Dec 02 2017
Friday, November 10th
The last day has arrived – well, to do something useful, I mean . Tomorrow afternoon we were flying home again.
Shamefully, we had to admit that we never visited the Three Cities (called Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa) plus Kalkara which also lies there, at the Grand Harbour.
So, we decided to take the bus to Birgu/Vittoriosa. There were a few museums (as rain was predicted for the afternoon), restaurants and the marina with the yachts and super yachts! Of course we had to go there and have a look!
Just before lunch we arrived at our destination and before we knew it, we found ourselves inside the little Parish Church Museum. The friendly volunteer was eager to tell us some historical stories and explaining some artefacts shown behind glass. Of course, we donated some Euros, since the entrance was free.
After that we went to the waterfront/marina, hoping to find a cosy restaurant or bar for a drink. We passed the Maritime Museum, which we would visit a bit later and had a look around the marina with its more or less big and even bigger yachts! Unbelievable, what we saw – some of them simply took our breath away!
Then, sure enough, the sky started filling up with dark clouds and the wind was getting a bit rough, so it was time for a glass of wine and a Guinness. 15 minutes later it was pouring, accompanied by thunder and lightning – Thor was sending his greetings, obviously!
Just next door lies the Maritime Museum, so after we finished our drinks, we rushed over, paid the entrance fee and dived down in Malta’s rich history! There was so much to see and read….you couldn’t get enough. The visit took therefore over two hours, instead of the planned one to one-and-a-half hours! Gosh!!
Yeah well, outside again and being back in “our” time, at least it had stopped raining and we took a stroll along the waterfront. There were even more boats to admire, and slowly we went towards to the bus stop – it was already time to head back to Naxxar! So, of the Three Cities, we sadly only visited one. Hmm…next time we will complete our task and visit Senglea, Cospicua and Kalkara – promised!
However, we decided to spend our last evening at the “Ta Stringi” restaurant. Since we didn’t eat during the day, we were starving and looked forward to a decent meal.
And we weren’t disappointed: We’ve had such an incredible evening and the restaurants boss and his staff (two of them are his sons) treated us like VIP’s! We really couldn’t believe their affection toward us and the generosity. Again we got a refill with the Grappa/Sambuca, then we had to taste their homemade cherry wine (which was yummy!) and before we left, we received a bottle of white wine….just like that! Unbelievable, isn’t it?! We had absolutely no clue, why we were treated like that! Maybe we were confused with some celebrities….?
It must have been close to midnight, when we were back at our B&B. Happy and with a bunch of lovely memories we went to bed! Good night and sleep well everyone!
Saturday, November 11th
Time to day good-bye! After a last breakfast at the Chapel and lovely chats with Malcolm and Alex, it was time to pack our bags and check out…..it wasn’t fun, that’s for sure!
Since our taxi to the airport wouldn’t be there before 12 o’clock lunchtime, we were allowed to leave our suitcases at the B&B. So we took a last stroll around Naxxar – it certainly is a lovely place! We also found a book shop, because we wanted to buy a “English-Maltese” dictionary. We received a first class service and various books were shown, and more or less recommended. Happily, after 45 minutes, we left the shop with two books. Both of us with high expectations and looking forward to learn at least some basics!
Just before 12 o’clock, we were back at the Chapel and said our good-byes to Alex. Malcolm was sleeping, since he had a busy day! Tony – the taxi driver – arrived as promised and off we were, towards Luqa airport.
The check-in went smoothly and soon we sat at the “Hard Rock Cafe”, talking about our interesting/cool/ sunny week in Malta and enjoying a drink! Cheers!!
The flight home was unspectacular and we arrived in Zurich in time. Then the train to Frauenfeld and from there we took a taxi home. Our beloved Odin was waiting (for us) and looked a little bit surprised, when we opened the door.
The Bottom Line
All in all we’ve had an amazing week in Malta – once again!
Most importantly – and that’s my opinion – I’m more than happy to report that Malta has changed a lot when it comes to animal welfare. Thirteen years ago you could see homeless dogs on the streets and even more cats. Although, they didn’t look sick or injured, it still broke your heart.
Then, there were these countless horse-drawn carriages in every big city, especially in Valletta. What a devastating sight that was, seeing these poor animals moving between the busy and noisy bus station, standing in the sun, waiting for customers, without any love or attention from their owners. Luckily, we never saw a summer with 40 deg. C, but I read about horses collapsing in the heat….
