Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Gozo 2014 Part 2

The island of Gozo has a large number of community festivals commemorating Saints - these are usually accompanied by a feast and fireworks. Our visit coincided with the local picturesque village of San Lawrenz (Saint Lawrence) enjoying a week long celebration that seemed to involve letting off the loudest mortars i've ever heard at the crack of dawn and midnight. I understand that this is to ward of unwanted approaches by the devil. San Lawrenz is one of the two Gozitan localities that have taken their name from that of their patron saint. There is a real atmosphere as the whole of the village turns out and the Brass Band leads the procession. The evening culminates with a massive firework display, a ticker tape parade and the raising of the statue of the village Saint onto it's plinth , and yet more explosions. On the North East coast is the wide sandy beach of Ramla Bay. Ramla actually means sand in Maltese so quite fitting really. Got some good snorkelling in here but the fish were a bit disappointing in truth . However this was more than made up for by the excellent cold beer (Cisk) and delicious fayre at the beach cafe. This too was to become something of an ongoing trend. East of Ramla Bay there are some beautiful coves such as San Blas. Admittedly it does take a bit of effort to reach what is regarded as the prettiest beach on the island. It is a very small beach. Located by rocky cliffs and citrus groves, its orange color sand makes it an ideal place to get away from the crowd. Leave your car at the top and walk down the very steep hill where there is a great little bar serving chilled drinks and snacks and when your day is over you can get a jeep to take you back up the hill for a couple of euros if not feeling too fit. The difficult accessibility means it never gets too busy and a great place to visit. Below are my traveling companions Peter (background) and Bill (foreground). One of my trip highlights (I'm easily pleased)was spotting at close range my first ever Swallowtail butterfly. They can be found in the UK mainly on the Norfolk Broads but are quite rare. There is something like 550 species although most are mainly continental. There have been some recent sightings in the UK of the continental variety that has made it's way over. I did go on to see numerous others particularly around the lighthouse area but none as close as the one I photographed. .

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