Villa Rundle Garden, Gozo
Gozo is a popular weekend escape for many people living in Malta. I personally love going to Malta's sister island, even though it's not as often as I would like. However having visitors over is a great excuse to take them around, yet again become a tourist in my own country, show them some familiar places and local landmarks as well as discover places I haven't been before.
Recently I've visited Gozo with my two friends Zuzka a Lada and we spent a morning exploring the Gozo's capital city Victoria. It's a quite busy place I have to say. Not sure if I've ever realized how lively this town is. We were walking around the side streets, shopping, nibbling some local delights and just having a nice time. But then we kind of needed to escape the hussle and bussle of the busy Vistoria and we found this beautiful garden in the lower part of the Republic Street. These is the Villa Rundle Public Garden and I'm very pleased to take you around.
So what's this Villa Rundle garden and what can you expect to find here? Well, there is a little bit a of a story behind this place. The garden was once part of the British government experimental farm, which helped the farmers to upgrade the quality of their livestock and produce. William Millard, who was the Chief Officer of the Gozo Civil Service at that time sought assistance from Governor Sir Leslie Rundle to build a garden in Victoria on part of the existing garden. The funds were released, the garden was built in 1915 and named after him in honor of his support.
For those interested General Sir Henri Macleod Leslie Rundle was a British Army general during the First World War and the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Malta in 1909.
The Villa Rundle garden was closed for long-awaited makeover in 2009 and reopened to the public in May 2012. The garden is designed in accordance with the seasons using carefully selected plans as indicated on the picture below.
As mentioned the garden is situated in Victoria and it's like a peaceful heaven in the middle of the busy capital. What you can look forward to is a variety of native and imported trees, plans and flowers each nicely labelled for easier recognition. There are lost of benches where you can sit down, rest your feet and just enjoy the beautiful greenery as well as a playing area for the kids, as they always have some energy left to use! :-)
This bridge, situated in the centre of the garden, is build over a nice waterfall giving the area extra fresh feel. Also a perfect place to take some nice photos, as I did with the assistance of my helpful friends. :-)
The bridge is leading to a mini amphitheater, with purposely build underground changing rooms, designed to be the stage for intimate concerts and performances. Villa Rundle garden has also been hosting the annual Santa Marija Agricultural Show, which you attend on the 14th and 15th August.
When walking through the garden you can come across couple of sculptures from the local artists. My favourite is the one below by Joe Xuereb called 'Gozo Gossiping'.
How much time do you need to visit the garden? Well I guess it depends how tired you are and how much time you have on your hands. You can easily sit here for hours, as many locals seem to do, but we have spent a good hour just walking around, taking photos and resting our feet.
As I already said there is plenty of benches, so you will always find a place to sit, there is free WIFI available as well as public convenience.
And here are three very happy faces, refreshed and ready for the next adventure! Stay tuned as there is more coming! I'm just getting started with Gozo!
Below is the exact location of the Rundle Villa Garden just in case you should miss it. Enjoy!