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2015 MALTA HERE I COME!

Train from Koblenz to Frankfurt airport then fly to Malta.

Wednesday 22nd July 2015 (day seventy-seven)

Koblenz to Frankfurt by train then fly to Malta

Had an easy morning, actually slept late so must have needed it after my long ride yesterday and the brief illness last night. Had a wonderful filling breakfast provided by my hosts.

So my bike is stored and my bag is packed for my excursion to Malta. I have just taken all my clothes as I don’t have many anyway and they all fit into the one wet bag I had.

Ang drove to the train station at 2.35 for my 3.05 train. I bought a quick sandwich at the station to eat en-route but need not have hurried because the train was delayed for 30 minutes. Actually the train was completely taken out of action and we were ushered onto another one that departed Koblenz at 3.35. Luckily I had plenty of time as my flight was not until 19.55 and the train journey should only take approximately 1 ½ hours.
Again I travelled the same route along the Rhine River. I am really getting to know this stretch of the river well. It was funny to travel through the familiar towns and stretches along the river that took me days to ride yet minutes to pass on the train. It was a nice ride and I made it to the airport in heaps of time, still even too early to check in.

Frankfurt airport is big, and it did not seem to be over crowded as all the check in gates are so spread out. There were lots (about 100) of counters offering last minute flights and holiday deals. This is good to know perhaps for another time when stranded and looking for somewhere to go, just rock up to the airport with a budget and get on the next flight to random destination.

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I’m flying to Malta with Air Malta, and although my bag is only 6kg I checked it in as I had shampoo and sunscreen that was more than the allowed 100ml carry on size. And what the hell, check in bag was free so why not take advantage. As I was travelling to another EU country there was no immigration check, but we did have to go through security check where everyone had a full body scan. I had taken off my watch and bangles but still managed to register on the screen due to a tiny metallic bell on my anklet. So the machine were turned up to fairly sensitive, good to know.

From the gate we were bused out to the air craft and loaded without problems, departing on time at 19.55. It was a 3 hour non-event flight and shortly after take-off we were high above the clouds and although I had a window seat could see nothing. Starting to land 3 hours later is was dark down below and all I could see were a few of the light of Malta. The captain advised us it was just after 10pm and 27 degrees. I smiled.

I had booked an AirBnB room to spend my first night due to my late arrival and for an extra 10 euro I requested an airport pickup. So happy I did this as would not have liked to be looking for somewhere to stay at this time.

Miriam was at the arrivals gate with my name written in pink on a piece of paper, an elderly woman, she kissed me on greeting and I liked her instantly. She led me outside to where her husband Emanual, was waiting in the car for us. We drove to their house in Saint Verene, about 25 minutes from the airport. I could not have felt more welcomed. Malta’s second language is English so there was no communication problems whatsoever. This couple were just wonderful, I could not have wished for nicer people to introduce me to a new country.

They then took the time at this late hour to advise me on all the sights to be seen around Malta. I sat at the table and wished I was spending my entire holiday here with them. There was nothing they did not know about the history and sights of Malta and avid walkers knew how to get to every nook and cranny of this island by foot and by bus. It was very informative, and way too much information to take in. I hope I remember some of it so I can discover some of the places they suggested.

I had a shower (a cold one, by choice as it was still so hot) and slept in a very comfy bed.

Thursday 22nd July 2015 (day seventy-eight)

Saint Verene to Valletta to Xaghara

Miraculously, I woke early and was at the breakfast table by the advised time of 8.30, after having another cool shower, it had been a hot night. Breakfast was abundant. Coffee, juice, Maltese bread, local cheese for me to try and a boiled egg. Man, it was nice being so spoilt

I sat around until almost 12 chatting with Emanual who told me all about his 2 daughters. It was a lovely stay and if I ever come back to Malta would love to spend time with this lovely couple again.

Emanual walked me to the bus stop where I could get a bus into the capital Valletta. I had decided it would be best if I get an unlimited bus pass that works all over Malta so that I could just travel around at ease. The bus was there within minutes and I hopped on paying the 2 euro fee (which is valid for 2 hours) to go to Valletta.

Once in the capital I had to find where to buy the pass, the tourist office advised a book shop and I made my way there after I deposited my bag at nearby hotel that was happy to store it for me while I look around.

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I instantly loved the city. Usually all cities are alike but this one was beautiful. All the sandstone buildings. I know nothing about architecture but I loved it here. Every building had lots of ornate balconies. The whole place had a relaxed, I guess holiday, feel to it. I walked around for about 3 hours.

Finally retrieved my bag and headed back to the bus station to get a bus to the ferry as I am spending a few days on the other island Gozo. Bus arrived within minutes, however took over an hour to get to the ferry terminal. Understandably, as it was on the other side of the island to Valletta.
I short wait for the ferry and then a 25 minute smooth crossing. It was a big ferry that carried cars as well as just passengers.

Back on another bus to head to Xaghara where I have 2 nights with a Couch Surfer. I asked the bus driver to advise when I got to my stop which he kindly did and I just had a short walk to my home for the next 2 nights.

And wow, what an interesting place where I am staying. The owner of this typical Maltese house is a local who has more or less opened his home to all and sundry. Couch surfers and travelling strays are all welcome here. It’s hard to explain but I guess it’s like what an open hippy house would have been like in the 60’s. Not that I have any experience with a hippy house but my guess is it would be like this:
Pretty messy, actually dirty. One person working (Mario the Maltese guy) and a house full of free loaders. Which I suppose I have become one of. When I arrived Mario was in the ‘kitchen’ preparing the evening meal which he advised me there would the 7 diners tonight. I am of course the oldest ‘guest’ as perhaps he likes to surround himself with younger people or perhaps persons of my age would not be comfortable in this situation. At first I wasn’t but told myself to chill out and ended up having a lovely evening.

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There was quite a few different nationalities, guys from Holland, Poland, France, Somalia and a girl from Switzerland. All in their 20’s, all students who are studying abstract things like anthropology, linguistics and mathematics.

I guess they are not really like hippies cause there was no alcohol or drugs included in the evening, I think more alternates?! Anyway quite a different sort of atmosphere, interesting listening to these young people so caught up in there unusual pursuits. Guess they must have thought I was a bit of a square, but I did not feel too detached from the whole thing and not uncomfortable. Although I did not sleep between the sheets that were provided on my bed because I would say there have been a few sweaty bodies in there since the last time they were washed.

The meal was great, we had bbq pork chops and steak with a couple of salads that Mario had prepared.

I guess I was a little out of my comfort zone, so it was a nice challenge and an interesting evening.

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 05:03 Archived in Malta

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