Tag Archives: walking

Our Etna Experience

Each holiday has at least one big highlight, and while we were in Sicily, one of the highlights was visiting Etna. I admit, it was long overdue – in fact, visiting Sicily was long overdue! I bet not many Maltese people can say that they have not been to Sicily by the age of thirty. The thing is, that I am fascinated with the UK, and I mostly ignored all other countries for a big chunk of my life. It was in 2016 that I started exploring properly and I have not looked back ever since.

We left Etna for our very last day, it being so close to Catania airport. We arrived at around 9:30AM after a two hours drive from where we were staying. The Etna car park, by the cable cars was almost full. It happened to be May the 1st, which is a bank holiday in most countries, so there were a lot of tourists there.

Steffi enjoying Etna, Sicily!

We bought our tickets and made our way to the queue for the cable cars. Once we were at a reasonable height, we queued again for 4×4-style buses. Most of the tourists were laughing hard while we made our way on what we could only describe as a bumpy ride!  It took us to almost to the top of the volcano in no time. It was rather astonishing seeing people walking all the way up from ground level, seeing that Etna is 3,500 meters high up. I bet it takes most of the day going up and then down. We thought it was money well spent as this way we could enjoy walking around and inside the craters for a longer time.

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As you set foot out of the bus, you realise that the temperature changed drastically. From almost 20 degrees to around 2 degrees! Once you get accustomed to the change of weather, you start to embrace the surroundings. The view is breathtaking, the colour of the gravel varies from black to red to yellow. I have never seen so many colours on such a huge stretch of mountain-like land. It was simply amazing being there. No words were enough to describe what we saw, what we felt being so high up, on such a clear day. You could see steam coming out, touching the floor underneath your feet feels warm. You could tell you are walking on top of an active volcano. A bit scary and risky, but it’s an experience I will never forget.

We spent roughly two hours walking and exploring, and around three hours in total including the transport. The souvenir shop comes highly recommended. While we were there we tried several liquors and the famous mandorla wine. We ended up buying some, as well as lava made statues and decor, adding onto the issue we already had since we traveled with just a hand-luggage for a five day long holiday! On the way down to the car-park, there is a restaurant which in our opinion had the best arancini in Sicily. Do give them a try if you feel peckish!

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Compliments

I am not a person who accepts compliments easily and for various reasons
– Lack of self confidence
– People are more often than not, not genuine, and compliment you out of sarcasm, or simply to compliment them back
– Just awkward, especially when it is a random unknown person

Lets take an example of what has happened today. I got home right after work, 15 minutes before the shops close, I realised I forgot to buy something I needed for the day so I dressed up in the first thing I found nearby and went out. In the next 10 minutes, I was “complimented” by 3 strangers; two regarding my hair, and another regarding my general appearance.
In my eyes (or in my head, because I didn’t look in the mirror!), these adjectives sounded like they were untrustworthy, and were simply said in attempt to get my attention.

When I am feeling upset, or perhaps I am having a bad day, these words give me a bit of a boost… but on average I pretend that I have not heard a thing and keep walking. Well, even if I were to accept such words, should I just keep muttering thank you to  each and every non-creepy looks legit enough person?

 

No, it is not OK…

Imagine you are casually walking by the seashore on a Summery Saturday afternoon, minding your own business; sunglasses on, hat on due to the excessive sunlight. As you are peacefully gazing the view in front of you, taking it all in, just a few minutes before you are due to go into work, this group of Maltese males pass by.

Being all ignorant and dense, they’d start talking about you in Maltese (not even whisper, no!), assuming that you are this dumb tourist who wouldn’t get a word they are saying. Comments would start off with nice dress, to what they would do to you if they had the chance, and what the hell am I doing being outdoors all by myself “looking like that”.

Needless to say, I stayed there listening, boiling mad with every statement they say to each other. When it looked like they have said enough, I turned around, smiled and asked them “xi haga ohra?”. For my non-Maltese readers, this would translate to “Anything else?”

Well, that DID shut them up, but this doesn’t explain how rude and respect-less they are to women. I mean, these guys thought they’d get away with it, because I could not understand them… but doesn’t that make it even worse? It is because of situations like these, that I feel like I lost hope in humans, in men…
If it was I who said such statements about guys, that would have made me a slut, but it is somehow cool for men to say these things… Double standards much?

