish. It also appears clear around the island. Transparent kayaks can be hired and glass-bottomed boats also run trips from the harbour. Looking into some of the rock pools by the edge of the island I did not see very much in the way of life. No doubt the vast cruise ships contribute to pollution. There are plenty of rabbits around who are not afraid of people and presumably there are no predators. We did see some European blackbirds and I tried to photograph a Croatian Finch but it was spooked by some passers by and flew off. Most of the island is a nature reserve and a number of native species of bird can be found there. We took the ferry back in the afternoon to get some packing done as we leave to tomorrow morning. After an early dinner we joined Dubrovnik’s equivalent of the passeggiata along the Stradum. Children were rolling along on scooters and segways.

We then had a final stroll round the now much quieter harbour.

Brighton evening

After two days of an intense but very stimulating conference, it was a relief to don my jeans and go out into bracing sea air. The sea, which had looked blue first thing this morning was now somewhat greyer but there were still a few people on the shingle beach. The first sight outside our hotel is what remains of the West Pier, part of which collapsed in 2002 and the remainder caught fire twice in 2002.
Burnt out Pier Brighton 17 Oct 2014 (1 of 1)
The lights were coming on and birds wheeling in the sky as we wandered along the promenade to the remaining piers before having something to eat and a relaxing evening before more exploration tomorrow
Brighton Promenade Evening 17 Oct 2014 (1 of 1)