Every now and then I get this longing for peaceful nature, a wish to get away from Malta, to be somewhere far away from all the noise and dust.
“Go to Gozo”
How many times have I heard this by locals and permanent residents! And still it took me eight full months to finally visit this neighbour island that is located only 6 kilometres from Malta. There was always something that stopped me from going: bad weather, being tired, other activities. You know, all the things called excuses.
It was last weekend when I finally decided to take the bull by its horns and go. The bus 222 took me from Sliema to Cirgewwa where the Gozo ferries are located. The ferry ride took half an hour or so, and went quickly while sitting on the deck and admiring the scenery. There on the deck it finally hit me; the feeling so familiar and strange at the same time, like an old friend who finally came for a visit after being years away. There was a slight feeling of upcoming adventures in the air, the combination of joy and anticipation because you are soon going to explore something unknown. I really should travel more!
From Gozo harbour I headed to Victoria, the tiny capital of the island. I wandered on the narrow streets, had peaks into several ice-cream shops and got lost in the Medieval fortress city of Citadel. I stepped in from giant Citadel gates and was greeted by a large cathedral and sounds of the church bells. I walked around the once so vibrant city that still has two families living behind the city walls. I climbed to the lookout point and admired the 360 degree view over the whole island. From there I could finally comprehend how green Gozo was. I could saw just tiny villages and between them vaste areas of green grass and bushes. The sea continued to the horizon all the way to the bigger island of Malta, and beyond that. I found what I came to look for.
While the setting sun was turning buildings into orange-yellow, I decided to head to another village for the night. After a short bus ride I arrived in Xlendi, a small former fishing village by the coast. I walked through the row of restaurants and continued my way along the shore. I climbed up, up, and even higher up until there was nothing more than a huge drop from the cliffs down to the sea. At this time the sun had already set, and around me was that magical moment of blue that arrives just before it gets dark. I sat on a bench while the quietness was surrounding me. There I was, almost at the edge of the world. There were no other people, no traffic. Just me, the sea and the glimpses of the town lights.
One should travel for wonderful moments like these. For those moments when the ordinary turns into unreal and magical. For those blinks of an eye that have the whole eternity hidden in them. One should travel to see wonders.
So all I can say: ”Go to Gozo”.