Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
Trip End Oct 17, 2007

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Flag of Malta  ,
Friday, October 12, 2007

As I mentioned yesterday my Maltese family (including Michael and Josette) had the day off work today, we were all going to the island of Gozo! Gozo is the second biggest island of the 3 that make up Malta. It is roughly 1 third the size of Malta but only has 1 tenth of its population which makes it more easy going and less stressful whilst still offering the attractive elements of beautiful historical buildings, the affable Maltese people and the stunning Mediterranean swimming spots.

We drove to the top right corner of Malta, then boarded a ferry (in our car) which makes the 20 minute journey to and from Gozo throughout the day. We spent the rest of the day driving around to different points of interest and to the many beautiful swimming spots scattered around the island. I have to say that Gozo is very nice indeed. When planning my journey before leaving Australia I had originally intended to spend 4-5 days in Gozo but never really got around to it. Next time I am here I am definitely going to do it. Probably around a place called Xlendi which was very nice. Gozo is home to many converted farm houses that can be rented and it is best to do so in a group, I spoke with Michael and Josette and they are interested so next time if I am here with my brothers perhaps spending a few days in Gozo in one of the farm houses will be a fantastic experience.

Highlight of the day was us buying "Ftira Pizzas" and setting ourselves up nicely on a beach. It had been threatening to rain all morning and after a few minutes I said "Perhaps we should move off the beach, looks like it is going to rain." After a further few minutes of procrastination we decided we should probably move and about 20 seconds later a monsoon hit. It was incredible and we all got completely soaked to the core, including our pizzas. It was fun though! Around 30 minutes later the storm had shifted out to sea and the weather completely cleared up and provided us with a very sunny afternoon...seemed a bit weird but I was not complaining.

For the evening I was being picked up by my father's family, I was very much looking forward to seeing them all again and there were a few more coming tonight that I was not able to catch up with last time which was great. One was my dad's eldest cousin Louis (and his wife Lina) who run a dive shop and boat in northern Malta and another was my second cousin Denise. Denise is my age and we spent some time together as 6 year olds the last time I was here. It was fantastic to see her again although I don't really remember the last time! She was a lot of fun! I started to wonder whether our minds have buried memories of us spending time together all those years ago or it is simply the fact when meeting now we know we are related and have met before but I felt instantly comfortable with Denise like I had known her for a long time. In fact I got that feeling with all my relatives here, even though I had not seen them for so long. Sitting around a big table with 12 people sharing stories and just chatting is a wonderful experience, especially when we have that underlying connection and our pasts are intertwined. We shared a few bottles of wine and a lot of laughs and it was with a tinge of sadness that I said goodbye to them all at the end of the night. I would not be seeing them again until the next time I was in Malta, which I promised would not be too long down the track.

I often found dad's cousins looking at me and smiling and they repeatedly said they saw a lot of my young father in me. It must be surreal for them to only see me once as a child and then see me again as a grown man in the likeness of my father, with whom they shared a lot with when they were young. I could see they were so genuinely happy for me to be there, it was great. I promised them I would encourage my brothers to make the journey to Malta soon, they want to see them again so much. I also said I would come back with them when they did visit! :)
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