Saturday turned out to be a lovely day so we took advantage to tour the island and go to places we hadn’t seen before. The sat nav was a mixed blessing as it took us down ‘roads’ that were no wider than a track and full of pot holes – mind you, some of the ‘main roads’ were a bit like that! We finally made it to Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples, which are amazing clover shaped temples within 500m of each other and are the oldest free standing Neolithic buildings in the world. Quite stunning.
After that we went to the nearby Blue Grotto but again didn’t bother with a boat ride as the swell looked quite substantial for the small boats that go there and didn’t think it was suitable for John and Ruth.
We then went along the coast to the Dingli Cliffs but they probably look much better from the sea. Continuing north we investigated three bays for potential visiting on Nimrod later next month. The first, Gnejna Bay had nothing to recommend it as it had an almost industrial feel to it although it did have a sandy beach. The next two are either side of a promontory with Golden Bay being more famous and much more built up with three huge hotels. The other one, Tuffieha, was delightful with a sandy beach, beach bar and plenty of anchoring room. Sorted!
We had a lovely evening meal at The Waterpolo Club near to the marina and overlooking the harbour so we had spectacular views of Valletta to accompany a lovely meal. It was only a short drive back to the hotel to drop John and Ruth off before returning to Nimmie.
We spent a couple of hours on Sunday morning doing various jobs on the boat such as inflating the fenders (seemed like a good idea!), checking where the AIS was located, checking the fire extinguishers and also the flares. The reason for checking the AIS (Automatic Identification System) was because we have been thinking about upgrading it to one that transmits our position as well as receiving other vessels. Our current system only tells us where other vessels are but we can’t decide whether it’s worth the cost and effort.
After that we went onto Mdina, the ancient fortified capital, where we were lucky to find a parking space for the car. Apparently, it is traditional to go to Mdina on Easter Sunday. It also didn’t help that two cruise ships were in port in Valletta and Mdina was one of the excursions! However, it was still lovely to wander round the old streets where they were never further than the distance an arrow could travel.
From there, we made our way south east to Marsaxlokk , a quaint fishing village that is still very much a working one. It was teeming with people, tourists and locals alike.
There was a large Sunday market selling everything from food to clothes so Ruth was happy! We had lunch in a restaurant run by three sisters and of course, had to have fish! Delicious.
Next stop was Marsaskala, which was supposed to be quite pretty but we thought it very touristy although it had a harbour and a nice promenade that many people were taking advantage of in the early evening sunshine. It did boast a huge church.
Before heading back towards the hotel, Liz decided that we should try and find the Easter Day procession in Valletta that was supposed to start at 7pm but we reckoned would still be going by the time we arrived if Friday’s timekeeping was anything to go by! However, we searched in vain for half an hour and then gave up. John and Ruth duly delivered back to their hotel, we popped into the Black Pearl bar close to the boat to have a quick drink and, more importantly, obtain the wifi code. The beer was awful, the bar unhygienic and the router wasn’t even working! Back to Nimmie for a wee dram before bed. Another very enjoyable day.