Monthly Archives: April 2013
Monday Morning and time for a Harbour Cruise
We got up early…again… but this time we set the video up on the balcony and climbed back into bed, I guess with the hope of some more sleep!!
We did doze a little; meanwhile this is what the video took for us.
Remember, this is the scene that met us every morning during our stay!
One thing we noticed, as we lay there, was the silence.
All the noise had stopped at about 11’ish, and we got to sleep well after that, but today was going to be THE day, and if yesterday was anything to go by, we wondered if it could really be any worse!
We had decided to eat breakfast in the hotel and so, about 8.30, we wondered off upstairs and boy what a set up for breakfast!!
Oh yes, and we noticed that Phil’s ankle appeared to have improved from the rest, the swelling had gone down and he was walking a lot better, with barely a limp in site.
Muesli, cornflakes, different meats as well as sausages, yoghurt, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, 3 different types of bread for toast! Croissants, and some with chocolate too! Marmalade, 2 different types of jam, fresh fruit, grapefruit, peaches, apple juice, pineapple juice, orange and grapefruit juice, tea, coffee.
I could feel the calories piling on as I just looked at the feast before us, and once again, as much as you can eat! We felt spoiled!
We tucked in as we knew it was going to be a long day, also it was looking overcast outside and we wanted to make sure we would be warm on our cruise.
After a good, but not over indulging, breakfast, we wondered back upstairs to get ready to go out.
We checked that all batteries were charged for all the cameras, we did not want to miss a thing!
Then we dressed warmly and wondered out into the streets.
It was not too busy and so we just meandered up towards where the boats were moored, found ours and we were the first on, so, we got to sit at the front.
It was drizzling slightly but we did not mind, we are used to rain coming from England!!
Then it was time to set off and, rather strangely, as we left Sliema, it stopped drizzling!
I will not get into the description of the Grand Harbour Tour, just watch the video.
Again you will see many familiar places from films, especially if you’re a fan of Cutthroat Island and Gladiator!
So please watch and enjoy!
We pulled up and found a car park fairly easily, climbed out the car and started to walk up the main road, towards some incredible buildings which were behind a beautiful fountain.
On the other side of the fountain was a horse drawn buggy, and we decided that if we had time perhaps a ride in one of those would be great, provided I could climb in
We carried on walking and came to the main entrance and thoroughfare to Valletta.
The streets were nice and wide and pedestrian only, brilliant, no jumping out of the way of cars etc.
We meandered up what appeared to be the main central road, the buildings are fantastic, the architecture is a real mixture of very modern to very old, very Italian to very Arabian.. just a wonderful mixture of the culture that is Malta.
There are small alleyways leading off the main avenue that begged to be explored, but not today, another time, if we ever come back.
We came across the Palace Armoury which, unfortunately, was closed due to no electric ah well, we wander on, through St Georges Square and then we saw the end of the road, still some distance away, but we decide to walk on anyway.
The one thing I have not mentioned to date is that Valletta is a place to shop; main brands line the road as well as small traders with their wares. Thankfully the beauty of the place overpowered all the modern wares.
We started on the last leg of the walk and, as we meandered along, we saw a silversmith and went in.
He was working at his bench and we stood and watched for ages, and while Phil spoke to him about his craft, I wondered around. It was beautiful.
The centre was a courtyard, bright and airy, and I just sat there and imagined what it must have been like to live there all those years ago.
After Phil had had his curiosity sated, we carried on and eventually came to the end of the walk, to discover St Elmos Fort. And what was parked outside? A buggy.
After much deliberation, I think it was all of, ‘shall we?’ ‘oh yes!’ we agreed to take the buggy back to the square at the other end, namely where we started from.
I am so glad we have a sense of humour, and even the driver nearly wet himself with glee as Phil helped me into the buggy, using shoulder and hands and a lot of puffing and panting.
But we made it. And what a lovely drive back it was, well worth the effort, and I didn’t once think about how I was going to get out at the other end!
It wasn’t so bad, just a little more huffing and puffing, the driver again nearly wetting himself, as were the other drivers, but the interesting this was, as we laughed and heard them laughing we looked around and let them see that we were laughing with them as well, and they all smiled and said hello, then we had a treat, a piece of pizza which we took along the sidewalk, sat on a bench and enjoyed, before climbing back into the car, driving back to the hotel and made plans for our last day on this wonderful island.
