Please accept my apologies…I totally lost my way when it came to keeping up with this blog. This was a fantastic and action packed trip…most nights I was so exhausted that I could barely get pictures off my camera before I fell asleep, only to do it all again the next day. Unfortunately, even though I had internet access, the process of resizing the pictures to post was so tedious and slow on the ship I eventually gave up. The good news is now that I’m home I have no such issues, and I get to relive most of the trip by getting caught up on my posts!
We left Valletta at dawn on Sunday, and spent a wonderful (but not very comfortable!) day on the beautiful Maltese island of Gozo.
Here are some “crack of dawn” (literally) pictures of leaving Valletta and arriving in Mgarr, Gozo…
We took a Jeep tour of the island with Barbarossa Tours. There were four or five of us in a pretty small Jeep all day, which is why I said the day was a bit uncomfortable. By the time we got back to the ship we were wind blown, sunburned, and had aching rear ends from the bouncing!😳
I finally tied a scarf around my head because I got tired of eating my hair!
Despite the discomfort, the island is stunning, and the contrast between the arid landscape, the limestone structures, and the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean was breathtaking!
One of our morning stops was at the Ggantija Temples. The structures date back to 3,600 and 3,200 BC. In addition to the temples and surrounding walls, there is a museum containing artifacts from the excavation of the site.
In addition to lots of scenery and the visit to the temples, we spent quite a bit of time at the Citadel. The current structures date back to Medieval times, but there has been a fortification on the site since 1500 BC.
What a view!
The cathedral within the city walls is still in use, and there was a wedding taking place during our visit. I didn’t see the bride and groom, but I loved their get-away car. It brought back memories of learning to drive (and parallel park!) in my mom’s 1976 Bonneville!
We had a nice, relaxing lunch, and would have happily spent more time exploring the narrow streets and enjoying the day, but our driver was a bit of a task-master. Her job was to make sure we saw the whole island, and by golly that’s what she did! It was somewhat comical at times, and we felt like we were negotiating tour time vs. relaxation! Our driver originally suggested we could tour the Citadel and eat in just 45 minutes.🙄 We all vetoed that idea, then she offered us an hour, but we said no to that also. We finally got her to agree to something that we thought was reasonable and would still allow her to check all the boxes on her list!
More scenery and Ta’ Pinu Basilica:
One of the highlights for me was seeing the salt pans on the remote north side of the island. We drove along the coast and learned about the process of extracting salt from the sea using giant pans or flats that line the coast between the sea and the coastal road. The pans are 350 years old, and the tradition of making sea salt has been passed down in families for generations. Since the salt is gathered during the summer we did not get to see the process, but there is plenty of information available on the Internet.
Sunday night was quite profitable. We had a nice dinner in Canaletto, the Italian specialty restaurant on the ship. Jim was tired and went to bed right after dinner, and I decided to check out the casino. I returned to the room within 45 minutes, $730 richer than I entered!😂
Monday was a much needed sea day, and we accomplished absolutely nothing, unless you consider sitting on the balcony an accomplishment.😁
Dinner was a “Gala” night with friends in the dining room, and we went to the show after. It was OK…better than some I’ve seen, but this cruise was 99% about the ports and for us the ship/cruise was just a means of getting us there!
Once we got to Greece on Tuesday we had eleven busy days before we could sit and relax…and that was on the plane home!