Why Gozo ? My friends and family constantly ask. Why not ? I say.
Actually, there are lots of reasons why I chose Gozo. I could have stuck a pin in a world map and chosen anywhere I fancied. In the end it came down to family ties and not wanting to be too far from everyone. Or at least not too far for them to come out to me.
Being able to speak the language is a big plus, as is the fact everyone drives on the left...well most of the time anyway !
But the biggest reason for me is that Malta and Gozo bridge the gap between Europe and North Africa. I have long had a fascination for North Africa and my travels to Morocco and Libya have just strengthened that. Malta is only 100 miles from the Libyan coast but it seems closer in spirit. The Maltese language is an impossible mix of Arabic and ancient Sicilian and it's the only Semitic language written in Latin script. X's are pronounced 'sh' and other letters are are completely silent....it will take some learning.
The islands have a wonderful mix of Italian and Arab architecture, with peeling paint and decorative doors and balconies. Tiny streets wind their way through the towns and villages leading to bustling squares or abruptly ending at the sea. Sitting along side this sleepyness Malta has a very cosmopolitan vibe too, which gives the feeling of being in any major Italian city, but the whole is uniquely Maltese.
Mgarr harbour on Gozo, with it's pretty boats and winding road up to the capital Victoria welcome visitors off the ferry. I have chosen Gozo to live because it is a little sleepier than her big sister Malta, the pace is not so frantic, there aren't so many people. It is greener and more sedate and I hope the quiet slow pace will be conducive to my painting. The 20 min or so ferry ride from Mgarr to Cirkewwa makes an easy hop across the water, the road journey on the other side though, does take nerves of steel or a long bus ride to Sliema for a little retail therapy. You should note that all buses with an X on them are to be avoided at all cost, as they all go via the airport. I discovered, after a 20 min journey took an hr and a half !
I guess you can lean out of your balcony and chat with the neighbours....nice.
The streets in The capital Valletta are a little wider but all the buildings still have these wonderful Juliet balconies. It does seem extraordinarily hilly for such a small place though.
......and the Yacht Club is an oasis in the melee that is Sliema.