Tuesday, 4 June 2013



So you all know I'm from Tassie and let me tell you, our winters get PRETTY cold, so WHY we have decided to jump in the Derwent River in the freezing cold would have to warrant a pretty good reason eh!!

OH YEAH!  We are Freezin for a Reason...

Loui's Van is a van that travels the streets of Hobart offering a warm meal or a cuppa to our homeless.  They truly are gorgeous people and we, in conjunction with the Lions Club, are going to try and raise some much needed funds to help them keep on doing what they do!

HOW CAN I HELP I hear you say??  You can join us (copy the link and start fund-raising) or keep your gear on and sponsor us!! Its easy, tax deductible and we will really appreciate it!

I have the guys from Bagdad Music Hall involved as well as some of the gorgeous PIF'ers from Pay It Forward - Tas willing to dunk themselves into the Derwent!

We are the Pay It Forward - Tas PENGUINS!

So blog world.... if you have a few dollars spare, I would really love you to throw a few our way...Here is the link :)

PIF PENGUINS Freezin For A Reason

Hope your all looking after yourselves and others!


Meeg xx

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Are we, as women, ever happy?

Hello Blog world!!

It's been a long time between chats eh!

Busy woman that I am, I forget I have a blog LOL

Just wanted to tell you all about a funny thing that happened to me today.  If you follow my blog you will know I am a lapbander (bandit) and have lost a LOT of weight....92kg to be exact...I'm nearly at the end of the weight loss journey (has taken me 5 bloody years.... PLEASE do NOT think it is a magic wand, I'm liable to throttle you) and I struggle in my head to see the difference some days... I actually keep a "fat" photo on my mirror these days to remind myself !  But today something amazing happened.....I was walking past a shop window and glanced sideways at the reflection and could not believe this woman was me!  Tall, slim woman wearing knee high boots and a tight knitted dress...very smart if I must say so myself, WAS ME!!!

Now I know some of you skinnies might think this is bullshit, but this is one of the realisations us bandits NEED!! Our heads are very complex things and I was overweight all my life so it is hard to get your head on the same level as your body!  My doc once told me it takes 4 years (he was a year out...meh) for our heads to catch up!  Well HELLO slim Meegan!

But, with the huge loss of weight comes the huge excess of skin.... Now I'm not blaming anyone but myself for stretching my skin to the point of no return, I ate, I got fat, I take full responsibility, but no one tells you how you are going to feel about your new slim self with this excess skin problem....Its gross, I hate it and I doubt until its removed, I am ever going to feel slim.

Remove it you say! Well I have already spent $3000 having the "bat wings" removed...but for the rest I am looking at $12k to have done, 6 weeks off work (impossible) and some pretty heavy recovery, that I do not have either the money or the support at home to do :(

So I am tackling this problem, one tax return at a time, this tax time, its gunna be my legs.  I cant wait to have my skin taken away from there so I can finally wear a skirt that doesn't have to be under my knees!!  Same reason I had my arms done...so I could for the first time in my life, wear a singlet top and be happy (Mind you it was 2 yrs AFTER having my arms done that I actually felt comfortable WEARING a singlet top)

So this leads me to think....as women, are we ever HAPPY with our bodies?  I see this with a lot of my friends, not the same problems, but things they hate about themselves, whether from child bearing, or weight loss or just something about themselves, that I personally do not see, we all seem to have really bad body issues.

I think that SUCKS!

So I have decided every night, I am gunna look at my self, standing in my undies in front of the mirror, and tell myself, FARK IT MAN! You are 43, you've had 3 kids and you look FAB!

By the way...still single....fark me.... My friends say I'm too fussy.... PFFT! I just want a decent bloke who can keep up in a conversation with me....LOL

Being single sucks shit too.... "get out there more"... "meet new people" they say.... FARK ME...I couldn't get more "out there" truly!! I run a support group for other bandits, I have an "Eating Out In Tassie" fb page, I run a kindness page called Pay It Forward - Tas....mate the only way I could be anymore out was if I was gay LOL (not that there is anything wrong with that....I just couldn't do the "downstairs" if you know what I mean LOL)

Well I think that's about it.... I hope your all happy in your journey's and life is treating you all well :)

Til next time

Meegs xx

Before and After:

Sunday, 4 November 2012


Well, after years of battling with my youngest son's behaviour, I have finally succumbed to medication.

I cant tell you how disappointed I am that we have had to try this path, I tried everything, diets, multivitamins, occupational therapy, heavy work, for fark sake, BOXING.....but his behavioural patterns just wont budge... He is not being diagnosed as ADHD, more anxiety, when mixed with the sensory processing disorder, these magical little capsules are supposed to help take away the stress and help with his concentration.

