No that doesn't stand for rock and roll nor even running and ranting. It actually stands for rest and relaxation. Us?!?! I had heard about this illusive idea and was even allowed about 30 minutes of it once before Claire started getting itchy feet and wanted to climb a mountain.
We planned to go to the beach today and sit, read, relax....and write our blogs of course. There aren't many sandy beaches on Malta and so they get quite busy with people who spend each and every day of their holiday there. The trick is to find one without pumping music and at least a bit of sand to put your towel down without having to pay extortionate prices for a lounger and an umbrella. I'm not sure what makes people think that it is okay to blast out awful music on beaches when the sound of the waves is quite enough to ensure we know we're by the sea even with our eyes closed. Having it drowned out with insipid, pap (sic) music gives me nigtmares that I'm in some awful sweaty club full of chavs not lying on the beach in the sun. So we gave
Golden Bay a miss and headed for Paradise Bay, walked down some steps to it and then gave that a miss too. It was packed and charging 20c for toilet roll.
On the way I had successfully negotiated putting some petrol in the car which is a bit more difficult than it sounds. You have to know how much fuel you want to put in and pay for that amount. I wanted to fill up so I can leave as much fuel in as it had when I got it. How the hell are you supposed to know that?? And then you're not paying a person like in the states, you're putting notes into a machine which then gives you that amount of fuel to put in. If you can't fit in what you've paid for it's tough titty. I put three lots of fuel in using three individual notes which is a pain in the backside.
I was then so proficient at this bizarre procedure that I was giving out advice to other confused tourists and Claire was very impressed with this.
Next stop Ghajn Tuffieha which is the next
bay round from Golden Bay and supposedly a lot quieter. The car park was rammed but I managed to find another one but had to pay €2.50 for the privilege. We had to stay on the beach for some time now!
The beach was mainly sandy and a lot quieter than Golden Bay with only distant abysmal music that had no effect on the sound of the waves. The sea was fine temperature wise once you got used to it with some reasonable waves to jump through. We even hired a parasol to hide from the sun under. We read, napped and swam again before we had to leave as we needed to get the hire car back.
The steps back up to the top were arduous in the heat but we were soon handing our car back to a guy who only gave it a cursory glance. Instead of waiting half an hour for a bus we jumped in a taxi and had arrived in Valetta before the bus would have set off from the airport. Well worth a few extra euros. And when it's a set price there's no haggling or hassle
either. There's a price list, you pay inside and then get taken where you're going at breakneck speed. Easy.
We had an amble round Valletta and decided to have a nice meal on our last night-Maltese of course. Claire hasn't had much Maltese food as there hasn't been many vegetarian options so she was pleased to see Maltese ricotta ravioli on a menu. I was thrilled to see octopus stew and that was the only highlight of the meal. Claire's bruschetta was okay while my Maltese starter was stupidly overpriced tiny burgers sat on cooked tomatoes. Claire's ravioli came in starter and mains portion sizes and she felt the waiter sneered when she opted for the smaller portion.
And when it came it wasn't very hot. She should have said something but, being British, we kinda don't. The portion was still meagre for over €11 while my octopus stew was a reasonable portion and very nice. It was all a bit namby pamby, overpriced and the service was aloof at best. We weren't going to leave a tip but decided that leaving 37c was a better way of expressing how we felt about the
meal and the service. I left my olives too obviously-I tried them hoping they might taste nice but no, still the same taste of putrid feet. The restaurant name had the word Office or something in it-so you can avoid it.
To get back to our apartment we needed to negotiate the bus service which we managed very successfully thank you very much. It took a while but it was more comfortable than the last bus we took and we managed to write some of our blogs on there too
Despite eating not too long ago I was hungry and Claire wanted another cocktail and we eventually found a place where we could both look wistfully out to sea. I had an excellent paella and the service was great so we left a bigger tip. It was called Tal Kaptain in case you don't want to avoid it-there's a branch in Valletta too.
And then all of a sudden our holiday was nearly over so I should probably do some reflecting and rounding up. The week has gone really quickly as there's so much to see and do but I don't
think I'll be rushing back any time soon. What we have seen has been great and we've even had some time to relax with swimming, boat trips and even a bit of reading.
We both agree that the day on Gozo was the best and that Captain Morgan owes us about a fiver. Cardor apartments are now below average as they failed to fix our hot water today and they haven't stopped the tap dripping (actually more like pouring) in the bath all week. I have only had one hot shower all week as there is never enough hot water for two if even for one of us. They fixed the water once but failed today despite us telling them about it. If we were travelling, this accommodation would be good but as a holiday apartment it's pretty pants.
Driving has been interesting although it feels pretty wierd driving on the left in a foreign and Euopean country. The locals' driving takes some getting used to but once you're used to it it's fine. Crazy, but fine. Even the car turned out okay so well done the Peugeot 106-you beat the Toyota Nogo easily
but then so would riding round on a blind beetle with half it's legs missing.
Malta is expensive, nothing is cheap here, even the fish which you would expect to be at least reasonably priced. There's plenty to see and do especially if you have a car and, if you want to just lounge around on a beach or by the pool every day you probably won't be reading this anyway. I was pleased that there weren't anywhere near the amount of cats that Claire had threatend me with. It meant we could get out and see things without me having to wait impatiently in the blazing sun for Claire to take pictures of them. She says there were loads more last time she came but then she says the island is a lot more commercialised now so maybe that has had something to do with it.
The Maltese people seem to work in the tourist industry begrudgingly which is fair enough especially when you have to tolerate normal holidaymakers. Unlike Kos they do still grow things and have industry here so kudos to them for that.
The next day.....we set
off late but not by much. The airport was chaotic with huge queues which made people irate and some were falling out. They gave out cups of iced water though and hey, only a short delay is damed good for us!
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