A Travellerspoint blog

September 2019

Marsaxlokk. Fort, adrenaline rush and good wine

In the heart of Mediterranean IIII

sunny 28 °C

Saturday 21 th

21th of September, otherwise known as an Independence Day of Malta. Also the day which we would make this trips longest migration. From Marsalforn to Marsaxlokk is only 45 kilometres but doe to the busses and the ferry it took us almost 4 hours to get our destination.

But the silver lining of sitting on the bus for hours was that we had to change bus in Valletta. This inself is nothing unusual, in Valletta there is probably the biggest bus station in Malta but doe to my technical skills I didn’t have any pictures from there and now I got the opportunity to get new photos of the Triton Fountain.


Triton Fountain in Valletta, second try.

From that the day started to go down hill. We founded our accommodation alright and the place is great! Modern and spacious, we even have an washing machine AND dishwasher. And way too efficient AC. We went to an store and did laundry. Also we decided that for the honor of Maltan independence we would go to celebrate and would eat in a restaurant. They wouldn’t have any celebrations in here, only in Valletta. And we just came from there so we opted not to go back there. We didn’t know that, we just assumed that it’s the Independence day so of course they would celebrate everywhere but we were wrong.

At the point we left to find a restaurant I was already freezing for sitting in front of AC so long and very very very hungry. We found the beach front and went to an first restaurant we saw. In there they said that sorry, you can’t have food before 6 PM. Clock was 5.26 PM, I remember. They as good as kicked us out from there so, plan B, beers first.

Again, first place we see. And beer we got but the service wasn’t nice. Or maybe I had an permanent scowl on my face for been denied food. Hope not. I started to shuffle the cards to distract me from my hunger and we played some too. As if the day weren’t bad enough fly flied and tried to drown in my beer. Why in my beer, there were plenty of other beers around and I were the only one who was this hungry. Just my luck.

Finally the clock reached 6 PM, 6.08 PM to be exact, and we started back to the first restaurant. Toni find in the menu some dish he wanted to try. Again, they said, no food yet. Why did the first guy said us that 6 PM, you can have food if that was not the case?


Please, please, please, give me some food.

I started to be desperate when we finally founded and place which actually served food! Quick glance at the menu and couple questions to the waitress and I ordered sea food paella, Toni got the stake. Neither of the dishes were really good. Again not, bad, but not good either. And the beer there wasn’t Cisk. Over all very disappointing evening out.
And I am still murderously mad of that fly for getting in my beer!

Sunday 22 nd

Extremely lazy Sunday today. Mostly movies and relaxing. We went out of the apartment just to the store get some bread and wine. I am in no way any expert when it comes to wines so I usually choose some which has pretty picture on front. Classy, I know, lol. This time it was not the picture but the description which made me to pick this one. You can’t go wrong if the wine will temp you to buy some doughnuts!


See the label ;)

Monday 23 rd

After yesterday’s staying in it was time to do some exploring around Marsaxlokk. Almost 10 kilometers worth of exploring in total but who’s counting. I had read that there were old fortress not too far where they had filmed an movie Assassin’s Creed. Which we actually watched yesterday. St. Dominic Basilica in Valletta, various historic buildings in Valletta and Fort Delimara in Marsaxlokk were couple of places where the movie was filmed. Unfortunately fortress was closed. Which I would have known if I would have read little about the place before we went there. But we did see it from outside.

Fort Delimara is part of chain of fortifications which British builded to protect the harbor. It was build between 1876-1888. Main Gate was build in 1881. That we did see. Now the fortress is under responsibility of Heritage Malta which has planned to restore it and made it to an museum. Which was somewhere I would love to get the chance to visit. Heritage Malta has had the ownership from 2005, before that Government of Malta rented the place to an farmer which use the fort to raise pigs (1982-2005)

Fort Delimara


Gatehouse of Fort Delimara

When you walk past the fortress you can find Delimara Lighthouse. One of nine Malta’s lighthouses. It was originally build in 1855 when it originated constant red light fueled by olive oil. The initial light system was replaced by rotating optic system in 1896. This system alternated red and white light in 30 second intervals using rotating table with Fresnel lens. Weights descending from lantern room enabled the clockwork mechanism to turn the table.

