MARSALFORN – GOZO

A little journey to visit Marsalforn today, an apparent busy tourist place in the North-East of the island, where the apartment buildings greet you as you get closer to the sea and the promenade.  The narrow little streets of the older village are quant and more interesting.  The sea itself is so blue and transparent, and to the north of the harbour you can still see some fishing boats and nets.  It is only a few minutes bus drive from Victoria, which is the capital of Gozo and lies in the middle of the island.  Every place on Gozo is close by each other, a short bus drive and you are there.

I discovered a few colourful and beautiful sights while there today.  I saw that the reddish fishing nets they had in Marsaxlokk, Malta were being used here too, and baskets to catch octopus, as far as I know.  While walking in among some of the apartment blocks I then came across the little yellow Oxalis Pes-Caprae flowers, and a few of the Sulla flowers which brighten everything with their beautiful shade of red.

On the way to Marsalforn I saw some signs of agricultural practices, this I am very interested in, Gozo has suffered drought for a few months now and everything does look very dry, though the neatly ordered rows of vegetables, I saw lots of onions, looked healthy enough.  The hay had been harvested too in lots of fields.  I want to explore this further, what is being grown, produced and so on.  I did see quite a few vine yards but they were smaller than in Malta.  The grapes are delicious here though.  I know that a lot of wells are being used to water the land, but also that the mains water comes from desalination of seawater, I want to find out more about all this.

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The views out to sea along some of the coast are impressive with the limestone eroded in all sort of shapes.  .

 

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As far as I know it is a basket to catch octopus with

 

One of the stones of which newly built walls were made near the dried out river in the town, in this limestone I could see crystals if that is possible, very beautiful and intriguing.  These type of walls you see all over Gozo and in Malta too, they used to be erected to prevent erosion but also of course to divide the land.  I think they look so lovely, all the white limestone pilled up on each other.  The wall I came across in Marsalforn was a new one, but I believe that the older types are now under the protection of the Heritage rules.

Though I was not that impressed with the touristy area of this town, we are going to go back and explore the older town and beyond, beyond is where the salt pans are and some other villages, I am curious!  More to come on that part of Gozo.

FISHERMEN AT WORK

Still in Marsaxlokk village,  as I was looking out of the window late one evening, and minding my own thoughts, one of the fishing boats arrived, it was the first time I actually saw more than the boats, the men, and the nets, I was already wondering when I would see the fish being brought to shore, and I was a bit curious about that.

Locally I have seen no butcher shops in this village, and that suits me fine, moreover there are several very successful fish shops that sell a whole range of fish and shellfish. Anyway to go back to my story, the boat arrived, and already the little refrigerated van was standing ready on the pier, door open.
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Next was all hands on deck, even the driver of the little van is helping, the fish had been kept cool in the bottom of the boat, in a special compartment closed off from the rest of the boat, I see the men loading the fish and handing the plastic containers to be stacked into the little van.  It did not take them long, in fact there seemed very little fish to be brought ashore.

It’s incredible how hard these fishermen work and how much time they put into mending and untangling their nets, this alone is a time consuming job and you always see the men doing so.  In fact though I have also seen some women at this work here in the village.

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Finally they are unloading some of the nets and putting them on the pier, and they left again, not sure if it was to catch more fish or what.  The woman and the little van also drove off.  You see these little white refrigerated vans all over the place around here.

Fishing nets are here drying in the sun, and also being unravelled.  And the man is mending nets, I’ve seen more of them do this, they hold the net with their feet and using a large needle-like implement they sew and repair the nets.

Thanks to the fishermen for letting me photograph them, much appreciated.  It’s great to see something of the local activity, this is a fishing village after all.