Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Malta Facebook Overview

We're back!  And, boy, do I ever have a lot to share....!

But as a starter, for those of you who didn't see it on Facebook, I posted images of something we did each day while out-n-about.  Our Internet was terrible at our much so that I couldn't even pull up my Pic-Monkey collage program.  So I ended up posting an album most days, which I have now made into collages, once back home.

As a refresher, here's a map of the Maltese Islands:  Malta, Gozo and Comino.
We spent all but one day on Malta and did NOT visit Comino (more on why later).
The numbers on this Wiki map relate to what days we were there, as listed below.

Day 1, Friday:  Arrival

There is one 3-hour flight per day to and from Amsterdam to Malta on Malta Air.
And because we arrived at our hotel in Bugibba late afternoon, we had time to get settled,
eat real Maltese food (rabbit stew and stuffed beef olives bragioli) at a nearby restaurant,
 AND have gelato (the difference between gelato and ice cream?) while walking the promenade.

Day 2, Saturday:  Valletta Grand Harbour Cruise

They always say it's good to get an overview of something first
before you hone in on the specifics, right?
So we took the 1-hour bus ride from Bugibba to Valletta, got off in Sliema 
and walked around the harbor to our tour boat for a 75-minute ride.
Valletta is the capital city of Malta and has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2018.

It was totally worth the overview!  (wiki map)

Day 3, Sunday:  Marsaxlokk Fishing Village

Every Sunday there is a market in this eastern coastal village on the island,
so it was a no-brainer to make a day of it.
The 'x' in Maltese is pronounced 'sh' so Marsaxlokk = MARsa-shlock.
It's known for its colorful boats.

Day 4, Monday:  Blue Grotto

We did another overview of the island via a hop-on-hop-off bus
and stopped at the Blue Grotto on the south coast of Malta.
Malta survives from its tourism business, of which this is one of its highlights.

Day 5, Tuesday:  Dingli Cliffs

We took a regular bus to get to this out-of-the-way part of the southern coast.
Some of the cliffs rise 253 meters from the Mediterranean Sea, the highest point on the island.

Day 6, Wednesday:  Gozo Island

We signed up for this full-day excursion because it's the only way to do it properly/easily in one day.
A coach took us to all the highlights, including the megalithic temples from 3600 BC (top).
Seeing the Azure Window was one of the best highlights for us both (right-center).

Day 7, Thursday:  Addoloratta Cemetery

We passed Malta's largest cemetery the first day from the airport to our hotel in Bugibba
and knew immediately that one day we would visit it.
You learn so much about a people and their culture from their cemeteries.
One thing we learned:  it's all about F A M I L Y.
But then, this is a Roman Catholic culture, so it made sense.

Day 8, Friday:  Rabat

Mdina used to be the capital city of Malta, a walled, citadel city.
Rabat is a suburb just outside Mdina's city walls, within walking distance.
It so happens Rabat was preparing for the St. Joseph festival on Sunday,
so we got the best of all worlds that day, seeing the red velvet and banners everywhere.

Day 9, Saturday:  The Three Cities

Remember the harbor cruise we took our second day around the Valletta capital city?
There are 3 "fingers" that jut into the same Grand Harbor on the right.
Those are the 3 cities of Senglea, Vittoriosa (Birgu) and Cospicua, all in walking distance.
We walked up and down only the first two, which are the ones most populated,
but not nearly as touristy as Valletta.

Day 10, Sunday:  St. Paul's Bay Promenade

We made the wise choice to stay put our last full day on the island,
and walked the promenade along the bay for 5 km, 2 hours, enjoying the gorgeous day.
Later in the afternoon, Astrid even lay out in the sun and took a swim in the Mediterranean.
Malta does NOT have herons, so the weathervane is probably from an English/Dutch owner.

Day 11, Monday:  Departure

We had to get up at 3:45 a.m. to make our 7:40 a.m. flight back to Amsterdam.  UGH.
But whenever I see Amsterdam's flight tower, I always tell Astrid, "We're home!"
Even after doing a week's grocery shopping on the way back, we still arrived home by 1:30 p.m.
Isn't it strange how we are always excited to leave but equally excited to come back home!
There's no place like home, of course.

And now I'll start the long process of honing in the the specifics of the trip.
I've decided Malta is one of the Europe's best-kept secrets!


  1. Such a beautiful place. I look forward to the specifics of your trip.

    Home is always best even after a fabulous trip!

    1. The posts will pop up as quickly as I get them done, Marie, so thank you for your vote of confidence. Even after a fabulous trip, you're so right...we should want to come back home!

  2. Wonderful overview! I'll be honest and say I knew nothing about Malta...just of its location. So I believe you're right on with it being one of Europe's best kept secrets! How did you learn about it and what made you pick that location? Always love seeing what you see...thanks for sharing a part of this big world with us!

    1. I didn't even know of its location, Robin, so you were one step ahead of me. We learned about Malta through our English friends, many of whom vacation there, as well as our Dutch friends, who also enjoy it. Before my time here in the Netherlands, I had never heard about it, to my knowledge/remembrance. NOW we're "informed." :)

  3. I'm like Robin and did not know much about Malta before your trip, so this has been informative as well as fun to see and read!

    1. I was totally in the dark about Malta, Ruth, before moving to the Netherlands. Some of our Dutch friends showed us their images from a trip they took, and we have one English friend in particular who vacations there every year. Once we saw the Google images, we were immediately sold. I had no idea it was part of the European Union until we started doing our research. Anyway, we're totally sold on the place, as you now know. :)

  4. I heard about Malta through colleagues and friends. Not to think it was something 'for us'. Now I am glad that we did it and that we took this fabulous vacation. What we wanted to see, we did see and we had some great trips and we saw some fabulous things. The pictures show that we took advantage of the time and we did great with the last day, to relax and take it easy... yes a 5 km walk for us is easy :) Thank you for always posting those post. People at work stopped me and told me they enjoyed the pictures and they could tell we ha d a great time....

    1. You know how I see this as "my job," to keep these posts up-to-date so that we have record of our trips/memories. This is important to me...and you're my favorite fan! :) THANK YOU.

  5. I am so jealous Ginnie, but I'm glad you went ahead before I can even go back for a longer tour. This way I already know what to hit. Can't wait for more.

    1. You would LOVE Malta, Maria. I'm sure you'll make it one day! YAY.

  6. Such a beautiful place and wonderful photos. Warm greetings!

    1. Thank you, Blogoratti, for stopping by and commenting.

    2. What a fabulous spot....I think a cross between Italy and Greece....with yummy eats but oh those incredible sights and views.

  7. Oh, yes, Donna. Definitely a cross between Italy and Greece!!!