1990 the old light house was replaced by an new one.


Old lighthouse

It was another hot day, temperature somewhere near 30 Celsius so when we reached the lighthouse the cooler wind coming from the sea was very welcoming. We stood there near the lighthouse looking at the waves hitting over the saltpans for good while enjoying the breeze.

Just like every other good little tourist we visited St. Peter’s Pool. The field near the Pool was makeshift business place for an local entrepreneur. He had an sign and everything for advertising parking places for 3 euros and cold beers. Too bad that there is free parking space closer to the Pool.

There was a lot of people jumping in and out of water from various points, the highest were around 5 metres or so. Toni said immediately that this is not place for him to swim, the current was strong and your feet wouldn't hit the bottom. I on the other hand was hot and sweaty for our walking. I promised that I would jump just once and we could go then so he wouldn’t need to wait so long. The place wasn’t really ideal for sun bathing. The surface was hard rock so not very pleasant to sit in and there weren’t shade any where.

I walked on the edge and waited for my turn. When previous one was out of the way I jumped. The drop were so long that my stomach had time to flip and I succeed to think am I going to hit the water at all. In the end my feet hit the surface and rest of me followed. The water was clear blue and you could see every bubble. I totally get my adrenaline rush for today!
And also scared Toni shitless (sorry my English) by jumping from the highest point so there is not photo of me but I got some good photos of others.


Girl jumping at St. Peter's Pool

We had good timing too, after we left there was a lot of people waiting for their turn to jump.

On the way back to the town we again walked past the Delimara Power Station which makes electricity to Malta and Gozo. And just across the bay you can see huge harbor of Freeport. In my opinion there is some ugly kind of beauty in industries, especially on nights when all the lights are on when it’s dark outside.

I think that we had more than earned the beers we got back in the town. While enjoying our drinks we watched the boats and fishermen. We also saw men loading palm leaves in to one vessel. Does any of you know what they are doing with these leaves on the boat?

Boats at the harbour


Boats at the harbour


Boats at the harbour

Tuesday 24 th

Spending the whole day at the apartment made me a little bit restless so when Toni said that he would like to walk to the next town to see the Freeport harbour I was more than up for it.

We might have started to walking in the wrong direction because one car stopped next to us and asked where we were going. Toni was sure that he had read the map right but we believed the man in the car anyway when he said that we should turn around. Ten minutes or so walking in the country side of Malta we noticed that the man was absolutely right and another ten minutes or so and we were in the town of Il-Brolli. Or at least we think that it is called Il-Brolli.

We walked all around the bay, as near to the Freeport harbor as we could stopping for an beer once in a while. The cranes of harbor were huge. And by huge, I mean huge, the biggest marina I have ever seen. It started to get dark and the lights litting made the scenery nice. We sit at one bar long while playing cards, actually so long that we decided that we just must get pizzas instead of making our dinner tonight.


Lights of Freeport Marina and Toni

Stomach full of pizza and beer we started back to our “own” town. There weren’t any street lights so my flashlight got to be handy again. It was pitch black and the stars were showing. I actually asked Toni to shut the flashlight (he carried the light) for an little while so I could see the stars better.


Watch for the hedgehog

Wednesday 25 th

Last full day in Malta. Don’t feel like doing much anymore, my mind is starting to wander to home already even if our flight is not leaving before evening tomorrow.

I spotted gardens of San Anton’s Gardens earlier when I was looking for things to do or places to see and was surprised when I got Toni to agreed of visiting. Bus drive there was little over an hour but I think it was worth it. In Malta even when you are sitting on a bus you see all the time something interesting, old church there or an Tower here.

The gardens surround a former home of one of the knights of Order of St. John’s. The palace was first build in a villa in early 1600 and turned in to an palace 1625. Now it is an official resident of Malta’s President. The Gardens was opened for public in 1881, oldest trees are over three centuries old.
Visiting head’s of another countries has been customed to plant a tree in the Gardens, oldest we could find was Tulip Wood Tree planted by Prince Hirohito in 1921.


Prince Hirohitos Tulip Wood Tree

After I cleared the Maze Toni asked that did I not know that it was for the children. I just think that I founded my inner Peter Pan.


