Scooting around Gozo

After experiencing the bus system – which, in the pros column is cheap and goes everywhere you could want to go, but has some rather significant drawbacks. The posted “schedule” is at best a vague suggestion, and in all likelihood, you may find yourself waiting 1hr30 for a bus that might choose not to show up at all. After fully experiencing this marvel, we decided to look into other transportation options, of course settling on the funnest and most adorable option possible: a scooter!
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My fellow adventure expressed some reluctance, but in the end, the freedom and flexibility of having our own wheels won her over. Imagine my delight! I used to scoot around in high school, and I am definitely my father’s daughter, inheriting his love for two-wheeled transportation vehicles/joy machines.
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The call of the islands drew us immediately north, where we bored the ferry to Gozo. After an uneventful crossing, we were soon zipping our way through the Gozoian countryside.
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Our first stop was this church that we spotted from a distance, as it is spectacularly large and lovely. However, we soon learned that it is, in fact, not old at all! While there are many historic buildings in Gozo, this was not one of them (contruction finished in the 1970s. However, it did have places where you could view the stunning panoramic views of the island.
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From there, we lunched in Victoria, sitting on a patio in the summery sun.

Cittadella:

Our next stop was the cittadella (citadel), which was built in 1622. Here we crept through tiny tunnels to stand in ancient grain storage bins, saw the armoury, and wandered along the walls.
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Salt pans:

We then headed to the salt pans. Salt is my weakness, so imagine my delight to be in the place WHERE SEA SALT IS BORN! It was so cool to see this centuriees-old Gozitan method! It is still family owned, and we got to meet one of the owners as she opened up the salt shop for the day. It has been in her family for 5 generations, and she graciously explained how the salt is collected.IMG_9592.jpgThe large, shallow rock pans are filled with sea water in the spring/early summer. Under the sun, the water quickly evaporates (taking approximately 7 days), and then they will go and sweep up crystals of sea salt. At times, summer storms will wash away all the salt, which is devastating for the crop. The salt is then stored in caves carved into the rock (one of the origninal storage caves is used as the salt store).

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This place could not make my heart smile any more – combining my favourite things – friendly people, learning interesting things, salt, and an open road for cruising

Azure Window & Blue Hole:

Our final Gozo destination was the Azure Window and Blue Hole (inland sea). This was the place I was most excited to visit, and it did not disappoint. You get to amble across weather-worn wholey rock to the spectacular natural arch formed in the limestone from the confluence of excessive fault-ins and years of unrelenting wind and water.

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The “blue hole” or the inland sea that is located directly across from the Azure window was a beautiful and fascinating place as well. This deep inland sea pool leads into a deep crevice that leads out to the Meditranean sea. The water is so clear and the colours are mesmerizingly rich.
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I learned two sobering facts after leaving this one-of-a-kind spot. The first, not too surprisingly, is that the Azure Window is predicted to collapse “any day now.” You don’t need to be a geologist to see a really large crack in the arch, and apparently large bits of the rock keep falling off into the ocean (making it particularly hazardous to walk on top of the arch and kayak/swim/dive under it). At some point, this will become the Azure Pinnacle, a testament to the unrelenting forces of nature, that ever keep marching forward.

The second was a more sobering one about how human carelessness can cause irreversible damage. Game of Thrones had been filming by on location, and a subcontractor spread a layer of sand over top of the aforementioned wholey rock, causing irrepairable damage to the rich and unique micro ecosystem underneath, turning, “what once was an egg into an omelette.” When I get to spend days in the world’s most spectacular places, I am reminded of how critical it is for us to enjoy these spots, to savour their beauty, and to love them, in order to do what we can to protect these unique and fragile spaces.

For now, I will be so grateful to get to wander these spectacular spaces and rove the roads of Gozo.

Later kids!

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