Dubrovnik promotes a, “Three Island Day Trip” that piqued our interest, until we realized that we would return with about one hour to present for our dinner reservation at Proto, the city’s famed, two-star Michelin restaurant. After a 30º day out on the water…let’s just say I would need more than an hour to achieve presentable.

Instead we caught the first ferry over to Lokrum Island. We can’t throw a rock in these parts without it ricocheting off a Hapsburg-something, so why not visit; plus, I was sold after reading the word, “peacocks.” For good measure, the island was also once visited by Richard the Lionhearted, who is the second person after Tom Hanks with whom I would not travel, when his ship was wrecked here on the way home from the crusades.

Traveling the Dalmatian Coast in style.

Water trampolines to keep the cruise shippers placated until the ship could berth. Better them than us!

Honestly, visiting this island well outranked walking the city walls, at least for us.  Exploring the abandoned Benedictine Monastery, the sunlight filtering through the trees, and with the hares dancing about required 75 camera clicks (and bunches more on my iPhone to send in real time to Anna and Jack at home).

We unwittingly discovered the GoT exhibit inside the basilica, where the peer pressure of other visitors posing in the, “Iron Throne” wore us down and I made Tony pose. When we returned to Vienna we managed about 15 minutes of the on-screen series in our effort to join the masses, but we really are much more of the, “We’d Rather Read the Book” kind of people, for one; and for two, the storyline just didn’t capture our attention.

Then came the olive groves, the sun strong enough by now to perfume the air with Eau de Olive while its 300 year old trees offered all the cool shade we needed to stalk peacocks! And peahens with peachicks!  Sensational.

Baby Olives!

I title this, Peacock with Olive Trees

Owing to the rocky climb (and Tony’s ankle) we wandered not to the fort but instead followed other paths as we felt, through the gardens and over to the “Dead Sea,” Empress Elisabeth’s favorite place to swim and quite alive with families picnicking and enjoying the water. In between I stalked the peacocks on the tree branches above us.

Three hours later (!) came the call of hunger. Anticipating our dinner later we went light and shared…a plate of exceptional grilled squids (what else) with another friend-recommended Croatian wine on the terrace of the upscale restaurant in the middle of the park. The peacocks milling about, interrupted by an occasional bunny passing by made the experience almost fairy-tale like.

A little more wandering to see sights we missed, except for the FKK beach as we see “plenty” of that when we cycle around Donau Insel at home.

Back on the mainland there was just enough time to collect wine and olive oil to bring home, and to sit along the Stradun with a slushy limeade before preparing for dinner. I had also purchased some wine and olive oil in Montenegro, foreseeing a Balkan-theme dinner party this summer. Mmm.

Dinner at Proto and Final Notes to follow…