The Mediterranean Island of Gozo – A Real Haven!!

Gozo (‘Għawdex’), which is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, is a perfect holiday destination all year round. Although Gozo is found only a few miles away from its sister island of Malta, it is quite a distinctive island, having its own geographical treasures, its own monuments, its own history, and even its own identity.

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Gozo is more rural and unspoilt than Malta, in fact it is well-known for its rolling green hills, beautiful countryside and resplendent sandy beaches. The pace of life in Gozo is more tranquil and peaceful compared to the more modernized Malta. Most of the land is still virgin, which means that one can appreciate a number of picturesque views, especially during the winter season when the fields are cultivated. Here, one can even find some old traditions which are no longer found on Malta. Gozo in fact has its own spate of religious traditional festas, its own unique crafts and artisan products, as well as being famous for its yearly Carnival celebrations and local cuisine. If you want a taste of this, you must surely try out some Gozitan cheeselets (ġbejniet).

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As of early 2014, the island of Gozo hosted a population of around 37,300 people. Gozo has a rich history and one can find a huge number of historical places, ranging from Neolithic to modern times, on this small island. One can hardly fail to mention the megalithic Ġgantija Temples, which, after the Temples of Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, are the oldest man-made temples in the world.

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Another important spiritual structure is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of Ta’ Pinu, otherwise known as the Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary, first built in 1545 and then restored in 1730. This Catholic Sanctuary, located in the village of Għarb, is well-known to hold the prayers, vows, and votive offerings given by those who maintain to have been miraculously helped after praying to the Virgin of Ta’ Pinu. This church is in fact linked with many miraculous healings.

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Apart from its deeply spiritual heritage, Gozo also holds some of the Mediterranean’s most breathtaking natural wonders. There’s a number of pristine sandy beaches like Xlendi Bay, Marsalforn Bay, as well as Ramla Bay, just off Xagħra, which according to mythology, is believed to have been the site of the nymph Calypso’s abode. Gozo in fact, is theorized to be the mystic island of Ogygia, which featured prominently in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ as the island where Ulysses was held captive for seven years. Near the beach, one can also visit the so-called Calypso Cave, high up on the cliffs.

Gozo is also home to a large number of medieval coastal towers built by the Order of the Knights of Saint John, like Isopu Tower in Nadur and Xlendi Tower in Xlendi, as well as innumerable tiny churches and chapels which are gems of medieval and baroque architecture. Traditional architecture can also be admired by going to Victoria (ir-Rabat), Gozo’s capital city, and taking a look at the historical buildings, niches, balconies, aqueducts and churches, not to mention the Medieval Citadel, iċ-Ċittadella, which is a unique small fortified town situated on the promontory of Victoria.

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It is easy to arrive in Gozo, one simply has to take the ferry-boat from Ċirkewwa on the north-west side of Malta. The crossing takes approximately 25 minutes and is quite enjoyable. Truly a destination not to miss!

This article was written by me and published on LivinInMalta.com. To view the original article, please go here.

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MY HIDDEN SHAME REVEALED! Yes, I admit…

… although I have been a monstrously voracious reader all my life, although I have a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English and a Masters Degree in English Literature, although I can claim to be a published writer and an as-yet unpublished poet, although I have more than 900 books in my erstwhile tiny home, although I can’t see a darn person reading a book without bending over to peer at the title, although I have promised myself again and again to finally get it done and READ THOSE BLOODY CLASSICS… there are still ENORMOUS gaps in my reading list.

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I realized this after I read this post – http://746books.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/top-ten-tuesday-classics-i-havent-read/  – by Cathy746books – and as punishment to myself, I decided to write this post and reveal my deepest shame before you all.

images Here are 12 Classics which I have always planned to read, someday, but never actually did YET.

1. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye – J. D Salinger
3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
4. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
6. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
7. Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
8. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
9. The War of the Worlds – H.G Wells
10. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
11. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H Lawrence
12. The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe

I have watched movies related to most of these, but that’s neither here nor there is it?

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Now, before you start flogging me with whips of fire, here is a list of important classics I HAVE read. I’m not mentioning them all, as obviously there are too many, however I will try to mention at least most of those which have had an impact on my perception of the world, and on my writing.

1. Anything and everything by Jane Austin
2. Anything and everything by the Bronte Sisters – most especially ‘Wuthering Heights’
3. Anything and everything by Oscar Wilde – most especially ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ (my MA thesis was based on him)
4. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
4. 1984 – George Orwell
5. Anything and everything by Charles Dickens (my BA thesis was based on him)
6. Dracula – Bram Stoker
7. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
8. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
9. The Iliad/The Odyssey – Homer
10. The Birth of Tragedy/Thus Spake Zarathustra/Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzche
11. The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
12. Le Fleurs du Mal – Baudelaire
13 – Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
14 – Ulysses – James Joyce
15 – Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
16 – The Castle – Franz Kafka
17 – The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
18 – The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Leroux
19 – The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
20. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

I guess I had better stop now lol. Ofc I did not include anything by Tolkien, Bradbury, etc since I don’t consider them as classics as such – they are in a niche of their own.

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So, before you judge what I have not read yet, be honest, how many of those books I have mentioned have YOU read? ;p

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Now I admit, I’m feeling a bit better about myself, but I STILL have to get through those 12 classics and get rid of my shame!

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