I'm really concerned about putting him on this medication, apparently its a new one (to Australia) called Strattera....

Any other readers in the same boat that felt this way? I cant help but feel like a failure...

Anyways...tomorrow is start day.....we will see how they go.....

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Ahhh...Firenze...and the Ponte Vecchio

Now let me tell you, all around Italy I was told "dont buy any gold til you get to Florence"....And I have to say, the Ponte Vecchio has the most stunning gold I have ever seen...."seen" being the optional word here...I certainly couldn't afford to "buy" any...Holy crap it's dear...the whole bridge is jewellery shops....quite blinding! But nope, didn't buy anything there....still had holidaying to do!! LOL

We took a first class train (80 Euro) from Rome to Florence...very nice, comfy and easy as.  The train systems are a pretty easy way to travel Europe...(except when they change your platform 5 minutes before it leaves and your 3 platforms away!! haha) And into beautiful Florence we were.  We caught a taxi to our hotel, (which was GORGEOUS!!  Shutters at the windows looking out to a lane....so pretty!!) 

So we dropped our gear and started exploring.  Straight to the Ponte Vecchio!

 Now let me tell ya...Florence is the place for LEATHER!! OMFG I was in heaven....Of course I HAD to have a matching handbag, boots and gloves!! 

I could have shopped here forever...GREAT prices!!! We had a lot to do here as we had 3 tours....Pisa, Pompeii and the Accademia D'Arte...I couldn't wait to see Michelangelo's Statue of David!!! But first, onto a train we went for Pisa!  Gotta see that tower right?  Oh yeah! And, many thanks to my lapband for helping have the fitness to do so, I CLIMBED THAT SUCKER'S 300 STEPS TO THE TOP!!! (nearly had an asthma attack but hey....lol)

Now let me tell you...this is no easy trip...The steps are thick, well worn granite....I did runs of 50 and stopped for air....the lactic acid was burning in my thighs and I was well wheezy at the top! BUT I DID IT...another tick on the bucket list for me LOL......My friend Jolanta did it with me and when we got to the first opening before the top, she told me she was stopping there! I said WHAT?? You cant get all this way and not get to the top! She then shared with me her FEAR OF HEIGHTS!! I said "what the fark are you doing up here then?? LOL but to her credit...she continued (hesitantly) and made it to the top...Very proud of her!!! Mind you when I told her to look over and get a pic she was quite graphic in telling me no! Here she is!


 Of course we had to do the "push" photo's LOL

What a buzz.....We also went and checked out Pisa a little but we were late getting there so it was starting to close up...so back on the train for Florence we went.
Next day was our tour of Pompeii, so into Naples we went....Naples was nothing special for me...a very grubby littered concrete jungle with lots of scribble all over it....glad we weren't there for long.  The tour took us into Pompeii for an included lunch then off to ruins.....Now this is some crazy shit.....A volcano erupts 79AD and covers the entire place with volcanic ash...wiped out...gone...

The ruins of Pompeii were discovered in the late 1600's. The discovery of this ruined city turned out to be an archaeologist's dream come true.  Pompeii had been a thriving Roman port town in 79 A.D. when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, covering the the entire town and literally freezing it in time. The discovery of this ancient city has given archaeologists a clue to what everyday life was like in the Roman empire. That was because the eruption preserved the buildings. It preserved the art work. It even preserved some of the people (seven of which can be seen in the court yard of the fools). The discovery of Pompeii was like going back in time to the day the eruption occurred because everything was as it was the day Vesuvius erupted.
    Walking the streets is like walking back through time. You walk among the stone buildings. You walk by homes that had huge gardens which stand side by side with little tiny lots where a store stood, or poor person had lived.  It is truly amazing to walk along the streets of this town, releasing that you are walking down a street almost 2000 years old, and it hasn't change a bit. You can walk into the house of ill repute and look at pictures of the services which were offered (see pics next LOL). You can climb to the top of the preserved theatre and look over the ancient ruins. You can walk through the ancient forum and imagine what it was like when it was a bustling market place.  Mind boggling!!

We had an 86yo guide..Franko who was the most awesome tour guide ever...funny little bugger that spoke about 200 different languages and had been doing Pompeii tours for 56 yrs! He was so awesome...a highlight of the tour LOL.

Now, dear readers, you know I live my life (well you should by now) tongue in cheek so to speak, so let me tell you about the houses of "ill repute" for a town of 12000 people, there were 1000 brothels!! Way to many Franko told us....and to find your way to the "red light" area...you were supplied with "penis" markers in the town....

