The Malta Independent 26 May 2024, Sunday
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Gozo: Spring is blooming!

Emmanuel J. Galea Sunday, 14 April 2024, 07:41 Last update: about 2 months ago

Every year it’s different. Whichever way the weather varies, we can do nothing about it and try to adjust accordingly.

It’s not the same with Gozo’s environmental situation. The valleys and hills remain there but are less available for residents to admire. The rampant irresponsible construction is hindering several Gozitan residents from admiring the sun, exerting its sublime, not intense, beauty during rising and setting. Even worse, several households have suffered the fate of remaining in the shadows of tall buildings for most of the day.

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The beauty of Gozo in spring is best enjoyed and appreciated in the countryside. It is the season when the countryside is a tapestry of vibrant colours and textures. The field patterns, reminiscent of a carefully quilted patchwork, speak of the island’s agricultural heritage. The bright yellow wildflowers in the foreground add a cheerful burst of colour, contrasting beautifully with the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea. This scene captures the tranquil beauty of Gozo, a landscape both cultivated and wild, where the sea meets the rich tapestry of fields and flowers. It’s a refreshing and revitalising sight, full of life and natural beauty, though butterflies are becoming rare the more we encroach on green areas. 

The present government’s policies regarding the environment leave much to be desired. Where are the green spaces in villages? Why is the Planning Authority still irresponsibly approving highrise concrete boxes ruining the aesthetics and village skyline?

Planners designated Outside Development Zones (ODZ) so the public may enjoy such for specific areas for environmental well being. Now the greed for more votes has neutralised these policies and are being ignored or amended to accommodate potential irresponsible developers. 

The overlooking village’s peripheral cliffs usually accompanied in harmony a stroll in the valley on both sides. Now high buildings and tower cranes align the cliff as if each village is being fortified for a forthcoming siege. 

Marsalforn and Xlendi are now eyesores transformed from enchanting summer resorts to a suffocating environment resembling an open detention centre. There is no limit where and when this ongoing destruction is to subside. Maybe when the developers destroy themselves by encroaching on each other. 

Why are we still so adamant about beginning the Marsalforn road project? The trees are in bloom, shedding new tiny green leaves. The grass accompanies these trees to offer natural beauty to all of us who venture along this road. The streaking swishing stream water provides the calming effect to the surroundings towards its salty transformation in Marsalforn bay. 

The destruction arising from this so-called project is irreversible. Yes, it resembles a crib which enthused several people during the year. Unfortunately, several prominent Gozitans want Gozo to develop to eradicate its crib environment. They prefer a modern Gozo with a tunnel and with tall buildings restricting the sun to a couple of hours at noon during summer, when the sun is scorching right above. 

They prefer only one season. They are progressing towards an autumn environment. We are approaching the sickening situation that our children will have to miss the experience of the colour of grass and the chirping of birds in the trees. We are replacing this environment with a grey, lifeless colour of concrete. 

But not all is doom and gloom. The gentle whisper of the wind, the scent of blooming flowers, and the warmth of the sun resting on the skin–these are the sensations that greet you on beautiful Gozo in spring. Gozo is still a haven of natural beauty and tranquillity. Its rugged coastline, picturesque villages, and lush countryside make it a paradise for those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

As one strolls through the narrow streets of Victoria, pavements are now overburdened with tables and chairs, but still the feeling of the narrow streets transports one back in time to an era of simplicity and charm. The ancient stone houses in the town core ooze charm with colourful flowering vines, and stand as silent witnesses to the rich history of this place. The imposing citadel, perched high on the hill, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, a patchwork of fields and meadows. But now grazing sheep are a rare sight, including several quaint farmhouses as decades ago.

To enjoy the true feeling of spring, in Victoria there is no other place than ‘Villa Rundle’. Here, all nature sets off and displays the beauty that’s in store during spring. The pure air inspires visitors to calm down, postpone their errands and settle down to admire and smell the greenery and flowers accompanied by a sweet melody of all kinds of birds in the trees. Children run and play under the watchful gaze of their parents. ‘Villa Rundle’ is a gem in Victoria named after the British General Leslie Rundle around 1915, during the British Colonial era. The authorities concerned do their utmost to maintain, enhance, and preserve the park.

In springtime, Gozo bursts into a riot of colours as wildflowers bloom in every corner. The vibrant hues of red, yellow and purple flowers create a kaleidoscope of beauty that is a feast for the eyes. The fragrance of jasmine and lavender fills the air, intoxicating your senses and transporting you to a world of pure bliss.

Proceed to Dwejra to experience a quite serene sunset. With the sun hanging low, a bold circle of warm light sinks on the horizon, casting an amber glow across the sky, over the calm sea and the landscape. Amidst the boats and rock formations, the smooth water and the gentle gradient of colours in the sky create a beautiful contrast. The silhouette of persons standing at the water’s edge adds a peaceful sense of solitude. The beauty of nature surrounds you, enveloping you in its embrace and filling your soul with a sense of wonder and awe. In these moments of quiet reflection, you realise the true essence of Gozo – a place of beauty, tranquillity, and harmony. It’s a moment that encapsulates the quiet beauty of Gozo.

Gozo in spring is a feast for the senses, a paradise of natural beauty and tranquillity that will enchant and captivate you. From its rugged coastline to its picturesque villages, and countrysides from its colourful wildflowers to its delicious cuisine, Gozo is a place that will leave an indelible mark on your heart. 

You may not experience the same sensations next year if the greed of the developers continues to violate and ruin what our ancestors left us. We should do our utmost to protect and oppose all development which will deprive our future generations of these mesmerising feelings and which give us a sense of pride of being Gozitans.

So come, immerse yourself in the beauty of this magical island, and experience the wonder of Gozo in spring.

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