Some carriages are still there, but a lot less than years ago. It looks like that tourists became more sensible and prefer the electro caddies, which are available in Valletta for example. So, hopefully, the horses will be gone soon from the cities, living a happier life!
We also detected many cat-friendly spots in the numerous parks! People apparently do care (more?) about these homeless animals and started to feed them, setting up shelter and even comfy beds for them. For example, we came across a place called “Cat Village” around Spinola Bay. There we saw cats sleeping peacefully and a little box, where you could donate some money. Of course we contributed!
In Naxxar you can also find an animal welfare shop. It’s a second-hand shop – which sells mostly clothes, shoes, handbags etc – and the money they earn goes to the animals. Well, since we didn’t need anything, we simply went there and gave some money, which was very appreciated. The lady there told us, that finally Malta has started to spay/castrate cats instead of killing them, which surely is a huge step for this country! Suddenly, you also find animal sanctuaries, which weren’t present ten/fifteen years ago!
About wild birds….well, I guess that’s still a problem. Although, this time we haven’t seen the nets, capturing migrant birds, they are still there. Possibly better hidden than years ago…. They too will hopefully be gone one day! Maybe the coming generation(s) will think differently and care more about the precious wildlife!
Our hopes are high and we won’t give up – every animal life is worth fighting for!
Nov 25 2017
Tuesday, November 07th
My dad’s birthday today: Happy Birthday, paps!
Today we decided to visit the “Blue Grotto” , which lies at the south coast of Malta.
Once again we took the bus to Valletta and from there the one to Zurrieq. Again, we were glad that we purchased these bus cards, valid for 7 days (for EUR 21.-). It makes it so much easier, not having to bother about coins for the bus fares.
Unfortunately, the bus was delayed when we finally left Valletta at 1 p.m.
However, the sun was shining and we enjoyed the changing landscape, while heading south. We weren’t entirely sure where to hop off the bus, but when a stop called “Panorama” came up and a bunch of other tourists left, we also jumped off. It was on top off a high cliff, looking down to the famous “Blue Grotto”. In the distance we could see some tourist boats approaching and leaving the grotto.
We were first considering if we should take the next bus further to the “Blue Grotto”. But since we wouldn’t wanted to take a boat ride to cave anyway, we decided against it.
So we took a lot of pictures and waited for a bus back, preferably another route. Luckily, the one showing up drove along the coast line, via Dingli Cliffs (beautiful, but VERY windy), the town called “Dingli” and further to Rabat.
There, we decided to have a look around and have a bite to eat. After spending some time and money in a tourist shop (crikey, we WERE tourists after all!), we found a lovely Maltese restaurant and ordered a nice bottle of local white wine and a Maltese platter for two. Unfortunately, the winds were a bit too chilly to sit outside in the beautiful garden, so we sat inside – which wasn’t bad either. The platter was the perfect choice and we felt strengthened enough for our last stage, heading back to Naxxar.
The journey took longer than we thought and it was around 7 p.m. when we arrived at the Chapel. But since we weren’t starving and a wee bit tired, we decided to pay a visit at the “The Old Charm”, just across our B&B. According to Alex, it was a sweet little wine bar/restaurant, but without meals, only some platters and snacks. Sounded perfect to us!
Half an hour later we occupied a lovely candle-lit table and Mike, the manager, presented the wine list and the dishes. There weren’t many, as we already knew, but nevertheless, they had a homemade indian curry on their menu. Sounded lovely, but we settled with a platter with some olives, tomatoes, cheeses, hummus…. definitely enough, considering the late hour.
“The Old Charm” truly showed to be a very charming and welcoming place! We also met Bhaj, Mikes Indian wive, and saw their two daughters shortly. He told us that they moved to Malta three years ago, from West Midlands/England and were happy with their lives and business here! Well, it was hard to not get this impression 🙂
I think it was near to midnight, when we returned to our room, happy and dog tired!
Wednesday, November 08th
It’s my 50th birthday today! *gulp*
However, my wish was to spend a day in Valletta, shopping, one or two glass of prosecco, a nice meal….
