We came to Gozo by ferry.
To get to the ferry terminal you could take a bus, but it was just easier to take a taxi 🙂 We booked online with ecabs, which seemed to be the cheapest car service you could book online. We had heard that just taking a metered cab could be up to 4 times more expensive if you ended up with someone unscrupulous (of course who knows if that is actually true)… but better safe than sorry 🙂 We ended up with a nice driver who does this as his second job (first job is military) so that he can earn extra money to travel. 🙂
We didn’t have to pay to get on the ferry… apparently you only pay when you come back from Gozo. This wasn’t really clear, as there were two signs at the empty desk… one that said “Buy your ferry tickets here” and one that said “Buy tickets on Gozo”. Since there was no one actually working at the desk, we just got on the ferry 🙂
The ferry ride was short, about 30 minutes. They had a little cafeteria and free wifi which came in handy so that we could let our hostess know we were on the way. We sat up on the outside sun deck so we could see Gozo as we approached. It was a bit foggy and hazy, but this is what you see as you pull into the port.
We caught another cab to our accommodation (only about 14 Euros) and were thrilled to see that our traditional Maltese farmhouse was even more beautiful than we expected. Steve took a video, which I can’t seem to upload to youtube, but you can watch it on Lisa’s Facebook if you are interested.
The farmhouse has been in this family for many generations. The couple who own it, told us it was his great-great-grandparents who built it. The main floor which is now a living/dining/kitchen area used to be where they kept the animals. You can still see an iron thing (I don’t know the word) where they used to tie up animals, and cut outs in the wall where they told me they put the animal’s food! The whole place is built out of huge blocks of limestone and features beautiful stone arches. There are three floors, and the ceilings on each floor look to be about 15 feet high. There are three outdoor spaces including a rooftop terrace with a view over the valley, and a private pool. All this for the bargain price of about 80 Euros a night. I am NOT kidding!
Here is a photo of the pool area. It is out the front of the house. When you come in off the street from the beautiful big wooden doors this is what you see 🙂
Gozo has a population of about 37,000 people. It is a small, and more rural/laid-back island than the bigger island of Malta. We are staying in a small town called Kercem, which is just outside the main city of Victoria. Kercem has a population of about 1900 people.
The houses are mostly attached, stone dwellings that go up 2 or 3 floors. Each has it’s own beautiful door down on the street that often leads into a courtyard rather than straight into the house.
Kercem also has some rural area, which is very “parched” as I heard one Maltese person describe it!
The village is centred around a church which is dedicated to both St. Gregory and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
The first night we were in Kercem we ate at the one restaurant that was open. It was only 5PM, and I think there might be another one that opens later! We were the only people in the restaurant… they seem to eat much later here! We have been eating what we like to call “Linner” which is a big meal in the afternoon instead of lunch and dinner, and then a snack later in the evening. This doesn’t particularly work with their timing as most things are closed between 12:30 and 4:00. Thus, we are starving when we go to eat at 4:30 or 5:00, when most people are just having coffee and cake!
We usually walk into Victoria to eat, because we found some restaurants that stay open all day 🙂 The walk into town is about 2 km. It is through the village and down into a valley, and then up a pretty steep hill into Victoria. Good exercise, right? This is the valley between Kercem and Victoria.
You may notice that it looks a bit hazy in the distance. We weren’t really sure what it was, but the weather forecast said “widespread dust”.
I love walking and just looking at things as we go along. There are all kinds of interesting buildings and things to look at. There are several houses that are abandoned, and I’m always wanting to see inside. Sometimes you are lucky and there is a little peeking spot to look in 🙂
You never know what you might see. We found this place in between two houses that holds a variety of birds including peacocks. We can hear the peacocks sometimes from our place, which reminds me of being at home and hearing the peacocks in Beacon Hill Park 🙂
You have to be careful when you are walking for a few reasons:
- There is animal poop on the sidewalk!
- Sometimes there is no sidewalk and you have to walk on the narrow road… where cars come careening around corners!
- When there is a sidewalk you may come across large holes, demolished areas, or large drop offs!
There is a school close to the main square, where you will also find the little grocery store. We were surprised to walk by one day when school was letting out and see that the police block off the road to traffic when the kids are leaving school to keep them safe!
There is a little grocery store in town where we pick up most of our stuff. The man working there calls us his “Canadian friends”. He is very kind and friendly as are most people we’ve run into here. Also, a surprising number of older Maltese people have been to Canada (mostly Toronto) to work for a period of years when they were younger. Without fail, all of them have said they came back because they missed Malta too much 🙂
We also saw this truck one morning where people can buy fresh produce each day. We had been hearing a strange horn periodically in the mornings, and are thinking that maybe it is this truck announcing that it is arriving.
Steve has also made another friend in Kercem. This cute little doggie gets taken to this field for his evening run each day. We seem to run into them almost every day when we are walking home from eating our Linner.
Without fail, he tries to foliow Steve home. His owner, an older Maltese man with a cane is always calling him in Maltese to come back, but he doesn’t really listen. Steve usually has to shoo him away and then his owner distracts him by throwing his ball 🙂
So far, we are enjoying the slow pace of Gozo.