Our last day
Phil loves fishing, in any shape form or manner, so on our last day we decided to the East side of Malta.
We decided to do a little history first, so off we went.
And yes, you guessed it, the roundabouts had us confused once again.
We found ourselves next to the airport, then heading for Valletta then back down to Marsaxloxx as we eventually found some sign posts. Down the hill and there was saw Ghar Dalam
This place is fantastic. The history is amazing!
The bones they have in the museum with all the write up about everything they have found there, including the bines of animals from Africa that were part of Malta when it was separated from Africa by earthquakes.
Humans also lived there 10,000 years ago!
We did the museum and then, very slowly, we went down the slope to the cave.
Okay, Cheddar Gorge it is not, but it still has its own majesty.
Especially the bees.
As you approach the cave you hear a gently humming and think nothing of it. Phil was ahead of me and entered in the cave walking further and further back, whereas I could hear the humming all along the left, looked at the walls and saw thousands of small holes in them, from ground to ceiling, and bees flying in and out of them.
Apparently the bee hive in the rocks dates back thousands of years There is a sign that says they are earth bees and are harmless, however, Phil is allergic to wasp stings and there was a just a little worry as we all know, nature has a way of biting you on the bum when you are least expecting it.
We finally left and headed on down the hill to Marsaxloxx. We were rather excited as we heard they had a market there, well so we thought. As per usual there were a few wrong turnings and we ended up going through a small town called Birzebuga, where we stopped and asked directions from a nice lady who said that if we were interested in fish we might also enjoy visiting St Juliens Tower where there is an aquarium, so off we went to find our fishing village.
We found a little place to park up in one of the back streets, and walked down to the front.
No market. Oh well.
But the boats! The colours!
I was standing there looking at them when I turned and saw an elderly gentleman sitting on a bench and just commented to him that we were a little upset we missed watching them coming into harbour with their catch. And then we really started talking.
The gentleman’s name was Frank Attard and turned out to be a famous photographer and then, even more amazing, he did an interview for us!
I am sorry about the quality but basic dvd camera and strong winds did not make a good quality film, but it was good enough for us!
After the lovely chat we then walked along the front looking for fish, all we found was the small tourists market so we went back to the car and drove up to St Juliens only to discover it was closed.
We went back to the car and followed our noses, this led us back to Mdina where we parked up and went to the dungeons.
We had a great time as it was indeed most interesting!
We started to head for St Pauls, as we knew the way home this way, and saw a sign saying Ta’Qali, crafts village, so as we still had some time we thought it might be a good place to see if there was anything to take home, such as genuine Maltese lace.
It is based on an old airfield, and full of the old beaked bean huts which have all been converted into shops and local craft shops. Although it was not fully open yet, we wondered around, looking at Maltese glass, Maltese stoneware and jewellery and even watched some being made.
Before we knew it, it was time to return to the hotel as the car was being collected at 6pm and we wanted to make sure we got back in time!
We both felt somewhat sad, as the car was picked up and we had our last meal, packed out bags and set the alarm for 4 am.
Ah well, off to bed after a really exciting week.
And so we leave malta
We were outside by 5 am waiting for the mini bus to pick us up to take us back to the airport.
We looked around with a feeling of sadness as we waited; we felt there had been a lot more to discover n the Mediterranean Island and we might never get the chance to come back again.
The mini bus arrived and we climbed in and as we reached the airport we watched our last sunrise out of the windows.
Now, as you may have guessed, if something could go wrong on this holiday, it did.
We booked in and Phil asked for our assistance, only to be told there was none available, all the assistance had been used up by others. I explained I had ordered it back before Christmas and they said yes, that’s right, but whilst you were on Malta you cancelled it.
I was fuming. We had not cancelled it at all. We had out thoughts and the only people who had our information was the tour guide. Now, I am not blaming her totally, however, she was not happy that we did not book anything. I shall leave the rest to you to figure out.
I asked if I could get on the plane first as I take steps very slowly, they said no, but they would try and do something.
Well it was worth it. I got a lovely young man complete with wheel chair ( one of the ones that had all been used up.. hhmmpphh) to take me out to the van lift and eventually we were back in the skies.
The flight home had some amazing scenery, especially over the Alps.
Then we were landing back in Bristol, and climbing back into our own car and before we know it we were back home.
The end of our first adventure.. Little did we know there would be more!!