Category: Trips

Dec 02 2017

Our week in Malta – Part 3

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 18 2017

Our week in Malta – Part 1

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

We’re home again!

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

…and we are off!

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! 🇲🇹

 

 

 

Sep 30 2017

Anchoring at Cala di Volpe, Sardinia

Then we reached our last anchor spot. 😭… We headed for Cala di Volpe which is host for all the famous🍾🥂.

Even Lady Diana the late Princess has been at this spot. We figured that if it is good enough for a Lady why not for us.

It was a wonderful spot for an evening and night at anchor, even if it was quite windy when arriving late afternoon but it became perfect later.

 

 

Sep 02 2017

Last days of sailing Sardinia spring 2017

Then we came to the end of our marvellous week of sailing Sardinia, May 2017.

We thought we could end this with a short movie. We hope you will enjoy it.

Next trip is already booked. It will be Malta.

If we find a nice sailing yacht or a sailing catamaran we will book this. Otherwise it will be a booooooring hotel.

 

 

Aug 19 2017

To Guest on S/V “Blue Moon” – Part 10

May 28th 2017

Good Morning, world!

After the already known wake up call at 05.15h, we enjoyed an espresso and were ready in no time. Punctual, at 06.30h we arrived in sunny Livorno and soon after left the ferry orderly.

The plan was, to drive the same route home, via the St. Bernard pass. The only difference would be that we would pass Parma, instead of Genova. Our GPS said, the journey would take approx. 7 hours. Fantastic!

Our choice to drive via Parma was a bad one, as it turned out….Not because of the traffic, that was ok. But because of the numerous animal transports, pigs on their way to slaughter houses, to become the famous Parma ham….

It was almost unbearable to see these poor animals and not being able to rescue them. I will never again drive this route again, that’s for sure!

Without problems we passed the border to Switzerland and drove further, towards St. Bernard and Chur – the weather was the complete opposite as a week ago: Sunny and warm! That at least made it easier that the holidays were almost over and we were heading homewards.

The St. Bernard pass looked quite different now: The mountains of snow had nearly disappeared, replaced by patches of flowers. The activity on the road was also the opposite, as a week ago. Brave cyclists fought their way up to the top, together with cars, with and without caravans from all over Europe. And as if these weren’t enough, hordes of motorcyclists passed us, with more or less risky manoeuvers. I had to close my eyes sometimes, about some crazy daredevil….

Nevertheless, we looked forward to perhaps meeting Bernie again! But sadly, we couldn’t see him anywhere…..Maybe the traffic was too much for him, or he had his hiding place somewhere and was waiting for the next snowfall, who knows?!

Just before Chur, we heard on the radio that the motorway was blocked by several traffic jams. So we decided to leave the motorway and took the smaller roads beside. It showed that was a wise decision, since we passed a couple of stunning and well known alpine sceneries, such as the “Via Mala” and “Roffla Schlucht”! Just beautiful! We also stopped there somewhere, to have a short lunch.

Unfortunately, our unintended sightseeing tour caused some delay and instead of coming home at 2 p.m., our GPS now said approx. 4 p.m. Well, nothing we could do about it, just roll on, Baby!

The last bit we were back on the motorway again, that went quicker of course and – finally – at 15.30h we arrived home. Tired, but happy! Even more, when Odin came around the corner and welcomed us with a “meow”.

With almost 30° C we started to unload the car immediately, to get it behind us! And to start being home again.

And finally, the bottom line of this adventure is short and clear: Simply marvellous! The week was better than we dared to hope for. Starting with the trip to Italy and back, the ferry rides, Sailitalia and it’s lovely crew and last but not least “Blue Moon”, our faithful cat – thank you!