The ferry heading to Gozo from Malta was alive with anticipation as tourists mostly heading there for the day were keen to get ashore to make the most of their limited time after the 20-minute crossing.
I too, was keen to alight.
However I was staying somewhat longer and my haven was in fact also called ‘Haven’ a delightful villa apartment in the quiet village of St Lawrenz.
Arriving into the village to find the key in the lock. One resident also called Laurence could not remember a crime during his time living there. Then followed a series of multiple twists of the key and I was inside.
The limestone three-storey former farmhouse was cool and welcoming even more so on a blisteringly hot August day.
Exploring inside I was eager to see my home for the next days. Firstly the high stone vaulted ceiling of the combined lounge, dining room and fitted kitchen was a great feature.
The next floor were two bedrooms one a double and the other two singles both with air-conditioning. A shared shower room and toilet on this floor and another down stairs. Overall the décor is more traditional than contemporary.
A few more steps on the swirling stone spiral staircase took me to the upper private sun terrace. Complete with a delightful plunge pool and sun loungers a plenty, in fact four. An outside dining area and a large barbeque pit unit and another fridge to hand just ideal for evening meals alfresco!
I was invited to sample the villa courtesy of James Villas in the tranquil village of St Lawrenz in the north of this tiny island part of the Maltese group of three islands. The other being Comino which you can see from the ferry from Malta to Gozo.
A nice option offered by the villa company is to provide a welcome pack of food, drinks, with staples of tea, coffee, sugar and milk. Enough to get you started and on the catering front including eggs, bread, butter, sliced meats and cheese plus a local bottle of wine! Also their local property manager lives on Gozo and so Marion was around to enthusiastically deal with any possible guest queries. However there were none from me during my stay!
I opted for the double room with its easy to use air-conditioning and I had some excellent cool night’s sleeps during my stay.
When not making as much use as possible of the sun terrace there was plenty to see and do in the immediate area, many of which can be easily reached on foot.
The island’s principal church of the shrine at Ta Pinu is about 30 minutes walk from the apartment. As are the three grouped popular tourists sites of the Azure Reef, the Inland Sea and the Fungus Rock, which are about the same distance too.
With reasonable frequency the bus service operating over much of the island it is easy to get to most of the main sites of interest using them. Although it does mean that all routes are via the capital Victoria where you will have to change buses at the transport hub to complete your journey.
Car hire or friendly and often helpful taxis drivers will whisk you conveniently around as well.
One of the main beaches is at Ramla Bay on the north east coast, the pretty fishing village of Marsalforn is nearby too. Plenty of harbourside seafood restaurants and also a small beach that is gently washed by the clear warm blue Mediterranean.
In Victoria the fortified Citadel that has been repaired and fully refurbished is now very popular and affords great views over much of the city and island itself.
The World Heritage site of Ggantija Temples can be found at Xaghra some of the oldest freestanding buildings in the world. These can be accessed through a very modern museum building and interpretation centre. An example of a traditional windmill is also close to the museum and well worth checking out as the ticket covers entry to both sites.
For those seeking more exhilaration in their holidays then the island offers great diving and climbing opportunities as well.
The James Villas ‘Haven’ apartment is in a quiet village whose friendly 500 residents also like it that way and so for those looking for peace relaxation this villa would suit you well.
With a shop in the village square, a small bar run by the enthusiastic local football team and an Italian restaurant it is charming and peaceful where you can slip into a calm and tranquil way of life for your stay.
And in the end what’s not to like about that then?
There are 24 villas on the books in Gozo with James Villas. The Haven is available from March to October. For 2019, the villa only starts at £1036 per week increasing for the summer months from £1252.