Malta (Contd.)

You can read the beginning here…

On the third day, we left early to visit the island of Gozo. We drove to the port of Mġarr from where we took the ferry ride to Gozo. The ferry makes a trip every 45 minutes and the ride is around 25 minutes each way. We can even take our cars inside the ferry. The fare of this ride needs to be paid during the return journey (from Gozo), and it is approx. 20 euros (for the car).

Ferrying to Gozo
Ferrying to Gozo

Compared to the main land, Gozo is less developed and more rural. We drove to Dwejra bay to check out the Azure window, one of the most beautiful features of Gozo. Azure window is a natural arch rich in Maltese limestone, Globigerina. The Azure sea provides a gorgeous backdrop for this arch.

Azure Window
Azure Window

Azure Window 2

Driving across, we reached Xwejni bay.  Along the bay, salt pans were built for sea-salt production. This form of salt production has been carried out since Roman times. It is a natural way of producing salt, where the sea water fills the rock-cut salt pans, and after the water evaporates, the film of salt is harvested.

Xwejni Bay
Xwejni Bay
Salt pan
Salt pans

We drove to the main city of Victoria and decided to walk around. One of the main attractions of Gozo, the citadel is located here. This Citadel is visible from almost everywhere on the Island, rising steeply above the surrounding countryside. It owes its roots to the late medieval era. For centuries, it served as a sanctuary from attack by Barbarians and raiders who took the population into slavery. History says, until 1637, the Gozitan population was required by law to spend their nights within the Citadel for their own safety. In later, more peaceful times, this restriction was lifted and people were allowed to settle below its walls, creating the prosperous town of Rabat, now known as Victoria.

The Citadel 2
The Citadel

The Citadel

There are lots of little nooks and corners to explore within the Citadel- shops, cafes, restaurants and viewpoints that allow you to see the whole of Gozo. The citadel of Victoria is well worth a visit if you are in Gozo. However, you must prepare yourself to walk uphill.

After a beautiful day spent on this island, we took the ferry back to the main island.

On the last day of our trip, we checked out of our hotel early and drove to places like Birzebugga and Marsaskala, which are beautiful sea side villages, before heading back to the airport.

Birzebbuga
Birzebbuga

Though the trip was very short, we made the most of it. Everywhere we went, we encountered beautiful churches, and to top it all, it was Easter; It was heart whelming to find people decked up in gorgeous dresses, suits and neckties (even the kids), rushing to the churches and after the sermons, back on the streets, spending time with their families, neighbors, friends and enjoying coffee and lunch together at the restaurants nearby. It reminded me of India, where friends and families get together so often to celebrate even the smallest of occasions…

Spotted this fancy car!
This one reminded me of India too! How fancy!

Cheers,

Madhurya

Malta

Hello there. Remember me? Sorry for the loooong leave of absence. So many things happened to me and my small family in the past couple of months that I had no time to write! I went on a 3 week business trip to Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. Then Mike and I… wait for it, the big news… bought a new home! Yay! And we have been busy with it ever since…

But this post isn’t about my work or our home, it is about our short trip to Malta for the Easter holidays. Malta is a Southern European Island country, well-known for its historic sites. We got a good deal on Ebookers for the flight as well as the hotel. If you do a pre-booking online for a rental car, you will expect someone from the Rental Company waiting for you at your arrival, with all the documents, as the airport is quite small to accommodate offices for rental companies inside.  We had booked a 4 seater Peugeot which costed us around 25 euros per day.

Mike and I

We stayed at the beautiful Corinthia hotel. It felt like we were in a medieval castle. In fact most of the buildings in Malta are built in this medieval style from special limestones found only in Malta. Something interesting to know about Malta is it is basically a lump of limestone in the Mediterranean and only covers about 300 sq.km (including the outlying islands of Gozo and Comino).  Malta has 2 types of limestone, globigerina and coralline.. The architectural style here is such that the original color of the stones are maintained on the walls of buildings, while colors like blue, red and green adorn the windows and doors adding interest.

Hotel Corinthia
Hotel Corinthia
Limestone building of Malta
Limestone building with a pop of red

After checking in at the Corinthia, we headed out to Mdina. Mdina is a small city located in the northern region of Malta. As it was Easter, the city was packed with people making their way to the churches. We even had trouble finding a parking spot. We walked around the narrow cobbled streets enjoying the baroque and medieval architecture of the houses, churches and chapels. It is also called as the silent city as no cars are allowed inside, except those of its residents.

Cobbled streets of Mdina
Cobbled streets

After enjoying delicious pasta at the restaurant Trattoria 1530, we drove back to our hotel before stopping at a small village called Dingli, where we enjoyed watching the play of Sun with the sea for a while.

Dingli
Dingli

On the second day of our trip we explored the capital city of Malta called Valletta. Valletta is a fortified city located on a hilly peninsula between two of the finest natural harbors (Marsamxett Harbor and Grand Harbor) in the Mediterranean.  Valletta contains buildings from the 16th century, built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller.

Valletta 2
Valletta

We went to the Upper Barrakka Gardens & Saluting Battery. The Saluting Battery is located below the Barrakka gardens, overlooking the Grand Harbour and is used for ceremonial artillery firings. The beautiful views of the sea and the garden around made us wish time would simply stand still..

Saluting Batery 2
Saluting Battery
Saluting Battery
Saluting Battery

Later, we drove towards Sliema. We parked our car close to the waterfront and walked beside the beach towards another place called Saint Julian`s, a fishing village. After Mike had fun ogling at all the beautiful yachts docked at a small harbor nearby, we had our lunch at an amazing restaurant called Café Cuba, where we had the most delicious Cuban burgers.

Sliema
Sliema
Saint Julian's
Saint Julian’s

A 30 minute ride from Saint Julian`s to the south coast took us to a tiny pristine place called Blue Grotto (grotto meaning chain or a number of sea caverns). You can take a boat to visit the chain of caves located in this area. Blue Grotto is so called because of the different shades of blue of the sea seen near the caves. A 20 minute boat ride costed us Euro 8/ person. As it was high tide, it was more like a roller coaster ride for me, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Blue Grotto
Blue Grotto

In the evening we took a stroll inside San Anton Garden right next to the hotel where a wide range of flora from all over the world is grown. We even spotted a beautiful Peacock and Peahens strutting about.

 Wait for more about our (short) trip to Malta…

Cheers,

Madhurya.