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Monday, 12 March 2012


Well it started off quite warm and sunny and we walked for miles along the promenade from Sliema to St Julian's Bay. We had expected Malta to offer us a warm and sunny break at this time of year.

We caught the bus (with everyone else) to Valletta and walked up and down the streets and visited the War Museum.

We looked at and into some Churches.

And sat in the sun outside the Caffe Cordina.

I had the best Insalata Caprese I've ever had. Freshly made, buffalo milk mozzarella, thinly sliced local tomato and rocket, beautifully dressed with olive oil and all mopped up with tasty bread.

We wandered the streets, cruised the bays and even took the sight-seeing bus round the island in the pouring rain. It was a tour that you could leave and then rejoin. At the start the weather was fine and we tolerated the sharp wind on the topless upstairs. At Mdina it started to rain so we sat downstairs until we got to the craft village. At that stage the next bus to come along was a topless coach! There was no downstairs and we huddled under a small piece of canopy behind the driver. The only other passenger alighted at Bugibba. We hung on grimly until we got back to the starting point and climbed the hill back to our hotel to nurse ourselves warm again.
The first couple of days were fine in the afternoon, though, and we were optimistic that the weather would improve believing that a night-time thunderstorm would have cleared the air.
We were fascinated by the saints in alcoves on the corners of streets. We assume this is Our Lady of the Wires.

And this must surely be Our Lady of the Convex Mirror.

But understandably, our favourite was St Francis of the Finger, because by the end of the week the weather had become a phenomenon. The view from our balcony changed from this....


All the boats were moved to a safer harbour. A storm was approaching. It was an enormous hot sandy air mass from North Africa meeting the cool wet air of the sea around us. It created a Cyclone.

We were on the eighth floor with the pool deck above us and the sun-loungers were careering around and "things" were crashing and tinkling all over the place.

It went on all night and we woke to drifts of red sand on the balcony and flights being redirected to Sicily. Winds had been recorded at 150kph and someone had been killed by the waves on the promenade. Seaweed was dumped well inland and waves were still breaking over the Marine Drive the next day.

As we waited for our flight the wind picked up again and so we were very relieved to actually get on the flight on time and reach the safety of Newcastle Airport.

Did we have a nice holiday? Not sure yet. The weather was obviously dreadful for more than half the time and one of the reasons for going was to get some good weather. I haven't been to Malta before and I'm glad I have now visited it but I found no wonderful things to remember for ever and spent more than I wanted to on ordinary getting by (wine, coffee trips) and one day sick in bed after something I ate!

OK. I'm sure now. It was probably very close to the bottom of the holiday list.

To add salt to the wound, it's gloriously sunny here and quite warm.

Cheers Gillian


chillsider stitching and opinions said...

We did Malta once too, can't remember when, it was bright but cold and very like Southend a lot of the time. Liked the little old green coach buses which crundled us around, but like you, not a sparkly memory really. Our hotel room was all marble floors and ceilings and one got the impression they hosed it out in between visitors. My father was in the navy and was in Malta when i was born, and coincidently he and ma were in Malta when my daughter was born. Another meaningless coincidence.

carol said...

Sorry for your disappointment but it made a good story and I laughed out loud (to the alarm of customers) at St. Francis of the finger and Our Lady of the Wires.