The Maze

The ponds were what I did like the best about the gardens though. I might have taken dozen photos of them, especially the one with the turtles. We spend the most time in there too, it was captivating to watch the turtles to try to climb up the ramp.

Turtle Pond


Swan Pond


At the Gardens


Gift from Japan, 1970

At the Gardens


Toni at the Pond


Pot next to an pot next to an pot...

Marsaxlokk was actually only place we visited that I can’t quite say if I liked it or not. Places like Bugibba on St. Paul’s Bay I didn’t like so much but in Gozo I could have easily used couple more days to explore. Also I would have liked an boat trip but we just never got to make one.
All in all we had great time in Malta! Just perfect equation of relaxing and activities.

Posted by hennaonthetrek 14:11 Archived in Malta Tagged lighthouse malta marsaxlokkfortdelimara stpeterspool freeportharbor il-brolli sanantonsgarden Comments (14)

Marsalforn.In the footsteps of Odysseus and some trespassing

In the heart of Mediterranean III

semi-overcast 27 °C

Tuesday 17 th

1 bus and short ferryride and we are in the island of Gozo! The taxi drivers and tripsellers attacked us immediately when we got out of the terminal. I think we were an easy pray doe to the long lines to the busses. The bus stop was right outside of the terminal doors. Well, we don’t need an taxi nor we know what we are going to do with our time here so vain work for them.

First bus was really full so we waited for the next one, which was coming in 40 minutes, so we had an great surprise when the bus came when we were not yet waited 10 minutes. 2 bus rides and we were almost on the doorsteps of our apartment. We had arrange for someone to come to give us our keys 2 PM and clock was only 12:30PM. We had our backpacks on so we just got some icetea for me and beer for Toni from nearby market and sit on the steps to wait. We haven’t waited even 10 minutes when some women came from the car with her children and asked if we waited for the keys to Dolphin Court, which we were. She lived the next building and before they went inside she said that she will call for the guy to come with our keys. And again not for long, the guy came, give us tour of our flat and keys.

Everything is going just perfectly today!

And the apartment is just right, AC is working (with coins, but there are fans also), we have own kitchen and fridge!
We bought from the market items to make a brunch, dinner and some white wine, so good night is also on the way! It may sound odd but it feels like luxury to have your own kitchen!

Wednesday 18 th

Today we visited Victoria, the capital of Gozo and it’s Citadella. Our ticket didn’t allow us to enter all of the exhibits but we got to see Old prison, Museum of Archeology, The Gozo Nature Museum and the Historic House. Of those the Historic house was most interesting. There where items and furniture which where in use when there were people living in the citadel

Gates to the Citadella


Cathedral of the Assumption


Fountain of the Angry fish

In the prison there was dark and cells with stone walls and wood (convertible) beds, in historic house was dark and small rooms so I don’t think that the photos would be any good and in the Nature museum were dried plants and stuffed animals which I hold no interest to photograph.
So I only took photos from Museum of Archeology and the Citadella itself.

Toni outside of the prison








Marilyn Monroe moments in the Citadella

Somehow we manage to use all day there, it was already 6:30 PM when we got back to our apartment. So there goes the plan to hike to Tas-Salvatur Hill where is statue of Risen Christ. We can see it from our balcony but the sunset is little after 7 PM so that’s an venture for another day.

Thursday 19 th

Some whizzing of the historys wings or at least some chasing after myths. You who know some about Greek mythology might have heard about island called Ogygia. Some say that Ogygia is in fact Malta and that you can find Calypso’s Cave in here. In the mythology Calypso was an nymph who detain Odysseus in her cave for seven years.

Today we head to Ramla Bay with bus and there if we are lucky we might find the Cave. And Cave we did find, after walking 2,5 kilometres from the bus stop we were on the cliffs above Ramla Bay. Quite few others had the same idea than us so it wasn’t exactly the quiet place I had hoped for but the cool breeze and amazing scenery makes Tal-Mixta Cave very much worth visiting!

Tal-Mixta Cave


Tal-Mixta Cave

Up there we see that we took the long way up. From the entrance of the cave starts small path and we take it down to the beach. After some walking in the heat is so nice to have a dip in sea!

