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!