Hahahahaha this cracked me up...and Franky loved showing us them....Now the residents of the town were apparently quite "shy" when it came to "asking" for which "service" they wanted so Fresco paintings were painted on the walls of the brothel for them to point to....such as.....

AND...a little doggy perhaps LOL

There is so much to see and check out here...it is AMAZING! The training fields for the Gladiators....wooooooh still gives me goosebumps....

Of course there is also the human artifacts they found....kinda creepy but worth a look.......

Can you imagine what these people were thinking when the volcano erupted?  Surely they must have been thinking "What have we done to anger the Gods"... poor buggers.....
The inhabitants of Pompeii did not know that Vesuvius was a volcano, as it hadn’t erupted in 1,800 years. There isn’t even a Latin word for volcano! Here it is.....

Well actually you cant see it too well for me...so here's a better one LOL

 Our Guide "Franko"

I went into the markets and got accosted by a peddler lady and ended up buying a volcanic rock bracelet....I couldn't get away from her until I did...So be prepared LOL...they are ruthless!

And the story continues......

Talk to you all in the final chapter! Coming up next :)

Until then...be nice to each other :)

Meeg x

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Our week in Italy - Rome Edition

See a theme here?? LOL

Italy.....Oh how I loved it! After our magnificent cruise we delayed our flights home for an extra week of adventuring around Italy.....We had another night in Venice before catching a first class train (80 Euro) to Rome.

Roma! What a city!! All my life I have wanted to ride a Moped around the streets of Rome and throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain (thanks Audrey Hepburn) Was BUSTING to get to the Trevi Fountain...in fact I was BUSTING to get anywhere.....We had another well picked internet hotel, threw down our gear and started, yet again, walking.

So into the crazy, hustling, bustling city of Rome we went....And let me tell you any crazy idea's I had of zooming around the streets of Rome on a moped were quickly lost....these guys are NUTS on the roads...there's no lines, no sense of road rules, parking diagonally, straight, double parked and not really a care in the world for pedestrians.....you would have to be suicidal or just born there to work it out...even if you find a little green man pedestrian crossing, doesn't guarantee any sort of safety at all LOL.  Sorry Audrey......cant mark that off the bucket list......madness....anyhoo...where did we go first?? Well straight to the Trevi Fountain of course!!

I can not describe how much I have wanted to see this fountain....it was everything I hoped it would be, and of course the three of us held hands and threw a coin in! The legend goes you throw a coin in and you will always return to Rome....I wished for a husband LOL......I being a realist like I am, I can indulge in silliness sometimes hahaha.....I soaked it all in and enjoyed every second there...Of course I had to go back and see it at night as well....
There is so much to see and do in Rome.....Its a magnificent city....Mind boggling to think these ENORMOUS buildings, monuments, statues etc were all made hundreds of years ago and are still standing as regally as they were when they were designed....its mind blowing.  In fact I have a bit of a theory on that....All these HUGE buildings and statues etc....and all the penis's on them ....tiny! Overcompensating do you think?? Bahahahahaha...little man disease was ripe in them days I reckon LOL. 

The next day we had a tour of the Vatican organised.  I wasnt sure if I was terribly interested in doing this tour, infact I told my cousin when we were organising tours at home before we left that I would go shopping whilst they did this tour....but I am so glad I did do it... And let me tell you...DO A TOUR!Ours was hectic to say the least at the beginning but you get to skip the humungous line and of course you get to see the Sistine Chapel! Michelangelo is one of my favorite sculptors and too see the Sistine Chapel's Last Judgement was incredible! Oh and they teach you so much on these tours that you wouldnt know without someone with the local knowledge and experience.  Did you know that Michelangelo never signed his paintings? He didnt see himself as a painter..he would have preferred to be known as a sculptor but when the Pope tells you he wants you to paint the Sistine Chapel...you paint the Sistine Chapel! So instead he would paint a self portrait in his paintings....You can see this evident in this pic of the Christian they scun .....he's the bloke with his skin in his hand...thats Michelangelos self portrait in the skin!
Crazy shit eh....It took Michelangelo a bit over four years, from July of 1508 to October of 1512. He had never painted a Fresco before so got off to a slow start....It's about 40 meters (131 feet) long by 13 meters (43 feet) wide. These numbers are rounded off just a tad, but don't detract from the fact that Michelangelo painted well over 5000 sq feet of frescoes. On HIS BACK!  Can you imagine that!