Toni on the way down the shorter path


View to the Ramla Beach


Entrance to the Cave

Friday 20 th

On several trips I have wanted to go snorkeling, this one isn’t any different. I just chose a wrong day to do that! We got to the beach where I realise that the sky is all cloudy and there is quite rough waves on the sea. So no snorkeling for me in here either. I did go for a swim though and it was great with all the waves! I just lay there on top of the wafe and let it rock me. And few girl can say that she has swam with unicorns! It’s quite a shame that Toni didn’t take a photo with me and the inflatable unicorn-friend. But I got photos of unicorns and flamingos yesterday so for your joy I add that in here instead.


Unicorns and flamingos

On a evening stroll we go for see the statue of Risen Christ. Unlike Tal-Mixta Cave, in here got whole hill to our selves. Might have doe to the fact that on the beginning of the cross there were sign “Only farmers!”
We defy the wrath of angry farmers and keep on going. We walk past some fields and even see one shed in the further away but were able to reach the statue without any problems.

Farmers fields


Statue of the Risen Christ

The statue has placed there 1970s. The hill is place of local myths and legends and some believe that it is top of an volcanoe doe to the tradition that says that black smoke has risen once from the hill. Some believe in the volcanoe and some say that God punished the people of Gozo.
Before the statue there where wooden cross on top of the hill. First statue replaced the cross in 1904 but it didn’t survive the elements. Second statues supporting pedestal gave in the thunderstorm (that was placed there in 1960s). So the existent statue is third one and is made of reinforced concrete which has so far lasted better than the previous ones.

The weather has been all day windy and it has been welcoming chance to the heat. The mercury has stayed stubbornly between 26-31C during the days.

Toni said when we got here, in Malta I mean, that the electricity might not been stable and he was right, this night the powers shut off. But because I am the smart girl that I am, we had flashlights and I was able to do my packing in dark.
Tomorrow we will leave for our fourth and final destination.

Posted by hennaonthetrek 07:36 Archived in Malta Tagged victoria malta gozo marsalforn dolphincourt tas-salvaturhill calypsoscave ramlabay tal-mixtacave Comments (2)

St. Paul's Bay. Sunsets, Aquariums and Old cars

In the heart of the Mediterranean II

sunny 30 °C

Saturday 14 th

I think that me and Toni have little bit different idea about walking from place to place. We took an bus from Tarxien to St.Pauls Bay. I know that it’s a long way to walk but if I would have known that we would really walk, I would choose something closer. But we started talking when we looked for the next hotel and Toni talked about the bus, that we would take it and go here or there. Well I am stubborn so I could have stand my ground and said that we are going to walk, that’s what agreed on. But I opted that maybe its better this way, because we would use couple of days just to get here. There weren’t so much on the other side of the island. So St. Pauls Bay it is, via bus. Or actually via 2 bus, but with total amount of 5e/person and around 1,5 hours, its more than okay.


At the bus

We arrived in St.Paul's Bay at 12AM and our check-in were 2PM so across the street we go to the nearest pub. Which name was Munchies the Snack Bar. From the name you could think that they have some sort of menu but they only sold crisps. Quite misleading name.

We didn’t look into the selection of the hotels deep enough I think because the one we chose, even if it is an cheap, wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. We are quite easy to please, we just need clean bed, AC, shower and toilet. Well our room is clean, I can say that much. Now I have listened Toni complaining how hot is it a LOT, obviously our AC is not working.

First I did some laundry when Toni was in the shower and our mutual effort get the result of ending the cold water. All there came was scalding hot. So I was sweaty and hot after my laundry session and in the desperate need of shower but no-can-do. Everytime when you turned the nub on colder side the water just stops. I waited quite while before I quit and just wet the towel in the hot water before I did quick washup. Still I thought that its just some fluke and it will go away in time so we left the hotel to do some roaming.

We ended up in the Aquarium which was really nice. They had made it to their agenda to make people aware of the pollution. I specially liked the jellyfish. Couldn’t decide which of the photos are best so I put all the three below.

Jellyfish number one


Jellyfish number two


Jellyfish number three, which one you like best?


At the aquarium

At the aquarium


At the aquarium

On the way back we stopped for some beers in really nice beach pub. There were Spanish music playing and really relaxed atmosphere. I loved it, I hope that we will go there again. We are here for 3 days afterall.


