MUSIC ROOM HOTEL, GOZO
After spending time in Ghana, I couldn't face heading straight back to a freezing Scottish winter so thought I would try and acclimatize to colder conditions by spending a few days in Malta before returning. Having stayed near the capital, Valletta, for a few nights, I had one spare night to spend on Gozo, the most Northerly island in the Maltese archipelago. When I was looking for accommodation and saw a BnB called 'The Music Room', I knew that was the place for me.
A ferry runs from the port of Cirkewwa on Mainland Malta to the port of Mgarr on the island of Gozo. The short but scenic journey passes by Comino, a smaller island situated between Malta and Gozo, which is home to the Blue Lagoon, known for its beautiful crystal waters and stunning white sands. The day before my stay, I had received a text from the owner of the Music Room who said the entrance to the accommodation was easy to miss so he'd meet me outside the Cathedral of the Assumption and show me how to get there. Arriving early, I took a wander around the church building admiring the architecture and inscriptions and when I made my way back round to the front of the building Paul, my host, was waiting. It was only a couple of minutes walk until we got to the door but he was right - I would probably have missed it.
A narrow doorway led into a hallway of a beautiful traditional Maltese house and we climbed the staircase, passing walls adorned in musical instruments and memorabilia. After showing me to my room, which had several guitars hanging on the walls, Paul left me to my own devices and said I was free to wander around the house. The mezzanine area was a proper little musical treasure trove. As well as a fantastic selection of instruments which are available for guests to use during their stay, there was a small library of music-related books, a Hi-fi and CD collection and some comfy chairs to sit and enjoy it all. The jewel in the crown is the rooftop terrace where visitors can go up and relax or to eat their meals. I took a guitar up and sat in the beautiful sunshine for a couple of hours. There are stunning views over the tops of the neighbouring buildings to the sea and on a clear day you can even make out the shape of Sicily across the water.
Gozo, along with the rest of Malta, has a very religious feeling about it. There are numerous statues and shrines dotted around in various places - many of them outside private residences. There is also an abundance of beautiful beaches and cliff top walks. In the late afternoon, I took a walk down to Ramla Bay where Roman remains lie beneath the sand and a statue of Our Lady stands on the beach itself. For those with time and energy to climb uphill, there is also the fascinating Tal-Mixta Cave which gives amazing views over the coast.
With the sun starting to go down and a cold breeze getting up, I got a text from Paul saying he'd made extra dinner if I wanted it. Never one to turn down the offer of good food, I headed back to the house and was hit by the aroma of spicy vegetable soup and the most wonderful roast potatoes. During dinner, I got chatting with Paul about what had brought him to Gozo. It was initially his brother who had moved there from England. Sadly, his brother died so Paul had come to sort things out and ended up staying. His brother is buried on the island. It was also no surprise to hear that Paul is a musician and plays regular gigs around Gozo. He is a fountain of information about the island - and about music - so it's an ideal stay for musicians or music enthusiasts visiting the area.
I felt a little bit disappointed that I only had time to spend one night there. Despite its small size, there is a lot going on in Gozo. The capital, Victoria, has a thriving cultural life with attractions including two opera houses (in the same street), a fortified medieval citadel and several museums including; a Cathedral Museum, a Museum of Archaeology, a Folklore Museum, a Natural Science Museum, an Old Prison and also an Art and Crafts Centre.
Although I didn't get to see most of these, I didn't feel like I missed out all together as staying The Music Room was as much an attraction in itself - it's just like staying in a little music museum. Hopefully I'll get a chance to make a return visit one day and see more of what Gozo has to offer.
Check out the Music Room here.