The Vatican itself I was uneasy with....I cant help thinking all this richness and extravagance came at an incredible price for the poor people of the day....sufferance for religion has never been a highlight of history for me, but it is a fact and that's that.  I think if I was Catholic I would have understood the concept better but it was lost on me somewhat...And I NEVER KNEW, and everyone I have told this too since my return seems to know it, so I must be ignorant, that the church is actually a graveyard for all the dead Popes!! There's mummified popes, and entombed Popes and empty crypts for when the Popes aren't actually buried there but a crypt is still placed....kinda creepy them mummified Popes....I had no intention of taking a photo of them but heaps did....ewww.....anyway here are some Vatican pics for ya....

Now this pic is pretty cool...it looks like a plaster type thing huh...but it is actually a 3D painting on the roof of the Vatican! 16th Century 3D....pretty groovy!

The Pope Cemetery.....

Now just to put it in perspective of the SIZE of this Church in the Vatican...see the lettering FIDES top left hand side?  Each letter is 3.5 METRES LONG! It is incredible the size of this joint.....

The entrance to the Vatican

Now this pic is my favourite pic in the Vatican....its not actually a picture.....its a whole bloody wall!  This was painted by Raphael....now remembering that Raphael, Michelangelo and Da Vinci were all students together, they were friends and often imitated each others ideas....Well Raphael did with Michelangelo's paintings anyways.....anyhoo....this painting is of the "Arts" department of the day and Raphael has painted himself....in a white robe with flowing reddish hair, next to him is Michelangelo (yellow top blue cape) and sitting centre with his head resting on his fist is Da Vinci! How cool is that!! Loved it!
 These are the Official Vatican Guards....still wearing the same uniforms that Michelangelo designed in the 16th Century....the poor bugger on the left has to stay completely still for 2 hr shifts!

Off back to the Hotel we went for an incredible meal!  I LURVE prawns (scampi) and couldn't believe the size of these little suckers!! And my oh my were they good!!!

Nom Nom Nom.....Also here is a pic of the only "Italian Orgasm" I managed to get LOL

Next day we went wandering again and ended up at the Colosseum....OH EM GEE!! This blew my mind...images of lions and Spartacus are embedded in your thoughts....the place has a vibe!  Its bigger than I could have ever imagined and I still cant get my mind around how smart they were and ingenious with their rope pulley systems to let people/animals out onto that arena...wow!!

Holy Schmoley! I loved it so much....definitely a favourite spot in Rome! Soak up that history baby!! I was in History Heaven! 
 The Spanish Steps

Rome is a hustling, bustling, historically famous and amazing place and I would definitely like to go back there one day. 

Ahhh Roma......We loved you

Next up....Florence, Pisa and Pompeii!

Til next time bloggers :)

Oh and also.....I have been nominated for some sort of bloggers award thingy!! Thank you too Black Cats and Buttons for the nomination..this is the best I can do with the linky thing BUT I am still a newbie bloody blogger and have no idea what Im doing LOL...But very much appreciated!!
I think I am now supposed to do this to 5 other bloggers so will do my best LOL

So here's what I have to do:

1 – Thank your Liebster Blog award presenter on your blog
2 -  Link back to the blogger who presented you the award
3 -  Copy and paste the award on your blog
4 -  Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers
5 – Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog

I will give it a crack!!

The people I have nominated are:

Cardinal Cyn

Monday, 21 May 2012


Well hello blogger land! Have just returned from a fantastic tour of Italy, Greece and Croatia....What a trip!

I wondered before embarking on this trip, has the internet, with its pictures and images and stories, taken the mystique out of travelling now?  Has being able to click and see grandeurs like the paintings of Michelangelo, or Venice's canals, or the Vatican, taken from us our desire to see them in their natural states?  I think it has a little....globalisation takes away the mysteries that travel once offered us but nothing can explain the feeling that comes over you when you are experiencing these sights "in the flesh".  I was overwhelmed by the extravagance of the Vatican....the sheer enormity of the Colosseum and the Acropolis, the incredible beauty of Croatia and its laid back lifestyle (work starts at...ummm...say "around" nine....but coffee has to be had first....an espresso means "no time for a gossip" a bigger coffee means "hey...lets have a chat and think about going to work" hahahaha) Is it worth 28hrs flying to get to your starting point...OF COURSE IT IS!

28hrs flying! Its a battle....its cramped, its tiring, your feet and legs swell....your impatient to get to the country you want to get too....I found the best way to avoid the longest leg boredom (16hrs) was to watch as many up to date movies you want...DRINK THE FREE ALCOHOL and if all else fails..pop a valium LOL......

I had so many people (mostly Americans) say to me "Oh my you Australians have to travel so far to see anything"...umm hello??  What else are we supposed to do to get there? Until they develop the "beam me there Scotty" thing we don't have a choice do we LOL.

