Believe It Or Not in Gozo

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Seven outstanding facts about the church of St John the Baptist in Xewkija On our last day in Gozo, we simply had to make the trip to the church we had dubbed the “Sacre Coeur”, a large rotunda a couple of kilometres behind the ferry port: after all, we had lived in the shadow of the “original” for 20 years and were eager to find out whether their close resemblance was mere coincidence or not.

Although our visit failed to shed any light on this question, we found out a great many things about Gozo’s “Sacre Coeur” – such as, for instance, that there are only three larger free-standing domes in Europe: St Peter’s in Rome, St Paul’s in London and St Maria Assumption on Malta. And this was only the first of many surprises.

Here are seven even more astonishing facts about the church of

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Blood, Sweat and Sunburn

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A pilgrimage to the Ta’ Pinu Church and the Way of the Cross may help you acquire a deeper understanding of Gozo’s profound religiosity

One thing that no visitor of Gozo can fail to notice is the native Gozitans’ love for sculpture – and their refreshing lack of respect for (or even fear of) the Taste Police. The front door of nearly every Gozitan home is decorated by one or several small statues that range from the plain silly …

… to the classical-mythical-hallucinatory …

… and beyond.

(Please note that the cherub on the right still has a songbird on his hand, while the one on the left appears to have eaten his already).

By far the majority of statues in front of Gozitan houses, however, are

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Easy Hiking on Land and Sea: Go for It in Gozo!

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#MaltaisMore There is more than one way of experiencing Gozo’s gorgeous coastline The main feature of Gozo’s landscape is, of course, its coastline – Gozo is an island, after all, and not a very big one at that, so the Mediterranean Sea is not only all around it but can also be seen from almost anywhere: church steeples, hills, and – if you are lucky – the balcony of your holiday let. But no matter how or from where you are looking at it: it is always gorgeous.

The coast also plays a central role in Gozo’s programme for hikers: in addition to the “Magnificent 7” that we introduced in our last post, there is also a coastal walk of roughly 35 km in length that leads you once around the island either in three easy stages or two slightly less easy ones –

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Gozo’s Magnificent Seven …

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… and what to expect from them: quaint country lanes, magnificent churches and majestic views over the Mediterranean Sea. Hikers can experience the island of Gozo on seven hiking trails that have been laid out and marked (fairly efficiently) by the Malta Tourism Authority. All walks come with a dedicated leaflet (featuring a map, photos and notes) that is available from any local Tourism Office. (The main such office is located on Independent Square in the centre of the island’s capital of Victoria.)

The trails – each around 10 km long – cover all areas of Gozo and together give you a full introduction into the island’s charms, taking you around the coastline, over the hills and past the rocks or craggy cliffs that have been made famous by the TV series “Game of Thrones”.

There is even a special (eighth) issue

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Gozo: First Impressions

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#MaltaisMore We arrived late in the day in Gozo and barely had the time to familiarize ourselves with the island, but after our first half day, one thing is already clear: it is not at all what I had imagined.

From what I had read, I had expected to find a throwback to the Mediterranean world of the 1950s, an island full of dirt roads with a agricultural delivery van passing by every ten minutes in a cloud of dust, villages with women in black veils who quickly rush back into their houses as soon as an unfamiliar face turns around the corner, church bells and mustachioed men with hard faces and suspicious eyes.

I smile as I write this, because Gozo is not like that at all, and a throwback – if any at all – only to the Mediterranean world

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