I had been counting down the weeks, days and hours to go until I could pack my bag once more and head off on holiday with my buddies. After many grueling months at work I needed some sunshine and relaxation and Gozo, the small island north of Malta, sounded like the perfect holiday destination.
To get to Gozo you have to fly in to Malta and then get the ferry out of Mgarr Harbour. Its worth saying from the outset that if you plan to go to Gozo, you will need a hire car. Despite being a small island, it would take hours to get around the windy roads on the unreliable local buses but only a matter of minutes to cover the entire diameter of the island by driving yourself.
Enter holiday disaster number one – hiring our care. Brace yourself for a rant.
I hate hire care companies with a passion. They constantly try to trip you up and charge you for every stipulation in a confusing and never ending contract. They penalize you for being under 25 even if you have a completely clear driving record. Eurocar, having given us confirmation that we would be able to pay for full insurance cover at the point of pick up rather than leaving a credit card with an £800 limit on it, then back tracked and told us this was not an option because neither of the drivers were over 25. Apparently the guidance we had been given by the customer services department was through an agency as was wrong and they refused to accept responsibility for providing us with wrong information.
I felt sorry for the chap on the desk, he clearly had no power to make an exception for us but it meant we had no option but to give details of multiple credit cards to cover the potential damage payments. Not only this, it meant that as soon as we’d agreed to do this, we could no longer instate the full damage waiver fee because the policy had already begun – meaning we were left with no insurance even though we’d not even seen the car at this stage.
I’m going to end this rant here but just finally say. Hiring a car on holiday is sometimes non negotiable and car hire companies know this and capitalise on screwing over their customers because they have no other alternative.
Lets leave that to one side however and move on with what was a fantastic holiday with our little Kia Picanto that we affectionately named Peter.
We checked into our stunning Farmhouse Villa on the north of the island. It was advertised as a 7 bed property, which was for the four of us I’ll admit, a little outrageous even before we saw the place.
The house was beyond what we’d imagined. It was huge, it could have easily slept 10+ people comfortably. Each bedroom had an en suite plus there was an additional bathroom downstairs.
The best part however, was of course the pool. A rather quirky design built around a palm tree, our pool was large enough to satisfy even my pool standards (these are pretty high) and our garden had a stunning view out over the Gozo hills.
We booked our accommodation through Holiday Lettings which I would really recommend. Our landlords were super helpful and friendly so if you’re interested in giving Gozo a spin I could never say too many good things about this property.
(It’s also a bargain!)
After a good night’s sleep and a good splash in the pool I was keen to explore our new neighbourhood so took myself out on a stroll.
My first discovery is that Gozo is full of prickly pear trees!
Within ten minutes I could see the sea and a welcome sight it was. Living in London with the hub bub and the rushing and the pushing and the always on the go lifestyle can be exciting but it can also be exhausting and seeing the sea is always a trigger of relaxation for me – it helps me let go of stress and anxiety and put things back into perspective.
I had every intention of walking right down to the coast but the roads are a little, what you might call rocky and my strappy sandals weren’t particularly up to the task so I doubled back. Now, we all know I’m a sucker for climbing things and good views. On my way I had passed a particularly tempting hill and on my return journey, before I could stop myself I began to ascent.
Huffing and puffing and cursing myself for not wearing footwear with better grip, I reached the top and was incredibly glad I’d persevered.
Promising myself I would come back to watch the sun set later in the week, I headed back to the house as James was waiting for me to go exploring more of the island.
We jumped in Peter and just decided to see where the wind would take us. After a bizarre episode in which we ended up going round in a circle that shouldn’t have been physically possible we eventually ended up on the west coast at the Azure Window an incredible natural rock formation and one of Gozo’s biggest tourist attractions.
Just to give you an idea of the scale of the window, this is me sitting in front of it… and if you look closely there are two tiny little people sitting right on top of it.
We sat for a while watching the waves
And obviously posed for a selfie.
If you ever find yourself on Gozo, make sure you visit it! Plus the windy steep road on the way down is worth it all on its own for any thrill seekers among you!
We jumped back in the car and whizzed back to the villa for our first full evening. What better way to kick off a week of holiday cooking than with a BBQ and what a BBQ it was!
The meat got cooking as the sun went down and the sky turned a gorgeous array of colours.
We were settling in nicely and hoping our one precious week would not disappear too quickly.