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Villa Rundle Park

July 27th, 2007

gozo villa rundle 4

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It’s time for us to drop into the middle of a Mediterranean island. Villa Rundle is a small, tree-filled park with carefully planned flowerbeds that spring rainbow colors on this khaki desert island. Holm oaks and palm trees give shade during summer, when North Africa’s heat rolls across the Med Sea on Sirocco winds. They hit Gozo like a hammer to an anvil. When you’re walking around Rabat, the island’s provincial capital, there are few enough outdoor places to escape the sun, and no place to dodge the heat (there are few air-conditioned buildings on Gozo). With this in mind, Villa Rundle is a true oasis.

gozo villa rundle_2Gozo is a small island with red-sand beaches, rocky shores, 200-meter vertical cliffs into the sea, scuba diving, quiet farm roads, fishing villages, cafés-a-plenty, underwater caves, ancient temples, and steep mountains. All these sites are within twenty minutes drive from wherever you stay on the island. In other words, Gozo is one big park.

So why then should you visit Villa Rundle? My concept for this Website has always been to urge travelers to relax during some part of each day, to find a place that uses landscape architecture—a park—so that nature replaces buildings and frenetic activity. Cities have been building parks for more than two thousand years. Sure, you can easily sit down on a city curb to rest your tired feet, or find a bench in a shopping mall to nap. These places, however, are products of human industry. The mind does not rest well here.

And so Rabat has Villa Rundle—tree-lined, dozens of benches, a soothing fountain, perhaps the smallest bird “zoo” imaginable, and enough paths to let you wander under the shade—and the park is two blocks from the town’s central traffic circle. I’ve lived on Gozo and experienced its heat: Villa Rundle is a place you’ll need—not only want—after walking around Rabat for a few hours. gozo villa rundle_1The park is not a place to hang out, really, unless you live on Gozo for a season, or are thinking of retiring to an international destination. There are just too many other things to do and places to visit on a short holiday. But as a chill-out spot, Villa Rundle works for a short rest, a sandwich or bench-picnic, and to look at your island map for the next village to visit.

Food and Drinks in Villa Rundle
I call Villa Rundle a “true oasis” because it gives life-saving shade on a desert island, but also because it has a water fountain. If you’ve drained your water bottle, this is a place to fill up. Otherwise, you’re standing inside a small swatch of green in a café-and-fresh-food-market town, so you’ll find no other food or cold drinks in the park.

(read more about Villa Rundle Park’s highlights here

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