This morning we planned a hike through Wied Il Ghasel, close to Mosta, in the middle of the island. It was gonna be the Vella Zarb brothers (Michael and Andrew) + Becky and I. Michael and Andrew came to pick us up in their Landrover at around 10:00 in the morning and then we drove to Mosta to start our hike. They don’t have a car radio at the moment, but luckily we were blessed with the beautiful harmonies of the musical twin brothers singing Hit ’em up by Tupac.

A good start to a lovely day.

Now, let’s have a look at the hike!

Andrew was channeling his inner Indiana Jones with this outfit

Hard to describe what is really going on in this picture… 🙂

I thought this was really cool. On the dry stone wall next to this little chapel there was a statue of Mary (?), aimed at the church. On her knees, praying, with a few cats next to her feet. This struck me as a very interesting sight. I’ve never seen a little statue, praying towards a chapel in the wild like this. What made it even more remarkable was that it was positioned on the dry stone wall that was surrounding the premise. At a slightly angeled position, not straight in front of the chapel or perpendicular to it, but slightly angled. As if it was placed by the villagers instead of the church, who owns the land presumably. Or maybe it was a clever marketing trick by the church to lure people to the chapel. Who knows? Not me. Cool cats though. That’s a very Maltese twist to the statue.

The first arched ‘bridge’ is in fact an aqueduct. The second one is a bridge for cars and other means of transportation.

In the picture above, you can see Becky walking towards the chapel of St. Paul the Hermit. There is a cool legend that surrounds the origin of this chapel. It is said that before this chapel was here, the valley was a popular place for hermits to hang out. One of them was the saintly man Corrado. He was living in Wied Il Ghasel and approaching Sheppard and trying to convince them to lead a better life. A little bit like Arnol Kox in Eindhoven used to do.

The shepherds in the valley were not a big fan of Corrado. In fact, the thought he was quite annoying. That’s why they came up with a plan to get rid of him. They invited a girl of loose morals to the valley and asked her to drop her clothes in front of Corrado and act as if she was in need of help. If he would help her, the shepherds would accuse him of indecent behaviour with the girl. If he wouldn’t help her, then they would accuse him of not being charitable. Which is also a sin.

Corrado decided to help the girl. To which the shepherds responded by throwing stones at him and trying to chase him out of the valley. They chased him down all the way to the shore. And that’s where the miracle happened. Corrado took off his cloak, threw it in the sea, stepped on it, and he disappeared!

Or he walked over the water to Gozo… there are a few different variations of the story. But the shepherds were so impressed with whatever Corrado did there, that they decided to build the chapel for St. Paul the Hermit in Wied Il Ghasel.

And it looks pretty cool! If you want to have a look at the interior, you can visit this website. They have an online 3D viewer.

We ended the hike with a bit of rain (only for 5 minutes), but it looked quite cool in the bright sunlight. All in all, it was a fun, adventurous hike through an interesting valley!