Toes in pool

Today I start Hollywood Shakedown

HS and nails

We’re off exploring this morning, aiming to find a beach at Mgarr ix-Xini (you’re on your own with this one, I’ve never heard it said out loud…) A restaurant, called Rew Rew, that overlooks the bay has been recommended in our visitors book and we thought we’d check it out in daylight hours before booking for the evening. It’s just as well we do as the road there is…challenging…

The bay has been used as a location in the upcoming film, By the Sea, produced, directed and starring Angelina Jolie and last year she and Brad Pitt (who plays a writer in the film, and everyone loves a writer, don’t they!) arrived on Gozo within moments days of us leaving, scouting for locations. They found Mgarr ix-Xini… But here’s the thing that’s so wonderful about Gozo… everything here is understated. There are no water parks or theme park rides, if you have youngsters that live for such things, this place is not for you, and anyway the roads provide enough excitement, but there is very little made of anyone, who is anyone, being here, as you will see.


We arrive at this little bay. Not wanting to frighten the locals I have eschewed wearing my bikini today (that treat is reserved strictly for BH 😉 lucky boy that he is!) and I’ve put on a swimming costume ready to have a snorkel. Now, as I slid into this costume very easily this morning I am feeling more than a little smug about just how much difference losing half a stone recently had made to its fit. Alas, as the morning wears on it comes to my attention that I am becoming more than a little saggy around the edges. The elastic in said cossie has perished (it’s not even that old!!) and is nowhere near as taut as it needs to be in order not to frighten the young, beautiful, and with not a baggy bit amongst them, people at said beach. So for decencies sake I stay ashore and we look for Rew Rew.

Now, I’m not entirely convinced we ever do find it as there is no sign but we make for the most likely looking place, actually what appears to be the only place other than a refreshment van that hasn’t managed to make it down the final treacherous descent and find out they only serve lunch, albeit until five or six, so we stop for an early one of those instead…

…and the extent to which they use the Brangelina visit to attract customers? Well here is the menu board…

Mgarr in xini resized

If you peer at it, go on, lean in… and squint, then click on it to make it bigger you can just about make out in the top left hand corner there is a mention that this place was used because of its simplicity in By the Sea and that is it… When I go to use the facilities I see a signed photo of Angelina… it is propped up on a storage shelf next to the diet coke.

That about sums up this island, nothing’s in your face, nothing’s commercialised or even marketed much – and long may that continue. A couple of years ago whilst waiting for some mess up ahead on the road to clear I glanced out of the car window and noticed a tiny sign indicating the site of a prehistoric cave – there was a small fence ringing some stones to stop idiots from falling into said cave and that was it. No hoopla, no fanfare – it was just on a verge, the sign its only invitation – come and have a look if you fancy it.

The island of Gozo has often been used for film/TV locations, there’s something special about the light apparently. Here’s the information from Wikipedia for those film buffs amongst you –

Gozo was used to depict “Resolution Island” in the 1953 film Single-Handed, based on C. S. Forester‘s book Brown on Resolution. For much of the film, the German raider Essen (depicted by HMS Manxman) is holed up in the semi-circular Dwejra Bay, behind Fungus Rock on the west coast of Gozo, and there are several scenes set among the desolate limestone cliffs above the bay as Able Seaman Brown single-handedly detains the German ship until her pursuers can catch up with her.

In 1969, Anthony Newley directed the beach scenes of his flawed Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? starring Joan Collins at Ir-Ramla Bay.[24]

In 1978, Kevin Connor’s film Warlords of Atlantis starring Doug McClure (The Virginian) was shot in Marsalforn Bay.

Two days of shooting in Gozo’s strong Mediterranean light provided shots used to represent the desolate surface of the alien planet in the 1981 British horror film Inseminoid (known in the U.S. as Horror Planet).

In 1981, parts of Episode 7 from Brideshead Revisited were recorded on the island, particularly in the village of Kercem, to depict Fez in Morocco.

Gozo was the location for Calypso’s island in the 1997 Hallmark miniseries The Odyssey based on Homer’s epic poem.

Dwejra (the Azure Window) was one of several filming locations in the Maltese islands used for the 2011 HBO TV series Game of Thrones.

It was at this point that I was going to add in a Youtube video of Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ wedding as in the background you can see the Azure Window. However, they all appear to be a little spicy for this blog… a little rich in the mischief for some tastes so here’s a picture of Drogo in case you don’t know who I’m talking about…


Khal Drogo courtesy of the site

What do you mean where’s the one of Daenery’s?….Oh I couldn’t find one 😉 Moving on…

The upcoming film titled By the Sea, starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt was partially filmed at Mġarr ix-Xini from August to November 2014.[25]

I should also add that Popeye was filmed on Malta and the wonderful looking higgledy piggledy set is still there and is now a visitor attraction.

Popeye village

Popeye Village on Malta

Now back to the roads… which are mostly quite shocking but hey this is not our car right, not our shock absorbers (that must be the business to be in out here) and there’s always David at the end of a phone ready and waiting to come and do running repairs if needed – he loves us, I just know it! Like last year when we had been given a BMW (on these roads!) which spewed its guts across a junction in a cloud of steam. There he was, our knight in shining armour…well our knight in a jeep actually, if I remember correctly!

Anyway, you can tell when something important is coming up because the road suddenly improves. Take the Azure Window for example, one minute you’re bumping along, dodging potholes to the best of your ability the next you’re gliding across acres of perfectly laid tarmac as your car breathes a sigh of relief and you sail effortlessly towards your goal.

Gozo azure window

Azure Window

Oooh and I do my nails! Just check out how glorious they are in that photo of Hollywood Shakedown above! Those of you who know me will know I’m not a girly girl, although my daughter is. I don’t think I’ve been too much of a disappointment to her as I made it very clear early on in our relationship that I couldn’t do fancy stuff with her hair. I could plait it much in the style of a horses tail or it would have to be plain old bunches or a ponytail. However with a wedding looming next week and my nails trashed due to general gnawing through the recent editing process she suggested I try some fake ones. I’m giving them a test run on this holiday and feel quite glamorous 😉

Two mentions in the visitor’s book caught our attention on our arrival…

The Griffin Family wrote that ‘the cockerel starts around 3am and a dog barks throughout the night when disturbed’… clearly it’s disturbed a lot… and we can add there’s now a donkey that’s joined the mix…

The Bing/Dowsett family…’the early morning routine of the locals and surrounding animals soon became apparent’…hmmm…

To be continued…

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5 Responses to #Gozo – Day 3 – Baggy Bits and Beaches!
  1. Fab nails, G – I reckon you could be a hand model. Plus with your new Brangelina connection you’re more or less famous anyway. Gozo sounds utterly idyllic and I actually feel like I’m there with you saggy cossy and all 😀

    • Thanks E – they made me feel quite ladylike for a while 🙂 I can’t help feeling that the link to Brangelina is a little tenuous but appreciate the thought – haha! Gozo is idyllic – I don’t know why I’m writing about it actually as I should be keeping it a treasured secret.


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