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Go Go Gozo!

MALTA | Sunday, 20 January 2008 | Views [1591] | Comments [6]

So where do Maltese people go for their holidays? Their sister island Gozo of course. Gozo is like a smaller, slower, less populated Malta with so much spectacular scenery packed into a small space. So I got picked up from my hotel and taken to the ferry terminal in the north of Malta. The ferries are big enough to hold plenty of cars and people alike, and they run the 25 minute trip quite regularly. It was a fine sunny morning and the seas were calm, which is a good thing 'cos by now you know how much of a sailor I am, hehe.

We broke up into groups, this time with some poms and Italians, and were greeted by our tour guide, the lovely Fabrizia, who ran through our itinerary for the day. The first stop was another megalithic temple called the Ggantija Temple (because they thought it was built by giants) said to be the oldest free standing structure in the world pre-dating the (man-made) pyramids in Eqypt. Which is quite impressive considering they only had limestone, some obsidian fom Sicily and animal bones to build it. It wasn't quite as big as the temple I saw yesterday, but fabulous Fabi (as I called her) was good in explaining the siginficance of the spring fertility rites which governed these ancient societies. If I had a compass with me I would have checked its alignment too , but oh well.

Then we got to sample some Gozitan goat cheese and wine, and I picked up soem pomegranate liqueur and Gozitan noughart - yummo :) except the liqueuer was a bit like cough medicine only sweeter, heh. Lunch was at a beautiful place called Xlendi Bay which is hidden between massive sheer-faced limestone cliffs, and the old fishing village come 'resort' caters for the growing numbers of holiday makers with heaps of the good stuff - cafes, restaurants, summer activities and spectacular scenery. There was an old path along a ridge in the cliff face built for the nuns from the local church so they could have their own private cave to swim in to save them the embarrassment of swimming with the locals :).

We moved back through Victoria (aka Rabat) which is Gozo's main town to the other side of these cliffs to a place called Dwejra which is known for two things - a limstone outcrop called Fungus Rock where the old Knights used to collect a certain species of mushroom used as an aphrodesiac (of course its off-limits now! but I bet the heritage people are having a raving good time :P), and the inland sea, which is really just a lagoon fed by the sea through a carved out tunnel in the limestone cliff. We got to take a 15 minute boat ride through this tunnel which isnt much wider than the boat, and look around the headland and some other caverns. Great fun :)

Our last stop was in Victoria itself at a place called The Citadel which was built by the Knights of St John back in the 17th century. It combines an old Basilica with a small prison - funny that hey? hehe. So if the Knights broke their vow of chasitity after a visit to Fungus Rock, they'd end up in the lock-up for some time! Even the Grand Master Jean le Vallete (who the Maltese capital is named after) spent a few months in the prison! But the Citadel sits in the centre of Gozo ontop a high hill so it has great views of the whole island. There was also a smaller Basilica (for St George) nearby which had free entry so Fabi encouraged us to go see that instead :). It was quite respendent and the ceiling stonework as well as the inner sanctums gleamed in gold!

So endeth this tour and the rest of the time was spent getting back to the ferry and catching a ride back to the main island and our respective hotels. After some recuperating time, I went to a restaurant called Tex Mex and couldn't belive the size of the meals they served - twice as large as any I've had on my whole trip! So I filled up to bursting point on more ravioli and apple crumble, and a small bottle of wine, haha :)

Thank goodness its Sunday tomorrow, a day of rest! So I don't plan on doing too much except enjoying the local scene and maybe walk down to Valetta. But who knows, each day brings new surprises :)

Ciao.

Tags: Sightseeing

Comments

1

cooolo mattso....sounds like a beautiful place to be this time of the year and the sunny weather must be a nice change from all the grey drizzle..take care mon.

  Chris Jan 20, 2008 11:37 AM

2

just a short comment matty on Danka's art exhibition at the Moores building in Fremantle...open 9-5 everyday until next sunday...hint hint to u readers..lol......all went well on the friday eve..i was barman and had a ball..one for u..2 for me..lol..nah..but i did get a bit happy, hence the hangover...eech..red wine hangover..lol..anyway..danka has sold a few pieces which is great..more to sell hopefully in the next week....take care mon

  Chris Jan 20, 2008 9:30 PM

3

Howdy again mate. Sounds like the Island of Malta is a very happy place for you. Must have something to do with not only the beauty of the place, but your heritage :)

Great to hear you've encountered some good weather also. Rain, grey days and snow are good, in small doses i guess, but sunshine on holidays makes everything better i recon. All the best and it's a pleasure reading about your experiences. Keep'em coming :)

s.

  Steve Watson Jan 21, 2008 11:23 AM

4

Hey Matt! Malta sounds awesome -- I'd like to place an order for pomegranate liqueur and Gozitan nougat please ;-)

  laurina Jan 21, 2008 7:33 PM

5

G'day Matt!
Enjoying reading your journal and the pix, you sure are having a great journey with lotsa experiences. keep the entries coming. cheers Burke

  Burke Jan 22, 2008 12:45 AM

6

Woo hoo! Malta sounds beautiful! We all miss you heaps, but so glad you're having an ace time!! Take care, Mattso!!

  Kate Jan 22, 2008 12:59 PM

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