Said and done, at 11 a.m. we caught the bus into Valletta, enjoying another sunny ride! We first crossed the road over to the “Sir Luigi Preziosi Gardens” (a part is still under construction, but nevertheless, so far beautifully done), to have a look at the Valletta Cruise Port. An oversized cruiser was sitting there, disturbing the view of the amazing city with its harbour, looking ridiculously out of place. Well, that’s my own opinion…..
Afterwards, we entered the city of Valletta – also a huge building site. They are working and renovating like crazy, since Valletta was declared “European Capital of Culture 2018” (ECoC) on the 12th October 2012. Still a lot to do, it seems like!
Anyway, we soon found the “Sicily Wine Bar”, where we sat with M&M’s last year in September, after we accomplished our sailing certs! So, of course, we had to have a pit-stop to honour the memory! Patrik and I also could finally toast to my birthday with prosecco – cheers!
The afternoon went on with shopping and window shopping, enjoying some bruschetta and wine in the sunshine…..a little more shopping…. Then it was time to return to the Chapel and get ready for the evening. Since we already ate something, we thought it was enough to visit “The Old Charm” again, for a light evening meal.
And that’s what we did! A warm welcome from Mike confirmed that our decision was right and soon we had some wine and food on the table! Again, there weren’t many guests and we had a nice chat and a few good laughs with Mike. After we ordered espresso and a digestive, Mike and Bhaj surprised me with a sparkler, accompanied with the “Happy Birthday” song playing! How sweet was that!?
Before we left and said our good-byes, we talked for a while with both Mike and Bhaj, about moving to Malta, which problems could occur, where caution is required, pros and ons (are there any cons?), ……well, it was quite helpful talking to them, that’s for sure. We are pretty certain that we will visit them again!
After all, I have had an extremely pleasant 50th birthday – thank you everyone!
Thursday, November 09th
Again, we woke up with the sun laughing at us, although, rain was predicted.
Today we wanted to visit the old fishing village “Marsaxlokk”, which lies south-east of the island. We have been there on our second holiday to Malta, ten years ago, and were wondering how much might have changed during the years. The market there is (still) very famous, though!
The journey went via the Valletta bus station again and after finding the correct bus, we were on our way to Marsaxlokk – Birzebbuga.
Well it’s still a beautiful village which we recognised again. But first, it was time for an aperitif, since it was lunchtime. The bar at the scenic fishing harbour still existed (the name might have changed) and for memories sake we took a seat there.
Afterwards, we took a stroll around the village before heading for the market. That is smaller today, than it was ten years ago. Apparently, it had to make room for the numerous restaurants, which are side by side at the waterline. A bit sad, really!
Nevertheless, we couldn’t say no to sharing a pizza with a glass of wine….they just looked too tempting! *munch*
Unfortunately, the time flew by and actually, we wanted to take the bus further to Birzebbuga – there we have never been. Annoyingly, we missed the bus by a few seconds and the next one was scheduled in one hour. Damn!!
That meant that we had to return to Valletta and slowly head home to Naxxar. Yeah, well, you can’t always win, can you!?
Anyway, after showering and being fit again, we decided to test the pizzeria called “Ta Stringi” . We weren’t terribly hungry, but some sallad or something similar would have been nice. And we weren’t disappointed: What a lovely restaurant, with super friendly staff, beautiful decorated, a fantastic wine list and Italian / Mediterranean inspired menus. Just what we were looking for!
With our espresso, Patrik ordered a Grappa and for me a Sambuca. When asking fot the bill, we even got a free refill, incredible! Well, we definitely were considering, going there for dinner the next evening, which was already our the last one in Malta!
But first, good night world!
Nov 18 2017
Saturday, November 04th
Luckily, our plane wasn’t leaving Zurich airport before 17.40h. That gave us plenty of time to pack, organise Cony – our neighbour – to look after Odin and get ready to leave our home.
Cony was so kind to drive us to the train station in Frauenfeld and at 14.42h our train left! Arriving at the airport just after 15h, we headed strait to the check-in and further to security. Everything went smoothly and we had a look around at the duty free shop (of course, that’s simply a must, if you need something or not).
Afterwards (I bought a lovely body lotion ;o)), we went to the same restaurant as last year with our friends M&M’s, for an early dinner.
The plane left on time and at 20h we landed at Luqa airport in Malta. As expected, the temperatures were a lot more comfy than back home and we gave us the thumbs up! Our taxi also was waiting for us (as booked) and off we went, heading for Naxxar!
