Thursday, April 28, 2016

MALTA: Qawar, Bugibba, and St. Paul's Bay

After the quick overview of our 10-night vacation in Malta last post, I've decided to take the first and last days to combine into what was our home base for the trip:  Bugibba, one of the 3 cities of St. Paul's Bay.

To give a point of reference, the red-circled area is where I'm concentrating today.
It's an hour's bus ride from Malta's capital city, Valletta.

Our hotel for the stay was the Sunseeker Hotel Complex, found by our travel agent.
It so happens the entire complex was completing a huge renovation while we were there.
But in spite of that, we had a lovely apartment across from the entrance.

Lucky for us, we were a block away from the beach and a couple of blocks from the Bugibba Square.
You can see our hotel (top-right) from the square.
It's where we bought home-made red wine 3 times from the truck vendor, made by his dad.
Lots of memories from that spot.

We also ate there once, at Victoria, enjoying every delicious bite...and drop of hard cider.

But where we ate 3 times, our favorite, was La Stalla up behind our hotel.
That's where we first ate the Maltese specialties:  rabbit stew and stuffed beef olives (bragioli).
O M G.  The bragioli became our favorite meal everywhere we went.

On our last/10th full day, we decided to see what was in our own neighborhood,
and took the 5 km walk from one end of the promenade to the other, hitting all 3 cities:
(left to right on the map) St. Paul's Bay, Bugibba, and Qawar (the 'q' is not pronounced).

We first headed east from Bugibba to Qawar, with the Mediterranean on our left.

Qawar is where Malta's National Aquarium is and as far as we went east on our walk.
(Don't you love the bear trash receptacle?) 

Across the street from the aquarium was where Astrid spotted the heron weathervane.
The Maltese do NOT have the heron bird, so we assume the owner is either English or Dutch.

Also near the aquarium was where we first spotted the planets along the promenade.
We found Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, (sans) Mercury, Sun, and Neptune, 
all to scale in size and distance from each other.
But who would steal Mercury (top-right), the ruler of Astrid (Virgo) and moi (Gemini)???

Walking back to Bugibba and St. Paul's Bay, the Mediterranean Sea in now on our right.
Sometimes we ventured off the promenade and followed the path nearer the water.

And because it was unseasonably warm that week, the bathers came out to enjoy the sun. 
Can you blame them?

As we neared St. Paul's Bay, I zeroed in on St. Paul's Island way off in the distance.
It's barely visible to the naked eye but this is where St. Paul was shipwrecked, as told in Acts 27-28.
(I was magically able to zoom in on his statue at 3123 mm.)

In that same area is the jetty, the farthest west we went on our walk.

I think the whole wide world was enjoying that gorgeous day.
And yet it wasn't at all crowded!

Walking back home along the store fronts...lots of impressions.

That's when you're reminded of Malta's history involving the knights.
I'll never forget the knights or the Maltese cross!

Appropriately, we watched the sun set several of our nights.
You could say it all was...magical!


  1. Great photos of such a beautiful place! You really captured the essence of Malta.

    1. Thank you, Marie...and this is only just one part of the island. Wait till we get to Valletta, the capital city! :)

  2. All so good! Of course you had me at the food ... :) But pray, what are stuffed beef olives??

    1. Believe it or not, Ruth, there are usually NO olives at all in bragioli! First of all, apparently everyone has their own recipe, which they think is the best. And actually, since we tried it in 3 different restaurants, we can tell the difference between recipes! Here's a link which explains it all better than I can: I’d go back for the bragioli alone! :)

  3. It is amazing what we had at out fingertips already, just by being in Bugibba. I loved the promenade, I walked it a few times. I even took a sim the last day. Wonderful pictures to get the gist of what we did and what we ate. The food was very good. Our local farmer sold some great goods and the wine was delicious. I am looking forward to your next post. The fun of your post is that I re-live the vacation... IHVJ.

    1. I never mentioned in the post that later that afternoon, after our walk, you went back on your own to lie out in the sun in your bikini...and even have a short swim in the Mediterranean Sea. You are such a dare devil and I love you for it! :)

  4. Gosh Ginnie! So much here!!! But because I'm a wine lover I gotta go with your vendor experience as my top - WOW! LOVE that! Just the atmosphere of buying wine from a street vendor like that...that had been made by his dad...Fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing! Can't wait for more! xo

    1. We actually thought of you, Robin, each time we bought a bottle of wine from this man. "Soooo Robin," we both said. :) It was some of the best wine we've ever had (we could choose between sweet and dry, and we chose the dry each time). It was a no-brainer to go back for more...and to return with our empty bottles. HA!

      Thank you, as always, for coming along to share our journey.

  5. My sister's friend is the Ambassador of Malta (newly appointed). We hope to visit one day!

    1. You would absolutely love it, Susan. Let me know when you go and if you have any questions ahead of time.

  6. The rocky beaches remind me of the beaches on Italian islands....the food though! And finding the local delicacy is a treat.

    1. You are so right about the Italian feel to this, Donna...and Greece. I guess MEDITERRANEAN covers most of it, right?!