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New York Times Frugal Traveler visits Gozo

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New York Times Frugal Traveler
The New York Times Frugal Traveler series featured Gozo and Malta in its Wednesday edition, the article was accompanied by a slideshow and video.

The full text of this interesting article relating directly to Gozo is quoted below and at the bottom of the page is a link to the full article, slideshow and video.

“My first day, for example, I walked out of Number 43 and into the heart of Qala (pronounced A-la), which like all Maltese villages centers on a magnificent Catholic church. Across from the church was Ta’ Vestru (5, St. Joseph’s Square, 356-2156-4589), where I ate rabbit stew, a Gozo specialty made from the meatiest bunny I’ve ever encountered, larded with carrots and peas, braised in red wine and served with a whole roast head of cauliflower and sweet peppers sautéed with fennel seeds. I washed it down with a half-liter of the house white and paid the ridiculously modest bill: 12.75 euros. I didn’t need to eat again all day.

Stuffed, I barely made it past Qala’s beige stone houses and endless stands of yellow-flowering wild fennel, to Hondoq Bay, the closest beach, where I roasted my distended belly amid vacationing Brits and local kids who dove effortlessly into the warm, blue water from a high pier. Sailboats and a Jet Ski sent ripples across the calm waters.

To see Malta and Gozo, I needed to be mobile, so I rented a 50cc Piaggio from On Two Wheels (36, Rabat Road, Marsalforn, 356-2156-1503, www.on2wheelsgozo.com) at 19 euros a day. I first visited the Ggantija Temples (www.heritagemalta.org; admission 3.49 euros), erected between 3600 and 3000 B.C. and believed to be the oldest free-standing buildings in the world. The back story was more impressive than its appearance – crumbling walls of beige brick supported by scaffolding. Angkor Wat this was not. The luncheonette Gesther’s.

With the heat getting to me, I skipped nearby Calypso’s Cave – where legend has it Ulysses was detained for seven years as a love slave – in favor of a long, slow, well-shaded lunch at Gesther’s (8th September Avenue, Xaghra, 356-2155-6621), a charming luncheonette recommended by Time Out Malta & Gozo. My fish soup, spaghetti with rabbit sauce and red wine cost 10.10 euros, and brought that day’s Grand Tourism to an end.”

The full New York Times article, together with slideshow and video, can be viewed on the following link – http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/mopeds-horsemeat-and-pynchon-on-malta/

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    12 Responses

    1. Swimmer says:

      How come that we need someone to tell us what we have got?
      Can`t we see that we are killing the goose that lays the golden egg. All we need is good publicity and I can assure you all that we can create work for everyone when we will have tourists.
      This site is very popular and the government should listen to articles like this to feel the pulse where we should be heading and not listen to the developers side when all they care about is their pockets.
      I do follow the Hondoq issue and this should end as soon as possible with the answer from MEPA TO BE A NO GO This will give the Qala residents what they have indicated when the referendum was held and 85% voted against it.
      I hope that all these comments will reach politicians who care for us citizens.

    2. James A. Tyrrell says:

      The way I see it swimmer, many ordinary people in Malta and especially on Gozo can see exactly where you are coming from. They can see the damage that is being done to their country, but unlike you they fail to speak out about it.

      Thousands of Americans will read this article, and many will ask themselves, ‘where is Gozo’? A lot will decide to find out for themselves and visit Gozo. What they find and what they report back to their families and friends in America depends on the Government in general and Mepa in particular.

      The time to end the destruction of Gozo has long since past. My message to the Government is simple, wake up before it is too late. What’s the point of covering the island in tourist accommodation when in the process you are concreting over what the tourists come to see in the first place?

    3. Astrid Vella says:

      It’s always the same story – out of greed we systematically destroy what the foreigners have the sense to appreciate.If maybe it was excusable in the 1960s, when we knew no better, it is certainly not excusable now.

      Why does Malta never learn? It makes one cringe to visit places like Prague, Dubrovnik and St. Petersburg, destinations that only opened to commercial development a decade or so ago, and yet they already have the maturity that we lack, proud of the fact that they have undergone a boom in tourism and business investment while keeping their heritage intact.

      In the meantime we allow MEPA applications, reconsiderations and appeals for sites in the countryside and by our beaches like Qala, until they are finally accepted Out of Development Zone. All such project applications should be suspended while MEPA is being reformed. By the time the regulations are overhauled there will be nothing left to save!

