Last full day in Malta! How can you be anything other than thrilled with the new day when you wake up to this view off your balcony??

Today we decided to go to Gozo Island and explore. We also wanted to be back by 6 so we’d have some time to do laundry and chill out a bit. You have to take a ferry over (20 euros round trip, payable upon return). We drove over to the dock and got in line. These ferries are really big! There are multiple levels for cars, which is cool. We parked and walked out to the decks to see the view. This water… I swear… It is SO clear! Even right here at a boat dock! Saw a school of fish, which always makes me happy.

Crossing paths with one of the other ferries. We’re on the same kind of ferry.

Entering the harbor at Gozo Island.

It was about a 30 minute trip across the channel. We had planned kind of a counter clockwise drive around the island to check out a few things, and planned to end the day with some swimming. First stop was Blue Hole. On the way, we drove thru the town of Victoria, which was all decorated for its feast day. Best decorations we’ve seen so far!
Then, I saw signs for the Ta’ Dbiegi Crafts Village. We decided to follow them, and luckily it ended up being right on our route to Blue Hole. You never know what “crafts village” could mean. Normally, it’s “junky Chinese souvenir village”- which is something that makes me hurl. 😖 As soon as we pulled up though, I could tell it wasn’t that! Don’t get me wrong, there were a few hokey kinds of things. But the draw here was that there were several REAL studios, with craftspeople working their trade. Jewelry, leatherwork, weaving, candle making….and then the one that really caught our eye. Glass blowing. We went into the shop, and there were really some GORGEOUS pieces. We are not knick knack people (I called them “dust collectors”). And we only do souvenirs if we are “supporting local”, and they have some meaning for us. We don’t do junk. This stuff, was cool. And the best part? The studio was attached to the shop and you could watch them working!! Of course, I found a glass fish and immediately fell in love. Went into the studio, and they were making fish!! But the sign said no pictures. 😢 We went in and bought a fish for our “cabinet of travel curiosities” in our dining room, and I tentatively asked if I could take pictures. I mean, I had bought something- I wasn’t just an annoying looky-loo! The lady said yes, so I went out and told the man making fish that I had permission. Wow. So cool!!
As we pulled into the Blue Hole parking lot, we knew this was a super touristy thing! Lots of covered souvenir stalls and such. We walked down the path and got to the water. There was literally a large hole, and divers were coming in and out. Apparently it’s like 50 feet deep! People were swimming around in it, too. We walked around, took a few shots, and headed back out. Oh, and I did cave and buy a pair of sunglasses at a souvenir stand. My eyes were killing me- light colored rocks everywhere + sunshine = squinting = wrinkles = headache = nope.

The rocks were so strange- all pitted with little pools. See the defensive tower in the background? They’re all over the island

Next stop, the other side of the island to the salt pans. Other side of the island means like 6 miles. It’s not a big island… The salt pans actually turned out to be pretty cool! The Romans built the first ones. They’re large, shallow rectangular pans carved into the rock at the shore. The pans are filled with seawater. The water evaporates, leaving behind the salt that could then be collected. Cool! There was a lady with a cart selling salt, and we bought a bag for 2 euros. I love supporting that kind of thing!
We decided to walk around the area and explore a bit more. By the time we were done, it was 1230. I declared it to be lunch time, so we ordered a cheeseburger, a bacon and egg sandwich, fries, and two drinks from a little stand on the beach. 10 euros, so not bad at all! And pretty tasty to boot! Apparently I was so hungry that I forgot to snap a pic. That’s serious, people. 😑
Next stop, Calypso’s Cave- as in the cave Homer writes about in The Odyssey. We knew from research that the cave was no longer accessible, but the views of the red sand beach, Ramla l-Ħamra, were supposed to be nice. And they were! I wish we had spent more time here. I wish we had gone down to the beach…

Last major stop before swimming were the Ġgantija temples- the oldest of all the temples on Malta, about 5500 years old! On the way in, there were these MASSIVE bees with blue-black wings all over some yellow lantana. I took about 500 shots trying to get one in focus because they were fast as hell and only stayed on a flower for a few seconds. Here are the 2 that actually turned out. You’re welcome. (I’m desperate for wildlife shots…) Please comment praise and admiration for my mad photog skillz below, because I worked damn hard for those shots!! 😜 So…9 euros each to get into the temples. And honestly, they were just eh. The temples from day 2 were much nicer. We both said we could have easily skipped this.

Pear shaped peeps- rocking it since 3500 BC!

These are made out of COW TOE BONES!!!!!!!!!

Last stop of the day…. Finally time to take a dip in the Mediterranean! We had researched some boat trips last night, but were too late to book a scheduled trip. We did see that a lot of ferries went back and forth to a place called the Blue Lagoon on Comino Island, which was one of the main stops on the boat that we had wanted to book. So we decided to wing it. I noticed that there were a few ferry kiosks on the dock selling tickets. Perfect! I could smell a discount if I played my cards right. Which meant not looking too eager… As soon as we stepped on the dock, the first guy came up to us, asking if we were going to blue lagoon. Yes. Well, he had a boat leaving now. 10 euros each. I kept cool. “OK, let me take a brochure with the times. I want to check out the other companies…” I knew all of the companies charged the same rate from my online research. Sure enough, he said 15 euros for both of us if we’d go now. Sold. And while we were handing him our money, another couple walked up and paid 20. It’s about understanding the game and playing it. 😎 Fast, fun little boat ride over to Comino, which is kind of in between the main island and Gozo. 

