Friday, September 17, 2010

Gozo what a great time

After 4 nights in Valletta I rented a scooter and within 15 minutes of getting the scooter and heading out on the highway the sky opened up and poured what seemed like buckets of water down on me. The sky was not the only way I was getting wet because the road was turning into a river and every vehicle that past me covered me in water. I stopped at a café and had a cup of coffee and tried to let the rain pass but as soon as I was back on the scooter it started again. This was the only day I was cold in Malta and I just decided to ride on. By the time I got to the Ferry to Gozo the rain had finally stopped.

Gozo is also part of Malta but is a smaller island east of the main island of Malta. I spent 3 nights in the town of Victoria and my time on Gozo was the highlight of my trip to Malta. I really enjoyed riding the scooter around the island. I think I went through every little town on the island at some point.

After finding the guest house where I had booked a room I headed over to Dwejra bay. What a wonderful spot with the Azure window which is a hole in a rock created by the sea. This is a picture of the window.

I went for a swim in the inland sea that is about 150 yards from the Azure window which is a bit of water connected to the sea by the blue hole. The blue hold is a hole through the rocks which connects this bit of water to the sea. I swam into the hole but did not have the guts to swim all the way through the hole.

Every little town in Malta seems to have a huge church and the church in Xewkija has a dome that is supposed to be larger than St Paul’s in London. The church stands out from all over the island. Along with this church I stopped and took pictures of each church in every town that I passed through even though a lot of the time I had no idea where I was at the time. This is the church in Xewkija from the road into Victoria.

After finding my way back to Victoria I had a bit to eat and then walked around the Citadella (Il Kastell). Victoria seems to be overrun with tourist on tours from the main island of Malta during the day but it seemed that I had the Citadella all to myself in the evening. I love finding a tourist site that I manage to have all to myself. It was just really enjoyable to wander around this stronghold with amazing view over the island only being interrupted by the church bell calling the locals to evening mass. This is a view of Victoria from a couple of days later on the island.

On my second day on Gozo my plans were to start the day at the temple of Ggantija that I have already covered in an earlier blog. I was headed up a hill on my scooter when it started making a mix of clunking noises so I pulled over and the scooter was pretty much dead. The motor would go but the belt that connected to the rear wheel seems to have broken. I called the company where I had rented the scooter from and within an hour there was a tow truck there to rescue me. While I was setting on the side of the road all I could think about was the times I had rented scooters in Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan from people that spoke little to no English. If my scooter would have broke down during the ”Ride in the clouds” I don’t know what I would have done. I had an interesting ride in a tow truck to the ferry with an older gentleman from Gozo that had spent a lot of his life living in Australia. He provide a bit of an insight to Gozo as well as Australia. I pushed my scooter onto and off of the ferry to the main island of Malta. I met another tow truck driver that was now living in Malta after a vacation from England. We waited a few minutes and my replacement scooter arrived and I was back on the scooter and was shortly thereafter at the temples of Ggantija.

After seeing the temples I ate Rabbit pasta in the town where the temples were located. Rabbit seems to be a main dish in Malta at least according the guide book and it is on all of the tourist menus. While eating I could not stop myself from thinking the Maltese would love living around where I work in the Netherlands where I see hundreds of Rabbits every evening when riding my bicycle on my way home from work.

After my pasta feast I rode to Ramla bay which according to the guide book is supposed to be the best beach on Malta. I have to admit I enjoyed the swim in the cool bay and the reddish colored sand is really attractive. The down side is the rocks at the edge of the water are not really pleasant on the feet. After Ramla Bay I found my way by hit and miss to San Blas bay. There is a really steep road down to this bay with a sign at one point that says no cars beyond this point. I decided this also meant scooter so parked and after first heading down the wrong fork in the road I found my way to San Blas Bay. This bay has a really small beach but the reddish sand is all the way into the water and I found this bay really pretty. It was late in the day so not many people were there but it was really enjoyable swimming in the bay looking at the island that surrounded me on 3 sides.

The only down side to this bay is while laying on my back floating I can see the road that I walked down and I had to climb back up to get to my scooter. I am glad I did not ride down this road because honestly I was not sure I could make the climb back out on all fours. I have seen motorbike hill climbs on TV that did not look so steep. I saw a few people walking up the road and one of the couples looked like they were in their late 50ies so I figured with by stopping every 10 yards I would manage to make the climb. I did notice a sign that said there were rides up the road via a 4 wheel drive but after my enjoyable swim I was determined to make the climb. After the first 50 yards I considered going back and begging the 4 wheel driver to save me or at least put me out of my misery but I pressed on. I managed to make it up this hill and back to my scooter with only one stop of a few days rest.

I got a bit lost on my ride back to Victoria but I think I managed to go through most of the towns on the south west side of the island and in the end managed to find my way back to my guest house.

On my last day on Gozo I visited the church in Xewkija and then went for a swim in Mgarr Ix-Xini Bay.

Afterwards I rode to Xlendi Bay and had lunch.

After lunch in Xlendia I took a break back in Victoria at the guest house and then I rode to Marsalforn and along the saltpans. It was late in the day and found the way the light hit these rocks in this picture very attractive and I think this was a fitting end to my time on Gozo.

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