And lets talk a little about other travellers..... I found the Indian people were the most shovey and pushy people...always happy to push in at the front of the line you have just been standing in for 2 hrs.....that annoyed the hell out of me...but hey...we were on our way to Italy...everything was an adventure...who cared right? (footnote: by the end of the trip...this DID matter.... A LOT LOL)  We met some really lovely American's and we met some really arrogant and conceited Americans.....I'm on the fence there, and of course we met some fellow Aussies on their journey's....you can always pick an Aussie accent and its like "Hey! Fellow Aussie!!"  There are plenty of us out there checking out the world :)

Our first destination was the beautiful city of Venecia (Venice)...we (my cousin Karen and her work mate and now my mate too, Jolanta) were SUPER EXCITED to touch down (phew! I was a LITTLE worried about the plane having problems and plummeting to my death....I had that Allanis Morrisette song playing in my head...Isnt it ironic....) but WOOHOO we made it.....then had to line up with our passports for another hour before we got in there....but all good..we are still excited to be there...and looking forward to finding and checking out our hotel and discovering venice.  We ended up agreeing, that with all our luggage, we would pay the extra for a water taxi and get there asap! This cost us about 70 euros ($90 au)

On the water taxi...eager beavers!
Our first glimpse of Venice....

Oh Venice....what a beautiful city....so romantic and historic! We were dropped off, supposedly near where our hotel was.....only we didn't know where that was...let me tell ya...travel light....we dragged 2 suitcases and bags over about 4 bridges and cobblestone paths...not an easy effort....will NOT do it again....one bag..that's it!  But we eventually found our hotel and were wrapped it was so lovely and the people so friendly....These Europeans know how to look after guests...a free drink that night in the bar as a welcome, free wifi in the lobby and free hot breakfasts every morning!  Lush!
So off we went adventuring.... Venice is so beautiful....it sort of reminded me of France...very provincial and even the street names....which are bricked in on the sides of the houses....I fell in love with Venice the first moment we stepped foot there....sigh.......

The next day we had organised our cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises to Greece.....So off we went after a delicious breakfast of bacon (the best bacon I have possibly EVER eaten), eggs, croissants and hot chocolate.....Again we paid for a water taxi (!!) this one cost 80 Euro...they seem to charge what they want and let me tell ya its only 15 Euro to take the public ferry....we learnt the hard way haha) But it was cruise time and we were excited as buggery!

The cruise was amazing....we went to Bari Italy first and pre arranged our onshore activities (much better and easier way to organise your holiday....they pick you up and take your there and return you....an easy option when you don't know your way around and the guides are wonderful!!)  Bari Italy has the REAL St Nikolai church...the actual "Santa" (and his remains I might add in a crypt *shudders* it was incredibly creepy.... But a really beautiful town and some wonderful sights to see....

It was a great day...we really enjoyed it and the tour was fantastic...  Then it was back on the ship destined for Corfu the next day....But first there was a TOGA party on board...so we got amongst it OF COURSE!

What a hoot!

Next up was Corfu....I fell in love with Corfu...it was so beautiful and our first Greek Island....Took a panoramic tour this day and drove up tiny mountain streets in a bus that just scraped past walls of houses on the way....The tour guide was awesome....and I got to try Limoncello for the first time....

Back on board we went again and it was a formal night on the Ship..so we all dollied up and had an amazing silver service dinner.... nom nom nom (being a lapbander with all her fill out I was looking forward to this steak...unfortunately my band had other ideas..bugger it!)

nom nom nom.....easy to see how I gained 5kg....
Next day was Mykonos...OMFG how pretty are those white washed houses....The Greeks have such pride in their environments....no graffiti...just idealic....went to the Island of Delos...
The island of Delos, isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean.
Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek Mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

Now Apollo is my sorta God....God of Dance, Music and Life...Oh yeah...he's the man! Bought myself a statue of this dude!

