Day 380: Neolithic Monuments of GozoMarch 1 in Malta
Time to get out and go exploring! We had a single day car hire booked at the other end of Sliema, so we had an early breakfast indoors and then walked over. Picked up the hire car, a crappy little Hyundai i10 but adequate for our needs. Malta is very crowded and densely populated so driving is a bit hairy at times but we survived.
First up we spent about 45 minutes crossing the island east to west, heading for the car ferry across to Gozo, the other main island in the Maltese archipelago. Had to wait about 30 minutes for the car ferry, but once on board the trip is pretty short. Gozo is much smaller and not as dense, but still plenty of cars and people around.
The main reason for coming here was to visit part of a world heritage site - the megalithic temples of Malta. The prehistoric people who lived here prior to the bronze age (around 5000 BC) left behind a series of large temples, some of which are still standing.
The two on Gozo are quite impressive, standing on top of a tall hill and with several megaliths (ie tall stones) dotted around. They're in an odd clover-leaf type layout around a central corridor, and although the roofs are long gone it's still quite atmospheric. And of course they're perfectly lined up with equinox and sunset dawns too, just like Stonehenge. They're thought to be religious temples, as lots of animal bones have been found there, but no human bones.
Filming done, we set off for the western coastline of Gozo which is quite nice. We went to the remains of the Azure Window, a giant rock arch that sadly collapsed last year. Nice looking water and cliffs, but it was unsurprisingly very cold!
Drove back across the island and wanted to stop at the main town of Victoria, but there was literally nowhere to park! A few streets here and there and one 10-space parking lot that we found, but of course everything was occupied. In the end I just waited in the car park with hazards flashing while Shandos bought some sandwiches. But we couldn't find anywhere to eat either, and ended up just eating in the car while waiting in the queue for the car ferry back to the main island.
Back on Malta we headed for another pair of neolithic temples to finish off our filming. These ones had a slightly better interpretation centre but also had giant sailcloth awnings over them to protect from the elements. Necessary I suppose, but not particularly visually appealing.
By now it was getting late in the day so we had a quite look at other sights nearby - the Blue Lagoon, and some of the impressive cliffs, before driving back to Sliema.
Dropped the car off at 6pm and walked along the waterfront back to our apartment, stopping along the way at a well-known place called Surfside Bar & Grill. It sat on a low cliff above the harbour, with great views and surprisingly good prices. It felt quite similar to an Australian pub, with huge serves of traditional unexciting food. I had a burger with onion rings and smokey BBQ sauce which was pretty good!
Headed home quite tired, but with another busy day ahead.Read more