Wednesday, 18 April 2018

#random_thoughts........Malta



  • Malta is beautiful in summer, but I will probably revisit this place in spring or autumn - the summer heat is really unbearable!
Quaint little cafe on the charming streets of Valletta :)

  • If only there is a metro train system connecting the different parts of Malta....
Colorful doors!

  • Why is it so difficult for us to buy bottled water in Valletta???
My water ration...

  • Five days is probably too short a duration to cover all the interesting places in Malta..
Love the uniqueness of the buildings here...

  • There is a certain charm to the narrow alleys in Valletta!
Charming little alley...

  • There were hardly any trees to provide us with the shade that we desperately needed on these hot summer days...*sweat*
All I can see is land...

  • The locals are actually a very warm and friendly group of people, though they may look very stern at first glance ;P
Just strolling...

  • I have had the best KFC in Malta!
Yums!


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Dear Diary.....Comino Island

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Dear Diary.....Comino Island


Dear Diary,

On this bright and sunny day, my husband and I woke up feeling all hyped up and excited about our trip to Comino Island. The ride to and fro on board a cruise ship was included in our ExplorePlus tallinja card and we could not wait to utilise this perk! It was also on this day that we reckoned we could finally take a nice break from all the walking - to just enjoy ourselves on board and take in the beautiful view sailing on the crystal clear waters of Malta! Well, let’s just say that it was not as relaxing as we had expected...


The small ship from Valletta to Silema

The cruise ship that will bring us to Comino island was by the company “Captain Morgan”. We were told to board the ship at Silema and to get there, we had to take the Valletta ferry service - a short boat ride between the Valletta harbour and Silema harbour. The “Captain Morgan” cruise ship departs from Silema daily at 10am, cruising pass several harbour bays and finally docking at Comino’s famous blue Lagoon where there will be an allocated free time for us to either sunbath/swim at the blue lagoon region or to head inland to explore the island. The cruise ship will then depart from Comino Island at 4.30pm and bring us back to Silema.


Our "Captain Morgan" cruise ship...

As we only had this particular day to venture to Comino island, we most certainly did not want to miss the ship. Hence, we headed off from Valletta much earlier than was required. It turned out to be a great decision as there were some confusion over which cruise ship to board. There were just too many “Captain Morgan” ships docked at Silema harbour! After a while of asking around, we finally found our cruise ship. As it was a free-seating arrangement, we decided to make our way to the open-air upper deck of the ship and found ourselves comfortable seats in a corner with a great view of the sea. Soon, crowds of people started to stream in and fill the ship. After a delay of almost 30 minutes, we finally set sail for Comino island. Prior to departure, we were told that there will be an audio commentary highlighting to us the various landmarks that we will pass by during the 2 hours journey. Unfortunately, it was quite noisy at the upper deck and we could hardly hear the commentary. In the end, we gave up trying to figure out what was said and just admired the nice sea view and the cooling sea breeze on this hot summer day.

Halfway through the journey, we started seeing people heading to the lower deck and arriving back up again with cups of drinks and it was only when a Spanish lady sitting next to us explained that we were entitled to a free flow of drinks that we understood what was going on. We also heaved a sigh of relief as we can finally break free from having to ration our water supply! Did I mention that it was a nightmare trying to buy bottled water in Valletta? There was even one night when we were so desperate for water that we tried drinking tap water - bad idea as the mineral taste of the tap water was too much for us to handle! There were not many major supermarkets spread out across Malta as do most cities that we had visited. For the rare few mini-marts that we came across, they were always closed as we were either there too early in the morning or too late at night. What a bummer! Well, it was good thing that we now had free flow of drinks on board to keep us hydrated on this hot day!


The lunch...with extra protein added....

We arrived at Comino island at around noon time and were given instruction to head to the lower deck to get our lunch. We were expecting a cold buffet spread but it was nothing like it at all! By the time we got to the lower deck, there was already a long queue for the food. Each of us was given a plate and the ship crew would dish out some pasta, a slice of ham and some bread onto our plates. Carefully guarding the miserable plate of food that took great efforts to obtain, we soon found a seat at the lower deck and started tucking into our food. To my horror, halfway through, I actually found a huge bee trapped under the pile of pasta! Horrified and filled with disgust, I hurriedly pushed the plate out of sight and at the same time, struggling to stop myself from kicking my husband who had jokingly commented that I had extra protein added! Thankfully, we have had the habit of bringing snacks with us wherever we go and it was at that instant that I was extremely grateful for that extra weight in our bags!


Another reason for us to get away from the blue lagoon...

After that unpleasant lunch episode, my husband and I just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle on the ship. We soon found ourselves on the island, armed with only two small bottles of water, a few snacks and a small guide book on Comino island (which was on loan from our Airbnb host). The land was mostly barren with not much shade from the scorching sun and we decided to follow one of the faint walking paths. Apart from the massive crowd found at the blue lagoon, the other parts of this island are very quiet and surreal. There were literally no one else in sight other than us - it was hardly a surprise coming from the fact that there are only 3 permanent residents on this island! We were feeling both glad (that we are finally away from all the noise) and anxious (at being the only two humans in that pathway) as we explored the place. As we were expected to be back at the ship by 4pm, we spent the next 2.5 hours walking along the foot path (occasionally deviating slightly from it and ended up getting lost), taking lots of photos, enjoying each other’s company on this empty piece of land and just enjoying the view all around the island. Despite the fatigue and sun burn from the walk, it was truly an enjoyable walking trip in what seems like a place of our own!


Literally no one else in sight on the island..

Santa Marija Battery

Santa Marija Tower

Lovely clear waters surrounding the island..

Such scenic views...

Overall, we felt that although there were quite a few issues with the cruise ship provider that did not quite meet up to our expectations, having a positive mindset and outlook has enabled us to enjoy it nonetheless! At the end of the day, the gorgeous view of the crystal clear blue water around Comino island seems to have the magical effect of making everything seemed worthwhil- certainly ending our Malta trip on an excellent note! :)

Yours Truly,
Claire


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