Either way, it is disrespectful and equality on this subject wouldn’t make things fine. Objectifying people is always wrong unless done with consent from all the people involved.

 

Moel Famau Lovin

I must say,  I didn’t go mountain walking / climbing since my time in Conwy back in 2012, and I really did miss the challenge and the panoramic sights they tend to offer. Imagine, how excited I got when I was asked on going to a Moel Famau excursion!

A little bit of history about Moel Famau;
Some say, that Moel Famau is not a mountain but a hill, as it is not elevated enough – but being the highest of all Clywdian range (formerly known as Flintshire range)… I’d like to think that it gained mountain status at 555m up high! It is situated in a country park area near Loggerheads which is right between Mold and Ruthin in north Wales. The literal translation of the mountain name from Welsh to English is the Bare hill of mama.

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The experience itself was fabulous and lots of fun; must admit, there were moments that I did not think I will pull through, as I am not as fit as I was a couple of years ago; especially when it comes to walking uphill on wet terrain. It is a bit of a struggle!

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The views across the peak, the woodland  and the company of two Border Collies made everything all the more worthwhile. I admired the dogs running up hill and back to us, making sure we are always by their side.  At the very top of the mountain, there was a glimpse of snow on the ground, and the raindrops turned into snow flakes. It was magnificent, I was very happy! 🙂

More info here.

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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The Return

Trying to explain how I feel, after I returned back home from a 5-day-long holiday, is near impossible. Although gutted that it’s all over, after waiting for this moment for a good month and a half, my heart feels happy and rather at ease.

In Brief

If you are wondering, where I have been,  the answer is of no surprise to those who know me well, as I have yet again chose to visit my beloved Wales. After being in the South of Wales June/July this year, this time I was back in the North. I have visited the area of Flintshire, which I have never been to before, coupled with Chester (no, this is not in Wales, but it is very close by).

Even before I went on holiday, I wished that in my short stay, I get to see snow again. I did get lucky in this, as not only did it snow, but it did stick to some of the hills we went to (the idea was to go for a walk, but this turned out to be rather of a flop as it was too sloppy). The sight itself, was breathtaking, which made me very happy still.

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While in Chester, we did manage to come across the Christmas Market which was a pleasant surprise! Over there, we ended up spending £20 in cheese… but it was damn worth it… as it tastes godly. The Roman baths and amphitheater were two historic spots we visited while here. On the same day, in the evening we returned to Chester for a rock night and it turned out to be an awesome night; music varied from classic rock to heavy metal which means I was in heaven!

Castles are always part of the plan when I am on holiday. The idea was to visit Ewloe Castle but the area was closed in order to enhance the pathway leading to it. But luckily my fantastic tour-guide improvised and we instead visited Flint Castle. This Castle is in ruins, and from it you are able to see Liverpool in the distance, which was quite a beautiful view.

PS. More info and actual pictures of the places I have visited will be coming up as soon as I write up the related reviews. X

 

A day in Utrecht

I would say that out of the many towns I have visited in the Netherlands, my very favourite is Utrecht. Imagine, somewhere as pretty as Amsterdam, with half the tourists around. I am not a big fan of crowds and this was perfect for me. The streets by the canal are still full of coffee shops, tourist shops as well as restaurants. Yet it is less busy, and loud. Perfect.

Here’s some photos I took, just to give you an idea.

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The photos does not do it any justice.

I would suggest that you do not miss the opportunity to visit this town while in Holland. Besides, it is just 1.5 hours away from Amsterdam by train.

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

A walk in Rabat

While waiting for a friend this Wednesday, I decided to have a stroll in Rabat, in the vicinity of Mdina. The weather was not so promising, and I was waiting for the rain to start pouring any moment. In fact, it did after a short while. But, I still managed to take a couple of photos to share with you.

Rabat and Mdina, especially Mdina is a very touristic area, and is a must to visit when in Malta. I’d say it is one of my Top 3 places in Malta, mostly cos I adore medieval and history. Mdina, is known as the Silent city. I won’t bother you with much details for now, until I am able to feature it to you with more photos to support it.

In the meantime, a few teaser photos of the lovely area of Rabat:

201500218 - Rabat&Mdina Walk before meeting Joan (2) copy

201500218 - Rabat&Mdina Walk before meeting Joan (1) copy

201500218 - Rabat&Mdina Walk before meeting Joan (3) copy
Entrance to Mdina