    4. Charles Sammut says:

      At the going rate why do we need Mepa? When an ODZ area like Hondoq is considered for development and after the latest Mistra debacle the developers might as well have Carte Blanche to develop where the heck they want.Look at the revenue that these projects would generate.
      I actually think that the area where Ggantija is today is an ideal site for luxurious Condominiums. The actual rocks standing there now could be crushed into gravel and I have to tell you that the View from that location is magnificent. Put a fence around the complex and Gozo would have its first Gated community.
      If a centuries old historical Fort like Chambrai could be converted into condos and national treasures like Ramla and Hondoq are considered for development then Mepa has really outlived it’s usefulness.
      So please let’s save the taxpayers the money. Do away with Mepa. At the going rate can anyone think of any area left saving ten years from now?
      Why the PM needs a Study at Hondoq to determine the impact the development would have on the environment is mind boggling. Suggestion for Mr Gonzi. Have a Study on the ineffectiveness of Mepa and then you might learn something.
      Shame that a Frugal traveler to Malta becomes an eye opener on how an attractive a place like Hondoq really is. We have to lobby the NY Times to send us a big spender next time. But then next year might be too late..

    5. Mary says:

      I am a first generation Maltese-American with my roots in Gozo. I love coming to Gozo as often as I can to see family and spend time enjoying the natural beauty. I have many favorite places there and Hondoq certainly ranks among them. Over the years I have noticed so many changes on the island. While growth is important, it concerns me that it seems so much is taken for granted. Whenever I speak to anyone about Gozo and Malta, I can’t even begin to describe all the beauty and the history. I realize that no matter where we live, it is almost human nature to take what we have for granted. However, it should not be to the degree that history and the very substance which is Gozo is destroyed in the process.

    6. Joanne says:

      As a child when I used to come on holiday Hondoq was always the place we went to for a swim, as I grew up before I moved here I was always there with my friends and always making new ones there.
      Now I live here and have 3 children of my own and would like them to enjoy Hondoq as much as i did as a child, so they can grow up and have the good memories that I have from my ownchildhood.
      Hondoq is a beautiful place that just needs a good sorting out, certainly not the disaster that they intend to build down there.
      Leave this bay for EVERYONE NOT FOR THE FEW

    7. Peter says:

      Have a look what happened to Fort Cambridge – The 10 thousand Euros that the Government is giving to Qala council is a GIMMICK, so if the permit (God Forbid ) goes ahead the Gov could say that Qala had a fair trearment. What everyone wants is to keep on using Hondoq bay and the surroundings for Bar B Qs. Not to be given away on a golden plate to the developers, while Joe Citizen has got nowhere to go. Hondoq is for everyone to enjoy.

    8. Swimmer says:

      @ Peter Your comment should be given great importance, in fact I have heard people saying these comments quite often. Your comment makes sense with what has happened with Fort Cambridge. I just hope that Hondoq will be saved

    9. Joseph P. says:

      Hondoq ir-Rummien is a very popular picturesque area with tourists and locals alike. Foreign and local scuba divers frequent it all year round also. A yacht marina here would obviously kill that off and totally restrict access to non-residents. Stop giving in to greedy developers who could not care less about environment degradation, but who would sacrifice ours and our children’s right to enjoyment of the nation’s already restricted countryside for the sake of profits.

      At the rate we are going, Malta is going to end up as a coast to coast concrete mess with no space for its citizens to relax and enjoy scenic beauty without being told to move away because the land is either private (enjoyed by a privileged few) or because there are hunters selfishly utilising huge tracts of countryside for their ‘hobby’!

      Please listen to the wishes of the vast majority of your citizens and your constituents! Malta can only get smaller and dirtier with the current rate of development we are seeing! Not a very nice image to project to the outside world surely!

      After all, greedy developers can hop onto their private planes and go abroad for fresh air anytime they want to spend their profits on luxury holidays, but the majority of Maltese people cannot escape the dust and noise these ABSOLUTE MINORITY leave behind on their ‘developments’! These same few probably even own luxurious properties abroad in beautiful, pristine and scenic surroundings and can get away ‘from it all’ whenever their asthma or hayfever starts playing up!

      Ordinary citizens have to stay here cradling their inhalers and anti-histamine medications! Remember, its the MAJORITY who elect a government and not these VERY FEW – at the point when the ordinary citizen gets to give his opinion and choose his government he shall remember everything!

    10. v.v says:

      i agree wihte you all.but go to hondoq to day and you will see all those campers trow all there garbeg down there is that nice.are thats why noone of you all whant hondoq to be devalopet

    11. Swimmer says:

      This is to V.V
      TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT.
      so IF (??) it is as you say that campers are making a mess. wouldn’t it be wiser to simply remove the campers rather, than build a yacht marina (which may I remind you, pollutes the whole area), flats, villas etc…?
      According to the developers it is going to take a lot of years to complete the project. I think their mess would be A LOT MORE than what the campers do. Also, I doubt if anyone will be able to even go down to the Hondoq area during construction phase because when they blast to cut the rocks it will be too dangerous.

      So v.v. what do you prefer a few campers or a monster that will eventually eat away the whole area.

      By the way are you one of those that is being promised work by the developers??

      Because from my experience the only ones that are in favour are the ones that are going to gain financially!!!

    12. Carmel says:

      Ms.Joanne French why do you not read this New York Times article so that you may perhaps change your mind ?

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