Category Archives: About Malta

Mistra Bay nature walk

One thing I struggle with in Malta is to choose where to go to enjoy a lovely nature walk. Finding a place which is not crowded proves to be difficult at the very least.

At this time of the year, Malta is at its greenest. It encourages me to go exercise, snap some photos and enjoy a picnic with loved ones or friends.

Recently my boyfriend and I have visited Mistra Bay. Previously, I have only frequented this area in my childhood for swimming and BBQ-ing. This time round, our plan was different, and I was pleasantly surprised by the nice views once you get walking along the cliffs. The shallow water is lovely to look at, the breeze is fresh and clean.

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My excitement was hardly contained when we came across what looked like an abandoned room, with a very panoramic view. Walking into it, and absorbing the scenery… Reading through the graffitti, I found a mark which said that this was a fire-station. We tried to come up with reasons why this was suitable, but seeing that there were no villages or towns close by, it hardly made any sense to have one at this location, on the very edge of the cliffs.

We stopped for tea and snacks further up, facing the breathtaking St.Paul’s islands. I have never looked at them from this angle; gorgeous none the less!

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The many sunsets of Fawwara

Some of the most beautiful areas for walks or hikes in Malta are situated in the limits of Siggiewi. One of the spots goes by the name of ‘Fawwara’. The word fawwara translates to spring in English, and this name was chosen for this stretch of land due to the fact that in the past it supplied a large amount of water.

The history of this area goes as far as when the Arabs took over Malta, it has seen the death of many christian women, and proof of this is two chapels within Fawwara which are still standing to this day. These were built in 1616 and 1575.  The latter even had a small village surrounding it (Hal Kbir) during the Medieval area. Needless to say, Siggiewi has existed on our little island for a very, very long time.

Below are some photos I have taken of the area, showing sunsets as well as some picturesque captures. Can’t wait to return back here in the next couple of days 🙂

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St. Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat Malta

The underground roman cemeteries are dated to be
used up until the 4th century AD. Since the roman law at the time, prohibited burials within the city, these are catacombs2found on the outskirt of the capital of Malta at the time; Mdina.

The name of the these catacombs derives from the widely known story which relates to St Paul’s Grotto. As such, these catacombs are a great example of Maltese underground architecture as well as it represents the earliest evidence of Christianity in Malta.

The site itself consists of two large areas, with a good number of burial chambers. During a talk with one of the curators, I was told that there were more than 30 underground burial chambers.

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Should you be interested to visit, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday.
Tickets cost €5.00 for adults, and €3.50 for youths

How to get there
– By Public Transport: From Valletta Routes 51, 52. From Bugibba Route X3 (Airport Route). The catacombs are situated in St. Agatha Street which is a narrow street running through much of the town’s core. Follow the signs to St. Paul’s Catacombs.
– By self-driven car: Drive towards Rabat and park close to the Domus Romana. The St. Paul’s Catacombs are around 5 minutes away by walk.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

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In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

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One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

The Malta Story

Keeping in mind that I have lived overseas, and that I know a number of foreigners, I have been asked countless times about Malta. What makes it so unique? Why are we so attached to the British? Why is our language so weird, and where did it come from?

Today, I came across the below picture. I would imagine this explains a lot:

maltesehistory

Briefly:

    • The Order of the Knights of St. John made it to malta in 1530. In 1561 the inquisition was established and 4 years later we had the Great Siege by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman troops eventually retreated, but they did lose around 9,000 men in this battle. The siege ended as a victory in favour of the Maltese on the 8th of September, which is to this day a bank holiday in Malta. A year later, Valletta was designed and founded and named Valletta of course after our star; the Grand Master Jean de La Vallette. He was buried within the capital city roughly three years later, and it was unfortunate that he didn’t see his vision of Valletta finalised.
    • In 1798, the Napolean Bonaparte took Malta from the hands of the Knights.
    • Just a year later, Britian takes Malta and the french surrendered. It was only in 1814 that Malta becomes a Britian Crown Colony. Within the British Period, Malta has participated in the First World war, and later at fought during the second world war. In 1964, we were given independence within the British Commonwealth and 10 years later Malta became a Republic. The last British services left the Maltese islands in 1979.
    • Recently, in 2004 Malta joined the European Union and 4 years later the Eurozone.

Source: http://www.visitmalta.com

Bikers in Traffic

I love bikes; I think they are gorgeous and I admire each and every one of the bikers who pluck up the courage to drive in Malta and Gozo.

In case you have never visited Malta, or never driven in Malta… Maltese roads are hell to drive in… Not even the devil himself dares to set his foot here and drive in this pit of danger and death. Angry, irrational drivers, chaos of traffic and to top it all shitty bumpy roads throughout the islands. (Sometimes I wonder why we pay the driving license to be honest!!)

