I now explore Gozo before I head back to Malta.
In Maltese terms, it is a fairly long drive up to the ferry; 28 kilometres. It is pitch dark when I leave the hotel, but the sun raise, while I wait a few minutes for the ferry. I had not expected many cars, but here are a lot! But the ferry keep swallowing them, and soon after, we set of on the short journey.
It is the perfect sunny day I had hoped for, and I start with the great views over the harbour. Here are quite some settlement, but the nature - or farmland soon takes over. I head back into Victoria to see the Il-Kastell. It is on a ridge and a rather impressive set of buildings. One it the cathedral; l-Katidral ta' Għawdex, some form the folklore museum and the views from here are great. The limestone mountains almost look like table-mountains, surrounded by green fields.
I see the cathedral before it officially opens, and only an old priest is prowling around in the shadows. It seems like Santa is buried here! Then I find the little Pjazza Indenpendence, hidden under some trees in the middle of the little town. Here are some real nice houses and another church, but the low sun and narrow streets don't work for me.
A little cafe offers warm croissants with chocolate, and who can deny? A few shops are for tourists, most for the locals. I do several loops around the centre of town, and see both the fancy houses and the neglected ones. When I have seen houses enough for now, I find a narrow, partly closed road along the sea and cliffs, but eventually, I make it.
I stop at the little village I was recommended; Ix-Xledi, and it sure is pretty. It is located in a deep gorge with the sea in, and here are fishing-nets in the streets. A little trail leads up the cliffs, and they are teaming with lizards, and I think here are two sub-species. One with green back, one with speckled. Most of the plants are familiar, but they look so pretty on the else so barren cliffs.
Here are more roads along the cliffs, but they are not all connected. At one point, when I forced inland a bit, I see the sign for Ta' Dbie´gi Craft Village - and why not? I would like a souvenir from the island, and it should be something handmade or natural. Not much is happening here, but I find some glassworkers and get a still-warm little ladybird in glass.
My next sight is Dwejra with its views over Dwejra Point and Bay and the Inland Sea. Here are actually some tourists - and not that much to see. Here are quite some fossils at some of the rocks and great sea views, but the inland sea is overbuild and spoiled. I find a little trail, heading over the hills, but the dominanting plant are Agavas.
As the road heads north, it passes some sleepy old towns. They have had their time, but years ago! Then, out on a field, the impressive Basillica of Ta Pinu is found. It if from 1932, but really classic. Some new and very well made marble statues of saints aligns the courtyard, and inside, it is surprisingly white. It is another tourist stop-over, and the shop within the church is big - seen from outside. I don't bother paying to get in to a church.
Along the coastline, Marsalforn and its saltpans in Xwieni Bay is found. Most of the small, square and shallow ponds are found on a shelf, a bit above sea level. A strange hill is found next to the sea, and another one a bit inland. I do a walk around, but it is mainly farmland around here.
The next stop is in Xaghra, which is a pretty town. I find the Ta'Kola Windmill from 1725, and it have a little but nice museum within. Down on the square, the church dominates, but I find a little café and get a Cafe Latte while I watch the locals passing bye.
The Ggantija Temples are around the corner, and they are quite impressive, considering how old they are. A nice museum display some of the artefacts found on the site - along with way too much text. I try to get some pictures in the low sun - rather un-successful.
It have been a long day, and the sun descents, as I head for the ferry. I'm lucky again, and don't have to wait for more than a few minutes. I actually think the loading and unloading of the big ferry last longer than the actual tour. And they do have three of these big ferries. It is dark night when I drive home over Malta. Day 11 Gozo.
6. I have seen what I came for, and the day is set aside for catching up on the best southern sights. I start with The Blue Grotto, hoping for a better photo than last time. On the way there, I pass a large market in Iz-Zurrieq, but I will return, when I have the "morning-light-picture" of the Blue Grotto.
I get the picture, but not as brilliant as had expected. On the way back, I spot some interesting landscape, that ought to be explored. The market in Iz-Zurrieq looked more interesting, driving bye it. It is just a lot of stands with cloths, shoos, household items, Christmas plastic and fruits and alike. I see them all, but fail to find anything interesting.
Back at the cliffs around Blue Grotto, I head into a deep gorge. The weather is perfect, and that is enough for me to enjoy the long hike. Back at the coast I head along the coastal cliffs. It is guarded by one of the old watchtowers from the crusaders time. I find a few plants I haven't noticed before, and eventually, I end up at the Blue Grotto, but on top of it.
