GGANTIJA TEMPLES

It has been quite a few days since I wrote in my blog, so now I am back and with pleasure. My sister was with us and we had so much to see and talk about that nothing came from writing. It was, of course, a very valuable time.

Gozo is still a place where, now after nearly two months I’m totally happy, relaxed, and feeling joy in everyday walking around the beautiful limestone houses, churches, other buildings and landscapes. The flowers, plants and insects are very attractive to me and to learn about them is a delight. The people are friendly and very nice. I have now attended two of my pillow lace making classes and have become friendly with the women there, delightful, and I just totally adore making the lace – well that is to say – learning the first stitches. It is a very relaxing activity and the work is beautiful to look at.

With December coming up there is a lot of activity planned by the local people to celebrate Christmas, religion is still very much part of it, which is only normal in my view and it is refreshing not to be in a total commercial way of celebrating Christmas. It is warm, feels like it is around 20C and sometimes over 20C. We have had thunder storms and one week of much needed rain, you could see the fields becoming greener as the days went by. Now I see farmers tending to their vegetable plots.

I cannot help taking photos, some of which I hope to use in starting to draw in pencil, and I like to share them too. This place is a photographer’s paradise if you are interested in architecture – which I am too. But also if you just like to document the local flora and fauna. I know that in the coming month I will have the opportunity to photograph people at their festivals and that too will be interesting.

And so I will share our last day together. My sister and I delighted as we visited the ancient temples in Xaghra and walked for two hours around that really charming town. We had a lovely lunch in the square as well. And we descended 10 meters down into the earth to look at caves, it was a strange feeling being in the bowels of the earth, very strange and my first time being in such a low cave, our heads nearly touching the ceilings.

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Man selling little jars of Carob syrup or honey on the way to the  temples.

Views of the Ggantija temples which date back to between 3600 and 3200 B.C.  The outer shell of the temples has been well preserved because it has been made from Coralline limestone which is hardwearing, while the inner structures like doors or altars had been made in the softer Globigerina limestone.

Lunch at a nice little eating place near the church and in the square was delicious.  We walked for hours along the narrow roads of this town, we saw beautiful lacy curtains on the double doors which is traditional here.  I love the arches, the different features in the architecture of the houses, and the use of a little colour is striking as seen in the blue paint on the gold stone.  Often people may be sitting on a bench or chairs and enjoying the peace of the place here in Gozo.  My sister Josefine posing near a beautiful historical door.

Inside the caves.  Though fascinating it is not totally my cup of tea, I was too aware of being so deep underground.

We came across this man making his lace.  My teacher later told me that he is the only ‘man’ in Gozo that makes lace.  His work was so very neat!

And this are the leaves, bark, fruit, and flower of the Carob tree (Ceratonia silique), and evergreen tree the pods of which are used here to make a syrup used for cough and sore throats.  Originally also used as animal fodder, the tree belongs to the pea family.

I hope to be back now to writing as I have so much to share of this amazing place.  All my senses are at top performance to take it all in and reflecting on it is what my blog at the moment is all about.  I hope my friends and followers will enjoy some of it too.

 

XAGHRA VILLAGE IS PEACEFUL

For some days now I’ve been saying that I should visit the village that we can see from our walk on the outskirts of Victoria, high up on the hillside it towers above the countryside. I was intrigued to know more about it. On the map I could see that the village is called Xaghra (pronounced shara with the ‘SH’ of Schindler) Its population is around the 5000! Seeing that the Ġgantija megalithic temples, as well as a stone circle are found there – it must be one of the earliest areas on Gozo of human habitation.

I found the village very peaceful, the little streets picturesque, and the ambience friendly. On this visit I did not go into the temples, nor visited the windmill which, by the way, dates back to 1725. That, as well as the caves with its stalactites and stalagmites, is planned for a visit in the near future. I started off by visiting the church (our Lady of Victories) always curious about what the magnificent Baroque façade will reveal on the inside. It was well worth it too, though too ornamental for my taste. After that I walked for a long time along the narrow streets, just enjoying the limestone houses, some really old and brittle, some quite new. I eventually ended up at a museum of toys where I was shown around all the amazing things of the past, a very interesting place and very nice people to welcome you.

One very interesting building I came across, and will talk about this further down among the photos of it.

I walked for hours (my workout for the day) and took the bus home to Victoria which drove there in 5minutes, I still cannot believe how close together all the places are here.
A wonderful day it was!
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Below are the photos of the building I wanted to talk about.  Though I know nothing about it actually, only what I can see and deduct.  Both the older and the newer building are literary built on rough rock, I just wonder how this is possible, it looked as if the buildings were just plunked loosely on top, but I am sure that cannot be the case.  Also the grey rock seems different material to the regular limestone that is used here as building material.  It’s killing me and I just have to find out more about it.  The last two pictures I took to the side of the older building, there seems something going on with the cement (not sure what type of cement it is)  it gives an interesting and lovely design in the last photo.  I did see this sort of thing also on some of the other buildings in the village.  On my next visit I will go to the town council and try and find out more.  The limestone of the Maltese islands has me totally bewitched.

The lady at the toy museum is a goldmine of information, she showed me so many of the toys, explaining all about them.