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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Malta - Day 13: Floating on the Inland Sea, the Ggantija Temples and a Red Sandy Beach

The day before, we didn´t really have the time and energy left for a proper visit of the Azure Window, so we decided to come back. After breakfast at the San Antonio Guesthouse in Xlendi, we walked to the Xlendi Bus Stop and took Bus 306 to the main bus terminal in Victoria, using our convenient 7-day-bus pass. There, we switched into the Bus 311 to Dwejra Bus Stop, which is just at the entrance to the azure Window. Of course, I had to take my time, taking photos of the Azure Window.



When we were finished, we walked to the Inland Sea, just a few steps away. We weren´t sure if we should take a boat tour there. No one was entering the boat and the man there told us, he would only leave, when it is full. But just when we decided to go, even if we had to wait a while in the boat, a huge group of tourists came, who all wanted to go. Fortunately, we were already in and so we quickly departed through the small opening in the rock, out to the ocean. The water seemed to be completely calm, but when we entered the tunnel, we came into the waves. It was rather exciting, especially when we were outside on the ocean, and inside the waves. We didn´t really expect that. We barely got to make clear photos from all the up and down on the boat.


Satisfied, we left with a bus back to Victoria. Now we were up to something completely different - the Ggantija Temples. We took Bus 307 to Ggantija Bus Stop and then just had to walk a few steps. The Ggantija Temples are another World Heritage Site, Malta possesses. They were built between 3600 and 3200 B.C. and were once believed to be built by giants.  


We could enter with our Malta Heritage Pass, and first visited the museum. There, we found some information on the temples and artifacts, like human and animal figurines and bone necklaces, given to the dead, when they were buried. We also learned, that no one knows, what happened to the people, who built the temples. After around 2500 B.C. they found no traces of them and the people who settled there later, were very different and definitely not the same.


From the museum, a path leads through a nice park to the temples. The temples itself aren´t that huge, but they belong to the earliest free-standing stone buildings in the world, which is rather impressive.  


We decided to walk from the temples to the nearby Ta`Kola Windmill, which was also included in our Heritage Pass. It is an old windmill from the Knight´s period in Malta. It was just being renovated and didn´t have its wheel, unfortunately. But inside, there was a windmill museum.



From the windmill, we walked past the Xaghra Parish Church and decided to skip the bus and walk further to our next destination, Ramla Bay, which is about 3 kilometers away. It was a quiet and beautiful area and we were soon at Calypso`s Cave, on a hill, overlooking Ramla Bay. There wasn´t really much to see of the cave, but the view of Ramla Bay was great. They also had restrooms and ice cream there, fortunately.


At first, it looked like there was a clear path down to Ramla Bay, but maybe we went wrong somewhere, as we ended up at a ruin, halfway down, where we met a snake, but no clear path. We then found something next to the ruin, that might have been a path once, and came down to the bay. Ramla Bay, also known as the Red Sandy Beach, is in the middle of nowhere, but offers some infrastructure like restrooms, a cafe and showers. And of course the great sandy beach, where we were headed. After all the walking, the cold water was just right.



From the beach we walked to the nearby Ramla Bus Stop and went back to Victoria and then to Xlendi.


Later, we walked down to the bay for another nice dinner at the ocean.



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