The Benedictine Curse

posted in: Mom's Musings | 1

Since kayaking was out, we decided to take the ferry to Lokrum Island for our trip for the day. Our host had highly recommended it, and the ferry was only about $12 round trip.

The island boasted a salt-water lake and exotic gardens with species from all over the world. You could also slip over at any moment to rock crashing waves along the coast.

So far, this part of the world is crazy relaxing compared to Asia. We feel totally spoiled and almost lazy.

Finding your way around has been interesting here and good for the kids. You have to interact with locals, because signs are not in English, but most people can speak a little. Hvala (almost halob) is “thank you” and Bok (almost like “buck”) is a simple “hello.”

Ella and I had to exercise our self control again not to try and pick up the bunnies. They seemed so tame and soo fluffy!

Peacocks are another interesting presence here. We kept hoping the male would decide to show off for the female so we could see his plumage.

We visited the Benedictine abbey and monastery with some slightly creepy monk chants played in the background. We learned about a haunting legend from there.
Around 1023 there was a big fire in the area, and the people prayed to St. Benedict, bargaining that they would build him a monastery on the island, if they fire would be contained. It was and they did. But later, a French army closed the monastery and forced the Benedictine monks to leave. The monks had one last mass; and following it, they walked around the island in single file, holding their candles upside down to drop the wax along their path. They walked the circumference of the island three times chanting, “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!”
Later, the heads of the three wealthy families, who had delivered the news to the monks to leave, died. One drowned, another was killed by a servant, and the last jumped out a window. Those island owners who followed met one misfortune after another, including bankruptcy, shipwrecks, earthquakes, and murders. One of the owners, Francis Joseph I, a king of Croatia and emperor of Austria, lost his brother, Archduke Maximilian, to execution; his wife was assassinated, and his son committed suicide. So, staying on the island overnight is another thing our host informed us was illegal. There was a museum display for Game of Thrones there, as well as an exceptionally disturbing section that re-enacted the hooded monks march around the island chanting.

Hooray, he decided to show off!

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