Sad farewell to Gozo, on to Sliema

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September 21st 2018
Published: September 22nd 2018
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I set my alarm this morning as I wanted to make the most of my time before I had to check out at midday. There must have been a storm during the night as when I looked out the window, the water was stirred up and it didn't look as nice as the previous days. It was also a bit cooler, only 23 degrees. I still put my bathers on though and headed downstairs for a quick breakfast. After eating I walked along the bay but it was obvious the water was murky this morning and there was a fair bit of leaves and rubbish floating in it. Not at all appealingly. So I decided to go for a good walk along the coast and found myself heading towards the Xlendi tower. This tower was built in 1650 and is the oldest of the four similar towers on the island of Gozo. Unfortunately it is undergoing restoration at the moment so I was not able to go inside. The walk to the tower took me along a narrow path that followed the line of the cliffs either side of another bay, on the other side of the town. This bay looked much cleaner and more inviting but it wasn't obvious how to get into the water here. Anyway, I kept walking along the trail until I came to the tower. It is such a dramatic landscape here as the tower is position right on the point, as you would expect, but the cliffs on the other side are extremely high and sheer. Peering over the edge towards the water, I could see some interesting shapes in the rock, that must have been caused by people cutting out the limestone to use in building. I wanted to get a bit closer, so to do this meant walking further along the cliff until there was a part that enabled me to walk down to the next layer. I had only seen a couple of other people on my walk and at this time, there was no one else around so I was pretty careful not to get too close to the edge. It was great to get a bit closer to this mini pools and I was also able to see a door that had been cut into the rock, that seems to lead up into the fort. I also noticed a path on the other side of the fort, that lead up the side of it back to the top level. Doh! Much quicker getting back haha.

As i started to walk back to the town, the sun came out so that as I walked past that other bay I mentioned, the water was now so clear and green in parts. Also, from this side, I could see steps leading down to a ladder and knew that was how I could go in for that swim i was wanting before I left! So I walked across the stone bridge and then climbed down some rocks to the path. As I got closer, I heard a couple of other people coming this way. I was kind of glad bout this as I didn't want to swim there in my own. We said hi to each other and then I stripped off and dived in ........ only to realise the minute I hit the water that I still had my sunglasses on my head! The other couple were just getting into the water and they had snorkelling gear so I mentioned about my sunglasses and the lady tried to find them. She had no luck and asked if I wanted to have a look - I also couldn't see them but could also tell how deep it was there and due to the high saline content, it almost impossible to dive down much at all as you kept floating back to the surface. I thanked them and said not to worry, as they weren't expensive. I was however a bit sad as they were the glasses I bought at the ABBA museum way back on the early part of this trip. Luckily though I didn't have my good pair of Raybans with me though, as this is the second pair I have lost - one pair is at the bottom of a crater on Mt Etna and now the other pair is at the bottom of the sea in Malta. Anyway, I swam up through the bay for a while when the gentlemen called out and said he spotted my glasses! But they were even deeper down than we thought so there was no chance of getting them.

It was soon time to get out and head back to my hotel to shower and pack my bags. By midday I checked out of the hotel and was sad to be leaving. I walked to the bus stop and caught the 12:10 bus to Victoria. As soon as I was off this bus, I jumped onto the next one that would take me to the ferry terminal. This trip took 40 mins because it went to various towns along he way, rather than a direct route but I didn't mind as I got to see more of the island. Every villiage we came into had a big massive church that stood out above everything else and that was when I remembered the taxi driver on my first day saying there are 34 churches on this little island!

The bus got me to the ferry terminal with enough time to buy my ticket and grab a salad for lunch. Then we boarded the 1:30 ferry to Cirkewwa and I enjoyed the view along the way. We arrived just before 2pm amd I knew there was a bus at 2:10 to Sliema so I moved pretty quick to find the bus stop. The bus (222) pulled up just after 2pm so I got on and showed the driver my ticket, which expires at 2:11 and she nodded at me and indicated to get on. She then took off at a rate of knots - regardless of the fact the timetable said 12:10 as did the electronic sign at the bus stop! And she continued to drive like she was on her last shift and wanted it over with - for the next hour and a bit I had to hold onto my bag as it would have gone flying every time we went around a bend. She also had a habit of stopping suddenly then taking off again just a quickly! I had jammed my foot under the wheels of the bag but I still needed to use all my strength sometimes to stop my bag from leaving me! Anyway, that was fun.......... 🤔

I arrived in Sliema just after 3pm (the bus trip was supposed to have been 1hr 20mins) and only had to walk about 600 meters to my apartment. First impressions - I'm in the big smoke now! My hotel is right on the water and over looks Manoel Island and i can also see the old town of Valletta across the water. There are lots of tall buildings all along the water front and there seems to be lots of restaurants and bars as well.

After spending some time settling in to my room and just chilling out, I ventured out to explore my area. As it is Independence Day some of the shops were shut. I went to find a laundromat but it too was closed. I walked all the way along the waterfront to the point, where I saw a nice place to swim off the rocks. I found a place that was having a 'happy hour' for Aperol Spritz so sat there for a while and had one. I continued to walk and there were lots of people around enjoying the beautiful weather. The sun was starting to set - which really highlighted the beauty of Valletta across the water. I got some really lovely photos of this as well as the sun setting. I walked back in the direction of my hotel, checking out some of the restaurants along the way and finally settled on one that wasn't too crazy busy and just had a nice penne matriciana with a side salad and a glass of the local white wine. Very nice way to start my time in Sliema.

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