We left on this walk from Xlendi to the Sanap Cliffs to the Ta’ Ċenċ dolmen and the Ta’ l’Imramma Temple to Mġarr ix-Xini at the base of Wied Ħanżira and up to Ix-Xewkija around 6:15 am (we hate mornings, but optimism and my desire to see things drove us).
It was not early enough.
But the dawn was beautiful, though already hot. The cliffs of Xlendi bay beyond the fields:
We walked past farmers at work in their fields, heard the steady thud of what sounded like the wielding of a hoe by hand. Mist still hovered inland surrounding Ix-Xewkija’s enormous church. We have circled this church throughout our time here.
We walked perilously along a narrow path between wall and cliff. The path had been closed off. We retraced our steps. The only good this brought us was a view of a cholla with the main island of Malta beyond, the first cholla I’d seen here though nopales are everywhere.
In Sannat — goats! We disappointed them.
Then on, to the dolmen of Ta’ Ċenċ.
A scatter of worked stone, the imposing Citadel rising up behind.
A little further the Ta’ l’Imramma Temple, from the Mġarr phase, 3800-3600 BCE. Wondrously old, though there is very little still left to be seen here. Megaliths — believed to be still standing where they were set, but now built into a wall:
Beyond them a pile of rubble, with megaliths strewn across an area which our book (Archaeological Walks on Gozo by Lenie Reeddijk) said was about 80m in circumference:
There are cart ruts to be found here too, but it was too hot for short turning asides. We ignored such instructions, followed the road down past Wied Ħanżira, almost hidden at first:
Then opening up:
We walked towards sea and terraced hillsides.
Down to a most beautiful bay — Mġarr ix-Xini, which means landing place for ships — helped with a short ride from some divers heading down. They thought we were crazy I know. They were absolutely right, we all knew it. We did not swim nor wait two hours until they returned back up the hill as they suggested, but climbed out again, up steps cut into the rock.
We staggered back up really.
Arriving finally at the outskirts of Ix-Xewkija — oldest village on Gozo, a shrine:
The church itself, which claims the third largest unsupported dome in the world, in the oldest village on Gozo:
And I quite loved Ix-Xewkija:
But nothing can describe the joy of seeing that bus, and an end to this walk.