Ana Kisling is a Ukranian national who has been living on the island of Gozo since 2008. In this blog post Ana explains the first time she experienced Gozo and what made her make Gozo her home.
I’ll take you to a little trip I experienced in July 2008, the day I first set foot on Gozo.
I remember the moment I arrived to the island of Gozo like it was yesterday: it was a bright sunny summer’s day, the sea was calm and gentle and there was a lovely breeze in the air.
Since it was summer, and thus festa season, Gozo looked like a place out of a fairytale, with gorgeous flags flying over the villages on the hill tops and streets decorated with festive buntings and fairly lights.
As you might have guessed it was love at the first sight. If you’re a romantic soul, like I am, you would also fall in love with the charm and the magical flow of this island.
On that day in 2008, our journey took us though a village decorated for the festa season and straight to the Gozo Salt Pans. This historical place is an area where salt is still being collected the same way as it was done 350 years ago. The method never changed.
Our Salt Pans visit was followed by a sunset swim in the clearest and most calm waters of the island’s most popular bay: Ramla il-Ħamra (which means red in Maltese referring to its red sand). By chance, we also managed to dine in a palazzo enjoying a lovely 4-course meal – Gozo’s cuisine is truly exquisite.
I remember asking the waiter if we need to rush to catch the ferry back to Malta, and he replied: “You never need to rush on Gozo, everything has it’s divine timing, just trust it.” And then he added: “The ferry operates all night long.”
We were on Gozo for just a daytrip and I immediately started regretting leaving the island. Why rush to the busier mainland when I felt all the peace in the world on this lovely island? Gozo deserves more than just a daytrip. That’s when I started contemplating the move to Gozo!
Fast-forward a few weeks later and I found a 300 years old renovated farmhouse with a pool on Gozo. It didn’t take much effort to jump into the idyllic island way of life.
For a few years I worked in the aviation business on mainland Malta. I found it quite easy to commute between the islands, the ferry trip from Gozo to Malta and back is quite scenic and absolutely gorgeous during sunrise and sunset times.
I found a real joy in exploring the underwater sea, swimming into the caves and lazing in the sun. As English is the second official language here, it was quite effortless to connect with the locals and to become good friends with them. Gozitans are very open and helpful, they are generous and will share their produce from their heart.
I truly settled on the island after becoming a Mother. I find Gozo an amazing and a safe place to have a family and enjoy life outdoors. Enjoying the island’s great outdoors led me to the idea of starting my sustainable business of Gozo Picnic.
My appreciation for the island, passion for cooking and desire to live a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle led me to create an experience service of discovering the island of Gozo through a picnic. I am fortunate to have met people who loved and supported my idea and 4 years down the line Gozo Picnic is thriving and I have the honour of sharing my experience on this page.
Through my work I set picnics in different locations, depending on the time of the year or weather conditions. I created different menus in order to cater for all dietary needs and wishes and I mostly like to use local and seasonal ingredients so my guests can get an authentic taste of Gozo.
What is especially satisfying is that not only people from all over the world come to my picnics, but also the locals appreciate and support such service. It has been a beautiful journey to start the business on Gozo and to become a successful one.
Since that day in July 2008, I’ve created countless memories and experiences on this gorgeous little island. Now it’s quite surreal to think that since then I’ve been calling Gozo my home for 14 years…and I don’t regret one bit of it.