What an amazing place....thousands of years old...was incredible!  Went back to Mykonos for some shopping and a few drinks waterside to watch the sun set over the Aegean Sea....blissful!!
Hows that for beautiful eh?  Loved Mykonos....then back on board bound for Athens.....Now, Athens I'm afraid I wasn't impressed with at all.....it was the largest city I have EVER seen.....lots of graffiti but then you saw it....The Acropolis! Man oh Man...mind blowing enormity....to see the first "university" that Socrates sat upon and pondered....Oh I was in ruins heaven!! 
Amazing...no other words for it.....
Birthplace of the Olympics!
Another formal night on board and this time we opted for the Japanese Hot Rock experience....cook your own tucker....I thought....I am gunna be starving after this little feed but I was full as a goog!  So delicious!  Last cruise stop was Dubrovnik Croatia....My fav place of all....Its like stepping back in time...the "Old" city of Dubrovnik is a walled city...complete with moat....and I found myself thinking of knights and dragons and all things mythological....breathtaking! If (and I know its a big IF) I ever get married this is where I would come to honeymoon....We also went to Dalmatia (home of the dalmatian dog breed) and it was so peaceful and the people are so laid back and relaxed....work starts at around 9....there is only one road in and out....and a very narrow road it is....but of course there is coffee to be had before work...a small coffee means your in a hurry to get to work and they only charge 1 euro...a larger coffee means....lets catch up on the gossip of the town and have a chat....work can wait hahahaha.....there is an island just off the ancient city and the legend goes like this:
Legend of the Lokrum Curse:
The legend is associated with the founding of the Benedictine monastery on the island of Lokrum. According to this legend, a great fire erupted in Dubrovnik somewhere around the year 1023. The inhabitants of Dubrovnik made a vow to Saint Benedict that they would construct a monastery in his name if the city would be spared. The fire was extinguished instantly, and the thankful citizens of Dubrovnik then built a Benedictine monastery and church on Lokrum, which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In reality, the fact remains that the Benedictine monastery was founded in the year 1023, for real copies of the original documents dating to the 13th century do exist. Further, the fact remains that in 1023, and precisely on the Day of St. Benedict, most of Dubrovnik was consumed by fire, as it was mostly constructed out of wood. Some even insist that the archbishop's palace was also destroyed.

The establishment of the monastery and the donation of the land on Lokrum were decided on by the Dubrovnik archbishop Vital and by the preses, the latin term for the head of the city of Dubrovnik, Lampridija, together with all the aristocracy. The Benedictine founders were the monk Peter from St. Mary's Monastery in Tremit near Puglia, and the Dubrovnik priest Leo, who took the vows of a Benedictine monk at this time. A direct link was established with the Benedictine seat in Monte Cassino, immediately after the establishment of the monastery.

The Benedictines also had a monastery and church in Rožat in Rijeka Dubrovaèka by either the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century. Desideria (1058-1087), the Abbot of the Benedictine monastery in Monte Cassino, ordered the fabrication of the church doors for the monastery in 1066. The door posts were covered with silver plaques that depicted the names of all the churches belonging to the monastery. Later, the Abbot Oderizia II (1121-1126) added on sixteen more plaques with the names of new churches, which also lists St. Mary's Church in Rožat. The Benedictines abandoned the monastery during the 12th century. The descendants of Count Savin in Dubrovnik took advantage of this and appropriated the monastery with its entire property. The Lokrum monks protested sharply against this move, as Savin's bequest indicated that the monastery would belong to the monks if there were no Benedictines from Monte Cassino in the regional monastery in Rožat. On this basis, the Dubrovnik consuls passed a decision on April 09, 1198, whereby the monastery with its church and property in Rožat became the property of the Benedictine monastery on Lokrum. The Pope's legate, Ivan, who was the curate of the Apostolic Succession, threatened anyone who would oppose this with a curse.

However, from 1295 to 1321, the Benedictine's gradually abandoned Rožat, moving completely to Lokrum. In the Dubrovnik region, there was one more male Benedictine monastery, the "St. Andrew of the open seas" (in pelago). In the 12th century, they owned the entire island of Mljet with its monastery and the Church of St. Mary. Mention should be made of the notable cultural workers in the Benedictine order, the poets Mavra Vetranoviæ and Ignjat Ðurdeviæ, as well as the historian Mavra Orbin.

The legend of the Lokrum curse originated when a French army general ordered the closure of the monastery and the expulsion of the Benedictines. The Dubrovnik aristocratic families Gozze, Pozza and Sorgo were chosen to convey these orders s to the monks.

According to legend, the monks were aghast with the French general's order and did all they could to remain where they had resided for centuries. When all else failed, one night they went to the Church of St. Mary to serve one last mass to God on the island. The monks donned their hooded cloaks and proceeded to circumnavigate the island in a long and solemn, single-file procession. Symbolically, as a curse, they turned their lighted candles upside-down towards the earth, so that the flame licked the wax, which left a melted trail.

They went around the island this way three times, which took the entire night, ceremoniously chanting the terrible and harsh words of the curse:
"Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!"
At dawn, dead-tired, they embarked on a boat and left the island, never once looking back. And, nevermore did they return.

The legend says that the curse laid on the island soon began to take effect. One of the three Dubrovnik aristocrats jumped out of a window, the other drowned in the sea on the way to Lokrum, and a servant killed the third.

