On our second day in Croatia, Clay and I began our island hopping adventures starting with Lokrum island. After enjoying a nice English breakfast in Dubrovnik Old Town, we took a 10am ferry to this beautiful nature reserve that was just a 15-minute boat ride away. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by peacocks, the island's only inhabitants!
Right away, we explored the island by trail and found our way to the Dead Sea, a small semi-caved pond that was connected to the sea. We also found some fluffy wild bunnies hopping around nearby. Then we walked to one edge of the island and found lots of ladders built on rocky edges that went straight into the sea (definitely not a swim for the faint of heart). We continued our walk through the Gardens of Maximilian, sat on the Iron Throne at Game of Thrones Center, and checked out Lokrum's botanical garden (where GoT city of Qarth was filmed). Overall, the island wasn't too big, and we were able to see everything that we wanted, including the Path of Paradise, which lead up to Fort Royal.
The highlight of our trip out to Lokrum was the remainder of our afternoon, which we spent swimming in the beautiful Adriatic Sea at the Bay of Portoc, located right next to the island's main dock (bottom right photo). There were lots of people jumping in the water and sunbathing on the rocks that afternoon. After our swim, we got a bite to eat at Lacroma Snack Bar and then took the 2:30pm ferry back to Old Town Harbor, which left us with plenty more of the day to spend in Dubrovnik.
Clay planned a weekend getaway for us to Safari West in Santa Rosa (which I never knew existed before). Our weekend consisted of a one-night stay in one of their giant African safari tents, as well as an in-room massage and an afternoon safari tour. I must admit, this glamping experience was quite pricy. Clay and I also had mixed feelings seeing some of the animals being kept in cages when we first arrived. However, we ended up really enjoying the safari tour, which helped us to change our minds about our initial reservations. Our 4-hour tour was extremely informative and allowed us to learn so much about each animal that we saw. We learned about how Safari West cares for its animals by practicing enrichment, which involves changing the animal's physical environment on a daily basis. We were able to see how the animals (whether it be monkey, rhino, or ostrich) really did have a good relationship with their caretakers. Some benefits the animals at Safari West get are: ample food and shelter, safety from predators, and breeding opportunities. Overall, it was neat to see how Safari West promotes wildlife conservation, research, and public education. It also gives those who love animals the opportunity to work closely with them. Pretty much all the employees we met there were genuinely excited and passionate about their work with the wildlife.
During our trip, we were also able to visit downtown Santa Rosa for a couple of meals, and were surprised by how hip the restaurants and coffee shops there were! Bird & the Bottle, where we went for brunch, served us a delicious Asian fusion dish. We also found out that Santa Rosa is the home of Charles Schulz! We saw several statues of different Peanuts characters scattered throughout downtown -- apparently, there are 70 statues in public view that one could spend an entire weekend looking for in Santa Rosa!
Just capturing as I go.