Last minute deal
As I look out of the window at the Devon drizzle on this July afternoon, I wish I could go back to last week when the temperatures were soaring and the sea was very, very blue.
I wasn’t at home of course. A last minute deal to Malta took us to Luqa airport and a hire car to Marsaxlokk on the south-east corner of the island. It was very picturesque and we had a nice lunch but it was not for us .
We headed north and took a look a St Paul’s Bay but the tourist spots on Malta seem built up and crowded and the traffic is crazy. The Maltese drive very fast and with some impatience. We were after some peace and quiet so we took the ferry from Cirkewwa and left Malta behind.
Twenty-five minutes later and we pulled alongside the harbour in Mgarr . Time to seek out some accommodation. Hardly any traffic here and some large hotels , smaller guest houses and plenty of places to rent for a long or short stay.
Further investigation found us a lovely hotel in Xaghra , The Corncopia **** .
We were attracted by its pretty frontage and little shady garden , two pools(albeit rather small ) and spacious rooms. We usually amble around and move hotels but this time the friendly staff and high standards kept us all week. Xaghra also proved to be a good base from which to explore.
Victoria is the capital and it is quite busy here. Parking rules seem a bit complicated and we managed to get a parking ticket as we visited the Citadel. Locals later explained that we should have had a time clock in our car and put this on the dash board …a bit too late for us though. If you like markets and shopping ,Victoria has both . But don’t miss the craft village just outside for lace and metalwork.
Churches and architecture
Gozo has some 50 churches and they are all wonderfully ornate and decorated. The island’s building material is a lovely creamy yellow limestone and the houses are also decorated with carved stone balconies .The family name is often carved above the doorway and you can see Italian , British and also Many American families have property here.
Things to see and do
Gozo is very small only about 4 miles by 9 miles, so it’s possible to see many things in one day. We visited the megalithic temple at Ggantija , the Azure Window at Qawra and the best beach on the island at Ramla Bay.
In June and July the villages of Gozo take turns to host a festival , religious in origin , when they
really all come out and socialise and it’s a treat for visitors too. We went to the festival of St Peter and St Paul in Nadur and enjoyed music,local food,dancing and a spectacular firework display.
Throughout our stay we heard booming cannon fire which heralded another festival somewhere else on the island.
There are plenty of diving and snorkelling bays, horse-riding and boat trips to Comino (an even smaller island ) as well as Malta itself. The coastal scenery is breath-taking.
The islanders grow nearly all their own food and there are specialities like rabbit stew, peppered goats’ cheese and a deliciously moist lemon cake. All served in a genuinely friendly manner with plenty of conversation thrown in. Nearly everyone speaks English (historical left over, along with the red telephone boxes)
Our flight from Exeter with Air Malta was a little over 3 hours . The ferry to Gozo takes 25 minutes . You’ll need a car (or a hired bicycle)as there are buses but they seemed few and far between.