Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Gozo And Comino

We booked a day tour to Gozo and Comino with Captain Morgan Tours. It was cloudy in the morning but we figured the day would improve over time. We arrived at the ship at 9:30, which turned out to be plenty of time. There was a short queue but nothing unmanageable. The crewman checked our ticket, and then strapped the correct-coloured wristbands to us so that we (and they) could make sure we were getting on and off at the right places.

We left at 10:00am and chugged out of the harbour and up the coast to our next pick-up point, Bugibba. As soon as we were under way, the bar opened, and yes, there were some folk determined to take advantage of the free beer and wine on offer straight away. At this point, however, we stuck to water. After picking up more passengers at Bugibba, the captain then informed us of the possibility of getting off at Comino and spending three hours there, with a boat tour to various sites around the island only accessible by sea, finishing up in the Blue Lagoon. We’d already booked to go to Gozo, so declined this offer.

We dropped off a number of passengers at Comino, then went on to Gozo. The captain told us what would happen when we got there: a visit to a tomato factory, followed by a church. Um. OK, we’ll go with the flow. The “tomato factory” turned out to be a Gozitan crafts outlet, where they attempted to sell us overpriced Gozitan produce, including some made from tomatoes.

As we reboarded our bus, we were treated to an impromptu piece of street theatre. It seems that one Italian couple had decided to sit in a different seat to the ones they’d arrived in, and the former occupants of said seats objected. There followed an argument which lasted about ten minutes, and involved around half the bus – i.e. all the Italian speakers, each of whom felt duty-bound to offer their opinion. Italians, eh? No wonder they lost the war (pick any war…they lost them all).

The next stop was a church at a place where god spoke to a woman, and then someone decided to build a church there because of this. This was a short stop just to take pictures, and fortunately no-one decided to change seats when we got back on the bus.

The driver then dropped us in Ir-Rabat, or Victoria as it’s known to English people, the principal town in Gozo. We managed to secure a table at a cafĂ© for lunch (there were about three different tour operators all dropping people in the same area at the same time, so this was an achievement) and had a rather hurried lunch, as the Italians had cut heavily into our schedule. We practically ran up the steps to the citadella, took a few snaps, and then headed back to the pickup point in time for the bus, as there was to be no hanging around for stragglers – if you’re not on the bus, you get left behind, as the boat is on a schedule.

The boat took us back to Comino, and we had around an hour on the island to visit, and swim in, the Blue Lagoon. This is a sandy lagoon with very clear water. We did New Zealand proud by marching purposefully into the water and diving straight in, unlike some lesser nationalities who crept in, waving their arms around, and generally behaving less than heroically. We had a nice long swim, then dried off and returned to the boat. From here on in the cruise was back to the pickup points. At one point the captain alerted us to the presence of dolphins, but we didn’t see any.

 After returning to our apartment to wash the salt from our bodies, we headed out to Ali Baba, a nearby Lebanese restaurant, for some (no shit!) Lebanese food.

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