I’m drifting in the Adriatic Sea, weightless in its salty waters. When did I get this light? In the fresh water of the great lakes, my feet start sinking down by now. Here I am buoyant and delight in my ease of floating. I’ve swam more in Croatia than I do in an entire summer in Michigan and it’s quickly become my favorite way to spend my time here.
Today started slow, not wanting to rise from bed, but no longer able to sleep. I took the ferry from Dubrovnik to the island of Lokrum just 10 minutes away. Gone were the crowds and heat as I walked the shady paths of the island. The occasional call of a peacock would ring in the air and I soon found several in the forest on my way to the olive grove. Colorful males laid on a bed of leaves, while a muted brown mother and her babies strutted and hopped past me. I may have let out a squeak of joy at the sight. I soon found myself in the grove of ancient olive trees that have been preserved since the time of the Benedictine administration on the island. I read that some were over 300 years old. They rose tall and twisted, some parting at the base to form legs and seeming to dance in the sunlight. Someone had carved a table and chairs and placed them in the grove giving it an even more magical feeling. I love all things olive. They are such life giving plants with many health benefits. Being surrounded by such large and beautiful specimens made me feel as if I were in a children’s book. Next I’d have lunch with peacocks and sip tea with rabbits.
In reality, my lunch spot was almost as fanciful. I followed an acoustic tune drifting in the grove to a cafe under shady trees. A stone wall opened to frame the monastery behind it, creating a delightful backdrop as I sat and enjoyed a caprese salad and lemonade to strumming of Moon River and the hum of cicadas.
Beyond the cafe and monastery lies the botanical garden of the island. I love all gardens and while this one was on the smaller side, I still took pleasure in wandering its paths of trees, succulents and cacti. Some plants were new discoveries for me and made me pause to study their unique properties. I especially loved one tree that had the tiniest of feather-like leaves.
The best part of the island was when I explored it’s rocky shores, dropped a towel and climbed down a ladder into the sea. The water in Croatia is perfection. Crystal clear and brilliant blue, it is the best summertime experience. The nicest part was swimming out and looking back on the island with its hills and rocky shore with a few sailboats off in the distance. I even met some nice midwestern girls from Ohio while out on the waves. They were visiting the island for the second time which made me wish I had been as well. It really is a dreamy island retreat and the perfect way to spend my last day in Croatia.
Getting There – The 10 minute ferry ride from the port in old town costs 80 Kuna and runs every half hour.
Swimming – I swam near the olive grove. There are many options all over the island and there’s even a nude area. If you have water shoes, bring them. I wore running shoes to explore the island and get down onto the rocks. Then switched over to flip flops and left them near the ladder. The big boulders under the surface of the water are mostly smooth, but somehow I did end up losing my balance, whacked my foot on a rock and cut it. So yes, water shoes would have been a good option, and bandaids.
Lokrum Website – For more information on the island, visit their website.