In Malta, May 1 is a national holiday (we never did quite figure out why) and they celebrate by having horse races (harness or sulky racing) or Marathons, Here on Gozo, it was a marathon that closed several roads – not that there is all that many – so we had to take several different alternative roads. First thing this morning was the Megalithic Temple ruins at Ggantija which date back almost 6,000 years. The weather and scavenging has taken a toll on them but you could see that they were quite impressive. How people that far back could set stones (without mortar) and move the more than 5 ton stones around is unbelievable!! Unfortunately there is not a lot of written documentation of the excavations that started in the 1700's but there were artists here that managed to paint how the site looked at different phases. Much has been lost since then.
On our way to Marsalforn, a fairly new resort town on the NE coast of Gozo, we made a short stop to see the red sand beach at Calypso's Cave. Originally, the tour guides used to take tourists down a very narrow stone stairway snaking through the rocks to see the actual cave but that was stopped several years ago – Thank Goodness! It was scarier looking.
We had some free time to explore the little resort town of Marsalforn where the marathon either started or ended – we couldn't decide which it was. We plopped ourselves down on the waterfront to enjoy the sunshine and hot chocolate or ice cream. Much more important. After that, we went a short ways out of the town to the Salt Pans where three families have designated areas of over 3 miles of shallow, square areas divided into “plots” where the sea water is trapped and then evaporates. These Salt Pans have been there since the Romans but the current three families have had them for more than five generations. We saw one of the men out repairing the short walls dividing each 5' x 5' area which had been damaged several months ago by storm. A relaxing afternoon back at the hotel to get ready to leave to return to Malta tomorrow for a last night there. This has been a learning experience about another culture. The people of Gozo particularly are very friendly, courteous and willing to talk to you.