On day 3, it was time to visit different villages on Gozo by bus. The funny thing about going around by bus on Gozo is, you never know if it is worthwhile spending 40 minutes at Victoria's bus station waiting for the 5 minute ride to your destination. Since distance between each settlements on the island is short, you can probably walk to the village you want to go during the time you spent waiting at the bus station.
As I had some time to spare on my hands, instead of walking up the 3km country lane towards the seaside hamlet of Xlendi, I sat down at a small cafe right across the road from the bus station and spent the next 40 minutes drinking Lavazza latte macchiato.
As expected, the bus ride to Xlendi took less than 10 minutes....
Xlendi is a cute little seaside place with rocky cliffs and a few decent restaurants. There is no sandy beach nearby but you can still swim in the sea using the rock-path and stairs leading down into the water. Somehow it was very windy on that day; waves splashed up on shore and drench the pavements, the current was too strong for swimming.
So I chose to have my cup of tea and cake at a nice hotel on the waterfront instead.
Both Malta and Gozo have been part of the British Empire (later the British Commonwealth of Nations) for years, thus their food, culture and lifestyle are invariably influenced by the British. Their proximity to southern Italy means you can always find excellent coffee bars and great Mediterranean food at reasonable prices around the corner, while the impact of British way-of-life on Maltese-Gozitan heritage result in the availability of decent afternoon tea and cake everywhere you go.
After my tea-time, it was time to hit the road and try to catch the bus to the famous Blue Cave. Since the Blue Cave is a long way out of town (about 20 minutes by bus and the road is quite winding close to the end), it is advisable to go there by bus or by car. There are 3-4 buses per day from Victoria to the Blue Cave and return. Make sure you plan your trip properly as the next bus returning to Victoria is 1.5 hours later, and there are few cafes or restaurants in the vicinity where you can sit down and take a rest. I ended up seeking shelter from the sun in a church on top of a small hill near the Azure Window.
If you ask me whether the Blue Cave is worth a visit, I would say it depends on what kind of thing you expect to do while on holiday. To be honest I have seen much more impressive views in other parts of the world than this, but on the other hand it is the emotional value of the likelihood of Gozo being Calypso's island that makes a visit quite special. After all, one does not have the chance to visit an immortal nymph's island stronghold every day....
At the other side of the Blue Cave, there is a small lagoon where small boats operate regular boat trips to the Azure Window. The visit to the Blue Cave takes about 30-40 minutes, depending on the weather and the current. There are also a few small shops selling beverages and snacks around the Lagoon where you can enjoy a glass of beer in the shade.
This is how bus stops on Gozo and Malta look like - all you need to do is wait at the road side, wave at the bus when you see one approaching and that's it!!
Copyrights 2009. All Rights Reserved. All photos and text by YC Cheng.