A Travellerspoint blog

Malta

2019 AUGUST 24 to 25 MALTA

Last 2 days in Malta. Day 64 & 65

sunny 30 °C
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SATURDAY 24TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 64)

LiJA, MALTA

Today is our 2nd last day in paradise. Malta is one of my favourite destinations in the world and I never feel sad about leaving because I know I will return again. And I am certain of this as next years accommodation is already booked!

We decided to go to Granny's in Bugibba for a 2.95 euro breakfast. Great value this breaky and worth the drive!

After we had eaten we drove over to the opposite coast of the island for a last swim at Gnejna Bay. This is another spot, and being a weekend the locals were out in force too. The beach was crowded, but its still a nice place for a swim. We stayed for a couple of hours, swimming in the sea then sunning ourselves dry on the beach, only to repeat the process again.
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Lunch stop was at Crystal Palace, of course, for some pastizzi. They had the chicken flavoured ones left today so that is what we had. Sadly, they were out of stock of Cisk Lemon Beer, but we had an ice cream for dessert instead.
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Back in our accommodation in Lija we had a swim in the pool to wash off the sea salt before we showered and walked to Balzan Football Club for dinner. The meal servings are always way to large and we all overate without even finishing our meals. A waddle back to our farmhouse and we crashed.

SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST 2019 (DAY 65)

Dolly cooked us poached eggs for our last breakfast. We packed our bags (still too full) and hung around until it was time to go to the airport.

Dolly's flight is at 5pm and ours at 9pm, but we decided to return the hire car to the airport car park and wait it out at the airport after Dolly left. We really didn't have anywhere to go and we were lucky enough to get the accommodation until 3pm instead of the usual 10am checkout time.

We hugged Dolly goodbye when it was time for her to depart, happy in the knowledge we will be seeing her again in 5 weeks when she joins us in Bali!
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Our flight ended up leaving about 30 minutes late. The flight itself was less than 1 hour, and we landed in Palermo Airport at about 10.30pm. Collected our luggage and went straight to Hertz to collect our car. Woo Hoo, a little while Fiat 500. This car being small will be great for Lyn to drive any narrow streets and hopefully easy to find parking.

It took us a little over an hour to drive from the airport to our accommodation in Trapani. The lovely Francesca was waiting for us outside when we finally arrived a little after midnight.

Our accommodation here is a double bedroom with ensuite bathroom and a shared kitchen, shared with just one other double room. Breakfast is included and it's costing us just under 40 euro per night. Pretty good, the place is spotlessly clean and the balcony over the, what sounds like a busy street, promises to have a view of the sea.

Looking forward to our time in Sicily.

Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:46 Archived in Malta Tagged bay malta lija gnejna Comments (0)

2019 AUGUST 11 to 23 - GOZO

The smaller paradise of the Maltese Islands! Day 51 to Day 63

sunny 30 °C
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12 days in Gozo

Gozo is the middle sized island from the Maltese group, and a lot less populated than the main island of Malta. We spend equal time on both islands cause we love them both.

Quick Facts on Gozo

37,000 Inhabitants

Small island covering just 67 km2 (26 square miles)

Second largest of the three inhabited Maltese islands

Known for a few popular sites like the Dwejra inland sea, the Citadel in Victoria (a small bastion city built atop one of the hills in Gozo with a rich historical background) and the Ġgantija Megalithic temples.

A number of big budget film productions were shot in Malta and Gozo. In the first series of Game of Thrones, the Azure Window (natural rock formation which unfortunately collapsed recently) featured in the backdrop of some of the more memorable scenes.

Said to have been the home of the mythological Calypso, the nymph from Homer’s Odyssey.

Here are some random photos of this year in Gozo!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 14:15 Archived in Malta Comments (2)

2019 JULY 28 to AUGUST 11 MALTA

A holiday in the middle of our travels. Day 37 to Day 51

sunny 30 °C
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2 Weeks in Malta

I don't usually do a blog for my time spent in Malta, mainly because my time here is spent relaxing, a lot of relaxing and doing not a great deal at all. And although I am still not writing a blog, I thought I might share some photos with you.

First, here's a bit about Malta for your information.

Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies 80 km (50 mi) south of Italy, 284 km (176 mi) east of Tunisia, and 333 km (207 mi) north of Libya. With a population of about 475,000 over an area of 316 km (122 sq mi), Malta is the world's tenth smallest and fifth most densely populated country. Its capital is Valletta, which is the smallest national capital in the European Union by area at 0.8 km². The official languages are Maltese and English, with Maltese officially recognised as the national language and the only Semitic language in the European Union.

The size of Malta is about 27 km/ 16.8miles long by 14.5 km/ 9.00miles width, Area - 122 square miles-316 square km (Malta 246 sq km, Gozo 67 sq km, Comino 2.7 sq km). Coastline - 196.8km (not including 56.01 km for the island of Gozo).

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History:
Malta has been inhabited since approximately 5900 BC. Its location in the centre of the Mediterranean has historically given it great strategic importance as a naval base, with a succession of powers having contested and ruled the islands, including the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British. Most of these foreign influences have left some sort of mark on the country's ancient culture.

Malta became a British colony in 1815, serving as a way station for ships and the headquarters for the British Mediterranean Fleet. It played an important role in the Allied war effort during the Second World War, and was subsequently awarded the George Cross for its bravery in the face of an Axis siege, The British Parliament passed the Malta Independence Act in 1964, giving Malta independence from the United Kingdom as the State of Malta, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and queen. The country became a republic in 1974. It has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations and the United Nations since independence, and joined the European Union in 2004; it became part of the eurozone monetary union in 2008.

The Maltese archipelago consists of three islands: Malta, Gozo and Comino, as well as countless megaliths, medieval dungeons and atmospheric towns and villages. Meandering streets contain Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces. Malta is the largest island; rural Gozo is next in size.

Here are some random photos of this year in Malta!

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Posted by Cindy Bruin 13:17 Archived in Malta Comments (2)

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 Comments (0)

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