The ride took approx 25 minutes and when we arrived at the hotel – well, B&B – Alex(ia) and Malcolm, the owners of the “Chapel 5 Suites”, were already expecting and welcoming us. We quickly booked the taxi for our departure in one week, at 12h lunchtime and said good bye!
Alex and Malcolm, with their little daughter, were actually on their way to go out, but they took their time and showed us the reception area, kitchen, breakfast room(s) and terraces and finally our room – the “Yellow Suite”. They would show us the rest of the house tomorrow, if that was ok. Yes, of course it was, we were exhausted anyway!
We couldn’t believe our luck – what a fantastic B&B we’ve chosen! A typical Maltese sandstone house, beautifully decorated in the moroccan-arabian-asian stile! We truly were blown away and sooooo happy!
We installed ourselfes quickly and went out, to the from Alex recommended and nearby place, called “Cellini”. Unfortunately for us, it was quite busy (and very tiny too), but one table outside was unoccupied, so we grabbed that and ordered some white wine. Splendid, and cheers to our first night in Malta!
After 11 p.m. we returned to the B&B and went strait to bed, tired and pleased to be here!
Sunday, November 05th
Good morning sunshine! It was 9 a.m. and we were fully awake after a good night sleep. We heard some of the other guests downstairs having their breakfast and it smelled of coffee and toast, so I had a quick shower, got dressed and we went to the breakfast room. It offered everything one needed and after ordering coffee and been greeted by Malcolm we took a seat and soon spoke to some other guests! That’s the difference, I suppose, to an ordinary hotel, you talk to the other guests.
Around 11 a.m. we left and headed for the bus station, a couple of minutes away. Our plan was to visit Portmaso and Spinola Bay today, to indulge ourselfes with memories of last time(s)!
And so we did, strolling around in the sun with around 20 deg. C wasn’t the worst thing to do on a Sunday! In between we enjoyed a beer (Patrik) and a glass of wine (me) and the world seemed just perfect to us!
At approx 5.30 p.m. we were back at our place and had a chat with Alex. She then recommended a restaurant to us, called “Yue Bistro”, a 15 minutes walk which was fine with us.
After freshening up and showering we were hungry and looked forward to a nice meal. And it WAS nice: Friendly, modern and a good selection of all kind of food – even vegan versions! It definitely was worth the walk there and even more the after-dinner walk back!
It must have been around 11.30 p.m. when we went to bed – good night!
Monday, November 06th
Big day today: At 10 a.m. we would be picked-up by Clyde from the real estate agency! Who-hooo, we were very excited and wondering what to expect.
He arrived in time and after a warm greeting we drove to Mosta, approx 10 minutes away. There Peter, the guy responsible for selling properties, was waiting for us and we talked to him for a while. We got many questions answered and he showed us some examples on the screen, different kinds and different areas.
Then it was Clyde’s turn, who is responsible for lettings. He also showed us some nice apartments, penthouses and even houses in different areas. He even had an available apartment nearby and if we had time he could show it to us, in order to get an impression what a property could look like.
Of course we took the opportunity and while chatting we walked the short distance to the house. The apartment was amazing, although a bit over our budget. And Mosta isn’t the cheapest spot either! But at least we got an idea, what you get for your money!
It was lunchtime and we said our good-byes – promising to stay in touch!
Patrik and I decided to take the bus to Mellieha, up North. It was the perfect decision, since the sun was shining and the temperature was very pleasant! We passed the wonderful St. Paul’s Bay and arrived at our destination. After strolling around the beach for a while we went to the next restaurant/bar to have something to drink: Guinness for Patrik and white wine for me and the sea view for both of us – cheers!
Since we were here we decided to visit the “Red Tower”, which gleamed majestically a bit further away on the hill, overlooking the bay. It was a rather short bus ride and after a 20 minutes walk we arrived at the tower. We paid the entrance and let us educate about the whole story behind this tower, also known as the “St. Agathas Tower”. Very interesting indeed!
Unfortunately, time didn’t stand still and it was time for us to catch the bus back. We took the one passing Sliema and went off at Portomaso, for a pit-stop at the “Raffael” bar/restaurant. A lovely place where we had dinner more than once, at former visits to Malta. Well, this time it was just for a drink!
