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Postcard from Gozo, Malta on TravelSnapz

Fungus Rock

Fungus or General's Rock, near Dwerjra.

A visit to Malta is not complete without spending some time on the little island of Gozo.

In the past, the island has been somewhat isolated. But now regular ferries ply the short stretch of water that separates this island of around 70 square kilometers from the main part of Malta.

There is, perhaps, a slower pace here than on the main island. Recent development has seen tourist facilities and holiday units built around the beach areas, but you get the impression life has not changed too much even with the improved ferry access.

The main town lies around the old walls of the Citadel of Gozo which is situated near the centre of the island. There are buses that meet the ferries and it is a relatively short journey to the main bus station. From here, our first port of call was the Citadel area.

Gozo was the first part of Malta to fall to the Arab invaders in the mid 1500's. At the approach of the Ottoman force, the islanders fled to the security of the Citadel. At the prospect of a full-blooded canon barrage, the inhabitants negotiated a surrender, but most of the people were still carried off as slaves.

From the ramparts of the Citadel, you can see that Gozo is still mainly an island of rural pursuits. A later visit to the excellent ethnographic/folk lore museum at Gharb gave us a worthwhile insight into the past of the island.

At the glass factory there is an excellent viewing area - you can see the process as the art glass is formed into souvenirs and practical glass pieces.

From Gharb, we walked past the glass factory now specializing in art glass, Glass blowing in Gharbon to St Lawrence and a small folk village selling local products, to eventually arrive at the inland sea at Dwerjra. It was a hot walk of around 7 kilometers from memory, and the sight of the inland sea was all the more welcome.

The inland sea is nothing much more than a large lagoon separated from the ocean by a tunnel. The local fishermen will give you a trip through the tunnel if the weather is not too rough.

Worth seeing nearby is the Azure Window (a rock arch on the coast through which you can view the lovely azure colour of the Mediterranean) and Fungus Rock.

Fungus Rock is so called because of the parasitic plant that grew here. This plant was held in high regard for its medicinal qualities. The Knights of Malta valued this plant so much that they erected some towers to house soldiers assigned to stop anyone stealing the "fungus".

You won't need any of the plant to stop you getting sick of the scenery on Gozo. Your main problem will be co-ordinating your buses to the various parts of the island and back again to the main bus station. You could probably take an organised tour, but half the fun is getting there and back in your own time, in your own (slower) pace, to match the mood of the island itself.

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