Night Location: Mgarr, Malta
A Muse of the Day: While swimming in the Blue Lagoon we were all amused to see a young woman take never-ending selfies with the same smile and from the same angle over and over. Amber tried to photo bomb.
This morning Mario greeted us at 9AM and ushered us into his Mercedes 8 seater Mini Van. Our first stop was the biggest cathedral on the Island dedicated to John the Baptist. We peaked inside but unfortunately there was a service underway and so we couldn't go up the top to see the spectacular view.
Undeterred we pressed on to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Ggantija Temples. It is believed that the two temples are the oldest man made structures in the world, built before Stonehenge or the pyramids in 3600BC. The visitor's centre was well set out and after reading about the mysterious first inhabitants of Malta we proceeded down a wide footpath towards the temples. Interestingly, in a similar way to how the modern Maltese walls are built by assembling piles of rocks together, the temple walls used a similar technique but with larger stones. There were ten curved chambers, alters and ceremonial carved bowls that were truly fascinating to see.
Mario advised that we visit Calypso Cave to see the views down to Ramla Beach. Calypso cave is believed to be described in Homer's 'The Odyssey' as being the place where Odysseus was captured by the beautiful nymph Calypso as a prisoner of love for seven years. The cave was inaccessible due to dodgy stairs so we took in the view of the red sands at Ramla Beach from the top.
Our next stop was at a farm that specialised in olives, wine and sheep's cheese. Mario organised for the owner to take us on a walking tour through the olive groves, vines and the various livestock he held on the property. He then offered us some cheese to taste that was freshly made today as well as another type that had been soaked in vinegar and coated in salt and pepper and then partially dried. Both were delicious.
After purchasing some local delicacies we returned to the vehicle and set off to the end of the island known as Dwejra, where the most photographed sites of Gozo are located: the Azure Window, the Inland Sea and Fungus Rock. We immediately boarded a boat that took us from the inland sea, through a narrow cave out into the open sea. The water is 60 meters deep next to the limestone cliffs so it looks like a clear, sparkling, blue sapphire. The driver of the boat skilfully took us past the Azure Window and guided us in and out of caves where we could see the bottom of the ocean clearly and the orange and purple coral that grew off the limestone.
For lunch Mario dropped us at Xlendi and recommended we try The Stone Crab restaurant which we did. The view across the crystal clear aqua bay was beautiful and the food was delicious. Gemma and David were adventurous and tried some local cuisine which was the Gozantine Ravioli, filled with locally made sheep's cheese.
Our tour with Mario ended at Mgarr Harbour where we boarded a boat to cross to Comino Island and the famous blue lagoon. As expected the sea was rough and our boat felt like a ride on a mechanical bull. The Blue Lagoon however, was worth it. Stunning aquamarine water, hundreds of blue striped sun lounges with orange and blue umbrellas greeted us as we disembarked the boat. The water was warm and clear. The moment was sullied when Amber was stung by a brown and yellow jelly fish which left her with a large welt under her arm. Nevertheless we all kept swimming and enjoyed the reprieve from the Maltese heat.