Malta – Malta Day One

This is the first full day of my fourth visit to Malta and Liam’s first. We’re staying for the first two days of this trip in the same hotel that I spent three weeks in last year, but after that we’re moving to hotels which we haven’t booked yet. It adds a little adventure to proceedings and it’s unlikely that the hotels will be booked up in early March. I hope anyway.

Since we had a weekly bus ticket, we got the bus to the nearby town of Bugibba and then walked into its centre along the coastline. Palm trees always make a place feel just that bit more exotic….

The first plan was to get breakfast at Michele’s Cafe, which I’ve written about here, with this being my rather lovely Cannoli. Satisfied with our morning food we got the bus back to near the hotel at St. Paul’s Bay.

We then walked the heritage walk which I really liked last year (and wrote about here), but I was glad to do it again as I noticed a few things that I hadn’t seen before. It’s not that long a walk in terms of the distance, but there were plenty of caves, holes and the like to explore.

I had seen some caves on this walk last year, but I hadn’t noticed this one. Many of these caves were lived in until relatively recently, some of them looked like quite the prime real estate.

Liam in front of one of the caves. We had at one stage planned to spend this week doing a long distance footpath in Ireland where it would have likely rained, but we were congratulated ourselves on instead picking a slightly more relaxed week in Malta. We also told ourselves that we shouldn’t walk too far as that might somehow spread the Coronavirus, so we thought we’d stay in more urban areas and spend time eating. It’s a sacrifice that we’re prepared to make.

I had seen this apiary last year, but there was another one I hadn’t seen before, situated behind the oldest carob tree on the island. We had a look at the punic tomb although the peace and tranquillity was just a little marred by someone recording themselves playing some music….

After meandering along this heritage trail we tried to reach Mellieha by walking up along the road which switchbacks up along Mellieha Ridge. This worked, but the road comes out on a busy road which was unnecessarily difficult to cross, not the best piece of road planning that I’ve ever seen. I did mutter and moan about these situation for a short while, which I’d say was only thirty seconds, but was probably nearer to five minutes.

After our bravery with the road, we needed food, so this was the lunch stop at Tal-Puzzu, which I wrote about here.

After lunch we walked down to the Our Lady of the Grotto, which I wrote about last year here.

The Maltese flag flying high.

I had visited the parish church of Mellieha last year, but I had missed this located near to it, the Sanctuary of Our Lady in Mellieha. More on this in another post, but it’s a rather special building.

An interesting building construction and I like to think that the cave element is incorporated into the new building as some sort of cellar structure.

And talking about interesting structures, we didn’t create this, but we did watch the water flow into the moat and it was rather professionally created by someone…. Just to show how busy we had been in the morning, I had a little lie down near the beach to have a short nap. After that we had a little visit to Sundancer in order to get an ice cream and drink. I’ve had worse Sundays…..

After that we got the bus back towards Bugibba and we planned to have a little stop off at a little heritage site that I had visited last year, but the bus driver didn’t stop where we wanted (more because of a technical problem than because he hated us). So, we gave up with that plan for the day and just stayed on the bus all the way to Bugibba bus station, ready for a quick visit to a pub. Although this was when someone got onto the bus and seemed enormously unsteady, before he fell on a woman minding her own business and then he nearly stumbled into Liam.

A quick beer at the Cheeky Monkey pub, which I’ll write about later. I visited their other outlet in Valletta last year, I found this one a little less impressive, although the views over the water were decent. There is quite an absence of craft beer in Bugibba, it certainly hasn’t improved in that regard over the last year. The town of Bugibba was though busy, plenty of people visiting the local cafes and going for a walk, and had a relaxed feel to it.

Exploring the beach at Qawra Point Beach near Bugibba. Liam did try and make the jump to the piece of land on the right of this photo, but he claimed it was too difficult. Then we watched someone else go and do it…. I didn’t comment on how much braver the other man was than Liam, as I was too polite and kind.

A pillbox with extensive views over the sea, located near to what is now Malta’s National Aquarium.

Walking along the coastline at Bugibba as the sun started to set. After all this walking we quickly popped to McDonald’s for a drink, with the handy advantage that we got free fries after I filled in the restaurant’s survey. Bargain.

Walking back to the hotel, we didn’t bother getting the bus as the temperature was warm and it’s not the worst of views. Although the nights do seem to get quite cold, the evenings are just perfect. A rather lovely first full day, we’re moving in the morning to a new location in Gozo, which will mean taking a ferry and some more buses. Hopefully the weather will remain moderate and dry.