How lucky am I? I’ve just got back from the most chilled, beautiful and inspired trip to a tiny Mediterranean island that I’ve got to say I had never previously had heard of. Gozo is Malta’s baby sister – just 20 minutes away by ferry. However, it feels like a lot longer away in terms of development as it quickly becomes apparent that life there seems not to have changed for a long long time. It is only small(they say you are never more than a 10-minute drive to the sea) but all around are reminders of the many cultures that have determined the island from pre-Roman times to the British rule which only ended in 1964. In fact, life is still very ‘British’ friendly – they drive on the left, virtually everyone speaks English and I even did my shopping in a ‘Waitrose’! However what comes across most emphatically is the peace and calm that somehow seems to come from the island life. This was never more apparent than when in the wonderful villa I was given the opportunity to stay in by the lovely people at Oliver’s travels‘. Set secluded in an unspoiled valley that ran down to the see Orchidea was an old Gozoan farmhouse converted to the hight of luxury living.
The rooms – the size of football pitches – had been imaginatively decorated with individually crafted rustic furnishings including four-poster beds fit for any royalty. Outside was the most beautiful pool and around it all (the best bit for me) genuine 360-degree views of the hills and the sea. It could not have been more peaceful, the only sound I could ever hear was the wind. Life on Gozo is very much an up and down affair – they don’t seem to do flat – the island is a series of hills which once at the top give fabulous views sometimes as far as Sicily 80 Km away. I traveled around and took in some of the sights including ancient Roman salt pans, gorgeous sandy coves and any amount of the most impressive churches. However for me, the great attraction was the timeless quality the island generates, it really felt that parts of it have not changed for thousands of years. Some of the little villages and the agricultural terracing look as though they could be used to illustrate the Bible!
The weather on Gozo is invariably delicious (the next stop south is Africa) and it’s only a 3-hour flight from London. Whats more if you want an easy life I couldn’t recommend Oliver’s Travels more highly, apart from a most professional and efficient website they also provided a concierge service that took care of all the potentially confusing aspects of travel to a new destination including my car hire and ferry bookings. Furthermore, as a very cute gesture, they send all their clients a ‘happy holidays’ gift before leaving home and then again there was another waiting for me when I returned.
I had such a good time away in Gozo it brought out my poetic side:
Do you like snow? Yes, then give London a go – if its a no – Go Gozo!