Considering all the above, would it make more sense, to have some kind of rule/law enforced with regards to which side of the motor-lane a bike should drive in? Should bikes overtake or undertake? I’m thinking that this would help everyone on the road, as all car-drivers can pay some special added attention to that side of the road via the mirrors, and hopefully the bikers will also feel slightly safer on our roads… Especially during the peak hours of traffic, namely 7 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm, when everyone wants to get to work/home and all the main roads are packed and crammed with cars. Zigzagging around cars is not the way to go in these circumstances.

Tea in Summer

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I think, a cuppa is my favourite non-alcoholic drink.

A side note for my foreign followers and readers:
Maltese Summer, especially August, is very hardcore; In the sense, it is very, very hot and humid. Imagine, a temperate of 35 degrees and 80+% humidity on a daily basis. That would feel like 40 to 45 degrees. Add onto that hot ‘desert’ wind to it. Although it might be nice for a week holiday, I’d say in my honest opinion is a nightmare to live in.

All the above, does not really put me off tea… I still feel the need for my morning tea with biscuits, afternoon tea and another right before I go to bed. The only issue is that is too warm for this.

I have tried bottled ice tea and home made ice tea… but this does not satisfy me as well as my tea with milk, or chocolate and coconut flavoured tea!

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So, every morning, I make my tea, and drink it right in front of the fan, while I sweat like a pig…
The sweat is not by choice…
But living without tea, is just not for me.

I’m not dead, just been busy

I’m not dead, just been busy… and I am struggling with a massive writer block… A lot has been happening, but instead of writing about it, I am just enjoying the ride…. ….Except that this week has been the feast week in the town I’m living in. Usually the feast week lasts 7 days… but the Siggiewi people have decided on a 10 day long celebration. So every day, I have been struggling and annoyed at:

  • Lack of parking
  • Closing off the town during feast hours
  • Lots of loud music; be it orchestra-like or singers singing at the main square. This, I can hear from my house, even with all windows and doors closed.
  • Fireworks
  • Lots of rubbish left in my street

I am not a fan of feasts… Never was, never will be… So, I just can’t wait until tomorrow is over. Maybe then, I can get a goodnight sleep and even better, park my car close to home.

Sliema Stroll

Yesterday I spent most of my day in Sliema. Due to the excessive amount of cars and traffic in the area, I did not manage to park in Sliema, but rather I parked in Gzira. Although I was not so happy at the time, as I worried I’d be late, it turned out to be quite a pleasant walk. The promenade was not full of people yet; I guess they were either lazy, or because it’s still May… (not summer yet!)

The sky was as blue as the sea. Thankfully, even though sunny, there was a pleasant breeze which I really appreciated throughout the walk.

Most of the people who know me, know that I am not someone who goes to Sliema so frequently; or voluntarily for that matter. The reason I was there, is because I had to meet with some friends for a bridesmaid shopping spree. Good news is it was successful, and we later celebrated with a few cocktails at Quisisana! Yay for the happy hour until 4pm! 🙂

Sliema Promenade
Sliema Promenade

The sun has set on… Rock the South Malta

Attending a festival such as Rock the South, makes me realise how much talent there is in such a small island, and how unfortunate it is that most of these bands will not make it far because of lack of proper marketing and how difficult it is both money-wise as well as luck-wise to get recognised and heard by music labels; Let alone being chosen to tour within Europe and further away.

It’s very hard to chose and pick my favourite bands that participated within these 4 amazing days, but my favourite picks are:

1. For Strings Inn – My top favourites from the whole 45+ bands. I have followed these guys since 2009 or 2010 and they have come a long way. The vocals has improved so much and the music is not repetitive whatsoever. These guys rock my socks.

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2. Massacre House Party – Loved their music videos but never seen them live until this festival. Must say they do not disappoint and sure know how to party and get the crowd going! Won’t be the last time seeing these guys.

3. Brodu – Seen them live twice in a month; varied music, sometimes serious, sometimes almost funny. What about the jokes? All the guys are hilarious, especially the drummer!

4. Cosmic Erotic – Mentioned them once, but will mention them again. Just amazing, with the right promotion this band could make it far.

5. Sempliciment tat-Triq – A pleasant surprise for someone like me who’s not a big fan of hiphop and rap. That French guy did certainly give them the edge!

Honourable mention goes to… The Silent Disco! I have never experienced this before in my life, and I most certainly wish that events like this will happen again, possibly with a bigger spectrum of music genres.

One of my huge disappointments during this festival, apart from the fact that it had to end sometime, is that Cable 35 cancelled their participation pretty much at the last minute (on the day) and left their fans baffled. No words can be said when I looked at people’s faces… I am not their biggest fan but I can say that it also killed some of my buzz that night.

One other mistake I made from my end is taking my camera without an SD Card. Yes, I was really pissed at myself, but these things happen I guess…

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart the organisers of this festival as well as Zion for hosting it. I look forward for a bigger and better one next year! For now we can only dream and hope… But the count down has already begun!