We’re now in Italy having left Malta a week ago but as we liked the country so much we thought we’d write a short summary of our favourite bits. We would definitely visit again if we happened to be passing, although our planned route back out of the Med won’t take us that way. Although we’re now a way behind the boats who left MdR straight for the Adriatic we’re glad we made the detour south.
The people we met were friendly, helpful and cheerful.
The water was beautifully clear and blue. In the anchorages we could see the anchor sitting on the bottom and watch shoals of tiny, tiny fish darting around the boat.
The countryside was unfortunately a bit parched when we were there. There were a few wild flowers in the fields adding brightness along with the brilliantly garish pinks and purples of bougainvillea adoring the walls of houses. Out in the countryside the wild thyme was blossoming with pretty purple flowers but otherwise the land was brown and dusty. Roadside verges and public gardens though were bursting with planted flowers. We got to see snakes and a chameleon and I was glad to hear plenty of birdsong having heard they have a thing for shooting birds in Malta.
The sounds of Malta – they like their bangs and pyrotechnics in Malta. Even more so than the Spanish with flashbangs going off at all times of the day and night, especially on a Sunday! Perhaps they are celebrating the end of church. We also had the pleasure of seeing and hearing smoke flares let off in the street as a group of football fans celebrated. The screech of tyres was heard regularly; maybe they have special screechy tyres fitted to their cars here or maybe its the way they drive….
On the subject of transport, gone are the old Maltese buses, which is a shame as I would have liked to have seen them, replaced with a fleet of modern buses with air conditioning. For the fantastic price of €1.50 we could get pretty much anywhere on the island, with regular services. They could be a bit of a rollercoaster ride though – hold on tight if standing!! Horses and traps clip-clopped along the roads and ancient cars kept on trundling along.
Plenty to see and do – we passed our time with countryside walks, museums, history and visiting ancient monuments. Plus more active pursuits such as scuba diving is readily available which unfortunately I didn’t get the time or weather to arrange a trip. The Valletta area was busy and bustling but out on the south of the island we found a more peaceful landscape.
British goods – oooh so many lovely products in the supermarkets, we went mad buying lots of Cheddar cheese, curry and Chinese ingredients, cereals and sauces Emerald is significantly heavier than when she arrived. Seeing red phone boxes and post boxes reminded us of home. Price wise fresh produce was more expensive than in Sicily; the jars and sauces we bought were also a little more than UK prices, but then that’s to be expected if most goods are imported.
Neither of us like the taste of rabbit so that Maltese delicacy was wasted on us, but we did enjoy the little cheese pastries and pies. The fish meal at a restaurant in Marsaxlockk for my birthday washed down with a Maltese white wine was good. For beer the local lager Cisk suited Colin whilst I was very happy to find a locally brewed pale ale called Hopleaf.
The language – everyone we spoke to had some English which made it easy for us. Hello was the same with an easily remembered bonju for good morning. Thank you was the same as in Italian. Otherwise the language had a much more Arabic sound to it, all flowing and lyrical.
Sailing and anchorages – there are anchorages to suit every wind direction. We only went to four during our three weeks but then when we found Birzebbuga it was hard to leave. It scored almost perfectly for us and allowed us to visit places ashore knowing Emerald was safe.
There were plenty of chandlers and sailing service providers around Sliema. We managed to fix our woeful list of breakages ourselves but did need to buy parts which were easily found in the shops.
Thank you Malta, it was fab!