My first trip to Gozo

(originally posted on Facebook, 24th April)

In those days Father Charles was making a popular tv-program called Djalogu. He invited me to join his crew and collected me very early in the morning from St. Paul’s Bay on the way to the ferry. I was surprised to see that the ferryboat originally had been in use in the province of Zeeland in my own country. There were still the original signs Dames and Heren to indicate the toilets.

In Gozo we went to the village of Xewkija, where a huge new church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was under construction: the purpose of the episode of the program. After morning mass we were treated to an elaborate English breakfast by the young and recently appointment parish priest.1st Paragraph, please click grey area to the right to select the image to publish.


While the tv-people were doing their job I was able to have a look around. I was impressed by the huge rotunda, but much more so by what was left of the beautiful previous church, which was pulled down during the building of its successor. I wondered if a village like this with some 2000 inhabitants really needed such a big church. Would it ever be completely filled with people? When I tried to discuss this with Dun Charles he immediately put me in front of a camera and asked me for my opinion. This was going to be my very first appearance on Maltese television.

After my opinion was transmitted I was told that my rather frank comment was not quite well received in Gozo, where feelings of proudness about the new Church prevailed over anything else.

I learned that Dutch frankness was not always appreciated in Malta. I had to polish my style and conversation, i.e. put on my Malta Cap.

If I were to understand Maltese society I’d better not start judging it by my own standards, but let people explain why they were acting as such. But some times I just had to ventilate my genuine feelings and I have been happy with a few good friends who did not blame me for calling a spade a spade.