February 22, 2019 – Balzan (Gozo day)

Full day today. Caught the 9:15 bus from the stop that is about an 8 minute walk from the house. It was a one hour ride to the ferry at the northern tip of the island. The ferry trip was 25 minutes. It’s was a sunny day, high 15C but quite windy so good thing we were well layered. We bought hop on hop off tickets on the ferry and made sure we got off right away to get inside seats on the tour bus. It would have been very cool to sit on the open top, we preferred warmth to upper deck views.

Caroline & Bob on the ferry to Gozo

We got off at Victoria, the capital city of Gozo, with a sort of plan to look at the sites, have lunch, and then continue on the bus. The Citadel ended up being our only stop in Victoria. Some of the ruins of old houses inside the Citadel, date back to the 1200s. The Knights reinforced the walls in the 1500s. We decided not to pay to see the cathedral. Once you’ve seen St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta it’s impossible to top. We do go into “free” churches. ?.

View from Citadel ramparts
Very old house remains inside the Castile
Lace making, the old traditional way, there was a video of how the spools were used, amazing

After walking around and visiting a museum we left to look for lunch but decided that in the interest of time and the bus schedule, we’d grab something we could eat while waiting for the bus and continued onto Dwejra, the most westerly point of Gozo. The sea was beautiful, Bob figured that based on the whitecaps the wind was blowing at least 15 knots. We wondered a bit on the cliffs and visited the inland sea.

Caroline in the wind

The narration on the bus said fishermen would take people out on their boats through the opening in the cliff to the caves and open water. We saw no evidence of this, I suspect they would get very few takers in those winds and it might also be too early in the tourist season.

The inland sea at Dwejra

Time was starting to run out a bit so the final stop we made was the Ggantija Temples which date from 3500-3000 BC, before Stonehenge and the Pyramids. It was fabulous, we all loved it. The site is really well documented and has an excellent museum. Amazing to imagine how the people who built this temple moved the huge rocks as they were not from the area. Same questions as were/are asked about how Stonehenge was built.

Interior of Ta’ Pinu Bascilica
Interior of one the rooms at Ggantija Temple
Exterior of Ggantija Temple

The bus was pretty full when it arrived and there were a lot of us waiting to get on so we ended up sitting on the outside upper deck. The views were great but it was COLD up there in the wind. I did get a good video at one point when the bus was coming down a steep hill. We had a very short wait for the ferry, the buses are timed to the ferry schedule and got lucky at the bus stop. We managed snag seats, it would have been a long stand although a lot of people did get off in the first 15 minutes to various hotels around the bays. We got off the bus at 7pm, dinner was at the ‘club’ again, great pizza and excellent Gavi for Bob and me, some good Chianti for Caroline. I guess Malta has lots of good Italian wines due to its proximity to Italy.

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