Go to Gozo
Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
129Trip End Ongoing
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Gozo is one third of the size of Malta - but for both me and John it oozes 3 times more charm and character - we loved it there. Today has made me realise what has been missing from our time in Malta - no real opportunity to get down to the sea, to see wild and natural things - nature - that's what's missing from what we have seen so far. There are a couple of places to get down to the sea on Malta, but everything is so built up, I don't think there is an inch of the east coast where you can't see houses - ruined or otherwise - or hotels or a road and on the west side of the island the coast is pretty much impenetrable. Gozo is different to that - pretty much from the instant you rise out of Mgarr - the ferry entry point - there are green farming terraces and open spaces. Within minutes of being there I felt excited inside, wondering what we would find here.
It's not long before we see the kind of scenery that I was expecting on Malta - dramatic cliffs falling into the sea, with small, approachable bays set back from the Mediterranean blue waters. Our first stop of the day was in Xlendi, a small fishing village - turned holiday spot for Maltese people - there were a few small hotels there, but everything was very low key. Here we kicked back on the seafront with a hot chocolate each - basking in the morning sun like lizards, listening to the waves like a lullaby lapping the shoreline beside us.
From there we drove up the west coast and down to Dwerja Bay where we find the most striking scenery we've seen since we've been here - interesting rock formations, waves pounding against the cliffs. The landscape comes easy on the eye, honeycomb cliffs, contrasting with deep blue sea and beautiful flowering heathers on the clifftops. We took a walk around the headland and then climbed out onto a rock protruding into the sea, time to take in a deep breath, relax and embrace the surroundings. We sat in silence and I became hypnotised watching as two different currents entwined in a swirl in the sea and came crashing up against the rock we sat on. I don't really know where time goes in these circumstances; an hour seems like 5 minutes as time care freely meanders past.
We end up staying here for a good number of hours, scrabbling around on the rocks, I saw a green lizard and John saw a black snake, which seemed just as shocked to see John as John was to see it and it zipped off under a rock quick as lightening. During the time we were there a coach party turned up and we thought our peace was going to be destroyed, but it seemed that all they wanted to do was hop off the coach, grab a quick photo of the azure window and then jump back on the coach - not one of them saw fit to come over and see the beautiful bay and waterfall, nor attempt to come anywhere further than a few feet from their coach. This was obviously cool for me and John, but I do live in constant amazement at how little interest people seem to have for things. The azure window is a natural formation where the sea has worn an arch through the cliffs forming a 'window'. The 'window' is said to be very fragile and it won't be many years before the arch collapses into the sea.
Eventually we got hungry, so we decided to go in search of food - so we make our way over to the coastal resort of Marsalforn - this is Gozos largest resort, although its still pretty low key - anyone seeking nightlife here would be disappointed and as its out of season at the moment a number of the restaurant were closed. We manage to find one open, harbour side, and I wonder if they will let us in as it's now 2.30 and they were closing at 3pm. The man says yes to food and reels off a long list of fresh fish for John to choose from. Once again the food was delicious and the man stays open for us to take our time and enjoy.
We head round the coast to Qbajjar where we take a wander along to see the salt pans. The salt pans were carved out of the rock a couple of hundred years ago, but the locals still use them today to harvest sea salt left in them when the sea evaporates in the chambers
After this we drive round the countryside and pull in at Ramla Bay to see its famous red sand before returning to the port in time to catch the ferry back to Malta - we arrive and ten minutes later we board the ferry to return.
Today was absolutely the best day of this trip so far, I think if we'd got over earlier in the week, we'd have spent a second day over on Gozo, but as it is, tomorrow is our last full day and there are one or two things left here that we'd like to see.