Monday, July 5 — Valletta
Checked in at Grand Harbour Hotel
Dinner at San Paolo Naufrago
Brian has tummy ache
Tuesday, July 6 — Valletta
Breakfast at Piadira
Ice coffee at Sunday in Scotland
Church of the Jesuits
Walking around the old town
Chillaxing in the room
Kinnie Spritz at Lapira and Rabbit dish
Wednesday, July 7 — Valletta
Breakfast at Cafe Cordina
Parliament Building by Renzo piano
Upper Barrakka Gardens.
St. John's Co-Cathedral
National Museum Of Archaeology
Valletta St Paul's AFT lunch/dinner (Caponata Siciliano)
Evening ferry and walk to two of the Three Cities, starting with Vittoriosa. We wander into the labyrinth of alleys and I walk around a corner and am suddenly face to face with a white, earles cat who doesn’t even give me a chance, and instantly hisses at me. I decide it is the ugliest cat I have ever seen. We continue on into a maze of amzing alleyways with small shops, apartment blocks, botique hotels, cafes and the occassional local. We end up at the tip of Fort St. Angelo with excellent views of Valletta and her city walls. Valletta is indeed a vertical city. We backtrack and head over to Senglea and to Senglea Point, again with excellent views of Valletta. The sun is setting now and everything is quite romantic. We wander back to the cafe area where a football match is happening. There are TV screens outside, with hundreds of locals cheering. We manage to find a table, grab a pizza, watch the rest of the game, and then catch a ferry back to Valletta.
Thursday, July 8 — Valletta
Breakfast at hotel
Walked around town
Pizza at casa Sotto
Walked to ferry to Sliema
Drink at Paradise Exiles
Friday, July 9 — Mdina
Breakfast at Kingsway. We rent a car and check out the hotel. We drive to the D’Amrogio Hotel and check in. We have a large, breezy room with a small balcony and a shared bathroom. We drive over to the Blue Grotto and take a swim in the beautiful blue water. We walk over to the Coast Cassarini Restaurant and have lunch/dinner (lunner?) The salad very good, and surprisingly, the oactapuse is terrible and we sent it back. Zara chilaxes in the in hotel and I walk to the old town of Mdina, which served as the island’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period.
Saturday, July 10 — Cirkewwa
Visit Palazzo Tal virtu
Visit Ħaġar Qim & Mnajdra
Checked out hotel
On our way, I grab gas at the Mn Camilleri Petrol Station Saqqajja in Rabat. It's one of the pay in cash at some random machine before you pump-- my least fovorite type because you are forced to go with what bills you have. The gas attendant, if there is one, is always grumpy and hesitant to give any change. Check in at Paradise Bay Resort
Lunch/dinner at Porto Lounge (it was bad)
Sunday, July 11 — Gozo
Breakfast at hotel
Ferry to Gozo
Check in at Maria’s BnB
Dinner at Azure Window Restaurant
Monday, July 12 — Gozo
We have a slow morning. Lots of thinkgs to figure out. Zara's tickets, we need to book the ferry tickets to Sicily, sort out covid tests, sort out the failed Hal saflieni hypogeum tickets, sort out the rental car return time, plan for Sicily, etc. It takes well into the afternoon to suss everything out, but eventually we do. Afterward, it's a long pool time. Around 6p we head off for Wied il-Għasri. The road is under construction, and we nearly make it through the construction site, but have to back track around the long way. Eventually we make it to Wied il-Għasri and park a ways away. Being later in the day, midweek, crowds have died down. The gorge is beautiful, the water is slighly murky and I keep thinking if a shark comes in here, I am toast.
After a nice walk about Wied il-Għasri, we drive over to the salt pans, and watch the wanning sun. I dip in the water again, down a ladder, but it is too rough. A few coves to the east we find another ladder where it is more calm so I take a snorkel swim. The water is magnificent, with deep blue colors, and walls heading down with no sea floor in site. Fish swim along the walls and there are lots of sea kelp aond other critters swimming around. Why is the Mediterranean always so deep dark blue in color?
Dinner at Maldonado Bistro, consisting of the most tender braised ocotopus I've ever had. We also take a Persian chicken with israeili couscous and some local goat cheese raviolies, which although still tasting good are the weakest part of the meal.
After dinner, we discover Victoria's citadel, which we later learn is pending World Heritage status. We walk for a mile around the ramparts, and alleyways of the restored citadel. The views in all directions are amazing, as is the weahter and breeze. How lucky we are that they keep this place open 24/7!
Tuesday, July 13 — Valletta
Wake up early, sad to be leaving today. Have a nice breakfast and late morning swim. After checking out and saying goodbye to Jaque, Claudia and Victor ("leave a good reivew for me so I can compete with my wife and sister), we drive to the ferry terminal. It costs 20.35 euro for one car and two person. "Why not make it 20 even?" I ask. The man says, "It's policy." It looks like we'll get on the current boat, but for some reason the current boat isn't taking cars, so we bake in the heat for some time until another ferry comes and allows us to board. The ferry ride is wonderful again, with a nice breeze, but for some reason the boat is moving slow; time is ticking and I need to get this darned rental car back to the company. We eventually make it back to Malta, exit, and after about 50 rounds abouts (most 2nd or 3rd exits) we wind back into old Valletta. For some reason the map takes us to the road about 500 feet below the hotel. I try again, same result. I try a different way and get stuck on a dead end with a truck blocking me in. Some horn honks, we back out somehow, and end up down at the bottom again. Fourth time's a charm as Zara finds some non-intuitive road to the left that somehow crosses over the previous way's fails, and takes us to the hotel properly We give back the car and get room 408, partial sea view upgrade, but with 2 sets of perfect Maltese balconies. What a treat!
After some Maltese balcony chill time, we walk over the Valletta Ferries and catch the 4:30 ferry to Sliema. When we arrive we walk the quickest way to Brown's Pharmacy St. Julian and we each take a 35 euro rapid antigen covid test for our ferry to Sicily the next day. We have to wait a while in the hot sun, very pleasnat. After our test, we grab a half-gas soda water at Eeet Well, and enjoy their nice leafy terrace.
We migrate along the limestone waterfront toward our sunsetter at Paradise Exile. There are swimming lanes, water polo areas, and even a large swimming pool built next to the sea shore. Stairs are carved into the limestone and there are even square pool carved into the limestone. I wonder how long ago all this seaside carving took place. I too take a dip, enjoy a Cisk beer and we watch the sun go down with a burger. We continue our meander along the seashore, seeing all the locals and expats and students enjoy the evening with the best weather of the day. We grab the 9:15 ferry back, walk through Valletta by all the al fresco diners, of which there are hundredes and end up Cafe Society, the hip little bar near our hotel, for an Orsen Wells cocktail (blueberry-infused gin, Cynar, Punt e mes Vermouth, orange bitters.)
Wednesday, July 14 —
Ferry to Sicily