Writing postcards at The Promenade

Back to the hotel we noticed that the AC still isn’t working and the water is still only hot.
In the reception they just said that they will send someone. Nothing else. But after we came back from dinner the water was fixed and I could finally take an shower.
At dinner I wanted to try something traditional maltese food so I opted an stew made of snails, carrots and peas, really good!


My snails, Tonis pizza and some maltese beer Cisk

For tomorrow we set two goals. Get breakfast and look the sunset in that cool bar.

Sunday 15 th

Yei, we made our goals of the day!
Breakfast was disappointing, there were variety to choose from but nothing was exactly very good. Yes, you could eat it, it’s not that bad but for the rest of the hotel being so not good, you would think that they would get something right.
After that we just did lot of relaxing, reading a book, sleeping, planning what to do next. I read little bit more about Popeyes village and I think that it might not be for us. I am not huge fan of waterparks and neither of has seen the movie. I just wanted to see the village but it seems silly to pay just for it.
At the sunset we found ourselves in the very same nice pub than yesterday. Just like we planned. For an while it looked that we might not see the sunsetting because of the clouds but in the end, we did! I got even photo from helicopter flying by on the sunset.


Sunset with helicopter

On the way back we had some dinner (I ate sea food tagliatelle, Toni had lasagna) and we stopped for an bar to listen some karaoke before going back to the hotel. The karaoke host was great but I don’t myself like karaoke that much, I do not know how to sing. Luckily most of the singers did so it wasn’t so bad.
In the day and at the evening, I heard numerous times the maintenance guy in the hallway (he would knock on the door and yell Maintenance) so the others must have problems with their rooms too. Oh, our hotel in here are The Bugibba hotel, FYI so you know what to avoid.

Monday 16 th

After booking our next accommodation (Dolphin Court in the Marsalforn) we went to check out the Classic Car Museum. Which was for my surprise really nice! The owner turned his old car collection in to an museum. First he had his cars in several garages but he wanted them under the same roof and there the dream started. And he is still looking for cars around the Europe.
We had read in our hotel that they had discount if we show them our hotel room key so that’s what we did when we got there but they haven’t heard of it. So we bought regular price tickets and when we got inside the museum the guy from the counter stopped us and told that he checked and they do have 10%-discount for Bugibba hotel residents so he gave us some money back. That was an nice touch for the in any case nice day.

I found couple of cars for me, couple cute cars and one interesting one.

"My new pickup" -68 Morris Minor 1000


"My new" -67 Triumph Spitfire Mk III


Cute -57 BMW Isetta 250


Cute little -63 Fiat 500D

The interesting one were -79 Trabant 601 which the previous owner had driven to Malta from Brno. At the time the car was 27 years old and it hold almost all of the 2615 km. When they crossed the borders the custom officer where most curious how they were in car like that. On the motorways even their maximum 80km/h, from the cars which passed by people would smile and wave.
They had couple pitstops on the way and finally they towed the car for last 3 kilometres. It was interesting story.


Interesting Trabi


Posted by hennaonthetrek 07:11 Archived in Malta Tagged aquarium stpaulsbay thebugibbahotel classiccarmuseum Comments (4)

In the heart of Mediterranean

Tarxien, Malta 12.9.-13.9.

sunny 28 °C

We have only booked a flights and first 2 days accommodation in Malta. I found this beautiful old building turned in to an B&B, The Burrow Guest House, it’s near the airport which was about the only criteria we had for the first night staying. First I were about to book it only for one night but the details showed me that it is located near some temples which I would like to visit and is also quite near the capital, Valletta, which would also be nice place to make a day trip to.
We have really flexible itinerary, only must’s is the Popeye’s Village at the western end of Malta and the island of Gozo. And the exciting part, we are only going from place to place by foot! We have brand new backpacks and minds set for an adventure!

Thursday 12th

In Finland we have this saying “Oppi ja ikä kaikki”, rough translation goes something like “Learn and age is all”. It means that the older you get the more you have learned and this first day “backpacking” I have aged, lol.

