Gozo, Malta

GOZO

Harbor where the ferry to Gozo docks

There are three main islands that comprise the Maltese Archipelago. Malta, Gozo and very tiny island Comino where two brother’s and their cousin live.  It was a dry but rain was threatening  as we drove to the ferry to take the twenty-five minute float to Gozo, but by the time we walked onto the ferry, it started to rain.  It started with sprinkles and as the day wore on it became more furious. Hey, you are on a trip. You have come a long, long way; this is the only time you will see this island of Gozo, so we set about it in earnest. Gozo is 9 miles wide by 5, so it does not take long to go from place to place. All the homes and buildings are made from a honey colored limestone, so the facades are all the same color. It looks soft and soothing. Actually, the buildings look delicious.  When the stone is first cut it is soft, so many of the homes have carved balustrades around balconies and once they have been carved and set, they harden and will last for centuries.

The Maltese Islands were an interest of conquest because they are exactly in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Now, tourism is the main industry, but mostly on Gozo they are still farmer’s and men of the sea. Gozo is clean, green and fertile. Sixty percent is agricultural land. The countryside is terraced and ownership of the land is divided by stone walls, reminiscent of Ireland’s countryside walls.

Ggantija Temples

Ggantija Temples: They claim that these free standing temples are the oldest in the world, older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge. They were built around 3600 B.C. I tried for the entire time we visited this area to get a vibe from the past, a glimpse into any little pocket of time ready to burst and talk to me, but alas, nothing but cold stone, wind and rain. I made my heartfelt offering on the sacrificial alter and it was not a goat, or a little lamb. It is a hope for the future of humankind.

Next stop on our private tour was the Citadel. Walking the grounds in the hard rain was interesting because it is all uphill and the rain cascaded off of the marble and stone paths like a river heading for the sea. We stuck with it to get to the top for the glorious views.The early inhabitants were required by law to spend their nights in the Citadel because there were great dangers due to raiding pirates and tribes who would take the citizens into slavery. We noted many lookout towers in Gozo to protect the island as well.

View from the Citadel walls

We were delivered to a local old Gozitan farmhouse for an authentic Maltese style lunch and local wine. When we sat down a great wind hammered the window and the rain pelted down with a fury. The food was salty and the wine was not the greatest,it was cold, but we were in the countryside of Gozo, in an old farmhouse and we were happy. It was a happy house.

St. Ta' Pinu Basilica

After lunch we visited the St. Ta’ Pinu Basilica.  Madonna St. Ta’ Pinu has EVERYTHING to do with cures, real life saving miracles. Okay, this is why I came to Gozo, I am convinced. I didn’t know it then, but I surely do know it now. The church itself is lovely, but along all the walls of the corridors, and rooms are photos, thank you letters, and items sent by people who have thankfully been cured of their ailments. The walls are covered with wartime medals of honor, silver hearts, baby clothes, crutches, casts and all memorabilia of cures. I do not have words to tell you how moving this experience still is in my mind.  If all of these people believe in this saint’s ability to cure and have sent proof, rooms full of their belief in her curative powers, then, who am I to argue any of this, so I believe, too. I believe as well, that the power is in the belief.  I purchased very little on this trip, but I did buy little trinkets depicting the likeness of St. Ta’ Pinu and if you want one, ask, and if I still have one I will be glad to give it to you!  I am wearing a little bead bracelet with a tiny likeness of hope and cure plus, I feel ten times better than I have in years.  Now remember, the power is in the belief and I believe in the power and the cures relating to this belief. Imagine all of these cures and all of this power of belief delegated to St. Ta’Pinu residing in a hilltop Basilica on a little fairly remote island called Gozo. Best of all, now, I got in on it.

Lace Making

We visited lace making, wine and cheese tasting and the town square in Victoria, the new name for the capitol of Gozo. The ancient name is Rabat, an Arabic name.

Both Malta and Gozo have many traditions and words in their Maltese language that date back to the times they were occupied by neighboring countries. They switch from Maltese to English and back again all day long.

The law is there are no divorces, so choices have to be carefully made. No abortions and no cremations.

Something to be noted: Garbage is collected every day in Gozo as well as Malta. Lucky. They just set out their bags, recycling is optional at the moment and the trash will be gone in the morning. Also, on Tuesday’s and Friday the people buy their fresh fruits and vegetables. This morning is Tuesday and walking down the road we spotted a man selling vegetables and fruit to the local women from his truck.  You know I loved that scene. What no camera on hand? Skip’s Uncle Danny used to sell fruits and vegetables from a truck in Albany, New York almost a seventy-five years ago.

Gozo is beautiful and note the honey colored lime stone used in building.

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