Captain Tomaševic became the owner of the island following the fall of the Republic. He was an extremely wealthy man, but he suddenly became bankrupt soon after having purchased the island, which forced him to sell Lokrum. It was sold to the archduke Maximilian, the younger brother of the Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph I.
Maximilian discovered Lokrum by chance in 1859 when the ship "Triton", following an explosion, sank in front of Lokrum. As Navy Commander of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, he had to honor the dead seamen. On this occasion, Maximilian set foot on the island for the first time. He saw the ancient Benedictine monastery from the 11th century, which had been damaged in the earthquake of 1667. After the whirlwind of Schonbrunn, he was impressed by the silence of the thick aromatic forest. He decided to purchase the island and to turn it into his summer manor already during the first night that he spent in a monk's cell of the old monastery. He added on a belvedere, placing his initials everywhere, even on locks and keys, so as to emphasize his ownership of Lokrum. He had no idea that his actions only further provoked the curse that was directed against the personal ownership of Lokrum. Maximilian, as the owner of a paradise, enjoyed marking pathways throughout the forests of pine, bay, palm, cypress, aloja, oleander, orange, lemon, lilies and roses, all around the island and up to its peak, to the fortress "Fort Royal" built by Marmont in 1806, when his troops entered in Dubrovnik. He settled colonies of canaries, parrots and peacocks on the island. He planted vanilla and Indian fig trees. Here, he read verses by Heine out loud, while his Belgian wife, princess Charlotte, embroidered silk pillows. So close, yet so far from Europe and court scandals, they thought themselves to be the happiest married couple on earth. Looking on all of this intoxicating and moving beauty, Charlotte would write letters to her cousins and friends about the happiness that she and Maximilian enjoyed, after having spent hours playing the piano long into the night.

Then, duty, or most probably the Benedictine curse, took him to Mexico, where he was chosen emperor in 1864. After only three years, he was taken prisoner by the soldiers of the rebellious general Juarez. He was shot in Quereteri on June 19, 1867.

The island was then offered for sale to the Dubrovnik County. Legend says it would not buy it even for the trifle sum of 20,000 silver coins. Awhile later, it was bought by Dujmovic from Poljica, who originated from a family that had once received the title "conte de Polisa" from Venice. He also met with quick and complete financial disaster. The island was then purchased by the lawyer Dr. Jakopovic from Budapest, who was renowned for managing some of the business affairs of the emperor Francis Joseph I. However, shortly after having purchased the island, it was discovered that he had quite illegally assigned himself the title of Doctor of Legal Sciences, and that he was in fact - a barber! The investigation, which had caused a huge scandal in Viennese and Budapest societies, revealed that he adopted this title from a dead soldier following the revolution in 1848. His property was not confiscated, thanks to the Emperor's intervention, in an effort to lessen his own personal shame, but he was totally ruined morally. Thrown out of the society that he was accustomed to, he died shortly, unappeased and shamed.

His nephew, a young Hussar officer, inherited the island. Already on the first day of his arrival, a very strong wind overturned his boat between Dubrovnik and the island, and he drowned. The Habsburg's then reappeared as the owners again. Rudolf, the heir to the throne and the only son of the emperor Francis Joseph I, and the empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, took a liking to Lokrum. He invited his wife, Stefanie, to Lokrum. They stayed there for a time, adding exotic plants to the island's park. However, Rudolf soon fell in love with the beautiful mistress Maria Vecer. Together, in the Mayerling palace, they committed the sensational double suicide, which was never quite explained.

The empress Elisabeth (1837-1898), prompted by stories of the curse, decided that the royal family had to rid itself of this island. Before leaving for Corfu, she offered it to the Benedictines, in the hope that the curse would thereby be lifted. However, they remained faithful to the vow made by their brothers previously that they would never return to this island and turned down the offer from the royal court. The emperor's family, obsessed with the fear of losing yet another member, after having already lost two, gave its money to the Dubrovnik Dominicans for them to purchase the island as the new owners, under the condition that any of the Habsburg's could re-purchase the island when and if they so desired.

And so, there really was a femme fatale found to do this. At the auction that was announced for the sale of Lokrum, the bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer appeared with an offer of 30,000 forinths through an intermediary, Mihovil Pavlinovic. However, a telegram ordered the auction to be stopped. The assumption that "someone from the emperor's household wished to buy Lokrum" proved to be true. It was the granddaughter of Francis Joseph I, Princess Elizabeth Windischgratz, who was the daughter of Rudolph, the heir to the throne. She persuaded him to buy Lokrum, which he did on October 01, 1879. Five years later, on May 27, 1888, he registered the island under his name. Shortly after her grandmother, the empress Elisabeth, returned to Geneva from Corfu in 1898, she was killed by the Italian anarchist Lucceni, in a case of mistaken identity.