First of all I learned that you can’t trust men to remember anything. I said several times to Toni that the train leaves at 7:50 AM, most resent was yesterday. So what happened this morning, I put my alarm at 6 AM but when it goes off I hit the snooze button, but just once and just for 15 minutes. But that’s beside the point. I woke up, ate breakfast etc. At 7AM I called an taxi to take us to the train station and started wondering that why Toni hasn’t up yet. When I went to wake him he said that I had said the time wrong and he still has time to sleep..Yeah right. So I am the bad guy when he had to rush to be in time when the taxi arrived.

Second was that if the bag is not feeling good at home, then it won’t be good anywhere else either. Now I am not talking about my brand-new Deuter here but my old sort-of handbag which I had to take so I could take laptop etc to the plane (carry-on). And I absolutely hate that bag. It’s like these hippie-type of “no-form-bag” with one department. But with that one department you have to dig everything out because of course the phone, or the passport, or the thing you are needing now, is at the bottom of that #%&!%#”! thing. I only took it because it weights practically nothing and I can roll it in to the big back but after this trip I am going to bin it, no matter how nice it looks.

Third. You need to remind people of everything. All the time. I sent e-mail approx. 1 month ago to the hotel to inform them that we will need the key box code doe to our late arrival. Their reception closes at 7PM and our flight was arriving 6:30 PM. I never received an answer, I tried again week ago with same result. So Tuesday I picked up the phone and called. Very nice lady answered and told me that of course they will send the key box code and that they will do it at the morning of the arrival. Aaaand, this morning no key code. This afternoon, no key code. So I called again, and again very nice lady answered. This time I got the key code so no problem there but two e-mails and two phone calls sound little bit excess to me.

Fourth but not the least. I do not know how to pack the backpack. It’s all “wonky” and I do not know how I manage to get the weight so unbalanced. Basic physics, put the heaviest stuff on the bottom, right? Nice in theory but how I am suppose to do that when everything weights almost the same? Well I need to practice this. A lot I am afraid. And also, it’s 100% clear that I have never carried anything on my back. Just wanted to add that.


This thing is almost as big as I am!

But we made it to our first hotel! And we walked from the airport, just about millions and millions steps (somewhere around 4-5 km). The Burrow Guest House is as nice as I predicted from the photos! There is only 9 rooms so nice and little just how we like it. We also have our own shower!
We got rid of our backs and headed to find a store, all of them was closed. Founded bar instead, it was under renovation. Or not maybe renovation but they were making it bigger, huge. It was open nonetheless and the bartender proudly show us around. They had had party and barbeque previous night, that would have been fun! But the bartender told us that there were village-festival in the neighbor village this weekend so we might visit there.

Just last thought of the day, I am on the summer holiday and feeling great! ;)




Above some photos of our lovely hotel

Friday the 13th

No plans for the day really, we just left the hotel after breakfast and headed to the Tarxien temples which were near.
They were little bit of an disappointment. I don’t think that is right to sell people that “Hey here is really old temple, come to have an looksie” when it is mostly an replica. By replica I mean that the original part have been hauled to an museum somewhere and they have been replaced by copies. It is okay to renovate and keep the excisting parts in good shape but when they are fakes, they just are fakes.


Tarxien temple


Tarxien temple

The capital I did like. We took an bus to Valletta and roamed around little. The Triton fountain was beautiful and the city gates were impressive. The boys didn’t influence the impressiveness of the gates but they did stick to my mind. There were these guys who were advertising an restaurant and they had t-shirt which has “Why have abs when you can have kebabs” in the back. Funny.
In the evening we went to have a dinner. There weren’t too many places open, just one really which have food. But still I really liked the town of Tarxien, small and intimate. When you walk through it at night, there are people sitting on the steps of the building which give it an really good vibe.

And in the next day I noticed that curse of the day hit (friday the 13th.) Almost all the photos of the day have disappeared. Not really disappeared, I know that I deleted them myself. I have had some issues with my phone so I delete the photos immediately when they are in my cloud server. But maybe doe to the internet here all of the photos weren’t in the cloud when I deleted them.
The temple was fake so no harm in there but the photos from Valletta were nice.

More from Malta when the wi-fi is working better.

Posted by hennaonthetrek 00:43 Archived in Malta Tagged backpack malta valletta tarxien tarxientemple deuter theburrowguesthouse tritonfountain Comments (4)

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