Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The Island of Gozo, Malta November 2, 2022

It was a long day. I was up early looking through tour brochures and saw a tour that appealed to me but it was only available on Wednesdays. I made arrangements to go and was picked up in Sliema, a neighbouring, richer area.  Every town/area runs into the next one and I think in the near future they will have to make some sort of ruling about cars. There are too many and traffic is horrendous. I can’t imagine parking.  While waiting to be picked up, I had coffee in a British tea house.  The ceiling-


 A lot of ferries and tour boats leave from Sliema-



It took forever to get to the other side of the island. Along the way –

There are all sorts of little bays-




A public beach-

Finally some free space –

Eventually we made it to the Ċirkewwa Ferry Terminal after 25 km of weaving and traffic.  There’s so much building going on I counted 10 cranes in one small area –

The boat was big and comfortable and it took 25 minutes to get Gozo.  The sinks in the bathrooms were cool as they were all automatic-

Approaching Gozo, an island 14 by 7 km with a population of 45,000-


The port town of Mgarr-

The front of the ferry lifted up so the cars could drive out –

We were a big group and the coach was pretty much full. The guide spoke English and Russian and at first I couldn’t tell which was which but in the new coach on Gozo, the speakers were very clear. I met people from Sweden, Italy, the UK, and Nashville but there were many more nationalities on the bus. 

Out first stop was Ggantija, a temple from the Neolithic (later part of the Stone Age) era.  It is older than the pyramids of Egypt meaning it’s more than 5500 years old, and older than Stonehenge.  Of course it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They think it was a ceremonial site for a fertility rite as there were many figurines and statues found associated with that cult. It was covered in dirt and found when farmers started digging to plant olive trees. That’s a similar story to the terra-cotta warriors in Xian, China. To me it was just another pile of rocks-






Archaeologists think these holes were used to hold a rod with an animal skin on it as a door.  Seems strange to me-


Altars-



Red ochre plaster was found so they think the walls were probably covered with it. They also found horns and broken pottery shards similar to what they have found in Sicily so they believe it was Sicilians who came by boat and were the first people to live on Gozo.

The land is terraced and vegetables are grown year round-



It’s prickly pear season-


There were swarms of butterflies around this bush-


This looks like an artificial Christmas tree to me-

Our next stop was a craft shop: mermaids for Andi-


Lace tatting-


Prickly pear and carob liqueur-

Needless to say, I didn’t buy any tacky souvenir. My backpack is already heavy enough.

We carried on to Marsalforn to see salt pools.  The only other time I’ve seen this is in Peru and I find them fascinating –


Erosion-










Next was Dwejra Bay where there used to be a stone arch jutting into the ocean-

                                                              (https://1001beach.com/en/europe/malta/gozo/dwejra_bay)

but in 2017 it collapsed.  I can imagine the locals were devastated.  Scenes from the Game of Thrones and By the Sea starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were shot here.  We went on a boat ride through the caves.  Can you see the face?





The water is very blue and it’s a great place to dive –







In the distance is Fungus Rock. A green moss/plant grows on top and it used to be used for herbal medicine but now it is a protected site and no one can go up there –

Our last stop was the city of Victoria. Until 1637, Gozitans, had to by law, spend the night in the Citadel. Later, during the Arab period, the town was called Rabat but since the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, it’s been known as Victoria-









The Cathedral of the Assumption-



Very nice mosaic tomb coverings on the floor-


Views of the countryside-


We had lupper in Victoria and then headed for home in heavy traffic. We missed the ferry we were supposed to take but eventually got back to Malta and then home. It was a long but enjoyable day. I’m not sure what I’ll do tomorrow but rain is forecast for Saturday so I need to get my touring done! I am enjoying the sun, the sightseeing and the people I meet along the way.

P.S.





Missing these little people!








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