We had a reasonably leisurely start in breakfast where we both went for a freshly cooked omelette. As today was another tender day we thought we would let the rush for those on scheduled trips get off first and so it was quite late for us by the time we went to collect our tender tickets. There was about a 10-minute wait before our ticket number was called.
On the tender we chatted with a couple from Vancouver. Their attitude to cruising was the best I have heard. It is just another form of transport to them taking them to places they want to go. They do it every few years. That may well be us.
Once on dry land we ran the gambit of people trying to cajole us onto their bus, tours, taxis or ferries. We had thought about getting on the hop on bus but there were only 2 places it stopped that I thought looked of interest and I was concerned at the timetable. It only ran every 45 minutes and with the number of people using it I worried whether would we be able to get back on if we got off it . We found out later I was right in that assumption and people were having to wait 90 minutes in some places. Karen would have been a nervous wreck worrying about the ship going without us.
Instead, we could see 2 very large churches on the hill above the port. We reasoned that there probably be shops and cafes in a square around them. The road up the hill was very steep and much longer than we thought. There was only one other couple attempting it. We found a cut through to the biggest church through a mocked-up Bethlehem. It was bizarre to say the least. It was very run down but apparently comes to life every Christmas with 150 performers recreating the nativity story.
Eventually we reached the largest church. The area around it was bereft of anything. There was literally just houses and some commercial premises but no shops or cafes. Eventually though we did find a student type of café which we ventured into. It was cheap and but cheerful.
At this point Karen got angry with me blaming me for not only all the worlds recent problems – like Southgate still picking McGuire, like why it took so long to elect a new PM in the UK leaving the country leaderless, like the mission to Mars crashing, but in particular for why we had pointlessly climbed a steep hill to find nothing and had wasted a precious day in her life. It was pointless pointing out that it had been a joint decision.
Instead, as we were almost sitting next to a bus stop, I suggested we get on the next bus and head to Victoria the capital which was about 4 miles away. The timetable suggested the next bus was in 20 minutes and exactly on time it arrived. We paid using on watches the 2 Euro fare each and climbed aboard. There was standing room only which was not great for Karen as she struggled to hold on. Eventually someone gave up their seat for her but I was left swaying as the bus made its way around ridiculously tight streets, it played more havoc with my knee.
We got there in one piece though into the central bus station and headed uphill on foot again to the Citadel. It was well worth the walk and on the way, we bumped into some of the tour parties from our ship. The citadel had marvellous view from the tall walls around it. We could see the sea 360 degree all around the island. We walked slowly around and our challenges earlier in the day were soon forgotten.
Eventually we ambled back through the street back to the bus station and caught the 323 Bus back all the way back to the harbour. Apart from catching a ferry to the Blue Lagoon it seems after talking to others for the princely sum of 8 Euros we had seen the best that Gozo had to offer.
Back on board we headed up to what Karen was now calling the canteen for a late buffet lunch. Then we found a table near the pool area and sat down to chill with some drinks. After a while we were joined by our Kiwi chums that we hadn’t seen for a couple of days. Before we knew it 2 hours had passed amidst a lot of loud chatter and laughter. Then we were joined by a random American lady who asked if could just sit and listen to our accents – most bizarre.
We then headed back to our room for a while where I tried to catch on things. One of my many frustrations with this ship remains the Wifi. It really is rubbish and like being back to the days of using the old dial up modems at times. Things that should take seconds take minutes. Publishing this blog has been most challenging and frustrating at times.
My mood wasn’t helped by the pain I was now in from right leg. The gym had started the problem and then walking up the steep hill and bus ride had exasperated the issue. My calf and thigh muscles were now throbbing as well. My right hip was giving me a real sharp pain, all again through me inadvertently not walking correctly whilst trying to protect my knee. This was what had happened earlier in the year and I feared it was going to get much worse before stabilising again. Karen urged me to take the painkillers to try and cope with it all and despite the problem I had previously with feeling faint whilst taking them I did as I was told.
Tonight’s dinner was booked in second of the posher restaurants as part of our package. This one called Canaletto which as the name suggests was Italian. I hobbled the best I could to our table. The service was very good as usual. I had the Anti Pasto starter followed by the Beef Short Gnocchi both of which were very good. Karen couldn’t make her mind up and so they agreed to bring her 2 half portions of different main courses to accompany her minestrone starter. For dessert Karen had what she claimed to be her first ever Tiramisu whilst I had the Italian Cheeses.
We had started our meal with a Rossini each and finished with Chianti. After some hot drinks we went back to the cabin. I was in real agony with my right leg and both of us were concerned with I would be able to leave the cabin tomorrow alone the ship to visit Malta. It was a real shame as it was a party night by the pool with loud music and lots of people dancing. We decided though that rest was the best plan and so I was sound asleep by 10.15pm. It had been a good day but at what cost?