This water is INSANE!!!!!!

As soon as we docked, I didn’t want to be here. I wasn’t sure how to tell Brian. You’re probably thinking, “WTF is wrong with you, woman?!”. Well, the dock was PACKED with people. Like sardines packed. Like could barely get off the boat because there were so many people. And the path to the beach was packed. And there were hawkers trying to rent you an umbrella or a chair. And souvenir stands. And people fucking EVERYWHERE. I mean, I didn’t see how we could even set our bags down with our cameras and stuff and swim- of course unless we rented a locker. We walked around the little bay area, and I finally broke down and told Brian I hated this place. He agreed. We turned right back around to see if we could pay for some other boat to take us somewhere, anywhere, else!! At the dock, there was a company that could take us to see the sea caves, and then drop us at another beach across from Blue Lagoon that had hardly any people on it (we could see it from where we were standing). I can’t remember how much it was (because I didn’t fucking care- get me the hell out of here!!), but I think like 15 euros each or something. First were the sea caves, and we had about 5 other people on the boat with us for that. They were cool- I enjoyed the Blue Grotto caves from a couple of days ago a lot more, but anything to get me off Sardine Beach Blue Lagoon.

Another boat met us and took the other people off our boat, and then we went and got dropped off on the other beach. We told the guy to pick us up in an hour (we aren’t lounge on the beach people, so we didn’t need a lot of time). We headed down the little path to choose a secluded spot. We found a little rock platform where no one was (everyone else had walked further down to the beach area). We clambered down the rocks to get to it. And that’s when it sunk in for me. I was expected to actually get into the water. I have a degree in marine biology. I know what’s in the water. I hate to get in the water. Plus, I’m not a strong swimmer. The water looked deep. Crystal clear, but deep. Fuuuuck. But my man likes to swim, and by god I was going to swim with him. Maybe. Probably. Yeah, I was. Oh, and did I mention I didn’t have a swimsuit? Fortunately, I only travel with ExOfficio Crossover Bras, and they look more like a bikini top than a bra, so no worries. So that and my shorts served the purpose. I sat on the rock platform. Other than something eating me and drowning, fear of cold water also keeps me on the sidelines. Brian, of course, was already in, and said it was warm. He’d say that as the Titanic was going down, so I didn’t put much faith in it. I put in a foot. OMG FREEZING!!!!!!!!! Note: Any water less than 85 degrees is freezing. I am not exaggerating. It took me a good 5 minutes to finally ease myself in. Cold water…conquered. Now I was scared of drowning. I told Brian to stay close and I was going to just doggy paddle because I’m best at that. And I actually was doing really good! We absolutely could not touch the bottom, even though we could see it. I’m guessing 12-15 feet at least. We’re cruising along, enjoying the solitude, when Brian gets an alarmed look on his face and blurts out that something just tagged him. He then immediately shut up, because he knows how freaked out I get in the water. In fact, the first thing I said after I got my entire body in was, “If something touches me, I’m going to panic and drown.” So I have no idea if he’s missing a leg or what the hell is going on, because he isn’t talking, he’s just swimming back, and I’m doggy paddling as fast as I can, and asking him what was it (asking is generous, more like frantically squeaking out the question multiple times). He finally says jellyfish. HOLY CRAP. We had seen swarms of two different types of jellys on the ferry ride over- brown and white. I had seen signs about jellys, and knew that box jellys (which can be DEADLY) were in the area, and here we were, secluded with no boat. Let’s just say that I’m about to have a nervous breakdown in 15 feet of water. He said he saw it, and it was a brown one. We had both been stung in Cuba a couple of years ago, and I was not looking for a repeat performance. We made it back to the rock platform, climbed out, and looked at his inner thigh, just under his short’s leg. It was red, but not terrible. We will carry vinegar with us from now on. We’re two out of two for getting stung in the ocean…

Zoom of Blue Lagoon across the water from us. You can see how packed it is at the beach area. Ridiculous.

After that debacle, we decided to head down to the sandy beach area and check it out. We walked around in the water a bit, but I was freaked out because I had seen sea urchins and was afraid of stepping on one. Never go into the ocean with a scaredy cat marine biologist…. Soon it was time to head back to meet our boat. It took us back to the crowded dock, where we had to wait on our return boat. We walked to the life guard shack to get a spray of vinegar for Brian’s leg, then headed back to the dock so we would be first in line for our return. Thank GOD the return actually showed up about 30 minutes early so we could get the hell out of there!

Bottom line, Blue Lagoon was a huge waste of time and money. I wish we had known, and just stayed at Ramla l-Ħamra by Calypso’s Cave. Not crowded and free. Or even the little beach by the salt pans. Took the ferry back to the main island, headed to the bnb, where we cooked a frozen pizza and did laundry. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in Malta! We both agreed it would have been best if we would have had 2 more days, because there’s a lot we didn’t get to explore. Maybe someday we’ll return. 🙂 But tomorrow is travel day, and we’re off to Rome!

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