DELIGHTFUL CLIFFS

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Xlendi, is a village on the South-West coast of Gozo, it is surrounded by steep cliffs to one side, they look very impressive from every angle.  One can climb them via stairs that lead one to the Caroline cave, this walk gives lovely views over the bay, the clear water, sometimes blue, sometimes green.  It is of great interest to people that are interested in the rocks and flora that grows in the crevices.  Beautiful!  So one day we walked, or rather climbed this delightful hike and I like to share some of what we found.

20161221_134732The limestone rocks along the walk. 20161221_135022The rocks are amazing, full of fossils, beautifully light in colour.

And finally one goes down to the Caroline Cave where the water laps against the weathered rocks.

Some of the flora along the walk, amazing how the plants grow out of the crevices of the rocks, and look so healthy and fresh!

Back down at the sea front. Xlendi is actually a fishing village, though a lot of it’s income these days comes from tourism too.  We always love going to Xlendi, it was the first place we stayed in last spring, we get there by bus in about five minutes from here and because there are more and other beautiful cliff walks to be found there we never get bored, always we come across something new, a plant, an insect, always something interesting to see.  I also love the trees in the square, there are some old Tamarisk trees, which look like old men riddled with arthritis, but they are beautiful too.

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I guess I will never, no matter how small the island of Gozo is, find at a loss of what to go and explore, so much to see and do, in fact a great place to live.

 

FARE THEE WELL XLENDI

It is a fond goodbye to Gozo tomorrow morning early. I did my last walk along the cliffs this afternoon, noticing things that have given us so much joy, the sun most of all because we lack it so much back in Ireland, the flora and the fauna, the beautiful limestone rocks, the other visitors, most of them with smiles on their faces obviously enjoying similar sights to us, the colour of the sea which changes with subtle weather conditions, the sounds of the peacock, the geese, the starlings, and the crickets, the vantage point from our highly perched flat which has given us a fantastic eagle’s eye view over the sea and the village below. We have seen the sea boiling, producing white heads by strong winds, and we have seen the sea calm as a mirror, with colours of the water ranging from deep royal blue to a beautiful turquoise or azure blue. Here it has been a feast for the all our senses, we are very grateful that we had a full month of this soul nourishing holiday.
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BETWEEN MOON RISING AND SUN SETTING

This evening we took a walk along the cliffs at Xlendi.  It had been a hot day and the evening cool was nice and refreshing.  Where the path leaves the road it becomes interesting and I found many wild plants and flowers growing here.  The landscape was beautifully lit by the setting sun, which throws a special warm light over the earth.  Higher up along the cliffs there is an amazing array of terraced walls in the local stone, the walls are dry, stones just left on top of one another.  It looks like they are terraced agriculture land but they are actually a pathway winding its way up to the top of the cliff, towards the tower, we did not get that far this time but are planning another walk and pick-nick soon up there.  The moon was rising at the same time, full moon it seems too, it is so very beautiful here, photos just don’t do it justice.

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GOZA’S NATURAL HERITAGE

This morning we made our first walk in Gozo. We are staying in Xlendi which is a little place on the South-West of the island. It consists of what looks like a ravine, or a mini-fjord, and is flanked on the one side with apartments built in honey coloured limestone, and with rocks and short shrubbery on the other side.

DSCF4526We are staying in one of the apartments, ground floor at the front door, but a very high fourth floor on the opposite side where the balcony is.

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The apartment does not get much sun as it is NW facing, only when the sun is about to go down do we see any of it, nice to get the setting sun, however, it does make the place here rather chilly for the time of year, and for the first time since we arrive on the Maltese island have I had to wear thermals inside. Outside, though it is glorious, lovely and warm in the sun, and the sky blue without any cloud. Obviously we are going to be outside most of the time, soaking up the sun as much as all the history and architecture of the island, but this morning I concentrated on the natural heritage which is simply amazing and so interesting.

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We walked down a path only a stone’s throw away, and discovered a wealth of wildlife and flora, we also saw the most beautiful blue sea and rocks stretching as far as the eye could see. I got working with taking macro photos of the flowers and insects while Ian strolled on and sat resting on one of the many benches. One of the most pleasing factors was the sea breeze which was both refreshing and warmly scented.

The flower of the Mallow plant, and an ant lost on the large hot rocks. The shrubs and wild plants are low and stay small mainly because there is such a water shortage here, it is April right now and the people have not seen any rain since the New Year. The rocky soil also contributes to the stunted growth of the plants. Everywhere we see lizards, beautiful little creatures, very fast, though they love to just sun bathe, difficult subjects to take photos of.  Their colour varies, but like this one green seems to predominate.

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There is a steep road down to the little harbour, apparently at some time there are many of the Gozitan fishing boats anchored there, but now, now we only saw clear aqua marine water and fish of which I do not know the name.

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This is the path leading down to the sea, there is also another path that leads over the hill towards the tower seen on the left and to some of the salt pans. But that is going to be a walk for another day.

 

 

In the photo on the right, Lichen, these lichen are growing colourfully on some of the rocks, the rocks are mainly limestone, with plainly to see fossils.

Here is one of the fossils, they are so interesting and make for an exciting walk, to think that these creatures are the makings of the sedentary rocks surrounding us.

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One of my favourite photos and views of the morning was this flower, the name of it escapes me totally, please if someone knows can you tell me.  It was delicately scented.

DSCF4590Among other plants and trees I’ve seen are the African Tamarix trees here, they are considered an endangered species, but seem to do well here.

And yet another creature I came across, a type of beetle I guess.

I know that there is a lot more to explore in nature here, this is only the first day and we have a whole month here.  I hope to keep writing about what I discover and illustrate with my photos.  Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed.