New Year’s Day was a wash out – literally and it wasn’t anything to do with hangovers! We must be getting old as we were very restrained on NYE although we didn’t go to bed until 2am. We knew the weather was going to be dreadful on Thursday so we had planned to stay onboard and give Nimmie a spring clean. As usual it took much longer than usual as we found bits and pieces that needed mending or were about to need it! We also ate on board, for a change, and watched some stuff we had downloaded from the BBC. Very useful that you can watch it offline.
We had booked a hotel room on the island of Gozo for the Friday evening so made a, relatively, early start and used the time to look at various bays on the way to the ferry port on the NW corner of the island. We just missed one ferry but they run every 45 mins so it wasn’t long to wait. The trip took about 30 mins and was uneventful but gave us an opportunity to check out the marina at Mgarr on the way in.
We were staying in Xlendi but given that the island is only about 8 by 4 miles, it really didn’t matter if we went in the opposite direction!
We headed for Rabat, also known as Victoria, which is the capital and has a marvellous medieval citadel at its heart. We had also heard that there was a good restaurant, Rikardu, overlooking the ramparts so headed there for lunch. Unfortunately, there is a lot of renovation work being done on the citadel itself so whilst interesting, it didn’t look at its best.
Just outside of the capital is a Neolithic Temple that is shaped like a three leafed clover. The entrance fee at €9 each was the most expensive to date on the islands and with no audio guide as they wanted you to buy the book. The fee did include a tour of a nearby windmill, which we both found more interesting! Then onto Xlendi which is a pretty bay and must be humming with activity in the summer. It did have a feel of out of season about it but the hotel was lovely (we had splashed out on a sea view) and the restaurant, The Boathouse, was absolutely marvellous. The lobster ravioli melted in your mouth and the local wine was delicious. Our best meal so far in all of Malta.
Saturday morning was bright and sunny with temperatures climbing back into the mid to high teens although the northerly wind made it feel cooler at times. We spent the day looking at various bays that we could bring the boat to and anchor. We found quite a few but also some, whilst pretty, were not suitable. This included Rampla Bay, which is famous for its red sand.
We caught the 1545 ferry back and used the remaining daylight hour to look at a couple more bays before heading back to the marina. Off out to eat at a local Italian, Mamma Mia, that is one of the best in Malta to celebrate a lovely week in Nimmie’s new home. We really feel as if we know a lot more about the place and are already looking forward to coming back in the next couple of months.