Afterwards, we took the bus home, showered and at 19.30h we were at the “Cellini” for dinner! And what a tasty dinner we had – fabulous! Around 23h we went back to the “Chapel 5 Suites” stuffed with a lot of impressions to digest – beside the food! Good night!
Nov 12 2017
Our week in Malta is already over….can you believe it?!
We had a blast, exploring and discovering the island yet again! Combined with excellent food, an amazing B&B and better weather than expected!
Yesterday evening, around six p.m. we came home, greeted by our darling Odin. The temps were around eight degrees C and raining – what a “warm” welcome!
Today we’ll begin to sort out the photos and start writing the text for the following post(s)!
Like to see some impressions? Here you go:
Nov 04 2017
Where to? Well, Malta is the chosen destination!
Who? Patrik and me…..Odin has to stay home again (poorest thing….)
For how long? From today, 4th until 11th of November 2017 – one week only! Too bad….
Why? Mostly to celebrate my *erm* 50th birthday on the 8th of November! Yes, it’s my turn now, after Patrik celebrated his in January this year.
Some of my friends say, that I finally become an adult….I doubt it! Hey, I mean what’s better than being childish and laughing about yourself?! hehe….
However, after being back in Switzerland again, we will meet my parents and closest friends to clink glasses! I just didn’t feel like to have a big party with loads of people. You know how it is, you are busy organising the whole thing for a start (it would definitely be easier during the summer months, instead of grey and cold autumn). Then you want to be the perfect host, which is more stressful than running a marathon and before you know it, the day is over and you are ten and out….
So, spending a relaxing week in Malta seems to be the perfect vicinity to celebrate a “special” birthday!
Then, since we are there, Patrik and I decided to meet a real estate agent, in order to get a few questions answered and see a couple of properties. Mainly to get an idea, how much real estate you get for your money. I’ve been in touch with this real estate company for quite a while, and so far we’ve got a good impression.
Yes, our plan still is to relocate to Malta. But you want to be prepared and organised of course. So, step-by-step we get closer to our dream! Exciting!
We don’t know yet if we’ll have a new post ready for the 11th of November….but we’ll try, promised!
So long and take care! 🇲🇹
Oct 28 2017
As mentioned last week, Wednesday evening was the big moment – it was finally time to see the tattoo artist!
After an hour of intense discussion and a couple of laughs he gave me the go-ahead! GREAT 😜
Ta-daa, and this will be the cover-up:
A few changes might be done during the session, according to Lorenz. You just can’t plan every tiny detail yet, but that’s OK for me. I have full confidence in this guy (which is a huge plus, haha)!
He then explained me the whole procedure and we settled on a date – the 12th of December, 2 p.m. Lorenz assumed the first visit would take approx. four hours. He must complete the outlines with the first session.
Then a second one will most likely be necessary, about another two hours. It’s hard to say exactly, of course. It always depends, how the skin reacts and how difficult the pattern really turns out to be.
However, we made the contract which I happily signed and we said our good-byes!
Boy, do I look forward to this date!!
Oct 21 2017
The last weeks…..well, rather months I’ve been trying to find a satisfying solution for my old tattoo. One with the WOW – effect!
I made this tattoo about ten years ago, as a loving memory of Gulliver, our first cat.
We were still living in Sweden and thought about adopting a cat. In the end it was wonderful Gulliver who moved in with us, a beautiful black, 14 year old Norwegian Forest mix. Surely, no-one else would have adopted such an old cat (who has already spent two years in a cat shelter). We just felt magically drawn to him….I’m sure, it was meant that we found Gulliver – or maybe he found us?
Sadly, we only had him for two and a half years and shortly after we moved to Switzerland – with Gulliver of course, his kidneys (which already were damaged) got worse. On the end we couldn’t save him and with a heavy heart had to let him go over the rainbow bridge…..🌈
However, after ten years the tattoo looks like this
Not ugly, but not the prettiest either.
So I decided to have it covered with a new one. It had to be a cat theme since it was originally made for Gulliver, but should also include Thor, who tragically died two years ago.
Well, happily I’ve finally found “The One” – drawn by myself and mixed with ideas from the net.
I won’t show it yet, since I’m not sure if it’s doable in the first place. Next Wednesday I’ll meet the tattoo artist and see what he says. Hopefully, he gives his OK and we can go further – would be awesome!
So, next Saturday I’ll let you know, how it went! Please wish me luck 🍀🐞