The seawater is crystal clear and deep blue. Some small ponds on the cliffs contain what appears to be water-plants, despite their shallowness. I find back to the little harbour where the tourist boats launches from, and here, a little café offers a fired egg burger.
I find some remote areas along the coast, only reachable by tiny (and restricted) trails. Despite is seems so remote and untouched, most areas are divided up in tiny fields by tall stone walls. Then I reach the large container port, which seems so strange.
I find another cove which look so perfect on my GPS map. It is Delimare, and it is fare from as cosy as expected. It is filled by a huge tanker ship and on land; a factory. A bit further out, an old British fortress or alike is found. Then some rather unspoiled cliffs take over. But here have been quite some saltpans in the low shelves.
While I try to find the right angle, German Rose ask, if she can get a lift back to town. On the way, we stop at St Peter's Pool, and make a stroll around the bay. Then we head into the beautiful port of Il-Kalkara. Then a long walk around Il-Birgu and Fort St Angelo.
Rosie tell me about all the Christmas lights that have been lighted in Valleta - and the restaurants. We park outside the city and walk around the centre part. Here are truly a lot of LED lights, and even music to go with it. We find some real nice dinner and even a great tiramisu to go with it. Half pass seven, I leave her near her hotel, and find my way home.
Day 12. As I been hearing rain a thunder in the early morning, I get a late start, and sit and work with yesterdays impressions. Then I head up the west cast, where it for a first is calm. The first remote peninsular have a lot of "PRIVATE" signs along the little road. When I reach the parking lot, all but one road have signs.
Just around the corner, I meet the farmer, and despite he is smiling, he make it clear; it is private. But I can use another road, and he points it out to me. Well, I meet the owner after a few hundred meters, and he yells at me, take a photo and offers to call the police. It take some talking calming him down - but I don't get to walk on his premises.
He point out another trail, leading around the cliffs on the other side of the gorge - and not towards the megaliths I wanted to see. The area is quite special: Here is a lot of slender but tough grass. I find a rock to sit on, and watch the sea and cliffs for some time, while I enjoy the sun on my back.
It is close to noon, and I find some narrow roads, leading into Rabat. Apparently many of these remote roads are being renovated, and there are a lot of detours by even smaller paths. I try to find the same way back, but fails. Well, it is rural, nice and none shouts at me - I think.
Rabat is almost ready for the huge Christmas market. Many of the narrow alleys are lined with decorated stands and tables. I make a big loop, but the old town are apparently not that big. Lunch on the central square, part in sun, part in drizzle.
As I head further up north along the western shore, I drive under some real dark clouds. The roads are flooded, but the sun returns. I make it all the way out to the tall cliffs of Ras il-Qammieh, and do a lot of walking on the tip. Some cracks seems to continue at least the 129 meters down to the sea level.
Just as I'm about to leave, a huge rainbow reveals itself over the Red Tower. Heavy showers are drifting in from the sea, and I call it a day. Well, except from a visit at my favourite café to try yet another of their cakes. Day 13.
8. Last day on Malta, and I only have a few sights to entertain myself with. I pack my gear and head up the eastern coast. I had saved the National Aquarium for a rainy day - and I spend it in Valetta, getting soaked. It turns out to be great looking. It is not big, but the aquariums and fishes look great, and the entire setup is perfect.
Some parts look like shipwrecks, some like docks or ancient temples and one setting is a submarine. The last have the right "pling", as the others have the fog-horn, waves and alike. I do two tours through, and despite the terrarium have no really interesting animals, it is nicely made as well.
I head a bit further up the eastern coast, but it turns out; I have explored all the more natural areas. Further north, I check the huge, perfect beach for shells and alike, but here are absolutely none at all. I start on the way south, and have to get a slice of the perfect orange-chocolate cake at my café.
Then I find a road in the inland, cutting its way all the way down to Marsaxlokk. Here, I am sure the beach will offer some interesting findings. I spend a lot of time on the sunny beach, but when I return to the harbour - now without market - it start to drizzle, and some black clouds are gathering.
Despite it is only three o'clock, and my flight is 20;45, I head towards the airport. A bit annoying, there are not a scratch on the car, and I should have saved the expensive insurance: Three times as much as the rent! I find tea and internet, and work on the few photos of the day and the short diary. Day 14.
I have driven 864 kilometres, taken 2130 photos and seen
pretty much EVERYTHING! Considering it have been a short tour, it turned out