Our main holiday this year…Gozo – Malta’s sister island
Day 1 – Friday
A very early start! Up at 4am and at Manchester airport by 5.30am. Opted for speedy boarding with Easyjet, so no need to have got there so early really, as there was a separate queue. We got rid of the luggage and had our boarding cards in our hands by 5.45. One and three quarter hours to kill!
A nasty cup of tea and a pastry later…still one and a half hours to kill!!
Managed to kill it…boarded plane only to be told due to air traffic strikes we had to sit on the plane for almost an hour until they were clear to go.
A good flight, the cloud giving way to blue skies as we headed south. Flew over Gozo, Comino, and most of Malta. Not many open spaces in Malta. Very high population density, apparently.
Very hot as we stepped off the plane! A bit of a heatwave, according to the taxi driver who was waiting for us. Thank goodness for air conditioning in cars! Taxi driver very friendly, but a mad driver. We had been warned about the Maltese drivers beforehand and were advised to give way to anything bigger than you, even if it’s your right of way!
Had to wait about 30 mins for the ferry as we had just missed one. The crossing took about 15 mins and we went past Comino’s blue lagoon, which we will visit later in the week
Eventually arrived at villa Casa Patricia in Xaghra about 3pm to find our hire car waiting for us. Key to car under the mat, key to villa under a stone.
Villa very nice.
Not so impressed with the car though, a Kia Mentor. Should have been called a Dentor it was that old and battered. Worst of all…no fuel! First stop will have to be a petrol station
But that can wait. Straight into the pool to cool down – a good sized one 8 x 5 metres
After unpacking we strolled around for a bit but couldn’t find Xaghra square. Got some provisions from a local supermarket, including salmon ravioli, which we had for dinner. Local wine very cheap…E1.33 per bottle! Tastes ok, too.
The bells, the bells! Church bells every fifteen minutes…we like it, it’s quaint.
Found some books in the villa, including “The Ancient” by Muriel Gray, which D has decided to read
A late night swim in the pool.
Day 2 – Saturday
Up early, 40 lengths of the pool for D.
First jobs of the day…find Xaghra square and a petrol station. Managed to do both at the same time. Walked to the square and noticed a petrol station on the way. Returned later with the car. First impressions of Gozo roads…very bumpy and hardly any road signs. No wonder the car we got wasn’t new!
Got more provisions. More cheap wine and some bottles of the local beer…Cisk. Oh, and some food too!
Drove to Marsalforn in the evening. A lot livelier than Xaghra, lots of sea front restaurants. Very windy and a high tide, with waves crashing over the sea wall. Some diners got quite wet!
But not us. We chose a balcony overlooking the bay. Seafood spaghetti for D, a technically difficult dinner to eat with lots of shells to contend with.
Got lost on the way back.
All in all, a quiet day.
Day 3 – Sunday
Then drove to Ramla Bay.
Sat on the beach for a while, then had a couple of beers and a sandwich in Rose’s Bar and Restaurant.
Too hot to do anything in the afternoon, so we just lounged around the pool.
…great fun to watch, but they run away as soon as you move towards them. Never did manage to catch one.
Then dinner in the Oleander Bar, Xaghra. Rabbit for D. Nice, but lots of little bones. Lots of tiny flies too, had to keep fishing them out of our wine glasses!
Day 4 - Monday
Calypso’s Cave. Where Atlas’s daughter, Calypso, entertained Ulysses according to Homer’s Odyssey. A nice view of Ramla Bay and the surrounding area, but the cave itself was very small and spoilt somewhat by scaffolding holding the roof up!
Walked down the hill towards Ramla Bay and found a nice, secluded beach. Not so easy getting back up the hill, though.
A day of sightseeing, so off to see the Ggantija temples in Xaghra. Older than the pyramids
Not sure they will be around much longer, though!
On returning to the car, two Italian ladies approached us and asked how far to Calypso’s cave. Apparently they were on a sightseeing tour and their bus had left without them. They said ‘oh well we’ll just wait here for 45 minutes’ Who could say no to two Italian ladies in distress! Not D! We still hadn’t found our bearings, and all the streets looked the same so it took a bit longer than it should have done but they made it just in time!
Lunch in the villa, then off to the far end of the island, to see the Azure Window and Fungus Rock.
No pic to prove it, but we did stand on the top bit, despite danger signs which nobody seemed to be taking any notice of.
Crocodile Rock – nothing to do with Elton John though!
No food in the area, so a quick diversion to Marsalforn on the way back. D fancied the duck ravioli. It was a bit late arriving so they gave us some bruschetta piled with tomatoes to keep us quiet. That, as well as the usual free basket of bread ensured we nearly burst once we had finished everything!
Day 5 – Tuesday
No 40 lengths today.
Up early to get a ferry to Comino. Got to the island about 11ish and the blue lagoon was already very busy. Very small beach area, but lovely blue water. This is where the Milk Tray Man dived off the cliffs in the 80s!
Too crowded for us, though, so we walked to the other side of the island, to The Comino Hotel. Luckily it was open to non residents, so we had lunch and a drink. Nice place to stay for a couple of nights.
Nearly missed the boat back as they sent a different named one! Jumped on just as it was about to pull away.
Got back to car, which had been parked in direct sunlight. Steering wheel too hot to touch…metal framed glasses the same!
Bought a lilo on Comino. Probably the only people not to use it in the lagoon! We needed it for the villa really
A night in tonight. Managed to find a steak and mushroom pie in the local supermarket. Washed down with more beer
Day 6 – Wednesday
A visit to the capital, Victoria aka Rabat, today, to see the citadel. Didn’t go in the cathedral but strolled around the grounds.
D accosted by a woman in the market and had to buy a panama hat to get away! No way was she going to take no for an answer! D minus 10 Euros, but won’t get a burnt head!
Lunch in the town centre. Hopleaf v Cisk? D has been drinking Cisk all week but today he tried the other local beer, Hopleaf. Much nicer.
Back at the villa, a surprise visit from the pool cleaner at 4pm. Lucky we weren’t in it!
Drove to the Azure Window again in the evening. Another nice sunset.
Day 7 – Thursday
Not a good start to the day, a bit of tiff, but soon made up! It ended well, though, with a visit to Xlendi. Similar to Marsalforn, but a bit quieter with a nice promenade.
Oh dear, so obviously English…
Best meal of the week (and 15 euros for 3 courses!) outside St Patrick's Hotel overlooking the bay. then back to the villa to pack.
Day 8 – Friday
Picked up by taxi driver at 8am and arrived at the airport early. Unusually for us, we still had money left, so blew it on lots of souvenir chocolate and a very odd looking sausage roll! Flight home uneventful, with the clouds thickening as we approached jolly old England.
Rain in Manchester.
Oh well, back to reality!