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Report 2011: Gozo, Calypso’s Isle

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 15 of 26: Dwejra

photo by MAW

Cart ruts and Maltese Everlasting

This is a popular spot on the tourist itinerary as it has some of the best coastal scenery in Gozo with the Azure Window, Inland Sea and Fungus Rock as well as diving and boat trips. Plan your trip early or late to avoid the worst of the bus tours. Most only stop long enough to take a photo of the Azure Window and then move on.

It is a nice drive down to Dwejra along the new road from St Lawrenz. At the bottom of the hill is a huge car park which was empty at 9am apart from a stall selling clothes and a few tourist items. Even the row of cafes and the Gozo Glass Seconds Shop were still shut. The coaches begin to arrive about 10am when everything is open and a couple of ice cream vans have appeared.

It is a nice walk across the wave cut platform with the remains of fossils of thin flat sea urchins called Scutella Subrotunda Leska. Round erosion pits were used as salt pans, with the money providing funds for the up keep of the watch tower to the south. We could see salt collecting in some of them. There are good views of the Azure Window from here. This is a rock archway carved out of the cliffs. The rocks at the top of the arch are in a dangerous condition and large chunks keep falling off. There are notices warning you not to walk on the top of the arch but as usual some people ignore them, usually for the silly photo of them on the arch.

St Anne’s Chapel is the small building above the car park. This was the last chapel to be built on Gozo and is a plain rectangular building with a small centrally placed bell-cot. Steps lead up to the west door which has a canopy over it with a small cross. The inside is very plain with white painted walls which are beginning to peel in the damp sea air. There is a simple altar with a picture of the young Virgin Mary being instructed by her mother St. Anne.

We took the path up the rough cut steps behind the chapel onto the plateau to search for the cart ruts. We identified two ruts ‘carved’ into the flat limestone.

There was a lot of yellow Malta Everlasting in flower, bushes of Euphorbia (past its best) and wild capers. The limestone is full of scallop shell fossil beds. We walked to the edge of the cliffs for views across the wide sweeping bay to the north with its sheer cliffs.

There are good views down onto the Inland Sea. This was formed from a collapsed sea cavern, connected to the outside sea by a 60m long tunnel. It wasn’t as big as I expected. It has a gently shelving beach and is surrounded by small boat houses, other buildings and two small slipways. From above it looked built up and not particularly attractive.

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