In May 2013 we spent a week in an old farmhouse in the village of Kerċem, Gozo. Gozo forms part of the Maltese archipelago and is reached by a half an hour ferry ride from the north of Malta. It is quieter and more rural than its southern neighbour, with most tourist accommodation in the form of self catering villas rather than hotels.
The island is small, roughly 9 miles by 4 miles which makes walking and cycling great options (if you’re ok with hills and exertion in heat!). Our base was a fifteen minute walk from the suburbs of the capital Victoria, or Rabat to the locals, which has been a centre of habitation since neolithic times. At the heart of the city, on its highest point, is the Citadel, stone fortifications encircling a Cathedral, several smaller chapels, a 16th century prison and the Gozo Museum of Archaeology. You can pay to enter one or a combination of the attractions or walk the walls for free and take in the panoramic views across the island.
From the apex of the Citadel the streets of Rabat snake away downhill, twisting mazes with enticing glimpses of secret treasures. We spent a lot of time purposefully lost and, as often seems to happen, it was the unplanned wanderings that were the most fruitful.
Our visit happened to coincide with a local festival and the main thoroughfares were decked with flags and the facades of churches and public building covered with lights. Lying between Europe and Africa, near the centre of the Mediterranean, the island has had a rather active history and included in the festival were a number of reenactments of important events. Turning randomly down an alleyway brought us across the gentleman below. I managed to sneak a crafty photograph as he relaxed between performances.
Maltese architecture is ornate with influences from both Islam and Catholicism. For a lover of carved stone there was much to marvel at as well as intricate fretwork balconies, mosaic pavements and bejewelled interiors. Even the door furniture was photogenic.
Wandering the streets of a new place gives you a unique insight in to its personality. I would highly recommend it; it’s free and you never know what you might find.
If you would like to read more about things to see and do in Gozo and Malta let me know in the comments below, there’s so much more to share.