THE ISLAND OF CALYPSO – TIPS AND THOUGHTS

calypso
Calypso

In Greek mythology, Calypso was a sea goddess, whose name derives from the ancient Greek word ‘kalyptein’ – she who hides.

According to the story of Homer’s Odyssey, she was the daughter of Atlas and lived on the island of Ogygia. Calypso, a beautiful and immortal woman, was punished by the gods for having sided with her father in the Titanomachia, the great battle of the Titans. Consequently, she was forced to stay on the island of Ogygia, where the Fates constantly sent beautiful and heroic men which she couldn’t help but fall in love with, even though they would finally leave.

One day, Odysseus, after he had escaped the whirlpool of Charybdis, landed on the island and Calypso immediately fell in love with him. The Odyssey tells how she loved him and kept him, and, according to Homer, she had kept offering him immortality for seven years in vain. However, our stubborn hero persistently refused, keeping in his heart the desire to return to his homeland, Ithaca, and thus did not let himself be seduced.

Calypso lived in a deep cave, with many rooms that opened onto natural gardens and a sacred forest with big trees and springs flowing through the grass. She used to spend her time spinning and weaving together with the slaves, also nymphs, who sang as they worked.

Tears of Ulysses were met by Athena, who, feeling sorry for his protégé, asked Zeus to intervene. The god then sent Hermes to convince Calypso to let him go and she finally reluctantly agreed. She gave him lumber to build a raft, and provisions for the journey. Last but not least, she also pointed out which stars to follow for his navigation.

Ladies and gentlemen, the mythical island of Ogygia corresponds to our beloved Għawdex, or Gozo.

gozo panorama

Image: Flickr

 

Last weekend, I decided to spend three days on our sister island, and I would like to exclusively impart some tips on how to spend a romantic weekend of love.

Gozo is about the size of Singapore. Therefore, you’ll have plenty of time to visit it far and wide and fit in a couple of activities in just three days.

 

Where to stay

Excluding the large and luxurious resorts, I suggest the following two options.

If you’re going with friends, stay at a farmhouse. It’s fun and exciting. You’ll have the opportunity to share a wonderful house, often equipped with a swimming pool, with your beloved ones. Therefore, you can cook together and have a party.

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Photo credits: Anthony Tomaselli

 

If you’re going with your partner, stay at a boutique hotel. I had opted for this option and it was magical. We stayed at Quaint Boutique Hotels in Nadur, which is a great location. It’s an old building which has been converted into a fresh and appealing hotel in the centre of the village. The suite was superb. It will give you the desire to spend a few hours in the jacuzzi on the terrace, caressed by the breeze coming from the sea and rocked by the bell tower of the church next door. Do it naked with a glass of champagne, and your stay will be enriched with a touch of transgression and many bubbles.

I also recommend you pay a visit to The Fat Rabbit Restaurant, which has a fantastic menu and a welcoming service in an enchanting environment.

 

Seaside

There isn’t a bay that doesn’t deserve a visit. Honestly, please, rent a quad bike and enjoy them all.

I’m in love with Daħlet Qorrot, where I made friends with two very fun old ladies embroidering bizzilla, and I had the most amazing chicken burger from a van. I must say that the lack of tourists added a note of pleasure to the wild bay and made the afternoon even more relaxing.

dahlet-qorrot-gozo

Image: Flickr

 

Don’t forget to spend a couple of hours underwater. The seabed is one of the most important attractions of the island. If you can reach the bay of Ħondoq ir-Rummien, you can rent the equipment and dive with Comino in the background!

 

Art

Churches in Gozo are beautiful, and if you find them open, just get in!

A special mention goes to the capital Victoria and to the Citadel, which preserve the atmosphere of old times and monumental houses and palaces. Above all, folks, get lost in nature, which has provided the island with unforgettable masterpieces. In front of the Azure Window, human work pales in comparison to the genius of Mother Nature.

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Photo credits: Anthony Tomaselli

 

Nightlife

If you’re looking for clubs and discos, stay in Malta. The only decent club is prohibited for the over-20s. Rather, take yourself to the food!

Gozitan restaurants are just stupendous! In particular, I recommend The Boat House in Xlendi, where to settle the bill I had to sell a lung. Nevertheless, the food was divine, and fish is an aphrodisiac, so the evening really comforted me.

The Kantra Beach Club is where food and views border on the spectacular. If you prefer to just have some cocktails, go to Marsalforn. This is where you can catch up with people or casually meet someone you wouldn’t want to meet and say, “Madonna, kemm hi zgħira Malta!” (“Gosh, Malta’s so small!”)

Before leaving, don’t forget to book a relaxing massage at Ta’ Ċenċ Spa, and you should definitely visit Ta’ Pinu Basilica to ask for the grace to accept that you’ll have to return to real life.

This island is wonderful for a tonne of reasons, and many of my colleagues have already described them. However, I believe that foreigners such as myself are able to perceive even more the magical spirit that permeates throughout it. There’s that feeling of being near and far at the same time, that feeling of having made a geographical and temporal trip that takes you to discover another place and another time. The truth is that Gozo is fantastic because it evidently shows the beauty of simplicity! In an age where our society and our economic system is based on our depression and dissatisfaction, Gozo forces us to stop, breathe and take in the silence, the flowers, the sunset or the dawn. As if by magic, we end up putting our smartphone in our Bottega Veneta bag, take the hand of the person near us and just know that our happiness is just around the corner.

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Image: Flickr