First Week in Malta


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October 13th 2012
Published: October 13th 2012
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Hello everyone

It was a good idea to book a window seat for my afternoon flight here- flying over the Alps and then down the coast of Italy I could see Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples with Capri and then over Sicily – there was Mount Etna. And in the arrivals hall massive hugs from my lovely Richard and Catherine – just what I have been waiting for these past 7 months.



Their apartment in Sliema is a penthouse on 6th floor with 2 terraces at the front and back – so great views over the rooftops to the harbour and across to Valletta. They live on a main street in Sliema and you can walk in a few minutes to the end of the Point to a nice new shopping mall or walk to the harbour or on the other side to the sea and rocky shoreline.



Once you are here you can understand why hundreds of years ago the Knights of St John decided on this as a fortress… magnificent harbour with several bays surrounded by hilltops on which they built huge fortifications and also churches and palaces of course. And of course more recently the British saved the Maltese from Napoleon and then held it during WW2 as a most important base in the Med.



So there is lots to see here- and even though it is a bit run-down in places … there is a sort of faded magnificence and of course many sites are undergoing renovation and reconstruction …which is a massive job given the size of the city walls and the bombing of Malta which went on during WW2. They are still recovering.



So I soon got down to sightseeing – boat trips across the harbour to Valletta to wander around the steep old streets. I have bought a Heritage Sites ticket and of course have to visit everything possible to get my money’s worth – Fine Arts, Archeology, Natural History Museums as well as several churches have been on the agenda. A Hop on Off bus trip round the North of the Island was a bit of a disaster after hordes of Cruise ship people got on and so when I tried to hop on after a visit to M’dina there was no way I could get on!!! Well the first bus came and went and it looked like that might be happening when the next bus came but there is some advantage to being a little ‘un and I wormed my way through the crowds and pushed my way on- PHEW!!! Not doing that again – have now got a bus ticket for the week on the normal busses ( only 12 euros) and will make up my own tours.



It’s hot – 27 deg and quite humid – I have to remind myself that its half way through October and there we are sitting outside at a café in the evening drinking the local beer – Cisk. ( Oh - yes and I have tried the local dish of rabbit casserole and also pastizze - which are like little puff pastry pasties filled with ricotta or peas - I like the pea ones best) It has been lovely and sunny this past week but clouds began gathering today and as I write a storm is battering us – wind, rain, thunder and lightning….very dramatic.



I have been in the sea almost every day – along the coast just here there are rocky shelves and they have kindly put ladders there for those of us who are getting on a bit to get into and out of the sea – let the young ones dive and jump in!!! The sea is so clear and mostly a lovely turquoise blue. Sea temperature is perfect – very refreshing and not cold at all. I found a sandy beach on the western coast – Golden Bay – some good surf there and beautiful rock formations.



There are some magnificent churches – fantastic domes and the interiors which make you gasp at their opulence – walls all carved limestone and then gilded with gold and floors paved with huge slabs adorned with pictures of skeletons ( 400 knights bureid under themin St Johns.) In the St John Cathedral there are 2 fabulous Caravaggio’s – St Jerome and The Beheading of John the Baptist – a very good audio guide tells you all you need to know….then there was the Palace and the Armoury – how did those knights wear that stuff?? And I didn’t know until I came here that some of the most ancient sites in the world are here on the Island – temples built 1000 years before the Pyramids. There are some finds of fantastic female figures along with phalluses and carved stonework in the Archaeology Museum in Valletta – and next week I intend to visit some of the ancient sites.



So that’s enough for now from me – I will be spending 3 days on the smaller island of Gozo next week – one of my cheapo good deals – an apartment in Xlendi Bay ( good reviews) for £18 a night including brekki- couldn’t miss that one – good for Booking.com.



Love to all. xx


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Richard lives just in front of tall bldgs.


14th October 2012

Valetta
Hi Lynne Good to hear from you while we are in Wellington again for another weekend with the newly engaged. Valletta is often on the cruise ship itineraries so we might well get there before too long. Ruth and Tim are going to travel a while before they get married so Mac and I will not be sitting still as you can imagine!! Have just had an offer of an exchange to go back to the Australian Open tennis next January so think we will accept that. Melbourne is always appealing! Take care. Jocelyn & Mac xx
15th October 2012

Malta looks fantastic
We will need to add it to our list. Love to swim in the sea. What are the water temperatures? Happy travels
15th October 2012

You do get around!
Hi Lynne - what a lovely post. I must say that you look very glam in your 'going out to dinner' photos! The Rabbit Casserole sounds delicious. I can tell you are revelling in the great weather and fantastic company. Anthony & I are literally just off the plane back from 7 weeks in South America (Peru in Machu Picchu, Bolivia, Argentina and Iguazu Falls in Brazil). I did email you as part of an update but of course, I had the wrong email address on our laptop as I forgot to update it after the 'hacking/new email address' incident. Some time ago you wrote to ask after Edward. After his bone marrow transplant, he improved significantly but the day he was checked out from the hospital, he got a fungal infection which meant daily trips to the hospital for several months. After some very stressful months (particularly for Mum & Warren who had to be at the hospital every day) he is finally on the mend from the infection and just the other day received some very good news that his blood is free of leukaemia cells. Whilst it's early days yet, this is obviously good news. Thanks for your kind thoughts and asking after us. I'm sure it will be quite a while before you come back here but remember that you are always welcome and we look forward to meeting you face to face one day!
16th October 2012

Malta
Lynne, Bill & I were in Malta in 2004, just looked at my pics, we went to a fabulous place, the Hypogeum, an old temple built underground, can't remember exactly where but on mainland, bus ride from Valletta, google name. We had to book as only few people allowed down at a time, if you haven't been do go it was wonderful. WHO site. On Gozo we visited church, again can't remember where, but they couldn't afford dome and created a tromped'oeuil, again fantastic. Have fun and what is Richard doing in Malta?
16th October 2012

sunshine
hi my pal - i think you are skimming off bolton sunshine......you are very welcome to our rain too!! your photos are great - all smiles and posh outfits! looks like alice has grown a lot since sweden? i went diving in malta and gozo over 20 yrs ago - lovely clear water but few fish.....get snorkelling! see you soon xx
18th November 2012

First week in Malta /Photos
Hi Lynne I loved your photos, of your week in Malta, particularly of those fantastic boats, how colourful. keep it coming. Kind Regards, Wilma.

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