I have literally just had the most amazing birthday ever. Joe took me to Gozo to celebrate and it was fantastic.
We finished work at 5pm and got an Ecab to Cirkewwa to catch the ferry. We got a taxi instead of the bus (58c!) as we have never done it before so weren’t sure of the process, how long the bus would take, the time of the last ferry etc. Got on the ferry and it took only about 20 minutes to get to Mgarr Harbour in Gozo. From the harbour we got a taxi again however if you know the area and the time of the last bus you can get a bus from Mgarr to Victoria for 47c and from there to wherever you are staying.
The ferry costs €4.95 and we didn’t know this but you pay nothing on the way there, then you have to buy a ticket before you can board on the way back and that price is for a return! Absolute bargain!
We were staying in San Antonio guest house in Xlendi which was adorable. The rooms were really pretty with stone walls and dim lighting. We were on the ground floor and had a little terrace outside which overlooked trees and fields. There was a nice sized swimming pool plus a little baby pool. The place was so quiet and peaceful with plenty of greenery and scenery and sun beds to relax on around the lovely little pool.
We went to a restaurant in Xlendi bay called The Boat House and it was amazing. Joe had a New Zealand style steak with chips and veg and it was literally melt in your mouth delicious and I had a pasta dish that was lovely. We got chatting to an older couple on the table beside us and must have been there hours! They lived on the Isle of White and were so friendly- they got us a round of shots (Sambuca for me, Amoretto for Joe) which the restaurant gave us on the house! Then when they realised we were celebrating my birthday they bought us another shot each and a slice of cake with a little candle. Was such a lovely night.
On our walk back from the restaurant a thunder and lightning storm started. It had been on the cards with the ominous looking clouds but it was spectacular when it finally hit! We were able to sit on some benches by the bay and watch it for ages before the rain came. The sky was lighting up dark blues and purples and violets, with huge glowing forks piercing the skyline. Set against a backdrop of mountains and clouds it was so dramatic. Once it started pouring with rain we ran to our apartment and watched it for a while more on the shelter of our terrace.
The storm must have been what was needed as the weather couldn’t have been nicer the next day. It was blazing hot but without the stifling humidity of the previous few days, there was a nice wee breeze and not a cloud in the sky. We bought a massive rubber ring and a lilo and played around on Xlendi bay. There isn’t anything of a beach really but there’s a pavement walkway where you can lay or leave your things and steps all along the rocks for getting in and out of the (deep) water.
For breakfast and lunch we found a snack bar called Buddys, the owners were Welsh but living in Gozo and they did the best fry up we’ve had since moving to Malta and they couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful. They told us loads of great places to go in Gozo and info on the buses and general life on the island. We went for breakfast and lunch on Saturday and again for breakfast on Sunday we loved it so much!
Xlendi is lovely but there isn’t a great deal going on so in the evening, so on Saturday we got a bus to Marsalforn which is another touristy bit by a bay but a bit bigger and more lively. We really wanted a cocktail but we walked the length of the strand and only saw one place, Bar Ritz, advertising them. It was pretty much just some green saloon doors held open and looked so dark inside I was very dubious! Outside there were plastic tables and chairs all empty. Inside was dingy and painted black with only two tables. Only one of which was occupied and that was by about 5 Gozitan youths playing draughts!! I kid you not!
The bar area was tiny and jam-packed and the barman seemed a little in his own world. Still, we gave it a go. We asked if he did cocktails and he nodded. Then, instead of giving us a menu he then made me stare into his eyes for about 20 secs and then busied himself making a cocktail just off the top of his head! I’ve never seen so many different types of alcohol in one bar and in one cocktail, mixed with some fresh melon and peach and voila! It was delicious! He did the same thing for Joe and they were both lovely. (Joe’s had red bull in so I may have stolen that one!) I can’t remember all the crazy things he put in except this one. In Joe’s he got out a bottle of vodka from the freezer- it came out with all steam coming off it and had a black label with a skull and cross-bones and called ‘Black Death Vodka’. Looked amazing and must have been pretty special as he only put the smallest drop in!
It was so nice as it looked like a dingy mens pub from the outside but couldn’t have been more quaint or enjoyable!
To eat we found a posh looking restaurant by the harbour. Joe had (another!) steak, this time with incredible roast potatoes and I had clams with spaghetti in a garlic and white wine sauce and both meals were the best. We got two usually expensive and utterly delicious meals plus a really nice bottle of rose for €29!
Got a taxi back to the apartment, stripped to our underwear and went swimming in the pitch black! It was so much fun and SO cold! We would have stayed swimming for longer but there was a mental bat that kept dive bombing into the pool and missing our heads by inches and I didn’t much fancy a bat in the face! Was such a good giggle though, I love silly, crazy little random acts like that!
The last day :( super sad to know we were going home! But when home is only 20 minutes on the ferry and just as exotic you can’t get too depressed! We had to check out of the room by noon but you could stay around the pool all day, so we brought our bags out and sunbathed and swam til about 3 then got the bus to the ferry and went home.
All in all I think Gozo is beautiful. It’s a lot greener than Malta, trees and bushes and shrubs everywhere. All the buildings are really quaint and intricate and pretty. It looks a lot like I imagine traditional old streets in Italy to look. I find the Maltese locals friendlier (mainly) than in the UK but in Gozo they are all your best friend! Everyone wants to help and talk and it’s such a nice relaxed atmosphere. If you have ever been to Mdina in Malta, then you’ll understand- the whole of Gozo reminded me of Mdina. Traditional, like stepping back in time, pretty and magical.