Gozo & Malta - Facts and Information

Day by Day 1: Gozo 1

Our first four days in Gozo

Saturday May12th
Had followed our usual practice of stopping previous night at Premier Inn on Bath Road and then leaving car next door at Purple Parking Business (the old Quality Parking) which is right next to LHR but with off-airport charges. Smooth check in, uneventful flight, fast through Malta formalities. Transfer waiting for us and four others, just made ferry and had pleasant crossing to Gozo standing in sun on deck chatting. After arrival at hotel went for walk around Ta' Cenc headland on good tracks through pleasant garrigue country with stretches of limestone pavement in places. First of what were to be excellent (and dangerously large) dinners. Local agent had arranged briefing mid-morning Sunday which was no good for us as we wanted to be out so phoned to rearrange it for first thing.

Sunday May 13th
Early breakfast in courtyard outside dining room accompanied by ever-hopeful hotel cats. Breakfast was very good buffet with wide range of food (although sometimes a bit slow to be fully set out if you wanted an early start). Took hotel courtesy transport into Victoria at 0930 and arranged return at 1545. (Visitors should note that service only operates if notice is given). Walked up into Citadel to find Cathedral closed to visitors all day. Wandered streets and admired excellent views from ramparts. Went to Archæology Museum (bought monthly heritage site pass for €22 each, good value).  Interesting displays. Next to Folklore Museum, reasonable displays of old tools, implements etc but main interest is building which is rambling mediæval house. Went to Prison Museum where you can go into cells and see where prisoners scratched carvings in soft stone walls, interesting chat with custodian. Quick sandwich at cafe on terrace overlooking Rabat to which we then descended. St George's Basilica was starting a service so didn't get inside. Wandered round fascinating old streets and alleys near St George's. Back to hotel for welcome cup of tea on terrace outside room.

Monday May 14th
Got keys to car at reception (garage and hotel in same company) and went out to find battered Daewoo Lanos waiting for us. Quite roomy but not convinced by brakes. Got lost in Xewkija but ended up by church which was on list to visit so did it then. Place is huge, not that attractive but remains of old church are nice. Went up in lift for view from base of dome. Next to Ggantija where the temples are the oldest known free-standing structure in the world. Interesting site and not too busy between coach tour parties. Shop has good range of books. Walked up into Xaghra to main square and then to Ta' Kola windmill, interesting but partly closed during restoration. Down to Ramla Bay, good expanse of red beach with not too many people around. Explored cliff path to east for a way. Drove to Nadur, large settlement with range of shops. Parish church shut but then discovered side door which was open, inside very impressive. Got lost on way out of Nadur and ended up by Kenuna Tower on fantastically clear evening with superb views to Comino and Malta.

Tuesday May 15th
Back to Victoria (free parking in Gozo Garage as car was theirs). Tried to get into St George's again but service on. Tourist Information said there was a Mass every hour, try about half-past which we did. Very impressive interior.Then up to Citadel for Cathedral which has a somewhat understated interior by Gozitian standards but is nonetheless impressive. Gave up on Cathedral Museum which showed no sign of life (and is said to be underwhelming). Drove to Xlendi. Real Tourist Central with lots of cars and buses, drove through and round to east and parked at end of road where it turns into a track over the hills. Nice, easy walk to headland with its tower and salt pans and would have been worth going further along cliffs if we'd had more time. Heading back called in at Sannat, not a lot to offer and large church very shut. Nice drive down to Mgarr ix-Xini (road very narrow in places) with good views across valley to Sannat, but cove at end a bit boring and fairly busy. Back to hotel for much needed cuppa then onto headland to find dolmens which were not over impressive but made a pleasant walk with good views on a beautiful evening.

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