This morning we woke up around 7 a.m. and had a buffet breakfast in our hotel. We then boarded up our bus and headed to the ferry that would take us to Gozo, Malta's sister island.
We met up with Philip who is a restaurant owner and whose family owns a farm. Philip showed us around a vegetable market where he picked the vegetables we would be eating for lunch. Next to the market was an olive oil presser. We learned all about how they make olive oil from the tree to the bottle. Olive oil is big in Gozo. Philip's farm has many olive trees, some vineyards, carob (they make a syrup that is healing for the throat), prickly pear and capers. Philip had us to his restaurant where he made us Gozian delicacies and cooked right in front of us. It was a big meal. We started with bread, olive oil and a tomato spread. Then had a plate of different foods like olives, sundried tomato, stuffed zucchini, eggplant, sheep's cheese he had just made and pepper cheese. The main course was the fish, three different kinds cooked three different ways.
On our travels around Gozo, which is only nine miles long, we stopped in Victoria and walked around to experience the culture. The driving here is intense and they don't stop for pedestrians, or move for that matter. One of the staff members had her arm hit by a car's mirror as we were walking down the side of the street in Victoria. The car wasn't moving very fast and she wasn't hurt, but we were shocked to see how brassy and nonchalant many of the drivers can be.
We climbed the Citadella and had coffee and cheesecake at a popular shop. Cheesecake in Malta & Gozo is very different from American cheesecake. These are puff pastries filled with ricotta cheese.
From there we went to another part of Gozo called Dwejra. This was the most beautiful place. The waves were crashing and the water was a crazy color blue. There's an arch that goes over the sea called the Blue Window. We took lots and lots of pictures here.
We loved hearing that the word for rain in Maltese is Xitta. The X in Maltese is pronounced with a sh sound. Say in your head - you'll laugh too.
We arrived back at our hotel on Malta around 6 p.m., to rest and shower. And alas, the missing luggage of Sandy Moore, the women's lacrosse administrative assistant was waiting in her room upon our return!
Dinner tonight was at Paparazzi, a restaurant down by the Bay that we had passed yesterday. And we surprised Coach Sailer with a birthday cake! Yes today is Chris' birthday! And if you haven't seen it already, you must check out the video of Chris, along with Kristy McNeil (our SID) and Jon Kurian (our business administrator) getting fish pedicures. It's laugh out loud funny.
It was a great day today. And as they say in Malta "Sahha" (Cheers!)
Q & A with Erin Slifer and Anna Menke
What was your favorite part about Gozo
Slifer: My favorite part was the fungus rock, the Blue Window and how blue the water was. It was amazing to see such an amazing site with my teammates.
Menke: That was my favorite part too. I love the ocean so much and it was a beautiful view and the water was so blue. I'd never seen water that blue before.
What was the coolest fact you heard about the area today?
Slifer: On the Maltese island Comino, there are only four people that live on it. And it's a square mile.
Menke: They pointed out a statue of Jesus and they said that before they built it the land wasn't farmable but after they put it up the land became fertile.
What was the best thing you ate today?
Slifer: The sundried tomato paste we had with the bread in the beginning of the meal. It was so sweet and I think I ate a whole jar by myself.
Menke: Probably the eggplant topping that went on the fresh bread at lunch.
What was something you ate today that you've never had before?
Slifer and Menke: Eggplant.
Menke: I never had sheep's cheese
Slifer: Or dolphin fish.
Cool Facts We Learned Today
The Maltese language closely resembles Arabic. It was influenced by the Phoenicians and has some English, Italian and French words.
In Gozo, you’ll often see keys in the doors of the homes. This used to be for when the husbands went internationally and in case they came home unannounced and didn’t want to wake the whole family. It also signified that the wife had been loyal. The people here don’t lock their homes unless they are away on holiday (what they call vacation).
The older homes in Gozo are named after the merging of the wife’s and husband’s names. Our tour guide Rose told us her family’s house merged the her mother’s name Connie (Con) with her father’s name Dominic (Dom). When a member of the Clergy saw this he begged her father to change the name, with her parents being innocent and not knowing what it meant. The oldest homes are named for Saints. The newer homes are named after places in the States, Canada and Australia because many Gozoians migrated to those places to make money for their families.
The islands are made built up out of two layers of Coralline limestone, Blue Clay and Greensand. The limestone is used to build nearly everything on the island. It starts off a very soft and easy to manipulate and over time it hardens further and further. It also will change color as it ages.
Some different translations to words:
Coaches – a buses
Teachers – coaches
Jumper – jacket, sweater