As we are staying at the Grand Hotel in the port town of Mgarr, don’t have to make any effort and for the time being are without a car we have decided to take a trip across to Malta and travel onto Valletta, by bus.
In hindsight, perhaps this trip wasn’t planned as well as it should have been as by the time we’d made the crossing and caught the bus to Valletta, some two hours away, it was more or less lunchtime. However I should add that the buses here are fabulous. They are clean, air-conditioned and there are loads of them. The fares are very reasonable too.
Unfortunately it also wasn’t until we were about to board the bus and my BH asked after the guidebook we’d been kindly leant for this trip that I remembered I’d left it in my suitcase. I’d also done zero research on places-you-must-see in Valletta so we were approaching this all rather blind.
Valletta is Malta’s capital city and, as I found out later from the guidebook, ‘has a visual splendour out of all proportion to its tiny size. It is just one kilometre long and a little over half that in width.’
The city has a rather forbidding fortress-like exterior and the reason is simple. Valletta was built as a fortress by the Knights of Malta to permanently minimise the threat of a Turkish attack. The Knights chose a rocky peninsula in the north of the island as the site that would fulfil this military function.
Although constrained by our lack of any planning and the fact I left the guidebook behind we did know we wanted to see the port and gun battery (see photos above – a gun is still fired every day at 4 pm) and swiftly learned that we actually needed far more time than we had available to us.
Lunch took a while but then we visited the War Rooms some 50 m underground. Fascinating stuff. It was truly amazing to see how information was gathered and disseminated back in those days.
Rather exhausted with all this activity on the first full day of our holiday we made our return journey and were very thankful when we were eventually back on the ferry and heading for quieter Gozo.
There are plans to join Malta and Gozo using a tunnel. I know I have no right to an opinion but that’s never stopped me from giving one before so I shall say right here that I don’t like the idea. Gozo is a gem that takes a little effort to get to so why would you want to spoil that with cars able to cross to it so easily? Its separation is what makes it so special, for us anyway. And sadly I can only see that should such a tunnel be built Gozo will lose all that makes it special.
On Friday evenings throughout summer the rooftop terrace restaurant is open at the Grand Hotel and we booked in for that not knowing what we would be happening up there. As it turned out, it was fabulous!
They called it a barbecue but it was far more than that. Buffet style there was an array of twelve or more salads to choose from followed by a couple of pasta dishes. Then came the meats – steak cooked to order, swordfish, spicy chicken, pork, sausages, corn on the cob, jacket potatoes. Before finally moving (or more like staggering) onto dessert – bowls of fruit, melon, strawberries and six different types of gateaux. I restrained myself by only taking the last piece of chocolate cake and…ahem… a mere slither of red velvet – yummy!
Couple all of this with wonderful views, the sounds of cannons and fireworks from a nearby festival (see Day 5 of my 2015 posts for further details) and it was a great evening – what more could you want?
We happily retired soon after to our bed like contented little (not so little!) piglets.
At some point since our arrival though I have been feasted on by mosquitos which is unusual as they don’t generally find me tasty but I am now sporting some sizeable bites which are a constant reminder to use the repellent!
I have also now got into my holiday reading and the first book, and review, I have for you is a psychological mystery, The Devil You Know by Terry Tyler. You can read my review right here.
Holidays since becoming an independent author are not the same as they once were and mine now wouldn’t be complete without a few challenges. So I decided to set myself some stuff to do, what with the new book on the horizon and all that. So here goes.
List of goals for the week:
Blurb and back matter to write – totally my most important task!
No. of books to read – 12 (okay, so I am being ridiculously ambitious here but these are what I have on my seriously-I-have-to-get-to-these-right-now list!)
No. of book reviews to write – 12 (hahaha! Although it does stand to reason)
No of blog posts to write up for lead up to publishing – 14 (based on the list of ideas I’ve had, though not all may make the final cut!)
Keep a diary each day so I can do a series of posts on my return.
Interviews to plan questions for – 5
Clearing emails out of Inbox – no. at start of holiday – 4967!
If you missed Day 1 and want to catch up you can by clicking on this link right here!
Thanks for reading
My posts from 2015!