The Citadel, an Inland Sea and the Blue Grotto


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Europe » Malta » Gozo » Xlendi
September 20th 2018
Published: September 20th 2018
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Those earplugs worked a treat! I did wake at 4am though with a cramp in my leg. After dealing with that I got up to look outside, as I knew thunderstorms were predicted for today. I had heard a very loud clap of thunder (through the earplugs) sometime earlier, so I wanted to see what the impact had been. The sea was quite high and there were even small waves washing up the steps in front of the hotel, which was interesting. The next morning I could see one of the restaurants hosing down their floor so I assume the water came up that high.

After breakfast I chatted to the guy at reception about options for today. I wanted to see the Citadel but was also interested in a boat trip of some sort. There was a boat trip that would have picked me up at 2pm for a four hour tour to Commino (the small island between Gozo and the mainland) but this would have meant I could check out the Citadel I also spoke to him about the Azure Window area and he recommended I go there, even though the 'window' is no longer there as it was destroyed in a storm last year, there is an inland sea and the coastline is worth the visit. So I decided to head into Victoria and realised that as I was talking to him I had about a minute to get to the bus stop (the bus is every hour at 10 past the hour) so I bolted out the door. Luckily it takes a while for all the passengers to get on so I made it in time. This just seems to be how things work in Malta! Anyway, I arrived into Victoria soon after and then checked out the bus times to Dwejra (St Lawrence) and picked the 1:35 bus as that would be within the 2 hours of my ticket. I then walked through the old town and this time I headed up to the Citadel. What an amazing place! It dates back to 2,000 BC and was utilised to protect the people of Gozo from the invasions of the Turks and Bourbons although it didn't always succeed. What I saw today though was redeveloped in the 19th century but still gives a glimpse of what it would have been like back in the day. There are still a few families who live inside the walls of the Citadel and there is a cathedral, an old jail, the justice court and several museums. It is quite stunning and has 360 degree views of the island. From up top I could see the Coast in all directions. One thing though about sandstone and marble, the sun reflects off it and really increases the heat factor! Admittedly I was doing the fast view version of the Citadel but oh my goodness, it was hot and sweaty!

After enjoying the Citadel, I made my way back to the bus terminus in time to get the bus to Dwejra. Once again, very scenic bus trip and slightly breathtaking as it made its way down into the area of Dwejra. Wow, what a dramatic coastline! Apparently they film some of Game of Thrones here too and I can see why. Stunning. I first walked down to the Inland sea area as I thought I would check it out for a swim. I then noticed that for €4 you could go by boat through the man made cave out into the ocean and then to the blue grotto. I didn't do the blue grotto on Capri so I thought, here was my chance! So I lined up but it didn't take too long and I was on boat. It was really quite exciting! We made our way through the cave, which was actually very high but narrow, so only one boat at a time could go through. Then we were out on the other side and the cliffs were amazingly high and the water was such a deep blue. Our boat then went into the blue grotto and wow, it was amazing. There is a layer of pink coral on all the cave walls, just on the water line. The water colour was surreal - it was almost purple in parts then in others it was like you were looking into the depths of a blue gem. I wished I could have captured all this with my camera but it just doesn't do it justice - so make sure you come to Gozo and see this for yourself! We then went along the coast some more and our guide pointed out where the Azure Window once was - and had a chuckle that it is no longer there (but this must be slightly devastating for their tourism). I wanted to jump in the water - it was so inviting! We ventured into a couple of other caves. One had a light glowing somewhere under the water and I couldn't work it out. I took some photos and then our guide said "scuba diver". This place is a diving paradise!

The whole 'tour' went for about 15 minutes and it was so worth it. I had a good idea about the layout of the coast now. The guy at the hotel had told me about a section of the cliff, looking at Fungus Rock, that had stairs leading down to a spot you could swim from. It was quite a walk along the cliff in the heat and just when I thought I wouldn't find it and was about to turn around, I spotted it. I made my way down the stairs and it certainly did look like a great place to swim. The only problem was it was quite rocky, that sharp rocky sort. Everyone else had those shoes you can swim in but I only had my Birkenstocks, so was a bit dubious about going in. In the end I decided against it and had to climb all those steps back up to the top of the cliff! I walked along the cliff, checking out the view, including the tower, as I headed back to the inland sea area.

I headed to the little restaurant on the water as I figured I should have some lunch as it was getting close to three pm now. I ordered my favourite tuna salad with a local beer (Cirk) and it was, once again, delicious! Even cheaper than yesterday! After I had eaten, I walked to the small beach area for a swim. This was a pebble beach but the stones were a bit bigger than pebbles! It is always challenging getting into the water on these beaches. It seems to be a choice between hurting your feet or falling on your bum! I chose hurting my feet and after a few near misses on the latter, I made it into the water. I swan to the cave the boats went out through, so that was fun. I knew getting back out wasn't going to be easy so I decided to just stay in for as long as possible haha. Eventually I had to get out though and all I am going to say is, it wasn't pleasant.

I relaxed for a while in the beach - well, as relaxing as one can be lying on stones! After I had dried off enough I went back to the restaurant and had a beer before heading back up to the bus stop for the 5:38 bus back to Victoria. Once again there was a bus to Xlendi waiting when we pulled into the bus terminal, so straight onto that. I got off at the start of the bay and walked along it back to my hotel. Sat on my balcony for a while, watching the sunset while writing some of my blog. Eventually showered and then headed out for some dinner around 8:30. Found a table right on the water, had the linguine marinara and a glass of wine and enjoyed the very pleasant evening.


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