July 30-31st, 2015
So it's Saturday morning, and I'm sitting on our veranda in Sliema, Malta, listening to church bells chiming off in the distance, watching the boats make their way back and forth across the bay from Valetta. Wow!
So first to recount yesterday's travels. I started with a train from Antioch, Il, to the O'Hare transport, then a bus, then a shuttle train, and then a long wait for Marissa. We got all checked in, waited a couple of hours, and then boarded our flight to Dublin. We bumped our way across the Atlantic to Dublin, found our next gate, did the hop to London Heathrow which was no problem at all, and then went back through security to our Malta flight. Another bumpy flight, so I literally just made myself pass out or I would have been a wreck. Then we landed and got our bags and immediately found our driver (yeah!) with our name on a sign. He asked if we were Aprill or May (haha). Good thing I've ridden in taxis and Ubers before, or I would have panicked! He got us to our hotel, check in was no problem (and accompanied by champagne!) and here we are! Hotter than Hades in Malta! All week is clear and hot.
After a shower and passing out from jet lag (in our complimentary robes and slippers), we decided to go find dinner. We did a LONG walking tour of Sliema, only to end up at a courtyard two blocks away from the hotel at a fabulous Italian restaurant with cheeky, flirty Italian waiters. SUCH fun! Marissa had caprese with fist-sized fresh mozzarella balls which was out of this world, and I had a sausage risotto--wow! That along with a nice bottle of wine and wonderful conversation--just a great night.
Some of the best lines from our waiters: one guy, who had only been in Malta for a month, said something about something not working and his partner said, "That's what your girlfriend says." They also wanted us to order the ice cream and when we declined, the waiter said his grandmother would beat us with a stick if we didn't eat her ice cream.
August 1, 2015
We found the buffet breakfast in the garden on the first floor of Fortina--we certainly won't go hungry this week! Full hot and cold everything! Under the palm trees, next to the pool. Wow!
After breakfast, we got passes for the Valetta ferry for the week and took off for Valetta. Incredibly hot day. We started at the National Art Gallery, which was lovely--all Malta artists. Then wandered the streets for a bit, found the Upper Gardens, wandered a bit again, and found a parade. We asked a Maltese gentleman later what the parade was for, and he said the Feast of St. Dominick. Then he added that, in Malta, every day was a celebration for something!
We proceeded to a wine bar for tastings and nibbles, then found out the church was closed, so we walked back to the boat and off to the hotel. Some swimming in the PM, a walk to the mall for grocery shopping, then supper in our room and a long conversation with Marissa. I got some reading done (Go Set a Watchman) and then bedtime!
August 3, 2015
We had a bit of a lie in this morning and didn't get up until after 7. After our awesome breakfast, we caught the bus for Mdina. Beautiful walled city with a gorgeous cathedral, museums, gift shops, restaurants, and great views. We got souvenirs for everyone at Mdina Glass--gorgeous stuff that we now have to get home somehow. We had peach iced tea and dessert (strawberry meringue for me) at the Fontenella Tea Garden--yum! Then a bus ride back to Sliema.
Once back, we decided to hang out at the Limes Bar next to the pool, so we bought some pints and hung out in the water for the afternoon. We had some great conversation and fun imbibing! For dinner, leftovers from Ta' Kris.
August 2, 2015
So, it being Sunday, a lot of things were not open in Malta today. I decided to attend church at the Parish Church of Jesus of Nazareth. All Maltese and no music, but I actually could follow the liturgy and say the "amens" in the right places. I found Marissa on the beach and we went back to the hotel. We decided to find Mint, which was a great cafe' by St. Julian's. Then we walked back and got free tickets to the Captain Morgan's cruises, which was actually very nice--nearly two hours, free wifi, very thorough view of Valetta and surrounding areas. Once back, we decided to swim, so I got to try out my snorkeling gear. SO FUN! It was great to see the fish, etc. Then we came back and wanted to find Ta' Kris, which was the restaurant we were looking for the first night. Found it! We got there at 7 p.m. and good thing, because it filled up fast! I ordered pasta with rabbit sauce and Marissa got penne pasta with creamy tomato sauce and Maltese sausage. The food was TDF (to die for)!!! Split a bottle of wine and roll us home! Great everything!
We came back to read, and I finished Go Set a Watchman, and LOVED it. So much to talk about! I can't wait for book club! Now I'm reading Every Day by David Levithan--also very good.