Saturday, September 19, 2009

Running away: Gozo, Malta, 2007

In October 2007 I spent a week on the island of Gozo, in Malta, as an editor-in-residence at the Gharb studio of artist Norbert Attard. Parts of Gozo were settled as far back as the Bronze Age. The island is reputedly where, after the Trojan Wars, Ulysses was shipwrecked in a terrible storm. He was rescued and nursed back to health by the goddess-nymph Calypso, who lived in a cave in the hillside overlooking the bay where he was washed ashore. She must have decided he was a pretty good catch, because for seven years she prevented him leaving to return to his wife Penelope who was waiting at home in Greece. Calypso promised Ulysses eternal youth if he would marry her, but he was pining for his Pen and turned her down. Zeus finally stepped in and ordered Calypso to release Ulysses, and he took to the seas again. After some more adventures, he was finally reunited with Penny. I had two runs while on the island. The first took me to the dramatic coast, past fields separated by crumbling stone walls. I felt a little vulnerable in such a deserted place. You could have tracked my next run, through the sleeping village and on to the outskirts of the main city of Victoria and back, by the sound of barking dogs.

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