We quite like to go away at Christmas, and this time we decided to visit Malta and Gozo.
Above I’m pictured in front of the Azure window as featured in Game of Thrones.
A few (quite a few) years ago, me and my friends decided to go on holiday together.
Opinion was divided amongst the group. Some of us wanted a “summer holiday”, others wanted to visit the Alps (you can probably guess which camp I was in).
As it was Julie, Mac and Caz went to Malta and had a really good time, while Lee and I went to the Alps and went Interailing around Europe.
I remember hearing all about Malta and always wondered what it was like. Now I was going to find out.
We’d be spending 8 days over Christmas touring the Island with short stop off’s and 2 night breaks.
We fly into Malta international airport. The only airport in fact, since the Island is actually 16 miles long.
We get a taxi to our first destination Marsaxlokk, A traditional fishing village with 3.5 thousand inhabitants.
It was late in the evening, so we found somewhere local for dinner then had drinks in a few bars before retiring to bed.
In the morning, our hotel had a rooftop bar where we had breakfast (which luckily had a roof, as the weather was terrible).
So, not a perfect start to our trip, but as usual we’ve got a contingency.
Travelling via the capital Valletta we head for a fortified medieval city called Mdina.
We used the bus service extensively throughout out trip and found it to be very comfortable and reliable.
And Mdina certainly was fortified, it had the massive walls all around it.
It was an interesting place to visit and an ideal “rain” destination.
Which was good, as the rain was getting worse.
Inside the walls, a small bar where we shelter from the rain.
Very atmospheric and the wine and beer were really nice. We spent about 2 hours in here, as we’d seen everything by now and it was tipping down outside.
We wander back through the alleyways and head home.
Back at Marsaxlokk to get cleaned up, then were out for the evening.
La Nostra Padrona is recommended by our hotel and my steak was delicious.
One thing to note about Malta, is that most meals come with a sort of pre-starter, and if you dont know this and your hungry, you order a pretty big starter and then can’t finish your main.
In the morning we go out for a walk before breakfast, and the weather has changed completely.
Marsaxlokk is known for its special kind of boats which are painted in local colours and a bit “boxy”.
We wander further to see the Parish church before heading back for our breakfast.
With a walking trip planned later that morning I eat plenty as I’ll need the calories.
We wander along the coast then head inland along a farm track.
Short while afterwards, we cross the island and wander along a coastal path.
And then we reach St Peter’s Pool.
A lovely quiet cove where we enjoyed the sunshine and had a swim.
There seemed to be a sort of abandoned hotel here.
Its a shame, as it would have made a superb destination for weekend breaks (and would have allowed us to buy some cold drinks).
With cold drinks on our mind, we wander back to the village and relax by the ocean.The waterside cafe in Marsaxlokk.
With our 2 days complete, were off to our next destination Xlendi, on Malta’s sister Island, Gozo.
Gozo can only be reached by ferry, so we get another bus to Cirkewwa.
The journey is quite short (30 mins).
We got some drinks and while Nikki looked out at the Mediterranean ocean, I wandered around the shop (they had an extensive selection of English books and magazines).
Between Malta and Gozo is an Island called Camino which features a beautiful swimming spot called the Blue Lagoon.
I’d wanted to see it, but its only 500m across and only has 1 hotel which was closed. With no resources on the Island, the ferry’s weren’t sailing there.
We get a tax to Xlendi and check into the Hotel San Andrea.
The view of the bay from our balcony window is one of my favourite memories of the trip.
Since its late afternoon, we wander around the town and explore (I find a nice pub and Nikki a respectable Italian restaurant).
In the evening, we out out at Zafiro and I try the local Risotto.
We’ve earmarked two incredible coastal walks while on Gozo, so the next morning its an early breakfast and out.
The road’s out of town have these amazing countryside valleys in between them.
We head up a farm track and I pause for this picture.
A discussion about whether a path is privately owned, puts us off balance.
After another discussion and reviewing the “picture” which the tourist board describes as a map, we find an alternative route and were re back on track.
We stop at this pool which has all sorts of wildlife and birds.
It’s also a nice spot to stop for some rest and a drink.
We reach the Dwejra bay and are rewarded with these amazing pictures.
The Fungus rock above is home to many unique plants and animals and although people dive and fish around here, they aren’t allowed on the rock.
It takes its name from the Fungus Cynomorium coccineum which the Knights discovered had medicinal properties.
Continuing along the sandy coastal path.
Five different species of Gekko live here, of which 2 are unique in the entire world.
There are many forts on the coast. Dwejfra fort was built in the 1700’s and later used by the coastguard.
Its been restored to superb condition and had a museum inside with a historical video.
You could also go onto the top battlement.
Anther half mile and we reach the thing we really wanted to see. The Azure window.
That’s me standing on top of it, to give some idea of its size.
Its not recommended to stand on top, but it was a once in a lifetime thing. Nikki took this picture from the cost.
This is a close up off me.
As you can see, there are cracks forming in the rock. Although I felt safe, if I’d walked 3 feet forward I would have been in the water !.
There were some souvenir shops, but we got the bus to the capital of Gozo, Victoria and did some sight seeing.
At one point, we were in a bar, and someone who worked there, and bought an Angel to go on top of his tree.
He had dropped it, and it didn’t light up. I used my headtorch for additional lighting and with my penknife started fixing it.
And after all the buildup, I coulnt fix it. Instead, we gave him a tip of the price of the Angel so all was well.
Some nice Tappa’s for dinner, and then bus back to Xlendi.
A different route this morning, heading out of the bay.
Looking back, we could see our hotel.
Starting off at a lower level, it follows the coast.
After a while, it heads inland across rough tracks, and we see some people out on mountain bikes.
The walk PDF’s we got off the internet were enthusiastically written, but not recently researched.
The walk along the cliff edge (yes, its about 4 feet away from a 350 foot drop) come to an end as someone has built a wall.
We circumnavigate and rejoin the path.
Back next to the ocean, the surroundings have changed once again.
We continue, heading for the port town of Mgarr.
Just outside town we arrive at Fort Chambray.
This place was amazing, an old fort on the outside, had been converted into modern flats and apartments on the inside.
I would have loved to live there.
Just before we reach Mgarr harbour, we get this view of Camino island.