And... the end of the Habsburg's is well-known. The eldest son of the archduke Francis Ferdinand who was killed in Sarajevo on June 18, 1914, finished as an agronomist: The princess Windischgratz fired shots in a nightclub in Prague at some dancer who was the mistress of her husband, and was then disinherited by her royal parents. Finally, in 1918, after exactly 700 years, the Habsburg's lost their crown as well.

But, this is not the end. The above-mentioned constitutes only a part of the story that ties the Lokrum curse to historically renowned persons. However, superstition also surrounded Lokrum. It expanded the legend of the Lokrum curse with countless stories and tales that were colored by metaphysics to such an extent that the historically true events, which were further warped and twisted by superstition over the centuries, resulted in a certain inexplicableness known as - the mystery of Lokrum.

The superstition became so widespread that no one could be found to live on Lokrum for a very long time. The palace servants would not on their life venture into the palace gardens at night, for demons would cut off the heads of their lovers in a dark erotic rage, and would sew their hearts onto their dresses. Stylish aristocrats, seeking change, loved to mix even with their male servants, so that they very carefully kept up this legend. Under its protection, they could rendez-vous freely at night in the garden of love.

Fantasy wove a number of mysterious stories around the Lokrum caves as well, where the seas rage during storms. Its echo resounds as earth's harsh blow to the cover of a coffin. According to old documents in the Dubrovnik archives, criminals were cast into the sea from the steep Lokrum cliffs during the Middle Ages, otherwise famous for its cruel punishments. A well-known legend describes how the ship of the English king, Richard the Lion-hearted, was cast upon the Lokrum cliffs during a fierce storm. The legend says the Bosnian king, Tvrtko, also found sanctuary amid the walls of the Benedictine monastery. But, Lokrum knew how to be merciful towards the unfortunate as well. In 1859, the Austrian ship "Triton" exploded in the Lokrum canal. Only one survivor remained after the tragedy - a prisoner who was imprisoned in the bowels of the war ship for some crime. The whirlwind of the fierce explosion expelled the unfortunate wretch with remnants of the chain onto the shore, completely unharmed, while the rest of the crew perished. The Austrian Admirality entrusted the investigation of this catastrophe to a commander of the imperial fleet - Maximilian. He fell in love with Lokrum, purchased it and so started the wheel of fortune that led him to such a tragic end. During his stay on Lokrum with his wife Charlotte, the enamored Maximilian engraved a heart containing the first letters of his and Charlotte's name into a huge oak dating to the 14th century, located next to the palace. According to romantic legend, he thereby incurred hostility, as it was a historical oak, under which the Dubrovnik Senate met frequently. A storm appeared before he returned to the shores of Lokrum. Lightning struck this oak tree and the engraved monograms disappeared, leaving only the heart. This was considered as a sign of impending disaster.

After Maximilian's death, Charlotte visited Lokrum in the company of a count - her admirer. On approaching the island, she barely managed to avoid death, as her yacht overturned inexplicably, sinking quickly. Coral hunters saved her. According to legend, the same ones that cursed her while Maximilian was still alive. Legend has it that she experienced this misfortune because she was wearing a necklace made of the coral taken from the sea depths near Lokrum. According to tradition, the poor coral hunters had for centuries followed the perilous trade of their fathers in the hope that they would eventually come across a secret underwater cavern with a reef containing beautiful coral, and so become rich. After a long time, one day they really did find this reef, but it contained only one coral. Disappointed, they then cursed the aristocrat that would wear it.

The new owner of Lokrum became Rudolf, the heir to the throne. He spent his honeymoon here with his Stefanie. The story goes that Mount Srd shook when the young couple disembarked on the island shore. This small earthquake, it is said, was a forewarning of the misfortune to follow at Mayerling.

Queen Elisabeth, wife of the emperor Francis Joseph I, once visited the island. However, due to superstition, she refused to spend the night there. The archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife Sophia intended to spend the summer of 1914 on the island, but were prevented by an assassin's bullets in Sarajevo.

Today, Lokrum is a quiet excursion site for tourists, and all these legends have contributed perhaps to the steadfastness of the citizens of the ancient Republic in keeping true to their own motto - famous and free.

Source: "Dubrovnik - between history and legend"
Author: Dr. Marko Margaritoni

Apparently there is a ferry that leaves the island at 8pm - No-one has ever missed it LOL
Arty Farty shot in Dalmatia lol

Croatia was our last stop on the cruise...plain sailing back to Venice for another week in Italy! But that is another story and the next blog LOL

Stay tuned......

Meeg :)