Why is it that so many of Sunflower’s picnic suggestions end up being ‘off bounds’? It’s uncanny.
The problem first arose in the 1980s, when the Underwoods were walking in Madeira and found that one of their recommended picnic spots had become a building site … a major chain had taken the risk of siting a cliff-top luxury hotel in the middle of nowhere, thanks to reading about it in Landscapes of Madeira. A lovely picnic spot was lost forever … but on a positive note, the hotel brought employment to many people in a hitherto impoverished part of the island.
The pattern has continued through the decades, and the latest closure is at the fjord-like inlet on Gozo, Mgarr ix-Xini – a recommended picnic spot in Landscapes of Malta, Gozo and Comino. So those of you planning to go walking on Gozo may have to forego stopping here during Walk 25: the beach and its rustic restaurant have been taken over as of August 17 by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. They are making a film called By the Sea. Again, it will be a boost to the local economy: the Maltese PM anticipates that tourist revenues could pump £15 million into the local economy.
For the moment they’re planning to finish filming by November 10 – so they will still be on the island when the season for walking on Malta and Gozo starts again in earnest. We imagine that Walk 25 will be a very popular route this autumn!
Photo: Mgarr ix-Xini