Mgarr ix-Xini is one of my favourite places on Gozo. Difficult to reach and not well known, it used the be a beach where only the locals and a few clued up tourists went. But a gem like this could never remain secret for too long, especially now that 'By the Sea' was filmed on the bay.
To be honest there isn't much of a beach - just a small pebbled area for sunbathing, and along the left side looking out to the sea, flattened rocks to lie or sit on. But the setting is spectacular. Just look at that for a view. Sheltered clear waters, a watchtower at the end, fish in abundance if you want to snorkel, including a small family of sea horses which I was lucky enough once to see when diving.
And then of course there is the alfresco restaurant which I have Lewis go to in Naked Hero. It looks pretty basic, with plain tables and chairs. But the food is so fresh and cleverly cooked with original twists. Sea food in the main, the catch of the day. It's run by a quirky couple who live in my village, and they really have got a goldmine on their hands. Lunch is the thing to do here. Have a swim first then spend a few hours with a group of friends, a variety of dishes arriving tapas style, and a few bottles of chilled wine of course.
Some evenings I like to go to this spot on the edge of the bay. Bring a portable BBQ and some lighting for when the sun goes down, and plenty of food and drink of course. It's simple, and it's magical, and it's very much Gozo. It's Mgarr ix-Xini, my local beach. Is it any wonder that this was the spot where the defensive layers of Lewis Macleod began to fall away?